I visited Mexico many times and it keeps me coming back. Every time i find new amazing cities to explore. So many cities in Mexico but also very surprising cities! Lots of culture and old cities, modern cities and not like the cities portrayed as dangerous on the news in Europe. Of course you need to take care of your stuff and follow your feelings and common sense but that’s the same in Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, etc. Let me tell you about my 6 favorites!
Mexico City Lots of culture in this city!
The birthplace of Frida Kahlo, beautiful parks, colonial buildings, architecture. In this city go and visit the house of Frida Kahlo. Further I advise you to go take a boat ride at Xochimilco. Nice boat ride to see the gardens in the area and enjoy some live mariachi music on passing boats. If you are lucky they are mooring on to your boat. In the area La Condesa and Polenco you find great restaurants. For shopping you also need to be in that area. You got some great shopping malls with the best shops and great variety.
Also visit Chapultepec park. This is a beautiful park, you can walk or bike around the park. At the entrance of the park they even have pumps for you bike tires! I'm a Dutchie and in Holland I have never seen public bike pumps! In the park there is a lake where you can rent a boat, there is a castle you can visit, a market or you can just walk around the park. If you go to the park you can chill out and it’s a day well spent.
While in Mexico City you cannot miss visiting a few museums. At least you need to go to the national museum of anthropological museum. Here they show the original Aztec calendar. Further the modern museum of billionaire Carlos Slim, the Soumaya museum. A must while in Mexico City is Teotihuacán, a 45 minutes drive from Mexico City. This is an old city with huge pyramids the Aztecs build 1500 years ago. At that time it was one of the biggest cities of the world! It’s a very impressive site and you are allowed to climb the two biggest pyramids, Moon and Sun. So wear comfortable and sporty shoes, because it's quite a workout.
This is a very old city build on a mountain. Also, called 'silver city' because there are very big silver mines here. While visiting check out the silver mine, silver market, the cathedral of Prisca Parish at the Zocalo and try the great food around the city. Walk through the narrow streets which are very picturesque. Lots of photo moments there. Also, you will see a lot of VW Beetles here driving as taxis. If you are tired from walking the steep streets take one of those taxi's, it's a memorable experience.
Around a 45 minute drive (with a collectivo) you find the 'Grutas de Cacahuamilpa'. These caves are huge and really beautiful so worth the drive. You cannot enter the cave alone but every hour there is a guided tour. The information on the tour I thought was so, so, but the scenery is beautiful. Bring your mosquito repellent not for inside the cave but for the outside. I was eaten alive there!
San Miguel de Allende
A picturesque town! Beautiful! Walk around the small narrow streets and feel the past colonial times while admiring the colonial architecture. Go to the Zocalo and take a seat on the one of the many benches and enjoy the great Mexican atmosphere of this town.
Visit Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel and don’t forget to go to the art galleries in Fabrica La Aurora. You will find a wide collection of art galleries and a few restaurants in an old factory. If you enjoy art it’s a must visit, in my opinion it’s a bit overpriced but it's really nice to walk around and have a look there.
Wonder through the streets of the Mercado de Artesanías, you can find nice souvenirs there and nice ornaments for your home. It’s a cute narrow street and at the end you will be close to a covered market which is worth a visit. There are many nice restaurants where you can enjoy some authentic Mexican food.
The historic center is filled with well preserved buildings from the 17th and 18th century. The historic city center and the nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco have been declared World Heritage Sites.
I was very surprised while visiting Guanajuato. It's a city on the world heritage list. The city was founded because of the surrounding silver mines. It’s a city with a lot of tunnels, which you can see best while driving around the city. After th drive, just walk through the city which I find is the best way to explore. Visit the covered market, where you can see how they sell some real Mexican food traditions.
Visit the beautiful Teatro Juárez in the city center. The architecture is amazing, the outside looks roman including the pillars and statues on top. The inside of the theater is oriental inspired. There is also a museum which is interesting because of all the mummies they collected. The name of the museum is 'El Museo De Las Momias' , which, by the way, Guanajuato is well known for.
A more romantic place in the city is 'El callegon del beso', translated: alley of the kiss. This is probably the most narrow street of Guanajuato. The story of the street is a bit tragic like Romeo and Juliet The story is based upon true events and is about two young lovers from different backgrounds. Doña Carmen (the girl) came from a wealthy family whose father had a successful job within the silver mines of Guanajuato, while Don Luis (the boy) came from a poor miner’s family. The young lovers had a first encounter when Carmen came to visit her father at his place of work and she, unexpectedly, bumped into the young miner called Luis. From this brief moment on they were in love. The back part of the Carmens house faced onto the narrow alley, which later would be named after their tale, and her room was at the top of the family house. The smart young miner managed to rent a small room that was directly opposite to her window and balcony. In this way the couple could secretly meet late at night and kiss over the narrow alley. And that’s how the alley got the nickname 'El callejon del beso'.
The historical monumental zone of Queretaro is alto on the world heritage list. We went to Queretaro by car and the first thing that catches the eye is the aqueduct. If you wouldn’t know better you would think to be in France instead of Mexico! There is a very romantic anecdote of a rich man who fell in love with a non. She was living outside of Queretaro and although she did not want to leave the convent for him, he wanted her to have clean water so he built her the aqueduct for her. Walk around the city, there is a special area where only walking is allowed.
There are a few really nice squares, like 'Plaza de la Constitución' and 'Plaza de Armas.' There are many jardines (gardens) which are nice for getting an ice-cream and enjoying a seat on one of the many benches. Visit 'Teatro de la República' and 'Santa Rosa del Viterbo’s' Temple, also the church, 'Basílica del Soriano', 'San Felipe' and 'Neri's Temple' are worth a visit, There are lots of very nice restaurants in the center of town.
San Luis Potosi
This city is about a four hour drive from Mexico City. It’s the 4th biggest city of Mexico. It has lots of colonial buildings in the center of town and nice squares. You can take an old fashion tourist bus which shows you the city in a bit less than an hour. There is a museum specialized in masks called 'museo nacional de la mascara'
Go to park Tangamanga, it’s oneof the biggest urban parks in Mexico. It is full of life and people and it is also possible to sport there or just chill. Eat some 'gorditas', a typical Mexican dish which is not found in the other parts of Mexico. San Luis Potosi is a good home base to do some outdoor activities in the mountains. Like hiking, climbing, downhill biking, rafting etc. lots of choice.