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What to see:

MEXICO has something for everyone, whatever your style and whatever your budget. The biggest problem you'll have is trying to pick your specifics from such diversity!

Mexico City is a good place to start; it is second largest city in the world and pulsates with the music of the marioachi bands and the sirens of police cars. Art, history, religion, music and shopping - whatever you want,

Mexico has it in sombreros, though be warned the crime rate is high and travelling as a lone female you may feel vulnerable, so vigilance and common sense should not be left at home.

Just outside Mexico City is Teotihuccan (easily accessed by tourist buses), the ancient city which housed 200,000 people in the 6th century. 'Impressive' does not begin to sum up the walk down the Avenue of the Dead to the Pyramid of the Sun.

For those seeking the splendours of Mayan civilisation off the beaten track, head for Palenque National Park way down south by the Guatemala border, where 500 buildings dating back 1,500 years lie (all but 43 of them still hidden) in verdant jungle.

This is guaranteed to knock your socks off!

Head further east from here into the Yucatan Peninsula and you're in the Mayan heartland where their ancestors still live today.

There are plenty of architectural sites as well as some beautiful coastal resorts.

The coastal resort in Mexico has to be Acapulco, whose name unfortunately reminds me of Phil Collins going loco (if only he went to live there and found love with some native, maybe that would stop him making such terribly dull music about his marriage break-up).

But don't let Phil put you off!

Acapulco is marvellous. Famous for its cliff divers, bars, beaches, and shopping, it has that bizarre mix of extreme affluence and absolute poverty (or to put it another way, the filthy rich and the plain filthy) which shocks you rigid if you walk too far from the glittering waterfront restaurants and malls.

For an altogether mellower (and possibly more Mexican) experience, head for the city Oaxaca in the Central State of . . . Oaxaca.

The large Mexican-Indian population give the Spanish-built city a unique and altogether more gentle feel.

It's a good place to buy brightly coloured woven cotton clothes that say 'Mexican' when you're back home but 'Tourist' when you're there.


When to go:

Best time to go: Oct - May pleasant, May-Oct wet and hot

Eco-view: Mexico City has really bad air pollution

Must take: Paracetamol (tequila can be deadly)

Overall View:

It's a place to chill out in the mountains for a few days and get yourself together to recover from, or prepare for, the more hectic Mexican cities.

Mexico . . . go there, try it - you'll find a lot of something you like!


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