There’s more to Mexico than margaritas and tacos. Here are six things you may not know about the United Mexican States that should put it first on your travel bucket list.
Copper Canyon could swallow the Grand Canyon whole
Barranca del Cobre, or Copper Canyon, is about four times the size of the Grand Canyon. It’s formed by the confluence of six rivers, and unlike the Grand Canyon it is lush green with pine, oak and fig trees. It has plenty of waterfalls, hot springs, lakes, caves and rock formations to explore, and if you arrange an excursion you can even visit the remote village of the native Tarahumara people. It’s a long train trip from Chihuahua (yes, the world’s smallest dog breed is named after this Mexican state), but definitely worth it. If you’re feeling adventurous, hop off and hike through the woods, set up camp, visit the Adventure Park and check out the sky high suspension bridges.
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A photo posted by Live, Love and Travel (@liveloventravel) on
Twice a year the Chich’en Itza pyramid casts an eerie shadow
Every year during the equinoxes thousands of tourists and locals flock around the pyramid to witness the ‘decent of Kukulcan’ complete with the sound of drums and traditional music, but minus the ritual sacrifice. The architectural brilliance of the Mayans combined with the position of the sun during the equinox creates the image of a giant snake (Kukulcan) crawling down the temple. If you’re not up to the equinox crowds, the phenomenon is recreated artificially every night during a light show. The Chich’en Itza pyramid is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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The underwater museum, Museo Subacuático de Arte, was designed to help regenerate the damaged ecosystem
Just off the coast of Cancun, this underwater museum showcases more than 400 life-size sculptures that double as a massive artificial coral reef. The sculptures are placed in the shallow waters where you can easily dive or snorkel through the exhibition, or float by on a glass-bottomed boat.
A photo posted by A.K (@wanderlust_23694) on
From an underwater museum to subterranean beach
Yup, that’s right. You’ll have to swim or kayak through a tunnel to get to Hidden Beach where a gaping hole in the lush green island opens onto the most beautiful stretch of beach with plenty of shade and turquoise waters. It’s called Playa del Amor, and it is a feature of one of the Marieta Islands west of Puerto Vallarta. This stretch of the earth, also known as the Riviera Nayarit, has some of the best waves in Mexico, not to mention the hip little hangouts and the boho-chic surf town vibes.
A photo posted by Marcela (@marsjims) on
The world’s largest pyramid is hidden in Mexico
Thought the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was the largest in the world? Think again. Mexico is hiding the world’s largest pyramid – so well, in fact, that Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés completely missed it, and unwittingly built a church right on top of it. Over the years, vegetation disguised the pyramid so that by the time Cortés arrived, he simply saw a hill. The size of the pyramid will blow your mind. Its base is about 450 x 450 meters – that’s four times the size of the pyramid of Giza! There’s a museum and a visitor’s centre at the entrance to the site that’s absolutely worth a visit.
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Mexico brought us chocolate. And mezcal (the lesser known cousin of tequila)
The Aztecs believed that cocoa was a gift from the god of wisdom, and valued the seeds so much that they used them as a form of currency. You can’t go to Mexico and not sample their chocolate, and what better place than Oaxaca. This lively town is always celebrating something, with fireworks, dancing and big bands to keep the festivities going. Sip your way through town as you sample the local mezcal, a drink made from the agave plant; like tequila, but with a smoky flavour.
A photo posted by Mezcal GAD (@graciasadiosmezcal) on
Intrigued? This is just the tip of the…volcano for magical Mexico. What are you waiting for? Talk to one of our travel experts today, and go and experience it for yourself!