Surviving 42ºC (107ºF) desert heat, tramping hurricane-battered Pacific beaches and scaling lofty volcanoes, our hard-travelling authors have visited every corner of this vast, magnificent country – from the ancient caves of Baja California to the dense rainforest of the Lacandón Jungle.
To celebrate the publication of the new Rough Guide to Mexico, we’re sharing a few of their Mexico travel tips, including some of their favourite sights and experiences.
1. See dawn from a kayak
Paddling through the glassy, desert-backed waters of Bahía Concepción as the sun rises, surrounded by marine life, is an otherworldly experience.
Windy Playa Punta Arena is one of the best stretches of sand – and popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders. At Playa Santispac, some 5km further on, Ana’s offers cheap fish tacos and potent Bloody Mary as well as kayak rental and snorkelling gear.
Playa Santispac © TravelNerd/Shutterstock
2. Hit the road
Driving Highway 1, which runs 1711km from the US border to the southern tip of Baja California, rates as one of the world’s greatest road journeys.
Expect an enchanting drive featuring starry nights, vast deserts, isolated mountain ranges and empty beaches.
3. Get retro chic
The 1950s meets modern cool at Acapulco's Boca Chica hotel, a renovated resort carved into the cliff-face above the madness at Playa Caleta and decorated by Mexican artist Claudia Fernández.
The all-white rooms feature retro showers, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and free wi-fi – plus there’s a luxurious spa, gym, massage cabañas and pool terrace.
Acapulco via Pixabay/CC0
4. Go subterranean swimming
Shafik Meghji recently explored these and more, discovering why they were once considered sacred gateways to the Mayan underworld.
Cenote Samula © Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock
5. Get a window onto the Aztec world
You can rent a boat on a weekday for less-crowded cruising, but Sundays are by far the most popular and animated day; Saturdays are lively, too, partly because of the produce market.
6. Go syncretic
The Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, in the village of San Juan Chamula in Chiapas, is an incredibly vibrant blend of Catholicism and animist tradition, with the local Maya praying on a floor of pine needles.
The area is home to the Tzotzil Maya, one of the most distinctive and intriguing communities in Mexico.
Maya woman © streetflash/Shutterstock
7. Party at the best underground club
You can’t get more underground than La Mina Club in Zacatecas – it’s inside the old El Edén mine shafts, right in the heart of the mountain and accessed on the same train used in the mine tour.
From 11pm it pumps with everything from Latin sounds to cheesy electronic techno music. But if you don’t enjoy being trapped in an enclosed space, beware this might not be the club for you...
Sunset in Zacatecas via Pixabay/CC0
8. Discover Mexico’s microbreweries
Baja California’s craft beer scene is expanding. Sample it in Tijuana at Plaza Fiesta, where locals often head without a specific place in mind, preferring to wander until they find a scene that appeals to them, or La Taberna, the city’s acclaimed microbrewery and congenial pub.
Elsewhere, Ensenada is fast developing its own craft brew scene, with local beer maker Wendlandt operating warehouse and tap room Cervecería Wendlandt for connoisseurs to sample its popular oatmeal stout and Vaquita Marina pale ale. Baja Sur’s original microbrewery, Baja Brewing Co in San José del Cabo serves pints such as Baja Blond and Peyote pale ale.