If you’re planning a Mexican holiday, chances are you’re eyeing up the country’s east coast. Typified by glorious beaches, guaranteed hot, sunny weather and top-notch hotels, it’s got everything you could possibly want for a relaxing break.
While it’s a fantastic place to kick back and unwind, there’s so much to see on Mexico’s east coast that you’ll no doubt want to drag yourself away from the resort at some point. Whether you fancy soaking up the local history, throwing yourself into something active or simply relaxing somewhere a little off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded for stepping away from your lounger for a day or two.
Mexico’s eastern seaboard is a pretty sizeable area, stretching all the way from the northern border with Texas to Belize in the south. With so much land to cover, it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why the Flexicover team has put together this guide to the five best things to do during your time on the east coast of Mexico.
Explore the historic port city of Veracruz
One of Mexico’s oldest ports, Veracruz is the perfect spot if you’re after a cultural city break in the midst of your sunshine getaway. Steeped in history, it was the place where the Spanish Conquistadors first landed, a fact that’s borne out by the stunning architecture of the downtown area, Centro Histórico. Here, you can learn about the city’s past at the Museo de la Ciudad and explore the stronghold of Baluarte de Santiago, a Spanish fort built to defend Veracruz from pirate attacks. The nightlife here is authentically Mexican; be sure to stop by the plaza of El Zocalo for laid-back beers under the stars.
Take a dip in the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its cenotes: subterranean caverns with naturally-formed pools. Some are deep shafts with vertical walls, while others are shallow and wide. Some are easily accessed from the surface, while others can only be reached through tiny holes in the ceiling, or by trekking through labyrinthine tunnels. There are thousands of cenotes dotted across the peninsula, but perhaps the most spectacular is Ik Kil, located just a couple of miles from Chichen Itza. The crystal blue waters are ideal for swimming, while the steep walls are lined with twisting vines and beautiful tropical flowers.
Unwind on the laid-back Isla Mujeres
If you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of Mexico’s busy resort towns, Isla Mujeres is the perfect option. This chilled-out island, located eight miles off the coast of Cancun, can be easily reached by ferry from the mainland, but it feels a world away from the restaurants and bars of the tourist strips. The beaches here are some of the best in Mexico; Playa Norte is particularly worth investigating. Visit Isla Mujeres for a day or two, spending your time touring the island by golf cart, swimming, snorkelling and diving in the sea, and dining on delicious local seafood.
See the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum
Mexico is synonymous with spectacular ancient ruins, but Tulum is perhaps the best place in the country to get your fix of Mayan history. The ruins, dotted along the steep cliffs that line the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, are the remnants of a major Mayan port that was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries, before falling prey to the Conquistadors. Countless ruins are dotted around the modern town, but arguably the most impressive is El Castillo, a Mayan pyramid that doubled as an ancient lighthouse. Bring your swimming costume, as there’s a small beach to wade in too.
Go snorkelling in the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, located off the island of Cozumel in Quintana Roo, is one of the best snorkelling spots in the world. Its waters are home to a series of reefs that are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest system of corals on the planet. About 200 metres from the island’s shore, you’ll find yourself surrounded by three separate reefs that drop to depths of no more than 14 metres, making the area a haven for underwater exploration. Down the centuries, the coral has formed into countless otherworldly shapes; each outcrop incorporates tiny nooks and crannies that are a paradise for brightly coloured tropical fish.
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.