Walls seem to be all the rage these days with the President of the United States pushing to make due on his campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border. A recent government shutdown was fueled in part by opposition leaders refusing to allocate funds toward border construction. Meantime, we’re already seeing families torn apart despite having made a life and family in the United States over several decades.
Lost in this endless, soul-stomping barrage of news is consideration of the places immigrants are coming from. Being a travel company, many of us at trivago have had the privilege of traveling to and working with people from the very destinations this wall would separate us from.
Rather than sit quietly and twiddle our thumbs, we circled up with our Mexican colleagues to get their list of the 6 best places to visit in Mexico (and where to stay) that they’d recommend to friends in the United States. No, this will not be a perfect reflection of the average local’s life, but visiting these destinations (if you can) and talking to the people unfairly maligned in much of our discourse is better than putting on blinders as the shadow of a looming wall casts over the country.
6 Best Places to Visit in Mexico (& Where to Stay)
Dance in Mazatlán
Mazatlán is la joya del Pacífico. The jewel of the Pacific. The jewel itself is the people of this coastal city. It may be trite to comment on how friendly the local people are, but that’s especially the case here in Mazatlán. Even better, the people are matched only by the incredible local cuisine and idyllic weather throughout the year.
“The atmosphere is very reflective of northern Mexico and the way of living on the Pacific Coast. Prepare yourself to dance banda sinaloense!” — Montserrat Chávez, Durango
El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel
Do you have small children? Teenagers? Then this is the ideal place for you and your family. Thanks to the Kids Club (4 to 12-year-olds), Teens Club (13 to 17-year-olds), pools and slides, El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel is well-equipped to make family vacations special again.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the hotel is built only with the little ones in mind. El Cid Castilla is located right in Mazatlán’s Zona Dorada, making visits to the city center, romantic dinners, or relaxing strolls around the area a breeze. Though if you’re sapped for energy, you can always lay back and watch the sunset over the ocean.View Hotel
Hotel RIU Emerald Bay Mazatlán
Hotel RIU Emerald Bay Mazatlán is the kind of place that will leave you feeling like a new person thanks to its enjoyable common areas and three serene pools. RIU is designed to ensure maximum satisfaction without even having to leave the property. Between the beach, pool bar, adults only pool, and waterpark it’s next to impossible not to enjoy yourself.
If you fancy city life, you’ll need to take a taxi. Though you’d be forgiven for playing lazy and sticking with the four restaurants, spa with hydrotherapy, sauna, and beauty salon at RIU — especially since it’s all included in the price of your stay.View Hotel
¿Hablas español? Leer el artículo completo aquí: ¡Todos a Mazatlán! Descubre el hotel ideal para ti.
Travel the Coast of Oaxaca
Travelers are drawn to a destination like Cabo in large part because of its supreme access to those idyllic Pacific waves. But for some people, the dream is to have that view without the mob of tourists we’re used to seeing in Cabo and Cancún. That’s where the Mexican state of Oaxaca comes into play and it’s where trivago writer Carlos Navarro of Mexico City says he’d send his friends from north of the border.
With that in mind, our Mexican friends have compiled a list of 13 unknown beach hotels in Mexico, three of which are stretched along the Pacific coast to better facilitate your escape from the beaches and cities spilling over with tourists.
“The beaches, the surf, the food, the cool vibes of the people, and everything else about this region makes it the perfect place to chill and have an amazing time by the sea.” — Carlos Navarro, Mexico City
Hotel Un sueño, Cabañas del Pacífico
At the top of the list is Hotel Un sueño, Cabañas del Pacífico in San Agustinillo, Oaxaca– an area lovingly known as a one of a handful of playas hippies (hippy beaches) in the region. The cabins are interpretations of the tropical, care-free lifestyle many of us dream of when planning a beach vacation. Some even come equipped with their own terrace mere steps away from the beach.View Hotel
Posada Buena Vida
Posada Buena Vida is right on Zipolite Beach just three miles from Puerto Ángel. Travelers who make the effort to visit this lesser-traveled destination in Oaxaca are rewarded with some of the most beautiful sunsets of the Pacific.
Zipolite itself is a coastal paradise where all you have to do is relax. When we say “relax,” we really mean it. Zipolite is una playa nudista — a nude beach. The entire property is a safe space for anyone who wishes to partake, but of course, nobody is obligated.
Posada Buena Vida offers authentically-designed Mexican rooms with wonderful ocean views. Showers are surrounded by bamboo with natural elements that exhibit the ecological essence of the hotel. On the beach, you’ll find a variety of sunbeds and beds with mesh netting to cover yourself from the sun if you’re up for a nap. When you’re ready for a refreshing freshwater dip, there’s a stone pool ready to welcome you in.View Hotel
¿Hablas español?Leer el artículo completo aquí: Escápate a estos 13 hoteles en playas desconocidas de México.
Mexico City’s own Mariana Leal recommends traveling to the Yucatán Península “to see the new face of Mexico.” This is, after all, where the native Mayan population continues to thrive, speaking their own language, practicing their culture, and sharing their celebrated cuisine. Interested in a bit of history? You’re surrounded by countless archeological Mayan sites.
“In Yucatán you are able to experience Mexico’s living Mayan legacy and their own, unique culture. The comida yucateca is beyond comparison. Don’t forget to try the lime soup and tacos de cochinita!” — Mariana Leal, Mexico City
Yucatán Península Hotels
Hacienda Temozón traces its roots back to its agricultural days when it was a cattle ranch and home to textile production. Today, its 28 rooms have kept the name of their original use, like farmacia, escuela, almacén, and teatro. That is, pharmacy, school, warehouse, and theater. You can get a sense of the property’s industrial history when standing under the impressive stone chimney in the main building.
The suites themselves emanate an atmosphere of complete and total liberty from the stresses of everyday life thanks to the natural ventilation and tall ceilings. Interior spaces have been renovated, keeping in mind respect for traditional colors, tropical wooden furniture, and flooring with original engravings. The suite del patrón is a traveler-favorite with spectacular views of the property’s gardens.
Anchored between Mérida and the Pyramids of Uxmal, Temozón is the perfect location to combine rest with archaeological exploration and the cultural life of the Yucatán.View Hotel
Hacienda San José
Hacienda San José saw its golden years as a henequen factory (a type of agave plant), but it continues to shine now more than ever since being reborn as a hotel. Luxury and a level of service that seems to always know what you’re looking for are what make this property in the Yucatán an experience in and of itself. Our favorite suites are the villas mayas whose palm-thatched palapas settle you into a “home away from home.”
The villas come equipped with their own patio and private outdoor jacuzzi where you can enjoy a warm dip underneath the moonlight. The only truly difficult decision you’ll be faced with is picking between the padded bed or spending the night in estilo maya, in a cotton hammock.
You’ll quickly realize that the staff at Hacienda San José is your new best friend, ready to help you plan any surprise, a dinner in the middle of the jungle, or even give your room a romantic touch should charming your significant other be in your evening plans.View Hotel
¿Hablas español? Leer el artículo completo aquí: Haciendas de Yucatán: hospedaje de lujo en plena naturaleza
All Authentic Chiapas
trivago Magazine Mexico’s editor, Daniel Olea, is quick to suggest a trip to San Cristóbal in Chiapas for “the authentic side of Mexican culture.” It’s a sliver of Mexico that seems purposefully decorated with jungles, lakes, and exotic animals. Forget the huge hats and fake ponchos, says Daniel. Here, you can “discover something deeper about Mexico.”
Around sunrise, the bells of Catedral San Cristóbal ring out and the morning fog starts to clear, revealing the oaks and pines in the surrounding mountains. Then, the tourists start to come out, filling the streets alongside artisanal artists looking to make a sale. You don’t have to walk much before you start to feel the energy unique to this blend of indigenous culture and colonial style. Some say it’s enough to make you fall instantly in love with one of Mexico’s most celebrated magical towns.
“Authentic Mexican culture can be found almost completely intact here.” — Daniel Olea, Puebla
San Cristóbal Hotels
This luxury boutique hotel is perfectly-placed in the historic city center. The decor of Hotel Bo is inspired by the textiles and artisanal flair of San Cristóbal, offering an enviable level of comfort to its visitors.
Guests have access to the hotel library, gym, and perhaps most notable of all, one of the best restaurants in all of San Cristóbal — Restaurante LUM, featuring a blend of Mexican and global culinary stylings. The word “Bo” means “water” in the indigenous Tzotsil language and the essence of bo is featured prominently in the hotel’s design alongside the other three elements.
From Hotel Bo, you’re an easy walk to the surrounding attractions. Tired feet? You can rent a bike from reception, free of charge, and add a little adventure to your travels around town. Try pedaling over to the El Cerrillo neighborhood where you can find a number of artisanal shops, and at the top of the hill, la Iglesia de la Merced with an Instagram-worthy view of San Cristóbal below. You’ll have to climb some stairs, but rest assured it’s totally vale la pena — worth it.View Hotel
Hotel Doce Cuartos
Another option you’ll be hard-pressed to beat is Hotel Doce Cuartos. Like the name hints (doce cuartos = twelve rooms), this is a boutique hotel with all the amenities and privacy you’d expect in a quiet getaway to San Cristóbal.
Hotel Doce Cuartos finds itself ideally-located in the heart of the city, just a brief jaunt over to the main square of Plaza 31 de Marzo. The plaza is a meeting point for everyone in town, and like any other plaza around town, you’ll find a kiosk that operates as a homey cafeteria. Take your time walking around here with your camera, but don’t glue your devices to your face. You’ll want to admire the scene sans camera, too.
The hotel will also help you organize a round-trip tour to visit Zinacantán and San Juan Chamula, indigenous towns with a deeply-rooted culture with beautiful churches and textiles different than anything you’ve seen before.View Hotel
¿Hablas español? Leer el artículo completo aquí: Descubre las mejores actividades y hoteles en San Cristóbal de las Casas
Make like Coco and head to Guanajuato
We dare you not to cry when little Miguel sings “Remember Me” to his dying great-grandmother in Pixar’s Coco. It’s impossible not to at least shed a tear. While that scene might prove most memorable, it’s the backdrop of the town that gives the rest of the film its character, and who wouldn’t want to visit a town like that? Well, you basically can, because the town in Coco was largely inspired by the very real Guanajuato, which is precisely why trivago Magazine Mexico writer, María José Bricio, is quick to recommend a trip to the lively town.
Besides inspiring the creators of Coco, Guanajuato is also right on the ever-popular Ruta de la Independencia, celebrating the fight for Mexican independence. You can live the history of Guanajuato, and indeed Mexico, by walking in the footsteps of one Señor Miguel Hidalgo who’s credited with fueling the momentum for independence with his famous call for freedom in the town of Dolores, known as the Grito de Dolores, on September 16, 1810. (The town has since been renamed Dolores Hidalgo in his honor.)
“Wander through cobblestone alleys, relax in a park while listening to the urban leyendas, and at night, join one of the walking serenades conducted by the local music students.” — María José Bricio, Guadalajara
Hotel México Plaza Guanajuato
Hotel México Plaza Guanajuato is a great pick for your lodging needs thanks to their large rooms complete with a living room and fully-equipped kitchen — ideal for travelers with families or large groups in tow. Included in your stay are complimentary coffee and cookies upon check-in, daily newspapers, and an exquisite breakfast buffet that will help you start the day on the right foot. Rooms feature a minimalist design that’s distinctly Mexican.View Hotel
Hotel Boutique 1850
Hotel Boutique 1850 is a design lover’s dream with each suite featuring a unique aesthetic, inspired by different travelers and artist personalities. Luxurious amenities abound, including Egyptian white cotton bed sheets, your own coffee maker, and a base for your iPhone to plug in. Find the best ambiance in Guanajuato at the rooftop bar with live music, delicious cocktails, and an incredible view of the hotel.View Hotel
¿Hablas español? Leer el artículo completo aquí: Descubre la ruta de la Independencia en Guanajuato
Cholula is a city like none other with a strong pre-Hispanic heritage and a rich mix of colonial architecture and modern life. These three faces give the city a unique and fascinating air about it. Geographically, the city is split into two parts: San Andrés Cholula and San Pedro Cholula, separated since the pre-Hispanic era between the Olmecs and Toltecs ethnicities that lived there.
It’s a city that trivago’s own Iñaki Amuchastegui thinks is one of the best places in Mexico to visit for Americans looking for something a little off the beaten path. “Cholula is considered one of the oldest, currently inhabited cities of America, founded approximately 3,500 years ago, becoming the second most important population with its 100,000 inhabitants, behind only Tenochtitlan,” writes Iñaki in his guide. Plus, it was an important commercial center for Mesoamerican cultures, resulting in the construction of numerous, massive temples, like Templo a Quetzalcóatl — known as the Great Pyramid, which dominates the city skyline.
“The views from the top of the Gran Pirámide, looking towards the fumarole-spitting volcano are unique, especially on a clear winter morning.” — Iñaki Amuchastegui, Puebla
La Quinta Luna
This charming hotel was once a colonial home, but with a notable exception from other colonial properties. It was built in the 17th century by a noble indigenous person, not a Spaniard. La Quinta Luna opened its doors in 2003 as a luxury hotel and it remains listed as a historic monument by the National Institue of Anthropology and History.
Book yourself a stay in one of their seven cozy rooms with adobe walls. Names adorn the rooms in honor of animals important to the Cholula culture, like águila real (golden eagle), el coyote (coyote), and el colibrí (hummingbird). When you’re not busy lounging in your room, have a look at the library with its collection of 3,000 books that you’re welcome to grab off the shelf during your stay.
Not that you’ll need convincing, but do try the Mexican cuisine at the restaurant located in the old chapel of the house. If weather allows, dine al fresca in the central garden. (The menu changes every two months, so come back a second time and try something new.) Later, relax in the spa featuring traditional Mexican rituals aimed to purify your body and mind.View Hotel
Estrella de Belem Bed & Breakfast
This small hotel was once a 19th-century casona (large home), close to the pyramid and the royal chapel. Opened in 2006, Estrella de Belem Bed & Breakfast converted some of the original framework into hotel rooms. There are just six rooms with each boasting its own decor and a replica of a painting of the Three Wise Men visiting Jesus made by celebrated artists, like Mantegna, Ghirlandaio, and Velázquez. Instead of numbers on the doors, each room is named in honor of the artists of the corresponding work inside.
Breakfast is served on the property’s two patios — one covered by a crystal pyramid and the other surrounded by a beautiful garden, perfect for a little relaxation after your meal. But before you take that nap, don’t forget to head up to the rooftop where there’s a small pool with a spectacular view of the volcanos, the churches of Cholula, and the Great Pyramid. As a special service, the hotel also has a telescope that you can use for some nighttime stargazing.View Hotel
¿Hablas español? Leer el artículo completo aquí: Las 3 caras de Cholula: te revelamos lo mejor de cada una
Are these destinations perfect and without problems? No, but let us know when you find someplace that is. Travel smart as you would anywhere else in the world and within the United States. The headlines might make things seem doom and gloom south of the border, but truth is, it’s all about perspective. According to a study on homicide rates in popular U.S. cities, Mexico City and Mexico as a whole are much safer than US travel favorites Chicago, New Orleans, Saint Louis, and even my hometown of Cleveland.
Visit any one of these six destinations in Mexico and you’ll surely come away with a better, more informed understanding of our southerly neighbor. After all, that’s what we are — neighbors. Politics be damned, it’d be rude not to go over and get to know them.