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Explore Continental Mexico's history and cuisine

  • Continental Mexico, Mexico
    © Alexis Juelle
  • Continental Mexico, Mexico
    © EASYVOYAGE
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Mexico

Pre-Columbian land, conquered five centuries ago by the Spaniards, Mexico is a fascinating and inexhaustible destination for tourism. Visitors travel from sumptuous archaeological remains of civilisations now extinct to the stunning Hispanic architecture. Let's ignore the distances! The unquestionable diversity in Mexican scenery takes us then from desert sierra to tropical forest, from the central plains' volcanic barrier or even from the Atlantic Ocean beaches to the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Security: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Ciudad Juarez. There is a high level of drug-related violence and criminal activity in the area.

Severe weather associated with tropical cyclones has affected large parts of the country, in particular the south-west Pacific coast around Acapulco. The airport in Acapulco and the road from Mexico City to Acapulco are now open, but further heavy rains have led to more flooding in recent days. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities. For full advice see the FCO website.

Continental Mexico: the key figures

Surface area : 1967183.0 km2

Population : 107449525 inhabitants

  • The Mexicans' warm welcome.
  • The incredible diversity of landscapes.
  • A rich historic and cultural heritage.
  • The Indian culture on the high plateaus of the north and the forests of Chiapas.
  • The country still has a very lively popular culture inland, which does not have much to do with what is presented in hotels: mariachis, marimbas (music bands), charreria (Mexican rodeo), bull races.
  • Some safety problems in some of the cities such as Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Distances: it is impossible to plan the exploration of the whole country in one trip only.
  • Fraud with taxi drivers in the cities, do ask for the price of the fare before setting off and make sure the banderazo (counter) is on.
  • Fake antiques: just buy reproductions sold as such, that will just avoid trouble!

Continental Mexico: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • Teotiuacan, Mexican landscapes, Landscapes, Continental Mexico
    Mexican landscapes
  • Montebello Lagoon, Montebello lagoon, Landscapes, Continental Mexico
    Montebello lagoon
  • The mountains of Chiapas, The Chiapas mountains, Landscapes, Continental Mexico
    The Chiapas mountains
  • Natural springs, The natural springs, Landscapes, Continental Mexico
    The natural springs
  • Natural springs, The natural springs, Landscapes, Continental Mexico

The fauna and flora

  • Wildlife, The fauna and flora, Continental Mexico
    Wildlife
  • Plant life, Flora, The fauna and flora, Continental Mexico
    Flora
  • Monarch butterflies, The monarca butterflies, The fauna and flora, Continental Mexico
    The monarca butterflies
  • The whales., Whales, The fauna and flora, Continental Mexico
    Whales
  • The whales., Whales, The fauna and flora, Continental Mexico

Arts and culture

  • A typical patio, The historic legacy, Arts and culture, Continental Mexico
    The historic legacy
  • Folk Art, Popular art, Arts and culture, Continental Mexico
    Popular art
  • Folk Art, Popular art, Arts and culture, Continental Mexico

Sites

  • Tula, Sites, Mexico City, Continental Mexico
    Tula
  • Monte Alban and Mitla, Sites, Oaxaca, Continental Mexico
    Monte Alban and Mitla
  • The monasteries, Monasteries, Sites, Continental Mexico
    Monasteries
  • The monasteries, Monasteries, Sites, Continental Mexico

Activities and leisure

  • A Mexican woman., Visits to sites, ferias, sports activities, Activities and leisure, Continental Mexico
    Visits to sites, ferias, sports activities
  • A Mexican woman., Visits to sites, ferias, sports activities, Activities and leisure, Continental Mexico

Enogastronomy

  • A Mexican woman., Visits to sites, ferias, sports activities, Activities and leisure, Continental Mexico

Continental Mexico: what to buy?

If you like jewellery, you need to know that Mexican silver is of excellent value, and that local silversmiths are very good. Make sure there are three hallmarks: the one of the workshop, the one of the country (a Mexican eagle) and a number corresponding to the alloy (925 = 92.5% pure) Mexico is paradise for handicraft: pottery, glassware, wickerwork, (hammocks, ask for a "matrimonial" for more comfort), leather ware, wooden toys and masks, colonial style ornaments, Indian cloths. Shops are open every day from 9:00 AM (10:00 AM for some) to 8:00 PM, with a break from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Handicraft and souvenir markets are open all day from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Continental Mexico: what to eat?

The basis of the food is tortilla (a corn flour pancake). It is prepared to your taste with meats, vegetables, mild and hot sauces, cheese... And it takes on different names depending on its presentation and the way it was cooked: burritos - fresh tortilla, flat on the plate with the garnish on top of it ; tacos, rolled with their stuffing and some chips ; quesadillas, folded in two, with ham and melted cheese. Gorditas are doubled, enchiladas are dipped in sauce, baked or fried then covered in sauce and fresh cream before being served. You'll find also chilaquiles, tlacoyos, tostadas or flautas. Each region has its own gastronomy with mild flavours often blended with spicy notes. Chicken is prepared everywhere, but becomes a delicacy when served with mole poblano (a sauce made with cocoa and many spices). The meat is particularly tasty, especially in cattle farming areas, north-east. Beer is the most popular drink, and more than a dozen different brands are available, lagers, brown or amber ales, always light in taste. Tequila, the national alcoholic drink, is drank either neat or as a "marguarita" with lemon and crushed ice.

Continental Mexico: what are the cultural particularities?

The Mexicans are very respectful, punctuating the conversation with constant polite remarks. Respecting these habits will help your relations with all Mexicans, whether it is a waitress, a souvenir shop assistant or a member of the government. Once on friendly terms, affection marks are quite frequent: tap on the back, hand shake. If the person you are due to meet is late, don't take offence: it is a case of "Mexican quarter-hour"...

Continental Mexico: travel tips

Unless you go for a holiday of at least three weeks, it is impossible to visit all of Mexico. It is better to concentrate on the colonial towns of central Mexico, Oaxaca state and Chiapas, even if it means coming back later (Zacatecas, Durango et la Barranca del Cobre), to visit the north. Travel in the spring or in the autumn, they are the best seasons to visit the Centre, without being too much affected by the heat.
Don't hesitate to pay a little more for these periods of the year. Likewise, be wary of very low price offers. They are not usually good quality offers!

Continental Mexico: Latest hotel reviews
  • 7.55 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Downtown
    Mexico - Mexico

    One of four Grupo Habita properties in Mexico City, the Downtown ...

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