Mexico is a country that’s impossible to sum up in a little guide (which is why I will be building out the information I share on Mexico through individual state guides). This country is large, and full of a wide array of ecosystems and mountainous landscapes. From deserts to tropical forests, Mexico has it all. And likewise, it has long been home to an array of cultures, many of which have attained historic, scientific, and artistic heights that have made Mexico’s people a global force for creativity and innovation. From the Mayans, Toltecs, and Aztec peoples to the multi-cultural, modern Mexico, the people who call this country home have impressed the world.

With all of this in mind, it should come as no surprise that visiting and exploring Mexico offers travelers the opportunity to see a complex, awe-inspiring, and varied country (full of good food).

While Mexico can be quite dangerous to both travelers and its own local people, it is still a world class country for domestic and international travel. Let the following set of state-based guides help you decide what parts of Mexico might be a good place for your next exploration. But as always, go safely and take care of yourself.

General Information

san carlos sonora

(c) ABR 2023

Type: Sovereign Nation (1810)

Region: Central America

Official Languages: Spanish + 68 indigenous languages

Population: 129 million (2023)

Capital: Mexico City

Currency: Mexican Peso

Outlets: Type A and B

Highpoint: Citlaltépetl (aka Pico de Orizaba)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 35 Sites

National Parks: 67

The Nature of Mexico

There is no simple way to explore the natural world of such a large country as Mexico. So, I will be including most of my details on the geology and ecology of Mexico in my individual state guides below.

But the diverse and powerful mountains and geological features of Mexico have shaped its peoples and history from time immemorial. It’s no coincidence that it is a place renowned for its beautiful settings, from exceptional beaches to tall mountains.

My Posts On Exploring the Natural World of Mexico

Sonora

Pinacate Reserva de la Biosfera El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar – This volcanic UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases the beauty and dynamism of the Sonoran Desert. My guide covers hikes and drives in the park.

San Carlos is a Pueblo Mágico that is included on Mexico’s premier list of exceptional towns because of its mind-blowing natural beauty. When I visited, I hiked almost every day and was in awe throughout my trip. Learn more in my guide to some of the trails in the town as well as some other not-to-miss parts of town.

The History and Culture of Mexico

It would be impossible to sum up the history and culture of a country as large, diverse, and dynamic as Mexico in a short guide like this one. And I plan on doing continual research on both of these over time. My plan is to build out this section as I go, although much of the details will be in the individual Mexican state guides below.

A Short Timeline

13,000 years ago (at least) – People began to settle the lands that we now know as Mexico.

1200 BC – The Olmec people flourish in what is now known as Veracruz.

0-500 AD – Teotihuacán is likely one of the largest cities in the world, built by a people of the same name.

250-900 AD – The Mayan civilization thrives in the Yucatan peninsula and beyond.

800-1000 AD – The Toltec civilization, in what is now known as Hildalgo, was at its zenith.

1428 – 1521 – The Aztec civilization rises to power in Central Mexico.

1519 – Hernan Cortes and his men land in Mexico, beginning the age of European colonization of the county.

1810 – 1821 – The Mexican war for independence is fought and won. For a time, Mexico includes all of Central America and in what is now the Western United States. In 1824, the southern countries of Central America become independent.

1846 – 1848 – The United States wages war with Mexico, resulting in the selling of the northern portions of the country – which are modern-day California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

1910 – 1920 – The Mexican Revolution moves the country to a constitutional government.

1960s – Protests over wealth inequality; the government quells this unrest through sometimes violent means.

1990s – Indigenous rights are fought for through protests and sometimes violent opposition groups.

2006 – A new government taskforce is formed to deal with the powerful drug cartels of Mexico and a struggle ensues that continues to this day.

My Posts On Exploring the History and Culture of Mexico

Sonora

Visiting the Capital of Sonora, Hermosillo – Hermosillo is a bustling metropolis with museums, good food, and a downtown with a beautiful church and a variety of urban mountains. My guide covers some of the cool things to do in this town.

Small Towns and Pueblos Mágicos in Sonora – There are four Pueblos Mágicos in Sonora, and while I wasn’t able to see them all, I’ve got a short guide on the small towns that we were able to visit while in Sonora. Taken together, they offer a unique window into the history and diverse culture of this Mexican state.

Unseen Puerto Peñasco – There is a magical world of tide pools, tasty food and kind people in Rocky Point. Learn about seeing the unseen (to many tourists) world of this beautiful, sea-side town that has been experiencing a tourism boon for several decades. Learn more about what to see here and how if you aren’t a partier.

More Resources 

BBC’s Mexico Profile – Timeline

History Channel’s History of Mexico

Exploring Mexico by State

I will be working on creating a page for each Mexican state that I am able to visit. Please check out the alphabetized list below for each state that I have posts on.

Sonora

Sonora is the sister state to Arizona (in my humble opinion). They share the Sonoran Desert, as well as alot of history and culture. What Sonora has that Arizona does not, is a wild and beautiful coast line with beach towns large and small. Whether you are interested in hiking, tanning in the sun, or experiencing the magic of the Desert, this state probably has something for you. Learn more and access all my posts on this state in my Visitor’s Guide to Sonora.

More Information From Around the Web

United States’ Travel Advisory for Mexico

Canadian Travel Advisory for Mexico

UK Travel Advisory for Mexico

Want to save this for later? Consider pinning it!