Backpacking in Mexico on a Gap Year

Countries  »  Mexico

Hola, amigos! When you think of Mexico you might think of burritos, sombreros and Spring Break in Cancun, but this is a country with so much more to offer backpackers than stereotypes and party clichés. A gap year in Mexico can involve an equal mix of beaches, beer and fun as well as amazingly rewarding experiences discovering the culture, history and traditions of this Central American nation.

Palacio Nacional in Mexico

The cities

Mexico City is a great starting point, offering up a wild mixture of ancient ruins, cool fusion restaurants, bars and clubs, museums, galleries, and shopping. 

Spend the day exploring the Palacio Nacional, a grand colonial palace, or the Teotihuacan ruins, an ancient Aztec city just a 40km excursion from the city, before spending the night eating gorgeous Mexican food, taking in a traditional wrestling show at Arena Mexico, or hitting the clubs hard. 

Other great cities include Tijuana (i.e. party central), Acapulco, tucked between a beautiful bay and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, and Puerto Vallarta, packed with stunning beaches, vibrant bars, and boutique shops. You're kind of spoiled for choice when backpacking in Mexico.

Aztec ruins in Mexico

The scenery

The absolute must-not-miss essential sight of Mexico is the Mayan ruin of Chichén Itzá on the Yucatan Peninsula, officially one of the seven wonders of the world and a spectacular archaeological site. Monte Alban, in a similar vein, is also well worth a look.

Elsewhere there's the Baja Peninsula, a beautiful area with long beaches backed by mountains and countless bays, the network of canyons that makes up Copper Canyon, larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon, and Sotano de las Golondrinas (the Cave of Swallows), the largest known cave shaft in the world with a depth of 1400 feet. You're not likely to be short of things to do.

Copper Canyon in Mexico

So what are you hanging about for? Get planning and start your Mexican adventure. Vamos!