Whether daring volcanic hikes or serene seaside sunsets set your heart aflutter, a trip to Mexico needs to be at the top of your to-do list. From stunning mountain ranges to mouth-wowing cuisine scenes, Mexico spans many covet-worthy climates and vibrant cultures. Wanna know more? We’ve got nine awesome reasons you need to take a trip to the south side of North America ASAP. Spoiler: Number seven involves tequila.


1. Mexican Food Is AMAZING

Top Left: Flickr/Dan Cortés; Top Right: Flickr/Monica PC; Bottom Left: Flickr/Krista; Bottom Right: Flickr/Lance Fisher

Are you always the first one in your office to take a lunch break when Taco Tuesday rolls around? Then you need to stop reading this list and book your Mexico vacation! OK, OK. You’ll want to read this first. Food culture in Mexico is diverse. Just like in Canada, it varies by region—but no matter where you go, you’ll find something full of well-developed spices and a good kick of citrus.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • If you’re craving fish tacos smothered in spicy crema and slaw, eat your way through the seaside state of Baja California! Tijuana is also home to the original Caesar salad, so start there.
  • A trip to Oaxaca isn’t complete without sampling mole, the southern state’s rich signature sauce, smothering everything from smoky chicken to roasted veggies.
  • For the love of a tangy, brothy soup, you’ve got to try sopa de lima in the Yucatan Peninsula. Bonus, this region is a short drive to beachy Cancun and Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo.
  • Birria may look like a humble meat stew, but the classic Jalisco dish will be your favourite meal if you believe the best things in life take time.

2. Mexican Hospitality Puts Everyone Else to Shame

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Mi casa es su casa.” It literally means, “My house is your house,” and when you travel to Mexico, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Pair friendly, casual vibes with warm-hearted locals and you’ve got an amazing home away from home.

Here’s the lowdown:
Whether you book an all-inclusive Mexico vacation, splurge on a spa treatment, or dine out at local restaurants, you’ll be amazed at how affordable luxury is. But don’t be stingy when it’s time to tip. You may have heard from travel advice sites that in Mexico gratuities are included in the final check, but that’s quite rare. Locals usually leave 15 to 20 percent for each meal or service, and you should, too. It’s good karma.

3. There Ain’t No Party Like a Mexico Party

From the outside, you might see Mexican holidays as a celebratory excuse to eat tacos and drink a salt-rimmed marg and you aren’t wrong. But you could to that any given Tuesday. In Mexico, major holidays are filled with food, drink, and fun, but they are also steeped in tradition and history.

Here’s the lowdown:
Make sure these festivals and the cities where they’re celebrated are on your calendar:

  • Independence Day—observed on September 16 with fireworks, dancing, and food all over the country, especially in state capitals.
  • Day of the DeadDía de los Muertos begins the last day of October and runs till November 2, celebrating and honouring those who have died before us. Mexico City and Oaxaca throw famous festivals.
  • Christmas Day—Steeped in religious traditions, the Christmas season is so big that it starts on December 12 and doesn’t slow down till February. Celebrate Los Posadas—commemorating the holy family’s journey to the Bethlehem inn—with food and parades in cities and towns all over the country.

4. You Won’t Believe These Beaches!

Mexican beaches

Top: Cancún; Bottom Left: Cabo San Lucas; Middle Right: Puerto Vallarta; Bottom Right: Playa del Carmen

Mexican beach towns are stunningly beautiful and affordable. Oh, and did we mention there are beach destinations all over the country? Just take a look at a map! The top Mexico resorts are located along the country’s 9,330 km of coastline. Popular beachfront cities include Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and cities in Baja, like Cabo San Lucas.

Here’s the lowdown:
Sure, some of these cities are known for their spring break party scenes. Admit it, you’ve played beer pong in Cancún. And we won’t tell a soul about your skinning dipping in Puerto Vallarta. These fun beach towns have a grownup side, too, though! After a few rounds with José Cuervo, you may not have noticed the awesome open-air markets and culturally captivating downtowns, but they’re there! Take your beach holiday to the next level with local attractions and all-inclusive Mexico amenities, because #adulting.

5. Art is Everywhere

Speaking of adding a bit of culture to your beach getaway itinerary, check out the many art museums, murals, and ancient artifacts in cities across the country. Mexico City is home to numerous art museums, including the Museo de Arte Popular, a colourful destination of multi-ethnic folk art. Prefer the old over the new? Puebla’s Museo Aparo showcases pre-Hispanic art from the Olmec and Aztec civilizations.

Here’s the lowdown:
This may not be an insider tip, but if you want to see art literally down below Mexico’s street level, take a break from chasing waves—for a little while—and dive at Cancún Underwater Museum, home to fully submerged sculptures by contemporary artists.

6. The Landscape Is Epic

Outdoor enthusiasts know that Mexico’s terrain goes from coastal to volcanic, sometimes with little distance in between. As many Mexico adrenaline junkies will tell you, you could look out at the beautiful scenery from a patio bar while sipping a cold Mexican rosé, OR you could grab your hiking gear and get out there! We say, why not both?

Here’s the lowdown:
Mexico is freaking gorgeous, but we’ve managed to narrow down some favourite destinations for outdoor adventurers. Check these out:

  • Beginner hiking is at its best in Cumbres de Ajusco near Mexico City and Nevado de Toluca in Toluca. Both of these trails will get you out of your comfort zone, while staying close to the creature comforts of a major city.
  • Paso de Cortes is a trail lined with waterfalls. This oasis is located between volcanos Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl, just south of Tijuana.
  • If all these scenic trails are making you yawn, hold on. Want to hike one of North America’s tallest peaks? Pico de Orizaba is third on the list and it’s a volcano located 200 km east of Mexico City. We dare you.

7. You Need to Weigh in on the Battle Between Tequila and Mezcal

Maybe we’ve embellished the situation a bit, but you still want to join this conversation, because there are amazing drinks on the line. Technically, tequila is a mezcal—an agave liquor—but there are key differences. Tequila is made from only blue agave, and it’s produced in particular regions: Jalisco, Michoacan, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Additionally, non-tequila mezcal is usually smoky and deep in flavour, because it goes through a baking process—not too unlike Granny’s famous oatmeal cookies, but obviously with different results.

Here’s the lowdown:
You know and we know that there are several ways to enjoy tequila and mezcal. Line up some shots or sip traditional cocktails, like margaritas and palomas, or ask the bartender to surprise you.

8. You Can Explore Ancient Civilizations

ancient ruins across Mexico

Top Left: Chichen Itza Flickr via Celso FLORES; Top Right: Tulum; Bottom: Uxmal

Mexico’s history spans millennia, and many of the country’s indigenous civilizations can still be explored today. While you’re over in the Yucatan on a pozole-tasting tour, spend some time wandering around Mexico’s most popular ancient dig—Chichen Itza in the Yucatan—a Mayan settlement dating back to before ADE 800. South of Playa del Carmen, look out over the Caribbean from Tulum, a Mayan settlement that was in its heyday around 1200 ADE. No big deal.

Here’s the lowdown:
Also in the Yucatan, stuff gets weird at Uxmal, an archeological site with very unique structures, including the Pyramid of the Magician and the Nunnery Quadrangle. Yeah, every town square has those.

9. You Don’t Have to Leave the Continent!

Just skip over the Fifty Nifty states while they work on themselves, and you’ll arrive in the enchanting land of Mexico. But seriously, the rich cultures, amazing food, and awesome sights aren’t far from home sweet Canada. Depending on where you go in Mexico, you might not even have to cross time zones—perfect for video chatting with your family back home and making them envious of stellar sunsets and superb sopa de lima while they sit down to dinner.

Here’s the lowdown:
You do need a valid passport to enter the country, but Canadian tourists do NOT need to arrange for a visa prior to their visit. Yay!

Did we have you at “fish tacos”? OK, start packing!