Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Mexico, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.
- San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato (Guanajuato, Mexico): Artists and writers first started arriving in the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende in the 1930s, drawn by its Old Mexican charm and the purity of its seductive light. Founded in 1542 by wealthy Spanish cattle barons, today San Miguel attracts well-heeled Mexico City weekenders and has a large community of American residents attracted to the city’s vibrant artistic and cultural scene. Cobblestone streets are lined with galleries, as well as restored mansions, 18th-century churches, boutiques, outdoor cafes, and excellent restaurants.
- Where: San Miguel de Allende is 180 miles/290 km northwest of Mexico City.
- Best Times: in San Miguel: Semana Santa (week before Easter) for festivities; September 15-16 for Independence Day; September 29 for Fiesta de San Miguel. In Guanajuato: October for Cervantes Festival.
- Los Cabos: At the tip of the 775-mile-long Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, the resort area of Los Cabos (the capes) stretches over a 25-mile corridor that joins the desert towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Development began in the 1980s, and Cabo San Lucas quickly earned a reputation as a wild, cerveza-drenched spring break destination. It became equally famous for its world-class fishing, with marlin and sailfish the top prizes.
- Where: About 1,000 miles/1,609 km south of San Diego.
- Best Times: December-April for whale-watching; October for fishing tournaments.
- Tulum and the Riviera Maya: At the southern end of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the string of fishing-villages-turned-sophisticated-resort-towns that dot the Caribbean coastline south of Cancun, stands the only ancient Maya city on the coast. What Tulum lacks in archaeological significance it compensates for in beauty, evident in its spectacular fine-white-sand beaches and its temple dramatically poised on a coastal bluff.
- Where: Tulum is 80 miles/130 km south of Cancun.
- Best Time: December-April for best weather and bird-watching at Sian Ka’an.
- Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas: One of the most extraordinary ruins of Maya culture occupies a high, strategically situated plateau surrounded by dense virgin jungle. Palenque blossomed during the 6th and 9th centuries as a center of art, religion, and astronomy and was one of the first Maya sites to be discovered. It remains one of the most majestic and best preserved, still dazzling with its elegant architecture, stucco carvings, calligraphy, and highly artistic decorative friezes. The star attraction is the Templo de las Inscripciones (Temple of the Inscriptions), the massive pyramid housing the carved tomb of King Pacal, who died in A.D. 683 (his burial mask, made of 200 fragments of jade, resides in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city). Palenque’s best lodging is the nearby Chan-Kah Resort Village, featuring stone and wooden bungalows spread over 50 acres of primordial jungle and a refreshing pool.
- Where: Palenque is 88 miles/142 km southeast of Villahermose. San Cristobal is 142 miles/229 km southwest of Palenque.
- Best Times: December-February for nicest weather. In Sn Cristobal, Semana Santa (the week before Easter) for festivities and processions.
- Mexico City: More than 1,000 years ago, the Aztecs built their capitol of Tenochtitlan on an island in a vast lake here; it was the largest metropolis in the world when the Spanish arrived in 1519. Mexico City, or often D.F. for Distrito Federal, built on top of the ancient city, is again one of the most populous on the planet, where all the disparate strains of Mexican cultural come together in fusion of ancient civilizations and contemporary urbanity. Immense and bustling, sophisticated, and human-scaled, ringed by snow-peaked volcanoes now visible through newly clean air, this once-maligned but gracious Latin American city is fast gaining recognition as one of the world’s increasingly stylish capitals of culture.
Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here: