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You're cordially invited to experience a magical land of contrasts and breathtaking beauty. Mexico offers a little something for everyone...
Mexico is a traveler's paradise, crammed with a multitude of opposing identities: desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, teeming industrialised cities, time-warped colonial towns, glitzy resorts, lonely beaches and a world-beating collection of flora and fauna. The bursting megalopolis of Mexico City is a one-hour flight from the tropical rainforests and Mayan villages of Chiapas. Up along the northern border, Mexico's tumult of heritages merge with the air-conditioned cultures of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Mexico's profusion of people and landscapes reflects the country's extraordinary history - part Amerindian, part Spanish. One look at this country is enough to remind visitors that there is nothing new about the so-called New World. Despite the considerable colonial legacy and rampant modernization, almost 60 distinct indigenous peoples survive, largely thanks to their rural isolation. This mix of modern and traditional, the clichéd and the surreal, is the key to Mexico's immense popularity as a travel destination, whether your passion is throwing back margaritas, listening to howler monkeys, surfing the Mexican Pipeline, scrambling over Mayan ruins or expanding your Day of the Dead collection of posable skeletons.
Most visitors are vacationing North Americans who wind up on the brilliant beaches of Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. The beaches, of course, are among the world's best - but those who venture inland are rewarded with the true soul of Mexico, which has always resided firmly in the interior.
And it is a big soul. The Republic of Mexico is vast, comprising nearly two million square miles of coastline, desert, rain forest, mountains, and fertile plains. From the American borderlands of the wide, agriculturally rich north, the country narrows gently as it sweeps south and east. The two main mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental, hug the west and east, finally merging into the volcanically active central highlands and the capital, Mexico City - the most populous city in the world. Further south, the country narrows to only 100 miles, then broadens again before reaching the Guatemalan border. There are two major peninsulas in Mexico that are almost countries themselves. In the west is the poetically barren Baja Peninsula, which seals in the biological riches of the Sea of Cortes; to the east, protruding into the Caribbean like the end of a fish hook, is the Yucatan peninsula, bursting with rain forests, Mayan ruins, and white powder beaches. The population is about 93 million, and the generosity of the Mexican people is unsurpassed. Knowing a few simple sentences in Spanish will win hearts.
Mexico has been graced with an unusually temperate climate year-round. The most important thing to remember is that the Mexican summer is also the rainy season, although the rain rarely lasts more than a few hours, and typically arrives in the late afternoon. Extremes are present only in the North and in Baja, both of which have deserts where the temperature leaps above 100F. Mexico City has a year-round temperature in the high 80s, while the coasts usually stay in the mid-90s. Night time temperatures fall somewhat, but rarely break down below a comfortable 60F.