Top 8 Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

For all of those living in Playa del carmen or Cancun, Mexico seems to be a perfectly normal and safe place to live. But after news of drug related violence in the country in the recent years, a common question posted by travelers is: ‘Is Mexico a safe country to go to?’ The answer is yes, if you know where to go and do your research well. So before you dismiss a vacation to Mexico this year, take into account our list of the 8 top safest places to visit In Mexico (there are quite a few other contenders as well!), in terms of safety, charm and attractions. Also, none of these 8 Mexican getaways feature on the US State Department’s warning list.

Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Loaded with entertainment, plentiful cultural offerings, a bubbling street life, history and an year-round spring-like climate, there is no doubt that Mexico City is one of the most fascinating cities in the world! Twenty years ago, the city was regarded unsafe, but successive local surveillance, like a widespread presence of police and security cameras, has made it safe for residents and visitors. With an increasing population of over 8 million, Mexico City is considered to be the cultural, political as well as the financial capital of Mexico. The tourist attractions of this city are quite different than those offered by the country’s beach destinations. This ancient city has Aztec canals (Check about Xochimilco Cancun Park), pyramids, revived colonial buildings, elegant eateries and a whole lot more. The downtown area, known as Zocalo, is the best place to take in the historic sites and it gives you an idea of the essence of the city. Palacio Nacional (The Presidential Palace) lies on the east side of the Zocalo whereas the Catedral Metropolitana is located on the north. Government offices are located south whereas the west side of Zocalo is lined with jewelry shops and extravagant hotels. The streets are full of vendors selling all sorts of knick-knacks. A conventional Mexican night begins at 10pm, and keeping up with this tradition, Mexico City parties until the wee hours of the morning.

Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Though it encountered severe political disturbances in 2006, the city of Oaxaca has recovered completely and today is regarded as a safe area for travel. Oaxaca has the vivacious vibe of a small Mexican town coupled with a rich cultural history. Visitors can expect to be pleasantly surprised with the spontaneous fiestas on the streets. Oaxaca also offers stunning Pacific beaches with world-famous surfing opportunities, an acclaimed art scene, beautifully designed laurels and an interesting shopping scene. For some exceptional finds, head to the street markets of Oaxaca that sell everything from unique crafts and artwork to mouthwatering Oaxaca chocolate and mole sauces! The city also boasts of an impressive range of cuisine and accommodations, from classic and economical to contemporary and stylish.

Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

One of the safest and cleanest cities in Mexico, the colonial city of Merida is located four hours inland from Cancun. With its many hotels and restaurants, hidden courtyards, tropical gardens, cultural attractions and lively shopping scene, Merida is not just an underestimated additive to a beach vacation, but is a destination in its own right. The city looks and feels the best on weekends, when the historical center – a setting of 17th-century cathedrals made from Mayan bricks – shuts out all vehicles and transforms into this lively place with open-air stages, taco stands and much life. Merida is encircled by world-famous Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, which is 74 miles to its east, Uxmal, which is 50 miles southeast and Dzibilchaltun, which is just nine miles away.

Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Near the southern tip of Baja California, the tiny Mexican town of Todos Santos is a haven for surfing, fresh seafood and ravishing scenery along the Pacific Ocean. There are a good deal of places here to have a drink in a laid-back sort of a way, so enjoy your beer against the gorgeous setting of golden sand beaches and the serene, turquoise waters. A couple of hours from Cabo, this easygoing, little beach town also has a thriving art scene. With splendid beaches and tiny taco stands, Todos Santos is safely secluded from any sort of crime or violence negating the question, “Is Mexico safe?”. For your next Baja trip, if you wish to escape the crowds, live off the grid, have the most genuine experience, but still be on the beach, Todos Santos would be worth considering.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Located in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is a stunner, without any traces of drug violence. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, the magical town of San Miguel de Allende does not have gorgeous beaches like the other popular Mexican resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, or Los Cabos, but has that something to make tourists fall head over heels in love with it! So much so, that most visitors decide to revisit the place while many others plant to settle here permanently! No wonder then that expats contribute to 20 percent of the town’s population.

This irresistible city, famous for its rose-tinted turrets, is full of pretty guesthouses, handicraft shops, 17th-century churches and botanic gardens. San Miguel de Allende’s snug lifestyle, cobblestoned appeal, splendid restaurants, perfect weather, intriguing architecture and a healthy art scene make it extremely easy for newcomers to settle in also contribute to making vacationers have a fantastic time.

Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

A 2-hour drive from Mexico City is Puebla, a colonial wonder city, long known as one of the safest cities of the country. Loaded with cathedrals, monasteries, forts, battlefields and a magnificent museum displaying ancient artifacts, Puebla is famous for its culinary contributions and its ‘talavera’ pottery. History- lovers will be delighted to visit the city’s architectural marvels. The publicly accessible bell tower of Puebla Cathedral, at 226 feet, is the tallest bell tower in Mexico and is filled with historic frescoes and offers an extensive view of the city. Other colonial churches to visit in Pueblo’s center include the Temple of San Francisco and the Temple of Santo Domingo. Must-see museums include the Museo Amparo and the Museo Poblano de Arte Virreinal. (for more museums in Mexico, click here)

Playa del Carmen

Undeniably the most chic and popular spot on all of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is most famous for its beaches, shopping and nightlife. Quinta Avenida or the 5th Avenue is this touristy town’s main street and is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, take-away tacos and vendors selling souvenirs and knick-knacks. Just a short walk from the main beach, this area bounces back to life after sunset. You can dance the night away in one of Playa’s nightclubs, have a quiet drink in one of the lounges, bargain with the vendors or just stroll around doing some people watching. The reefs of this town are excellent, and offer good diving and snorkeling opportunities. The town is conveniently located and allows easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Coba and other praiseworthy destinations.

Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

A small and safe colonial city with a thriving cultural scene, Guanajuato is brimming with character. 30 minutes from León’s Bajio Airport, Guanajuata is a ravishing hill town featuring magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, brightly colored homes on steep hillsides and tree-lined plazas. This city is best known for its Festival Cervantino – a 3-week long international arts festival held every October, featuring world-class opera, music, dance, theatre, orchestras, mariachis, street performance, visual art and films. Another must-see in Guanjuato is the Museo de las Mumias, a museum at the city cemetery, which exhibits approximately 100 mummies.

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An Interesting Fact About Coba

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Coba is a popular destination in Riviera Maya region. It is one of the architectural highlights dotting this ancient and glorious country. I recently stumbled upon an article: Coba, ruled by women – highest pyramid of Yucatan at the Riviera Maya.

Coba is just 40 km from Tulum and is the tallest Mayan pyramid (42 meters) in Yucatan. Its location is also very magnificent as it is surrounded by dense tropical forests. It makes worthwhile to visit it if you are in the region especially considering the fact that you can even climb on it (if yuo’re fit enough!)

There is an interesting fact about Coba which I am sure would please many femenists – Coba was ruled by women.

Read the complete article here

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/redeo/4791073058/

Tulum Real Estate, 12 Indisputable Reasons to Visit Tulum, Mexico

Mexico’s rich history and culture along with its pristine beaches and incredible natural surroundings make it the ideal destination for the perfect family vacation. Mexico has some of the world’s best beaches, including Tulum – voted one of the “Top 10 Best Beaches by BeachesWorld.com

Positioned on the shores of the Caribbean, about a 90-minute drive south of Cancun, Tulum offers an exquisite blend of natural beauty, art and history.

Tulum is most renowned for its Mayan ruins but it also has pearly white beaches, turquoise water, crystal-clear cenotes, adventure activities and plenty of jungle to explore.

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The visually spectacular mix of limestone Mayan temples and the white sand Caribbean beaches make Tulum one of the most interesting destinations on the Mayan Riviera.

With so much to see and do in Tulum, there’s no scope for boredom. We’ve put together 12 great reasons to explore this exotic town:

1. Mayan Ruins – The Tulum Mayan ruins are extraordinary for their location, perched on the top of cliffs directly overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The ruins are spread over a small area approximately 1,600 feet in length along the cliff edge.

These ruins provide a glimpse into everyday life during the late post-classic period in Mexico. Tulum” means “wall” in Maya and a wall still surrounds three sides of the ancient city. The wall and the Caribbean Sea on the fourth side provided protection from enemies

More than 60 buildings remain in Tulum, including several temples. The Temple of the Frescoes is extensively decorated by statues, carvings, paintings and colorful frescoes depicting Mayan motifs. The Temple of the Diving God is the largest structure at Tulum. Other important temples include the Temple of the Initial Series, the Temple of the God of the Wind.  The Castillo, also called ‘The Lighthouse’, is the tallest building in the city and overlooks the sea.

Coba Ruins Tulum

Coba Ruins Tulum

Roughly 26 miles from Tulum, is Coba, an archaeological zone covered by jungles. Coba was an important city of about 60,000 people and exhibits architectural designs from the Classic period. Its attraction to tourists lies in its jungle location surrounded by five lakes. Coba’s closeness to water gave the city its name, “water stirred by wind.” The 42-metre high Nohoch Mul Pyramid in Coba is the tallest on the Yucatán peninsula with 120 steps to its peak. The view from atop this pyramid is breathtaking.

2. Beaches – Probably the most popular reason for visiting Tulum is the beaches. The creamy coral sand and clear turquoise waters spell nothing short of paradise. The beach stretches about six miles, starting at the Tulum ruins and ending at Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Zazil Kin and La Vita e Bella are the two beaches nearest to the ruins. The sand on these beaches is the finest you will ever see. Also, the beaches are not too crowded. They get more and more secluded as you move southwards, contrary to the crowded neighbors of Tulum in the north.

3. Location – Tulum’s proximity to multiple tourist centers is one of the major reasons for Tulum being such a favorite holiday destination. Tulum is situated due south of the Riviera Maya, the beach resort region of the Yucatan coast. Cancun is the most distant resort city from Tulum at 80 miles. Playa del Carmen is only 30 miles north, and Akumal a mere 10 miles away. The island of Cozumel, described by Scuba Diving magazine as “one of the most accessible and affordable dive destinations in North America“, is roughly 15 miles to the northeast.

4. Cenotes – Cenotes make delightful swimming holes and represent the culmination of several rivers flowing through underwater caves. Some of the best cenotes of the region are located just south of Tulum, along the road to the Mayan ruins of Coba. They vary from simple pond-like structures to more elaborate caves with water running through, and most of these are open to the public (often for a small fee) for swimming, snorkelling and diving etc.

Cenotes Akumal

The Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote and Cenote Escondido deserve special mention. Cenotes and their surrounding jungle areas are also great places to see wildlife, especially bats and birds.

5. Diving & Snorkeling – For the water babies, Tulum has lots to offer. Diving fanatics will find plenty of guides ready to take them on excursions to the coral reef (the second-largest barrier reef in the world) or deep into the cenotes: The Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote and Cenote Escondido offer both snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities

There’s the Yal-Kú Lagoon near Akumal, which is about a half-hour drive north of Tulum; the warm, clear waters are home to innumerous fish, both, big and small, with snorkeling opportunities for all skill levels.

The crystal-clear waters of the sea attract snorkelers and sea kayakers, and the easygoing atmosphere on the beach is a refreshing break from the crowded towns in the north. Few dive shops in the heart of Tulum provide certification classes and fun dives in the coral reefs just off the coastline.

6. Wildlife – Tulum and its surroundings offer enough unique wildlife-viewing opportunities to keep children captivated. With species from lizards, frogs and crabs to iguanas, crocodiles and numerous types of birds, your cameras just wont stop clicking!

7. Delphinus Ecopark – The Delphinus Xel-Ha Ecopark is located inside an open-sea aquarium known as Xel-Ha. The Ecopark is just 8 miles from the Tulum ruins and features a program in which kids and adults can pet, hug and swim with the dolphins in a safe environment under the supervision and instruction of a qualified trainer. In the “Foot Push” activity at Delphinus, dolphins push your feet as you stand, making you feel as if you are gliding or walking on water.

8. Sian Kaan Biosphere Preserve – A Unesco World Heritage Site, Sian Kaan Biosphere Preserve is just a 15 minute drive from Tulum.

This 1.3 million-acre preserve is home to more than 100 mammal species and more than 300 species of birds as well as 23 different archaeological sites. Local fisherman, will make you tour the waterways, the mangrove-surrounded lagoons and the offshore coral reef systems on local fishing boats and you can view dolphins, sea-turtles, starfish, nurse sharks, spiny lobsters, crocodiles, pelicans, cormorants and the peculiar pink spoonbills. The reserve is also a significant nesting ground for two different species of sea turtles, which are often seen on the powdered sugar beaches.

9. Perfect Weather – Over the last few years, Tulum has been observing fantastic weather. The sun is shining, humidity is lower, the evenings are cooler and the days are just perfect for staying on the beach, outdoor activities and exploring this enchanting town.

10. Accommodations for every budget – The long stretch of pristine coastline south of the Tulum ruins now has an array of both, luxurious accommodations as well as the economically priced ones. You can find a wide variety of accommodations in Tulums like resorts, boutique hotels, bungalows, villas, beach cabanas etc. There’s something to suit every kind of budget.

11. Food – When it comes to food, there is no place on the planet where you can find such diversity. And the food is great! Every single restaurant is different. The menus are inspired by local ingredients and ancient practices. It is sometimes referred to as a mini-New York, of course with better prices! This explains why all the big food magazines are checking this town out.

12. People – Tulum is very well maintained and the people here are very warm and friendly. No matter what you do, where you go, or who you meet, people are helpful, nice, gracious and just want you to have a great time.

With the gorgeous scenery, intriguing history, stunning beaches and exciting activities, Tulum is the perfect place to relax, unwind and disconnect from your daily routine.