Mexico holidays

Holidays to Mexico combine all the beauty of the Caribbean coast with a fascinating ancient history. From the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza to powder-white beaches along the Riviera Maya, the east side of Yucatán is a traveller's paradise. Lose yourself in the cenotes of Tulum, swim with the green turtles of Akumal Bay, dive deep into the steamy jungles of Calakmul, or climb all 130 steps of the Coba pyramids.

Also the home of the fiesta, Latin America, has a contagious energy that will stay with you long after you leave. An outrageous nightlife can be found in Punta Cancun, with acrobats, DJs, and dancers stealing the show. There are plenty of things to do with the family too, from beach days to exploring the eco-themed parks, Xcaret and Xplor Park. So, if you want to visit ancient sites, swim with the fish, or sample the clubbing scene - Mexico holidays are for you.

Places to stay

Riviera Maya

Extending along the Yucatán, on the east coast of Mexico, is the Riviera Maya. The idyllic peninsula is dotted with some of the world's most exotic resorts, including Playa del Carmen and Playacar. It's also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza, Mexico's most visited Mayan sites. Running over 700 miles along the eastern coast is also the second-largest barrier reef in the world, making Mexico holidays a must for diving and snorkelling. 

Playa del Carmen

Venture a little further south, and you’ll find Playa del Carmen, ranking as one of Riviera’s trendiest spots. The nightlife offers a good mix of laid-back vibes and full-on party mode. Bars will start around Avenida Quinta, with live music at Kitxen or Senor Frogs, and move up an octave near the beach on Calle 10 and Calle 12. Around 12am is when the clubs really kick-off, keeping you going until 4 am. Rio Secret is a must-see. It has an underwater river lined with stalactites and stalagmites. 

Playacar

Located on the south side of Playa del Carmen is Playacar. Celebrated for its upmarket all-inclusive resorts and luxurious golf clubs. Lesser known than Playa del Carmen, Playacar holidays are perfect for those looking for a calm getaway tucked behind lush jungle. Adult-only and family resorts are dotted throughout Playacar, offering the ideal springboard for exploring the powdery white beaches and Xaman-ha ruins. An excellent destination for marine life and underwater caverns, you're only 6km from Xcaret Eco Theme Park.

Cancun

Head north, and you’ll find Cancún, on the Riviera’s northern tip, a party paradise that’s annually gate-crashed by MTV camera crews and Spring Breakers. The most popular destination is Coco Bongo. Packed out every night, it pulls in the crowds with spectacular ribbon dancers, acrobats, and DJs. Deep-Sea Fishing is also a popular affair in Cancun, where licensed captains will help you reel in your catch for that balmy evening BBQ. Book yourself a seat on the Captain Hook Cancun for the best dinner cruise in the Caribbean and sail the seas on an 18th-century Spanish galleon replica.

Playa Mujeres

North of Cancun is the tranquil destination, Playa Mujeres. Far away from the city's nightlife, Playa Mujeres was once a tiny fishing village that has retained its unique charm. Lined with soft white beaches, nearby coral reefs, and an excellent golf course, the region is perfect for those who like their Caribbean holidays laid-back and relaxed. Set on a quiet peninsula, holidays to Playa Mujeres are all about world-class luxury, from private dinners on powdery beaches to romantic boat rides over glassy waters.  

Cozumel

Just 10 miles off the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula is the island of Cozumel, 29 miles long from northeast to southwest. Geologically similar to the Yucatán, it is home to dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles, making it another ideal spot for uncovering Mexico's diverse marine life. Cozumel is an excellent alternative to holidays in Riviera Maya if you want to unplug from the world. Lay back on the untouched sandy shorelines dotted along the west and south sides.

Puerto Vallarta

Over on the Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is a vibrant city with an old Mexican feel, from its cobblestone streets and distinct architecture. Lush jungle and mountains roll down into white sand beaches. Famous for its LGBTQ+ nightlife and annual White Party, it might just have the edge over Cancun. Puerto Vallarta holidays are great for food and art lovers, boasting fantastic galleries and restaurants considered to be only second to Mexico City. To experience an authentic taste of Mexican life, take a day trip to one of the small nearby historic towns such as San Sebastien del Oeste.

Mexico City

Unmissable places to visit in Mexico include the exciting capital, Mexico City. Visit world-class museums such as the National Museum of Anthropology, alongside designer shopping and art galleries. Be sure not to miss the stunning historic centre with impressive colonial architecture dating back to the 16th century. Highlights include the bustling Plaza de la Constitucion, the spectacular Catedral Metropolitana, the National Palace and the Aztec relics at Temple Mayor. Add a visit to the majestic volcanic mountains of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl, providing a dramatic backdrop to the city and plenty of opportunities for adventure in the scenic highlands.

Beaches

From secluded palm-fringed beaches to lively party spots, Mexico has some of the most pristine beaches in the world. From the Riviera Maya, starting a few miles south of Cancun, down to Tulum, you could be spotting turtles one day and exploring Mayan ruins the next.

Nightlife

When the sun begins to set, Mexico comes alive with the bustle of locals and tourists ready to dance the night away. Home to renowned hotspots such as Pink Kitty, Coco Bongo and Mandala, where you can keep partying until the early dawn (4-6am).  

Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are excellent destinations for those who want a generous dose of high-octane clubbing with their holiday. For the best LGBTQ+ nightlife, book a stay in Puerto Vallarta. Head to Punta Cancun for the ultimate and downright bonkers clubbing experience, and venture to 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen for beachfront vibes.

History & Culture

Holidays to Mexico would be incomplete without visiting the Mayan ruins. The country is filled with traces of ancient times, from the Pyramid of Kukulcan to the ruins of Palenque and the fortress of Tulum, each historical site scattered across the country tells a unique story. 

Take a walk through the Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan, where you can witness sacred artefacts, including the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Or spend a few hours exploring the archaeological site of Mitla, where you’ll discover intricate mosaic fretwork covering the many tombs, panels, and friezes here.

Unsure of the best time of the year to visit? Check the weather in Mexico to see which month is right for you.

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including Cancun | Playacar | Playa del CarmenPlaya Mujeres | Puerto VallartaRiviera Maya

Map of Mexico

world_map
23-30 ℃

The climate in Mexico varies from state to state, but you’re guaranteed temperatures between 23°C and 30°C, even during the rainy season (May to October).

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10.5 hours
A flight from the UK to Cancun International Airport (CUN) takes around 10.5 hours.

Mexico is best for...

Adventure lovers: A holiday to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Xel-Ha Park. From courage-testing high dives, to safe and supervised snorkelling activities for young children, Xel-Ha Park gives you the chance to discover new activities and challenge yourself.

Party animals: Put on your party sombrero and experience Spring Break in Cancún. You’ll find everything from all-out raves and pool parties at Coco Bongo Cancun, to sophisticated shindigs and clubs with casinos.

History fans: Step back in time at Chichen Itza and explore the dramatic Mayan ruins. Pronounced ‘chee-chen eet-zah', this is one of the most spectacular and fascinating examples of Mayan architecture.

Fast facts for Mexico

Language: There are more than 60 indigenous languages spoken around Mexico (including Mayan dialects), but Spanish is the language spoken most widely.

Currency: The currency used is the Mexican Peso (Mex$).

Local time: Mexico is 5–8 hours behind GMT/UK time, depending on location. Cancun is 5 hours behind.

Fly to: Cancun International Airport. Transfers to the main resorts take just 25 minutes for Cancun or up to 2 hours for Playa del Carmen and Playacar.

Flight time from the UK: The flight time to Mexico is 10.5 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at the visit Mexico website.

Visa and health: Before you travel, it’s worth visiting The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for recommendations and advice on visas and health.

Holiday destinations related to Mexico:

Getting around Mexico

By bus: The easiest and most common way to get around the cities, towns, and villages of Mexico is by public bus (a.k.a camiones). If you’re unfamiliar with the local language, you can book your tickets online with Busbud. Take your pick of travel classes, including first-class with VIP perks such as reclining seats, a TV, drinks, and snacks.

By train: Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara have a well-connected underground railway system, however, these can get busy during rush hour. The only remaining overground passenger train service in Mexico is the El Chepe which runs through the Sierra Madre Occidental from Los Mochis and Chihuahua. This will take you on a tour around the magnificent Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre), which is even bigger and deeper than Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

Events in Mexico

Day of the Dead:  While some like to call it the Mexican Halloween, it’s actually a 3,000-year-old religious festival held (31 October to 02 November) in honour of celebrating life and mocking death. Fantastical parades, sugar skulls, and mystical altars make up an unforgettably atmospheric treat for the kids.

Spring Break concerts: With performances from some of the biggest music names in the world (mid-February to mid-April), from Tiësto and Paul Van Dyk to Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida, Cancún holidays are all about supreme electronic dance music, Cirque du Soleil performances, and superclubs. Expect wild bikini contests, ticker-tape parades, and cabaret shows.

Carnival: A five-day celebration often takes place from February to March, starting before the Catholic lent on Ash Wednesday. Very similar to the Mardi Gras that occurs in New Orleans. Celebrated with parades, floats, and elaborate costumes, Carnival attracts hundreds to Mazatlan and Veracruz but also draws crowds to other cities such as Merida, Cozumel, Campeche, Ensenada, La Paz, and Puerto Vallarta. 

Hanal Pixan: In the Yucatán Peninsula, the festival of Hanal Pixan is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd. A Mayan tradition very similar to Day of the Dead, it literally translates to “food of souls”. 

Mexico safety and security

Do I need a passport?

You’ll need a passport to enter Mexico. Passports need to be valid for the entire length of your stay, but it doesn’t need to be valid for any particular period of time beyond this.

For more Mexico passport information and details of entry requirements to the country, head to The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Do I need a visa?

If you’re travelling to Mexico as a tourist, there’s no need to apply for a visa. However, you’ll have to fill out an immigration form, which you’ll be given during your outbound flight. You must have this form with you when you enter Mexico.

You’ll also need to bring your immigration form with you when you leave the country. If you lose it, you can get a replacement at the immigration office located in any of Mexico’s international airports. However, the immigration form can cost 500 Mexican Pesos to replace, so make sure you keep yours safe for the duration of your trip.

Should I get travel health insurance?

It’s always advisable to have comprehensive travel and health insurance in place when you go on holiday. That way, you’ll be covered for overseas medical expenses if anything happens, such as emergency treatment and even evacuation back to the UK if necessary.

Make sure you check thoroughly what is and isn’t included in your policy beforehand, and that you’re covered for any activities you’ll be doing while you’re away.

Any other tips?

  • Don’t lose your immigration form. You should be given one on your flight and you’ll need to hand it to the immigration officer when you enter. Be sure to hold onto this for the duration of your stay as you’ll be asked for it again when you’re flying home. If you lose it, you risk having to pay a hefty fine.
  • In most places in Mexico, you put toilet paper in the bin rather than flushing it down the toilet. However, hotels and resorts tend to be the exception.
  • Remember, the official currency in Mexico is Mexican Pesos and not US dollars. It’s possible to pay with dollars in most places, but it’s likely that you won’t get a very good exchange rate.
  • For more information and Mexico travel advice, head to The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

 

Mexico weather

Temperature: Mexico enjoys a tropical climate, though it gets cooler the further up north towards the US you go.

When’s the best time to go?

From Day of the Dead carnivals to sun-kissed beaches, our biggest piece of Mexico travel advice is to book yourself a holiday to this exotic destination right now. Mexico is technically in the Caribbean, so you can expect a tropical climate with warm temperatures all year round. In the summer season, the thermometer hovers between the high-20s and the mid-30s.

April and May tend to be the hottest months of the year, right at the end of the dry season and at the start of the wet season. Don’t worry too much, though, the ‘wet’ season isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, and even in winter, temperatures can rise to 28°C.

While Mexico enjoys lots of blue skies and sunshine, there’s also a chance of rain. Between June and October, you can expect a little more rain than the rest of the year, but it usually only lasts for one or two hours during the evening. It’s also worth noting that hurricane season is June and November, and they are more likely to appear between July and October. However, they rarely make landfall in Mexico, and hotels are well prepared to deal with them.

What should I pack?

When it comes to packing your suitcase, it’s best to check the weather forecast before you head off on holiday. Plenty of cool summer clothes are a must, but be sure to bring along a light jumper or jacket just in case. It can cool down in the evenings, and the climate tends to be milder in high-altitude areas.

If you’re planning on hitting the beach or lounging around the pool, bring your swimwear, sunglasses, and plenty of sun cream. And if you’re heading out on a walk or a hike, functional clothing, suitable footwear, and a waterproof backpack are essential.

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