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Despite the recent bad press around safety concerns, Mexico is still a great place to visit. It is well-known for its fantastic Aztec heritage, fabulous cuisine, world-class beaches and diverse landscapes. Indeed there’s much to keep the visitor busy whilst on holiday. But have you considered these hidden gems? Here we identify our top four hidden attractions that may not be on the average tourist’s itinerary.
1. Cancun’s Underwater Museum
This has to be the most unusual museum in the world! In Cancun’s National Park, the artist Jason deCaires Taylor has established an underwater museum: Silent Evolution. It consists of more than 400 different sculptures placed on the ocean floor. So if you want to discover and explore the museum, you will have to don some scuba diving gear and literally dive to the bottom of the sea. It really is a unique and memorable experience and is not to be missed.
2. The Temple of Cholula – the Hidden Pyramid
You’ll find this ancient Aztec monument, built before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, in the state of Puebla. The Temple of Cholula is bigger even than the famous Egyptian pyramids of Giza. For many years the temple lay hidden underneath overgrown vegetation so that many people simply thought it was just a hill. Even the Spaniards were unsuspecting and went ahead and built a church on top! It was only when the shrubs and grasses were removed that the true majesty of the hidden pyramid was finally revealed. With its amazing stairs, platforms and intricate altars together with a five-mile long snaking tunnel inside, it’s well worth taking the time to visit.
3. Isla Mujeres – the Women’s Island
Just off the coast of Cancun is the magical Isla Mujeres or Women’s Island. Named in honour of the moon goddess Ixchen, Women’s Island is a great introduction to the ancient Mayan culture. It also has some world-class beaches and lush tropical jungle, making it a veritable Caribbean paradise. It’s a great place to simply relax in the sun or to enjoy the snorkelling and diving on offer.
4. Take Part in a Rain Dance!
Mexico is famous for its colourful and inimitable festivals. The festival season runs from November through to February and, if you’re lucky, you may find yourself witnessing a rain dance. This ancient Indian ritual is still carried out to this day and it involves 4 or 5 men dressed in brightly coloured clothes, climbing up a high pole. Accompanied by the sounds of drums and flutes, the men attached to ropes then launch themselves from the top of the pole and fall to the ground. They then have to turn around the pole for 13 times. It’s a very strange but also incredible spectacle.
Mexico is a fabulous place to visit and offers a wealth of truly memorable experiences. And these hidden gems will make for it even more unforgettable.