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Mayan temples, beach life and tequila shots

‘To put it simply, I loved Mexico. The Caribbean beaches rival the world’s best, but the Yucatan peninsula also has fascinating Mayan culture, incredible food, and friendly people.

It’s certainly not all about Cancun. From the Caribbean coast, called the Riviera Maya, you can visit the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá. It’s an astonishing sight but if long day trips don’t rock your boat, visit nearby Tulum’s clifftop temple ruins which overlook its fantastic beach. Nature lovers will love the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and across the region, you can swim in cenotes, cave-like pools in the jungle. Go snorkelling, scuba-diving and sea-trekking around the islands of Cozumel or Isla Mujeres, or go zip-lining and river-tubing at eco-parks like Xcaret and Xel-Ha eco-parks, perfect for families.

Of course, this coastline isn’t short of fantastic hotels. One of my favourites is Esencia. It used to be an Italian duchess’s seaside home and is on a 50-acre estate by Xpu-Ha bay. I also love Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita, a wonderfully secluded place built by the owner for his wife. They still spend part of the year there and the all-inclusive concept is on another level, with fine wines and catamaran cruises included. Then there’s Mayacoba. Underground caves and waterways were found on-site, and it took architects, biologists, geologists and engineers to create this resort, now home to Banyan Tree, Fairmont, Rosewood and Andaz, with a Greg Normal golf course among its lagoons, jungle, mangrove and beach.

Then there’s the food. Filled tortas , creative taco fillings and traditional mole sauces will change your perception of Mexican food and the chocolate is divine, as you’d expect from its birthplace. And of course, have a drop of tequila. It’s the country’s signature spirit, after all.’

Flight time: 9 hours

Language: Spanish

Capital: Mexico City

Currency: Peso

Time difference: GMT -5