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Mexico

United Mexican States

Mexico is bordered by the United States to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the southeast. Mexico is about one-fifth the size of the United States. Baja California in the west is an 800-mile (1,287-km) peninsula and forms the Gulf of California. In the east are the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Campeche, which is formed by Mexico’s other peninsula, the Yucatán. The center of Mexico is a great, high plateau, open to the north, with mountain chains on the east and west and with ocean-front lowlands lying outside them.

Mexico is a traveler’s paradise, filled with a multitude of opposing identities: desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, teeming industrialized cities, time-warped colonial towns, glitzy resorts, deserted beaches and an incredible collection of flora and fauna.

This mix of modern and traditional, clichéd and surreal, is the key to Mexico’s charm, whether your passion is throwing back margaritas, listening to howler monkeys, surfing the Mexican Pipeline, scrambling over Mayan ruins or expanding your collection of  Day of the Dead skeletons.

When to go

Mexico is enjoyable year-round, but October to May is generally the most pleasant time to visit. The May-September period can be hot and humid, particularly in the south, and inland temperatures can approach freezing during December-February. Facilities are often heavily booked during Semana Santa (the week before Easter) and Christmas/New Year, the peak domestic travel periods.

Mexico’s climate has something for everyone: it’s hot and humid along the coastal plains, and drier and more temperate at higher elevations inland (Guadalajara or Mexico City, for example). Try to avoid the southern coast between July and September – the resorts are decidedly soggy and jam-packed.