From beautiful Colima to the spectacle that is the Copper Canyon, arty San Miguel de Allende in the highlands, historic Guadalajara and Guanajuato, the Spanish-colonial city of Morelia and the traditional town of Patzcuaro, colonial Mexico & the north offer many gems.
Subtropical gardens and peaceful plazas set the tone for the sleepy city of Colima. The city lies in the heart of a small and ecologically rich sate that shares its name. With turquoise lagoons towards the Pacific coast and active and steaming volcanoes in the northern highlands, the natural diversity of the region is spectacular.
The enormous Copper Canyon, in the state of Chihuahua, is a magnificent spectacle stretching for an incredible 900 miles. Unwind in the traditional villages dotted around the area, visit the staggering waterfalls, the largest of which is the highest in Mexico, or relax in the tranquil hot springs, best reached by foot or on horseback. As well as wolves and cougars, the area is home to the fascinating Tarahumara people, who share ancestry with the Aztecs and whose way of life has barely changed in thousands of years.
San Miguel de Allende
Nestled within Mexico's hilly central highlands, San Miguel de Allende is the perfect blend of quaint and cosmopolitan. A haven for art lovers, there are workshops, galleries, and boutiques selling handicrafts everywhere you look.
Aptly named "The Pearl of the West," Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco and Mexico's second largest city, is a Mexican jewel. Steeped in history, this cultural hotspot is the birthplace of mariachi music, and its buzzing music scene is showcased in the vibrant music festivals throughout the year.
The historic cityof Guanajuato is quite a sight. Crammed into a small valley and spilling out onto the surrounding slopes, its colonial wealth was built on an abundance of silver and gold, and the city retains a rarefied, Old World atmosphere. The Museo y Casa de Diego Rivera showcases the work of the famous painter, while the Museo de las Momias is a morbidly fascinating collection of naturally mummified bodies.
Morelia, one of Mexico’s earliest outposts of Spanish colonialism, is also beautifully preserved, with new buildings adhering to strict regulations ensuring that they match the older ones. Highlights include the 17th-century cathedral, which is lit atmospherically at night, and the Museo Casa de Morelos, the former home of Mexican independence hero Jose Maria Morelos.
By contrast, Patzcuaro retains a very Mexican theme, thanks to its long history pre-dating the Spanish settlers. Today it’s a quaint and affluent town with an artistic edge, and is home to Mexico’s most vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations.