ABOUT Mexico has numerous architectural treasures, thanks to its pre-Hispanic and colonial heritage. Due to their historic and artistic importance, the UNESCO has declared many of these edifices World Heritage Sites. Among the most important examples are archaeological zones Teotihuacan, in the State of Mexico; Monte Alban, in Oaxaca; El Tajin, in Veracruz; and Uxmal and Chichen Itza, on the Yucatan Peninsula. These sites were ancient ceremonial centers of the Teotihuacanas, Zapotecas, Totonacas and Mayans, respectively. Today, the ruins receive thousands of tourists from all over the world, who find the magnificent courtyards, temples and pyramids absolutely fascinating. Some of the archaeological zones are surrounded by incredible natural scenery, such as valleys, jungles, rivers and waterfalls, making them spectacular destinations full of magic and charm. Also of interest are the historic centers of Mexico City and Puebla, in Mexico’s central region; of Oaxaca, in the south; of Campeche, in the southeast; of Zacatecas, in the north; and those of Queretaro, Guanajuato and Morelia; in the Bajio region. All of these cities were built on top of pre-Hispanic settlements after the Spanish conquest. Over time, these places acquired an elegant European feel, as you’ll see in the well preserved plazas and magnificent religious and civic constructions, many of which served as offices for the ruling class during Mexico’s colonial era. As you walk along the streets of these cities and marvel at the impressive architecture, you also can enjoy the amenities that only a big city can offer, while at the same time you can appreciate the splendor of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic and colonial past.
CLIMATE In Mexico there are two main seasons. The rainy season through most of Mexico falls roughly from May through September or October. During the rest of the year there is little or no rain. In the winter months (November - April) the temperature in the Yucatan is comfortably warm and the humidity is low. The summer months (May - August) are hot and humid. Showers can be fierce but are usually short. On the whole, it's a good time of year for one of our Mexico itineraries. In September and October, the Mexico climate is most unreliable due to the hurricanes that form off the Caribbean coast in the gulf of Mexico. Further inland the hurricanes lose their strength, but even if you're a hundred miles away it can still cause some strong winds and a lot of rain, which can really hamper your trip if you're on the coast in Yucatan or Belize.
BEWARE While there are security concerns in certain areas in the country, particularly in the north, travel to traditional tourist destinations along the Mayan Riviera remain safe. Street crime in Mexico is a serious problem throughout all of the major cities, including in the tourist resort areas. Be particularly alert on public transport, at airports, bus stations and tourist sites. Passengers have been robbed and/or assaulted by unlicensed taxi drivers, particularly in Mexico City. At airports, use only authorised prepaid airport taxi services. In Mexico City, use better regulated “sitio” taxis from authorised cab ranks. The majority of crimes involving taxis in Mexico City occur in Ixtapalapa. There were a number of muggings in the Parque Nacional de las Cumbres del Ajusco in the south of Mexico City. These appeared to be coordinated and targeted assaults, with the presence of weapons. One report suggested that the assault was carried out by masked men dressed as police. We recommend that you exercise extreme caution in this area. Theft on buses is also common, only use them during daylight hours and then only first-class buses if possible. Women travelling on their own should be particularly alert. There have been incidents of rapes on urban buses ("micros") on routes in the south of Mexico City. Most attacks have occurred early in the morning or late at night. A number of serious sexual offences have also occurred in tourist areas in Cancun. Foreign visitors and residents may be targeted by scam artists. Do not leave your food and drinks unattended in bars and restaurants. Cases of travellers being robbed or assaulted after being drugged have been reported.