The true heart of Mexico is located right in the center of the country. From the colonial-inspired scenery of north-central Mexico to the rich history and cultural influence of south-central Mexico, the entire region of central Mexico is a draw for any world traveler.
Should you find yourself in Mexico's very misunderstood capital, Mexico City, you'll find yourself surrounded by more historical buildings than you'll know what to do with. This City of Palaces is populated with large, magnificent buildings from every era since the pre-Columbian 12th century. This city is also home to the largest number of museums in the world.
Now the hustle and bustle of major cities is certainly not for everyone. If this is the case for you and your group, consider escaping to the city of Puebla. It is known as the "mini Mexico City" with a much smaller population. This colonial city is jam-packed with cathedrals and museums, but more laid back than Mexico City.
The north-central section of Central Mexico is full of streets lined with colonial-style buildings and a wide variety of landscapes. From the mountains of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, to the plains in Bajio you'll see sights you thought only existed in movies. You can wander the mountains or sit and watch the world float by on rivers like Panuco, Aguanaval, Turbio, Guanajuato, La Laja, Lerma and Verde.
If you want to travel a little further down, you will wander into the Valley of Mexico. This region is the most important settlement of the Aztecs full of riches and rituals. Much of today's Mexican culture and traditions were born in this area. The south is politically and economically the most important are of the whole country.
For a walk back in time, visit the archaeological site of Museo Templo Mayor and the famous Pyramid of Huitzilopochtli. This was a major spiritual temple for the Aztecs that was unearthed and restored in 1976. A walk through the site and the museum will give you a true glimpse into the magnificence of the Mayan civilization.
While you are checking out pyramids, you may also want to take a trip to Teotihuacan. This UNESCO World Heritage site includes some of the largest pyramids in all of Mexico. The site's Palace of the Plumed Butterfly has columns of beautiful winged animals while the nearby Museo de la Sitio displays artifacts of the time period.
If you are more interested in current culture and tradition, visit the Plaza de la Constitucion. The main public square is one of the most recognizable places in Mexico City. For centuries the public have gathered here for religious events and festivals like Holy Week. While you are there look through the national cathedral, the National Palace and other federal buildings. If you stick around for sunset, you will see Mexican soldiers perform the flag ceremony. As the soldiers take the flag down, the surrounding locals play instruments and create a fantastic ambiance.
While you're wandering and taking in the beauty of the former Mayan region, stop in and tour Mexico's national cathedral. This magnificent and ornate church was once the site of ancient Aztec religious site, so this space has been holy for centuries. Today, it houses five naves, fourteen chapels, paintings from famous Spanish artists and underground catacombs.
With so many landscapes in central Mexico, there are countless adventures to be had. There's kayaking, white water rafting, cave exploration, and any other adrenaline pumping activity you can think of.
For things to do as you still explore the city, check out segue tours around Mexico City, or bicycling tours around any of the other surrounding cities.
Food and Dining
Central Mexico is full of elegant dining experiences and food stalls with fresh Mexican produce. For the best of the best in Mexican flavors, watch for where the locals eat. Be cautious when approaching stands that seem to only cater to tourists they don't depend on return business so may not be the most hygienic option.
There are taco places all over and you won't want to miss out. You can watch the women prepare the tortillas and while the men chop the other ingredients. You'll see your very own, authentic Mexican taco made from scratch for you to enjoy.
There are several options for travelling around central Mexico. Buses are generally known as camiones and are the cheapest option for going to and from cities and nearby towns. They run frequently and cost just a few pesos. They typically only stop at designated bus stops, but in some places you can hold your hand out to have them stop at any street corner.
The cycling culture is gaining popularity in Mexican cities. Mexico City offers free bike rental with a handful of dedicated bike routes. Further, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey all have their own underground metro systems.
The most convenient form of transportation is a taxi, but be sure the taximeter works. If it doesn't, be sure to negotiate the price before getting in the car.
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