World Cup holiday guide: Mexico

For players, representing their country at the World Cup can often be the pinnacle of their career and for spectators simply attending the tournament can be a once in a lifetime experience.

In the spirit of everyone catching World Cup fever, choose Mexico for your next holiday and create some unforgettable memories. As the sun shines down on the Quintana Roo state you can relax on the most beautiful beaches the world has to offer, party long into the night at the legendary clubs of Cancun, visit ancient and spiritual monuments built by the Mayans and, of course, chow down on delicious street food.

As Mexico’s national team prepare to go head-to-head with world champions Germany, you could be cheering them on from the shores of Playa del Carmen. This is why you should jet off to this strip of North America for your next holiday.

Why we love it

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Who could say no to a holiday where you spend the day sipping tequila cocktails on a beach and the evening devouring authentic tacos and quesadillas or clinking champagne on the balcony of your 5-star hotel? Mexico’s Quintana Roo region can provide this in spades and – thanks to the wealth of activities and sights to see – no day of your holiday will be the same.

The star attractions of the region are undoubtedly the twin cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. While they share the same spotless coastline, the pair couldn’t be more different. Cancun is the name that gets the pulse racing. It is the go-to destination for spring break and with its range of restaurants, luxurious hotels, clubs and bars it feels like a city that never sleeps.

Playa del Carmen is often seen as the “anti-Cancun” and takes a much more laidback approach than its boisterous neighbour. This serene setting is where you can relax, explore the jungle and go scuba diving along the famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Alternatively, you can chill out in Isla Mujeres – a stunning island which looks across to Cancun – or hang out in the tranquility of Puerto Morelos.

Once you have experienced the beauty of Mexico, you will never want to leave.

What you cannot miss

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Away from Cancun’s Hotel Zone and the milky white sands of Playa del Carmen, there is so much to discover and experience in the Quintana Roo region. This part of Mexico is characterised by the ancient ruins of the Mayans and the focal point of this is Chichen Itza.

Considered to be one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, it was built by the civilisation over 1,000 years ago. It was among the largest Maya cities and has the imposing El Castillo – or Temple of Kukulcan – at its centre; it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and should be at the very top of your Mexico bucket list.

The Mayan influence on the region has also attracted a few friendly creatures. Close to the Hotel Zone is the El Rey ruins which has a number of notable residents – hundreds of iguanas. The lizards aren’t afraid to say hello to visitors so make friends with these natives.

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Sail along the Mayan Riviera to the Xcaret eco-archaeological Park where you can snorkel in the crystal clear water, embark on adventure trails and see a host of live shows. However, if there is one thing that you will be talking about for years to come it is swimming in a cenote.

There are hundreds of these underground caves dotted across the region and have been formed over thousands of years. Regarded as sacred by the Mayans, swimming in these illuminated natural pools is something you will never forget.

Find out more about the attractions of Cancun and Playa del Carmen in our dedicated blog post.

Eat like the locals

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Photo credit: Noonch via Flickr.

Be honest, one of the main reasons you want to visit Mexico is to spend two weeks trying all the different local dishes? We can’t blame you, the food is absolutely incredible here. While there are a huge range of eateries and street food vendors dishing up some mouthwatering tacos, burritos and quesadillas there are some specialty meals that have their origins rooted in Quintana Roo.

Chow down on cochinita pubil, a traditional pork dish cooked in banana leaves and seasoned with annatto paste, bitter orange and garlic, or perhaps opt for the poc chuc, grilled pork steaks marinated in a spicy sauce. Given its location, the region offers some incredible seafood, notably tik n chik which is a whole fish smothered in annatto paste.

Fancy a tipple? Treat yourself to a drop of balche, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pineapple rind – delicious.

Plan your own trip of a lifetime to Mexico with Sunmaster. Use the deal finder at www.sunmaster.co.uk and choose from a huge range of hotels to create your dream holiday in a dream location.