The Mexican Mariachi is originally from Guadalajara. (Photo: via Sectur Guadalajara).
Although Mexico’s beaches are a great attraction for tourists from all over the world, this country also has cities to enjoy extraordinary cultural, gastronomic, and fun experiences. These are some of best places beyond the beach to spend the holidays.
Guadalajara is one of the most beautiful and vital cities in Latin America, and its hotel and gastronomic services place it at the level of the best capitals in the world. In this fun city, the birthplace of iconic symbols of Mexico such as tequila and mariachi music, travelers don’t have time for boredom. In the City Center, visitors can enjoy streets and buildings more than 500 years old and designed in Baroque, Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Contemporary styles.
The most important places to visit are the Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Degollado Theater, the Museum of the Arts, and the Cabañas Cultural Institute, a World Heritage Site, where the impressive mural “The Man in Flames” of the famous Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco is located.
Not far from this area is the Colonia Americana, one of Guadalajara’s oldest and most trendy neighborhoods, where tourists can see many European-style residences built in early 1900 by essential architects and remodeled time later with good designs that alternate classic and contemporary styles.
The Cabañas Cultural Institute is a World Heritage Site of Guadalajara. (Foto de la Secretaría de Turismo de Jalisco).
Although Guadalajara’s gastronomic offer is one of the most diverse in Mexico, its most distinctive dishes are Carne en su jugo (juicy meat), which consists of a mixture of steak with bacon, tomatoes, and ground chilies. Another popular meal is tortas ahogadas, made with a special bread filled with meat dipped in tomato and spicy sauces. These two dishes are added to the birria, a preparation based on sheep meat, goat, or beef, with sauce from a mixture of peppers and cooked underground for five hours.
San Miguel de Allende
This charming and bohemian town, located in Guanajuato, is one of the preferred destinations for visitors from the United States and Canada. The atmosphere of its cobbled streets and the beauty of the Parish of San Miguel Arcángel, built in a neo-Gothic style, welcome tourists who can take exciting tours of historical monuments, art galleries, boutique hotels, and restaurants with world-class service.
The most recommended places to visit are the Allende Garden, the Casa Allende Historical Museum, and, especially, the imposing temple and oratory of San Felipe Neri, one of the most important examples of colonial architecture in the country. In addition, for art lovers, the former La Aurora Textile Factory exhibits collections of books, paintings, and sculptures that visitors enjoy throughout extensive exhibition areas.
The Parish of San Miguel Arcángel was designed in a beautiful spanish neo gothic style.
Another space that tourists should not miss is the Ignacio Ramírez Cultural Center, located in one of the most important historical buildings of San Miguel de Allende, built-in 1754. Visitors can take art workshops and enjoy exhibitions by renowned local painters.
In addition, for those looking for wellness experiences, there are spas in the San Miguel de Allende area that offer treatments and relaxing massages in thermal waters and natural springs. Finally, in the Botanical Garden of San Miguel de Allende, tourists carry out activities to connect with nature in an environment of the rich biodiversity of Mexican cacti.
San Cristobal de las Casas
In this town, founded in 1528 and located in the mountains of Chiapas, near Guatemala, life is quieter and slower. Its enchanting natural environment invites the visitor to walk its countless paths and enjoy the fresh air of the thick forest in which this charming place locates.
One of the most distinctive features of San Cristóbal de las Casas is that it is the meeting point of the most important indigenous groups in Mexico, which allows visitors to learn the culture and tradition that today remains intact.
San Cristóbal de las Casas preserves impressive colonial buildings. (photo via diegograndi / iStock / Getty Images Plus).
The town preserves impressive colonial buildings, such as the former convent of Santo Domingo, one of the best examples of Spanish Baroque and indigenous art fusion. This building was built by the Dominican friars between 1547 and 1551 and featured fascinating ornaments, including angels and sirens, that make it unique among Mexico’s historic buildings. Other places to visit are the Amber Museum and the Casa del Jade, precious elements that the pre-Hispanic communities of Chiapas worked with great skill. In this place, tourists enjoy an essential collection of jade carvings by artists from the Zapotec, Olmec, Aztec and Toltec cultures.
The gastronomic offer of this charming rural destination in Mexico is based on dishes prepared with organic food cooked with traditional recipes. However, there are also restaurants and gourmet hotels that offer international food menus and, especially, the fabulous gourmet coffee of the region, considered one of the best in Mexico.
Mérida, besides being one of the safest and most fascinating destinations in Mexico, is one of the cities that best integrate the heritage of Mayan culture with that of the Spanish Colony. This fabulous city, the capital of the state of Yucatan, is an exotic place surrounded by lush nature and quiet provincial life in which visitors enjoy the beauty of its grand colonial mansions on the emblematic Paseo de Montejo and an extraordinary cuisine offered in both the smallest restaurants and luxury hotels of international brands.
Paseo de Montejo, in Mérida, is full of extraordinary and elegant mansions. (Photo: via JoannElle / iStock / Getty Images Plus).
To enjoy Mérida, it is advisable to start walking from the center of the city, the Plaza de la Independencia, and then visit the Cathedral and the Church of the Third Order. These two colonial churches were built in limestone and antiques from ancient Mayan temples. In addition to touring the entire Paseo Montejo, it is highly recommended that visitors get to know the Canton Palace.
In this spectacular Neoclassical-style building, the Regional Museum exhibits a fantastic collection of pieces of Mayan culture. Another place not to be missed is the Palace of the Spanish conqueror Francisco de Montejo, built in the 16th century, which today is an important museum hosting an essential collection of works of art.
After a day of walking or horse riding along Paseo de Montejo, tourists have countless restaurants to enjoy menus of the famous Yucatecan gastronomy that is the result of the fusion of Hispanic and Mayan cultures, which has made it recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. In the evenings, the weather of Mérida is ideal for walking and stopping at some of the countless cafés and restaurants outdoors to enjoy fresh fruit juices, ice cream, and the myriad desserts made with products endemic to the region.