Latest posts by Sophie Griffiths (see all)
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Is there any better time of year to be whisked away for a romantic holiday than Valentine’s Day? Whether you want to lounge with your lover on golden sands or you want to snuggle up together and look out at some gorgeous scenery from your clifftop villa, I feel like Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and just book that holiday. It’s even better if its a surprise! I’m looking at some of my dream destinations for a holiday-on-a-whim to Mexico, and yes – this is definitely one giant hint to my husband. Get reading, dear.
So, why Mexico? Realistically, it has everything. That little bit of Spanish flair, that deep culture which saturates everything you see. The marine life, the food, the gorgeous beaches and waterfalls. It’s the perfect place to dive right in to the hustle and bustle, or be in locations so quiet you might as well be the only two people in the world. It just looks beautiful. If you want to do something extra special and romantic for your loved one, you really can’t go wrong with a luxury Mexican vacation – and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time. Here are some of the ways I would spend my days there.
I’m a history nerd (of course! I’m currently working towards a Masters in History!) and I was really surprised to find out that Mexico is the home of more world heritage sites than England and the United States. I would love to go and explore some examples of Mexico’s rich history, and really immerse myself in the culture. This might just be me, but my heart races when I see Uxmal; Mayan culture is so fascinating to me, I love the shapes and methods in their construction and even looking at pictures online makes me feel like I can almost see the people living there. Head to the South East of Mexico and visit Yucatan state if you’re looking for this particular piece of Mayan history.
If nature is more your bag, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is pretty damn breathtaking – and actually incredibly close to Uxmal, in the same state of Yucatan. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, I feel like nobody could resist that crystal blue ocean along this coast. Sian Ka’an is where you’re going to get those typical hot holiday activities like snorkelling and getting to grips with marine life, and there are regular guided tours so you will be sure to see all of the best bits. This is actually another of Mexico’s world heritage sites, which is really cool: another ‘nature’ themed one is the Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Fun fact: I’m scared of butterflies, so I definitely wouldn’t be going there!! But if you aren’t horrified by being attacked* by butterflies (*I think a normal person would call it ‘being a human landing pad for the graceful butterfly’) then I imagine this would be definitely be worth a look.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t enjoy a holiday if its too hot and humid. Mexican heat averages in the mid twenties in February, which is perfect for Brits who are used to cold and rainy days. There is even rain in the early hours of a Mexican February morning, which takes care of humidity and means you’re always going to be warm enough to rock your best summer-wear but your hair isn’t going to rebel against you either. Also, if you’re looking for your perfect holiday frocks and sunnies, check out this article by our wonderful Zoë last Summer!
It kind of sounds crazy that ‘swimming with sharks’ has become the new ‘swimming with dolphins’, but I’m totally down with it. Obviously there are a whole host of safety measures in place so you aren’t about to become a shark’s breakfast! But you get to wear some amazing swimsuits like the ones Georgina wrote about last year, and experience something you might never have a chance to experience again. Head to Cancun if you’re interested in getting up close and personal with some sharks – though as a popular holiday destination, keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a quiet break!
I am so excited whenever I see pictures of Cenote Xkeken, and I am 100% sure it is one of those places that I have no choice but to visit before I die. Cenote Xkeken is yet another Yucatan attraction, and it is a giant sinkhole that is home to waters which were believed to lead to the Mayan underworld. Cool, right?! As a tourist you are welcome to explore Xkeken, as well as snorkle in its gorgeous waters and bask in the streams of sunlight breaking through the roof. Bliss.
If you’re looking for something quirky on your holiday, you absolutely need to get yourself to Mexico City. This is not going to be a beach vacation, but it is definitely going to stick in your memory forever. Take, for example, La Isla de las Munecas: The Island of the Dolls. The legend is that a girl had drowned off of Teshuilo Lake, and that the caretaker of a small island, Don Julian Santana, had witnessed her death and had devoted the rest of his life to collecting dolls in honour of her lost soul, and hanging them from the trees. I’m not going to lie, it looks creepy as hell – and especially creepy when you learn that Santana himself also drowned there in 2001. Chills. Slightly North West of Mexico City, in Nauculpan, is the absolutely breathtaking Quetzalcoatl’s Nest. If you’re a fan of the Broken Sword games like I am, you will already be familiar with the concept of Quetzalcoatl: he was a Mayan deity who was responsible for life, intelligence and self-reflection, and he was believed to have created the world with his rival, Tazcatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl’s Nest is an architectural installation built in honour of the diety, who was believed to have presented as a sort of feathered serpent. It is a series of apartments designed by Javier Senosiain which feature serpentine designs and form an intricate ‘nest’. These apartments are actually lived in, so you can’t go in and explore unfortunately: but if you’re out that way and you have an interest in architecture, you really can’t afford to miss them. I mean there is a 165ft cave attached to it that has been designed to resemble a serpent’s head. This is not your average block of flats.
That’s what I love about Mexico: it is weird and wonderful if that’s what you’re looking for, or it is peaceful and idyllic if you just need to get away and breathe for a little while. I definitely think I could take my kids on a Mexican adventure one day but hey – it’s Valentine’s Day. There is no better time to dream of a romantic getaway for two.