Mexico Travel, Gap Years & Holidays

Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and our experiences are for people looking to take a meaningful break, escape the tourist resorts doing something more benefical than just sunbathing. From exploring ancient temples to relaxing on gorgeous beaches going to Mexico will turn out to be a very good decision. 


 
 

Mexico Holidays, Gap Year Programs & Travel Ideas

Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to book a holiday, travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Mexico.

Mexico Travel Guide

Mexico Holidays

Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Mexico.

  • Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN) £1 = 20MXN / $1 = 12MXN (approx)
  • Capital: Mexico City (9,000,000 approx)
  • Area: 2,000,000 sq km (approx)
  • Population: 108,000,000 (approx)
  • Language: Predominantly Spanish, whilst also some Mayan and over 50 local languages
  • International Calling Code +52

 

Top Reasons to Visit Mexico

Mexico travel guide

There are so many reasons why you might want to travel to Mexico, here are some:

  • A warm climate
  • Beautiful beaches, some of the best in the region
  • Great value for money - there is something for everyone from budget backpackers to luxury travellers
  • Tasty food
  • Friendly people
  • Ancient ruins
  • Incredible resorts

 

How to Get to Mexico

You can enter Mexico through international flights from worldwide destinations and also overland via bus or car from the USA, Guatemala and Belize. 

 

Visa

You will not need to apply for a visa prior to arriving in Mexico if you are a British Citizen and the tourist visa they grant you on arrival means you can stay and travel in Mexico for upto 180 days. Also unlike other countries you do not need to provide proof of funds in your bank account or show an outbound ticket.

 

Weather & Best Time to Visit

Mexico enjoys a warm climate nearly all year round and there is no best time to visit.

 

Best Places to Visit in Mexico

Backpacking Mexico

Mexico is a large country and there are so many different places to visit. Here are some places you might want to add to your itinerary:

Cancun
Cancun is famous for beaches and resorts but there is a lot more to this region and also lots of day and longer tours available. You could spend a full day sightseeing in the Cancun area is well worth it, you could take the boat to Isla Murejes, visit the sculpture park at Punta Sur which is something unique, El Rey Ruins, Playa Delfines and the new Cancun Museum.  If you visit the Old Town you will get an authentic experience away from the huge tourists resorts there are local parks, areas for food. Lots of stalls, music etc going so that was cool.

Merida
Merida is a 4 hour bus journey from Cancun and is a colonial city which is sometimes describes as the most beautiful city in Mexico - it certainly wont't disappoint. There ares of plazas, churches and other historical buildings. Everything seems to have plaques around to explain the significance which is good for foreign tourists. Everything can be seen on foot which is a lot of walking, if you are looking for something a little different there is also a chocolate factory and a tequila place. You could join a free historical walking tour and then to check out the ruins of Dzilchultum or visit a nearby town like Izamel which has various churches, ruins and colourful buildings which are yellow and white. 

Valladoilid
2.5 hour bus ride to the city of Valladolid which is like a smaller version of Merida. There is also a free tour of this private house which has the largest privately owned collection of Mexican folk art by this American couple. This is the most amazing house which took 10 years to renovate from when the owner bought it as an abandoned dump, you will be in total awe of the owner who is so down to earth about explaining everything. This might even turn out to be on the most unexpected highlights of your trip.

Chichen Itza
Most tours of the East Coast of Mexico will take you to see Chichen Itza which are some of the best ruins in the world, you can spend hours here and take a million photos! Chichen Itza is a spectacular temple which has recently been re-built and modernised, there are lots of ruins on this site but aim to arrive early as it get very touristy.  Chichen Itza is one of the new wonders of the world and its easy to see why it was given this status. 

Playa del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is very touristy and not for anyone seeking the authentic Mexican experience. Expect spectacular beaches and Western fast food joints and a Cinemex where it's only £2 for a ticket! There are lots of places to buy souvenirs on 5th avenue and also a stunning beach and great nightlife.

Tulum
Further down the coast from Playa Del Carmen and Cancun is Tulum which is a popular tour stop off point on the East Coast, the ruins here are very special because although it's quite small, it's right on the coast with a beach below. 

Mexico City
Expect a buslting city with temples, museums and lots of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops to walk around. This city is a lot safer and more interesting than you might think.

Other Places
On the Pacific coast you could visit Mazatlan which has a great atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Acapulco is great beach destination, if you are looking for a quiet experience don't visit during Spring Break. Guadalajara is a city where you can embrace Mexican culture and see beautiful colonial buildings. If you are crossing the border from the US, you might pass by Tijuana which has lots of things to do and place to see.

 

Travelling in Mexico 

Travelling Mexico

Mexico is a huge country and if you just want to see as much as possible you need to put together a structured itinerary. If you are flying into Mexico City we recommend traveling overland to Oaxaca, Palenque, Merida, Cancun, Isla Mujeres and then down the East Coast to Playa Del Carmen and Tulum.

Here are some of our top rated things to do in Mexico...

  • Visiting the colonial city of Oaxaca and getting up close to the mysterious pryamids in Teotihuacán
  • Seeing Chicken Itza, photographs do not do this temple justice when you get close it is really impressive
  • Relaxing on white sandy beaches, Mexico has great beaches on both the East and West coast
  • Exploring Mexico City, one of the best cities in the world for history, culture and tradition
  • Visiting the jungle Maya temples in Palenque
  • Kick back and relax in El Panchán
  • Catch a luchador match or for shopping visit Mercado Insurgentes in Mexico City
  • If you enjoy nightlife and dancing the night away head to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen (stay away if you are seeking to get off the beaten track)
  • Try to see a football game at the huge Stadium Azteca or watch wrestling, one of the local passions - you could even buy a mask
  • Puerto Escondido is a small town on the coast where you can go surfing
  • You might feel a bit ruin'd out after visiting Mexico but you will enjoy every single one of them - all are different and offer an insight into a fascinating past
  • You could relax in the coastal town of Puerto Escondido
  • Take part in adventure sports like kayaking in Baja California
  • Enjoy an affordable Mexico cruise 
  • Palenque is a must if you are interested in history and ancient civilisations. Its quite far to visit and hidden in jungle but its like a lost city which you can explore ruins and get amazing pictures

 

Gap Year in Mexico

Mexico Gap Year

Mexico is a huge country which offer lots of different experiences, this means you have a lot of choice when it comes to what to do. We have programs for students, graduates, career breaks and people looking to discover. Expect a warm climate, friendly locals, tasty food, amazing beaches, fantastic ancient ruins, parties and a whole range of international travellers.  If you are looking for the best things to do on a gap year in Mexico you can find opportunities on our guide,

Mexico is full of culture, history and colour and great if you have never been to Latin America before. This is a really big country, you will need around 4 weeks to see as much as possible and try to take a phrase book if you do not speak Spanish. Mexico is a great value destination but more expensive than most others in Central America. Be open to the local culture and try the local food which is very tasty. Mexico also has some of the best nightlife and clubs in Latin America, you can find all night parties and also packages which include accommodation and entry to clubs. Don't leave the country without seeing the Aztec Ruins and also Chichen Itza.

You might want to visit Cancun is probably the most popular and well known destination in Mexico. Cancun has the uncanny ability to attract people from all walks of life and offers tourists a chance to witness ancient buildings that have been standing for many centuries. The beaches at Cancun are breathtaking. Many visitors enjoy the bungee jumping contests near the beach. There are tourist information available on how to participate in exciting bungee jumping activities. One will always want to spend hours on the beaches of Cancun after their first visit to this beautiful location.

 

Transport & Getting Around Mexico

Mexico has a relible bus service connecting the whole country. Mexico is a large country so flying can be a good option, most airports in Mexico are connected via worldwide flights. Public transport is cheap but there are also upgrades with air conditioning or geared more towards tourists. The bus service in Mexico is very reliable and fast. If you are nervous about traveling solo you could join a gap year experience, this is a safe and easy way to see more places off the beaten track in a group of around 12 people. On our website you can search gap year adventures which are a popular way to travel. Try to give yourself flexible time to explore the best that Mexico has to offer, get advice from other travellers / locals about where to visit / avoid. If you would like to see the East Coast as quick as possible there is a bus from Chetuman to Cancun which takes 6 hours. This will be a long day of traveling.

 

Mexico Travel Tips

Mexico Gap Year Ideas

  • Accommodation: You can find lots of cheap hotels and hostels in Mexico, with most programs this is usually included in the price you pay and you will stay in a shared house or homestay. When backpacking Mexico is a cheap country stay in, a dorm bed costs around £5 ($10) although in more popular destination you could pay more around £10 ($15) per night. You can stay in a private room in a guesthouse or a hotel for around £15 - £25 ($20 - $30) per night. 
  • Food & Drink: In our view Mexico has some of the most tasty food in the world, there are also lots of cheap options so eating out doesn't have to cost too much. You can eat street food in Mexico cheaply around £1 - £2 ($2 - $3) or if you eat out at a normal restaurant you can expect to pay around £5 - £15 ($7 - $18). Alcohol like wine and beer can almost cost as much as the food. Mexico is a very touristy destination and you can find Western food in a lot of restaurants, fast food outlets are everywhere too.
  • Health & Safety: Mexico is a safe country to visit, they have a lot of problems and social issues like many countries have but as long as you are careful you shouldn't have many problems. Its advised to avoid some of the towns in the North of the country near the border with the USA and its always advised to travel in a group or with others. Before departing check latest travel advice and always ask locals / other travelers for their recommendations. Crime is something you should be aware of, certain areas should be avoid around the border with the USA whilst take extra caution in large cities like Mexico City. On the East Coast in places like Cancun and Play del Carmen there is hardy any crime. Always try to keep an eye on your belongings and take some small padlocks to keep your belongings safe on buses and in accommodation. 

 

Mexico Gap Year Reviews & Travel Advice

Mexico gap year programs

"Some areas of Mexico are super touristy and avoid places like Playa del Carmen and Cancun if you would like an authentic experience. Both these locations are very expensive. But if you are looking to keep your Western comforts and also party you will love them." - Paul, UK

"Mexico was one of the best places I visited in Latin America. I participated on a volunteer program helping sea turtles then after I did overland tour. It was an incredible experience. Don't believe all the horror stories you read in the press, Mexico is safer than you might think." Mark, USA

"Mexico was absolutely incredible in fact I’m going back! Everything from the people, culture, scenery and food exceeded expectations! I was lucky to be apart of such a muti-national group of people and I think we all earned a lot not only about Mexico but about our various countries. The way of life is so relaxed, there is no schedule but everything still gets done! I would highly recommend this project and any project that is based in Mexico."  - Carol, environmental project in Mexico

View our Central America backpacking guide.

 

 

      

 

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