It’s not just the tamales that are hot in Mexico. Mayan cultural experiences, colonial city discoveries and eco-adventures will satisfy your holiday cravings.

Dive Right In You never know who, or what, you’ll meet in the Sea of Cortez. Perhaps a blue whale (the largest animal in existence) sperm, humpback, killer and gray whales that all show off their acrobatic skills. Or the “flying” mobulas, part of the ray family, that burst out of the water and fly with abandon. And then there is the playful but critically endangered Vaquita porpoise – found only in the Sea of Cortez. This 4,000-kilometre aquatic playground is not just a diving and sportsfishing paradise, the 900 islands dotted along the coastlines are favourite nesting sites for thousands of seabirds. Grab your binoculars for sightings of pelicans, masked boobies, vultures and snowy egrets. Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the “Galapagos of North America” – high praise for one of Mexico’s natural treasures.

Jacques CousteauJon DeJong
Mexico City Visually and culturally stimulating Mexico City enables you to create your own holiday canvas. Explore the city’s museums – there are more here than anywhere else in the world. Admire the works of artists from world famous Mexican muralists at the Colegio de San Ildefonso Museum to contemporary artists at the Museo del Arte Moderno. Visit the House of the First Print Shop in the Americas dating back to 1539 when the first printing press came to the New World. Known as the “City of Palaces” Mexico City has World Heritage Sites – the Historic Centre and the Xochimilco Ecological Park. This “Venice of Mexico” park is a romantic and tranquil retreat with its floating gardens and canals. Colonial architecture and pre-Hispanic ruins like the Templo Mayor co-exist with modern and cosmopolitan areas such as Soho-hip-style La Condesa.

Xochimilco Ecological ParkShutterstock
Into The Deep Your miner’s hat headlamp guides you into the cenote, one of the mysterious underwater caves that dot the Riviera Maya. No mining for gold here, you’re searching for the portal into the Mayan underworld. Discover Mayan culture while experiencing a range of adventure activities along this region just south of Cancun. Get your thrills at Xel Ha, Xplor and Xcaret. Dive and explore underwater caves; kayak through the many meandering lagoons and mangrove forests; soar like a bird on a zip line; and jump in the water with the sea’s gentle giants, the manatee. Adventure and culture are a package deal when it comes to the Riviera Maya.

Pretty In Pink Gold and silver were mined here, but pink stone rules in the city of Zacatecas, a World Heritage city with centuries-old colonial and Baroque architecture and narrow streets lined with buildings resplendent in pink stone face. Zacatecas has a long and treasured history as a mining camp. Take a tour of the 16th-century El Eden mine. Stroll along the impeccably clean streets and visit the Church of Santo Domingo, Palace of Justice and the Calderón Theater. Discover legend-filled alleys off the city centre like the Callejón del Indio Triste – a story of the obsessive love of a sad Indian. You might not find gold or silver but your journey to Zacatecas will certainly have a rosy hue.

Beyond Grand Size does matter. Especially when you are talking about Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre). Slashing across northwest Mexico between Chihuahua and Los Mochis in the state of Sinaloa, Copper Canyon is deeper and about seven times larger than the most popular canyon on earth, the Grand Canyon. Take the Chihuahua al Pacifico (El Chepe) train on an exhilarating 625-kilometre journey through the Sierra Madre Mountains rolling by 39 bridges and 86 tunnels. Meet the locals at numerous indigenous communities that maintain centuries-old traditions. Hike, horseback, raft and even rappel down the copper green lined canyon walls. Truly appreciate this natural wonder without the crowds.

Copper CanyonSjors Provoost