If you own a slice of real estate in Miami and have been enjoying lots of fabulous Cuban flavors but want to sample some of what Mexico has to offer, visiting Mexico City is likely to be on your travel itinerary. Of course, many others visit from across the globe as well. The capital city welcomed well over two million international tourists in 2016, according to Statista.com. And, while it has a ton to offer, there are lots of great day trips that provide the chance to delve into authentic Mexican life and escape the crowds at the same time.
A little over a two-hour drive southeast of Mexico City, Puebla is sometimes referred to as one of Mexico’s best cities that most people have never even heard of. It paints a true picture of the country’s colonial past, with a magnificent cathedral and lovely tiled streets. While it’s a buzzing university town, you’ll find lots of historical appeal in the facades, buildings and gardens. It even boasts its own English castle, the Ex-Hacienda de Chautla which sits in the middle of a lake.
While you’re here, be sure to sample Mexico’s rich and creamy sauce known as mole, which can be found in most traditional restaurants throughout the region, including “fondas,” tiny mom-and-pop eateries, each of which have their own personal recipes.
Just over 100 miles southwest of the capital city, Taxco is a former silver mining town and one of the nation’s most beloved colonial towns. It’s characterized by winding cobbled streets lined with whitewashed homes topped with red tile roofs and romantic plazas overlooked by bougainvillea-laced balconies, while its stunning baroque Santa Prisca cathedral serves as its iconic landmark. While the silver has long dried out, Taxco is still famous for its silver artisans and is one of the best destinations to visit for those who want to purchase it, offering the most extensive selection and some of the best prices around in the hundreds of platerias (silver shops) around town.
San Miguel de Allende
A three-hour drive northwest will bring you to one of central Mexico’s most well-preserved and most picturesque colonial towns, renowned for its cobblestone streets and gorgeous architecture, filled with buildings from the 17th– and 18th-centuries. Just a few of the highlights here include Mercado Ignacia Ramirez, Jardin Park and Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. The latter is the tallest building in the city, with a gothic façade of pink limestone inspired by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. San Miguel also hosts a thriving art scene. In fact, after the Second World War, many soldiers took advantage of the GI bill and enrolled in art schools here, the first of which opened here in 1938. The arts community is more vibrant than ever, with lots of galleries and studios with working artists and artisans. The streets are filled with inviting shops that sell all types of crafts, while the art and designer center known as Fabricca La Aurora is located within a former textile factory.