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About country Gallery Where to stay

Mexico is a land of adventure, a country where the rich legacy of old civilizations, wondrously diverse nature, buzzing colourful cities full of colonial heritage, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean merge into one exotic mix. Add to that spicy chilli-peppered food, tequila, world-famous Mexican festivals and dances – and here is a place that you can't die without seeing at least once.

Mexico city is the nation's economic and power centre. One of the biggest cities in the world, it contains everything from ruins of the original settlement to European colours added by Spanish conquistadors and modern districts brimming with plentiful shop windows. There are also sites like the vast Zocalo Square, Latin America's biggest Metropolitan Cathedral, and the National Palace. Mexico City is so big and expansive that you can't see its limits even from a plane.

But the country's abundant natural wonders and artefacts left by Aztec and other old civilizations make it worthwhile venturing outside the capital city. The ancient city of Teotihuacan; the Monte Alban archaeological site near Oaxaca; Palenque, a Maya city in the middle of a jungle; the ruins of Kabah and Uxmal; and the towering symbol of Mexico, Chichen Itza. Visiting one or more of these magnificent cities of extinct civilizations is an absolute must.

There are pyramids in each one of them, some more than a match for those in Egypt. Ancient ornaments, the Maya calendar, places for sacrificing men and animals, temples, ballgame courts, technological ingenuity – all that and more was characteristic of the Maya, Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec civilizations. Some of the sites are yet to be fully researched by scientists to reveal the secrets of those mysterious cultures.

Mexico is also full of colourful towns and villages reminiscent of the colonial period. Some of them are situated at the edge of jungles, others nestle at the foot of mountains or are washed by ocean breeze. The city of Oaxaca, close to above-mentioned Monte Alban, is an impressive site in its own right, Mexico's cultural and gastronomic capital of charming colonial houses and tree-lined streets.

Equally fascinating is Taxco, the former town of silver mining. Today it is a cosy place at the foot of mountains with a well-preserved historic old town and a multitude of silver shops. The Yucatan State capital Merida enthrals visitors with its white houses and cosmopolitan spirit. Cancun is the best-known of Mexico's resorts where holidaymakers will find everything from tourist entertainment to authentic local life.

Mexico boasts 10,000 kilometres of coasts with no shortage of idyllic blue lagoons, fantastic coral reefs, tall waves for surfing enthusiasts, or paradisal beaches for those seeking either peace and quiet or wild parties.

Inland Mexico is equally impressive, the tropical country has everything from steppes and valleys to steep mountains and primeval forests still inhabited by indigenous tribes, from dry moors to Caribbean coasts.

Mexican food is also high on the list of local attractions. In most places it is pretty spicy, but as diverse and natural as Mexico itself.

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