Plaza San Fernando, probably our favourite plaza in Guanajuato. Fine baroque and neoclassical buildings are the result of the prosperity of the silver mines in the 18th century and there are many churches. We were visiting during Semana Santa the week before Easter Sunday a popular time for Mexican tourists to visit the city. We opted out but did manage to walk past six of them as we wandered around town and saw the queues snaking out of the churches.
The heart of the city is the main plaza Jardin de la Union. The area is lively in the evenings with mariachi bands and street performers. Teatro Juarez, near the Jardin.
Street performers often perform on its steps. We were staying with our friends Warren and Betsy who got us up at 6. Us enjoying the view from the cross on top of one of the hills overlooking Guanajuato Thanks Warren for the photo. One of our hikes was particularly challenging as Warren took us off trail and we ended up fighting our way through brush and clambering down steep rock faces using bridging techniques.
Back to Contents. Alhondiga de Granaditas—this old grain storage building was the site of the first major victory over the Spanish in the independence movement. Goats on the Road have more suggestions for things to do in Guanajuato. Lonely Planet Mexico is my favourite guidebook and was updated in I buy the Kindle version. The purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees in spring add to an already colourful city. Airbnb is a good place to find private rooms and apartments—perfect for living like a local and for longer stays. There are plenty of options including this beautiful hummingbird house and Casa Mirador , an apartment with amazing views.
Huge hands, statues of locals and VW Beetles, the exhibits are surrounded by ocean wildlife giving you a really unique experience. MUSA continues to expand, as more sculptures are added, while the old ones are being eaten away by marine creatures.
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The entire Riviera Maya is covered with thousands of cenotes, many of them you can swim in. Most people visit them to go swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling. My favorite was Verde Lucero, which has its own zipline! A Tezmacal ritual is a traditional Mayan ceremony of purification which takes place in a tiny hut. The ceremony is led by a local shaman, who conducts the ritual and takes care of participants. The tezmacal ceremony takes place in complete darkness, as the shaman pours water over the hot rocks, chanting and using different herbs to summon spirits. Temazcal was performed since ancient times, is seen as a purification ceremony that cleans the body, mind, and soul.
As your body is sweating in the tiny hut, you enter a deep state of meditation, enhanced by the shamanic chanting. The Hotel Zone has many beaches where you can relax and sip your margarita, but some of them really stand out, thanks to their beauty and atmosphere. There are a couple of different theme parks near Cancun with zip lines. The closest theme park where you can enjoy zip lining is Selvatica. They offer multiple packages with 10 different zip lines. Xplor Adventure Park also has two zip line circuits, each with 7 different routes, with the highest point at 45 m ft.
All these adventure parks usually have other activities too, like ATVs and cenotes. The oldest building in Chichen Itza dates from the 5th century. The nine terraces around it symbolize the belief in heaven with nine levels. Chichen Itza is well preserved so you can get a glimpse of how the ancient Maya people lived. The ride up takes about 5 minutes, and you can spend another 15 minutes taking photos as the deck spins around giving you views in all directions.
Mercado 28 Market 28 is a huge shopping center in downtown Cancun. From textiles to maracas and leather items, you can find some cool Mexican souvenirs at Mercado Many items are handcrafted and unique, so they make great travel gifts. Feel free to test your bargaining skills here. Stop by one of the local restaurants for food at a fraction of Hotel Zone prices too! Mercado 28 is easy to reach by bus from the Hotel Zone, but make sure you look for the Super Aki store, as there are several other markets with a similar name which can fool tourists. The city is known for its crazy nightlife, especially during Spring Break, when students travel to Mexico for a little fun.
After a day at the beach, when sun goes down you can unleash your energy and dance the night away.
Stand up paddle boarding is the latest trend in Cancun, but it is also a pretty easy and friendly sport that everyone can enjoy. You can rent your own paddleboard from the beach, or join a group trip to explore a certain area. If you are up for a challenge, join a long paddleboard tour that travels from Cancun all the way to Isla Mujeres! Other options are to paddle Nichupte Lagoon mangrove jungle or go on a sunrise wildlife tour. Looking to enjoy a traditional Mexico fiesta? Give Xoximilco a try!
This is a Mexican party held on boats which travel on the canals near Cancun. There is music, tequila, and delicious food, which makes Xoximilco a great way to taste local culture. During Xoximilco there is live music and people dance a lot. There are also many social games which keep the party going. The music and food come from different Mexico areas, which makes the party a colorful display of local culture.
Board a sailing catamaran and watch the colorful sunset as the breeze plays with your hair. Most sunset sailing trips out of Cancun also offer an open bar and snacks, so you can sit back and relax. These journeys generally last about 2 hours, and companies offer a bad-weather refund if it gets too stormy or rough. There are many underwater attractions in the area. Cancun is located close to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world.
Home to dolphins, many kinds of tropical fish, eels, lobsters, nurse sharks, and majestic eagle rays.
There are several locations where newbies can learn scuba diving and get their PADI license. This small island is only 20 minutes from Cancun by ferry from Hotel Zone. Isla Mujeres offers stunning views thanks to its rocky coast and gorgeous bays. It is also the first spot where you can see the sunrise in Mexico. This sleepy fishing village offers a well-deserved pause from the crazy nightlife of Cancun. For a bit of adventure, you can take a water taxi tour 40 minutes south to Yelapa, which is a small fishing village turned day trip spot, with a pristine beach and a few restaurants.
As a vacation destination which is popular with visitors from around the world, there is no shortage of restaurants with every type of cuisine.
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Everything from street corner taco stands to gourmet fine dining is available. For expats, dining out with friends is a popular activity any night of the week. Often the evening starts with sunset happy hour drinks on the water, or up on the hill with a view. If you want a water view try a place on the malecon , a miles-long seaside promenade in the heart of town. You can even find restaurants with tables right on the sand, especially in Playa Los Muertos.
Other go-to dining districts include the Zona Romantica, also known as Emiliano Zapata. There are also theaters, karaoke, open mic nights, and dance clubs. Entertainers could be locals or brought in by venue owners from North America and Europe. These are professional performers that put on a show. One place to check out is Incanto, which has a full calendar of music and other live performances; they even do a bingo night with a funny host.
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So you can expect big parades and other public celebrations throughout the year. Dia de Muertos Day of the Dead is traditionally a time for Mexican families to honor their deceased loved ones, taking place on Nov. But it has turned into kind of a party, with locals and expats alike painting their faces as catrins or catrinas skeletons and hitting the town.
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Other major holidays include Mexican independence day on Sept. The municipal government puts on frequent performances of folkloric dancing and music at the amphitheater downtown, on the malecon. And you also have music festivals, art festivals, gourmet food festivals, and more at various spots in and around town. A favorite activity amongst tourists and expats alike is a day out on the water. The vast Bahia de Banderas provides the ultimate setting for boating. Some expats have their own boat at the large, full-service marina to the north of town, near the airport.
You can also hire a charter or join a tour. There are sunset sails, trips up and down the coast to unspoiled beaches you can only get to by boat, and stops for lunch at small fishing villages. From December to March, you can hope to catch a glimpse of migrating humpback whales.
Of course, you can also go fishing and hope to catch marlin, sailfish, and tuna. For surfers the towns of Sayulita and San Francisco popularly known as San Pancho about a one-hour drive to the north, offer world-class waves. When the water is calm standup paddle boarding is the go-to. And with so many activities and free or low cost entertainment, you can indulge whenever you want. The current population is approximately , With any city of this size there is crime. But thankfully, Puerto Vallarta continues to be one of the safest and friendliest cities in Mexico for international visitors, national tourists, and expats alike.
Part of that is the result of a heavy police and military presence. In short, the government knows that this area brings in a lot of tourist dollars and wants to keep it secure.