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20 Best Hotels & Resorts in México For Your Next Luxe Vacation

The last time I was in México, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the country truly was. It was my first time on the Caribbean side of the country, though I had already spent some time on the Pacific Coast. But the truth is, whether you are on one of the coasts, in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the country, you are sure to be surrounded by beautiful nature. Usually, when planning your next vacation, that includes a beach — but that’s not all that Mexico has to offer.

Whether your family is from America’s southern neighbor or from elsewhere in Latin America, México can be a wonderful place to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. And what better way to R&R than at one of México’s top hotels and resorts. From luxurious, adults-only, five-star resorts to unique boutique hotels and everything in between, here are the 20 best hotels and resorts in México that are sure to add a bit of luxury to your next vacation.

1. Iberostar Grand Paraíso

CREDIT: PHOTO: gabi_xochiteotzin/Instagram

This all-inclusive hotel is situated in Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Playa del Carmen, in between the vibrant jungle and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The resort features four other hotels (and plenty of restaurants) but you’ll want to stay at the Grand Paraíso because it’s adults-only, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy superb services (like a butler who will make you your very own rose bubble bath), a spa, golf, parties, a theater with nightly entertainment, amazing restaurants, and so much more.

2. Hotel El Ganzo

CREDIT: PHOTO: hotelelganzo/Instagram

It’s easy to find a luxurious resort in Mexico (after all, that’s what this list is for!) but sometimes you want a quiet, intimate place that’s out of the ordinary. That’s where Hotel El Ganzo in Los Cabos comes in. With just 70 guest rooms, but plenty of style, it’s a special experience. But the truly unique thing about this gem is that you can still have incredible spa treatments and gourmet cuisine, while listening to music probably coming from the hotel’s Underground Studio, where live musical performances and curated visual art exhibits are a serious treat for guests. 

3. Conrad San Luis Potosi

CREDIT: PHOTO: pulekinglord/Instagram

This hotel offers all of the sophistication and contemporary style that today’s smart luxury travelers love, along with state-of-the-art event spaces and eclectic dining options. But do you know what makes Conrad San Luis Potosi, set in the exclusive Lomas neighborhood, stand out? They offer an immersive cultural experience in 1, 3 or 5-hour itineraries. For instance: If you choose the “Go Directly to Jail” experience, you’ll travel to a new arts complex that was created in a 19th-century prison. There you’ll see art and sculpture exhibits in old jail cells and resident performers. Talk about a unique experience! 

4. ME Cabo

CREDIT: PHOTO: mecabo/Instagram

If you’re looking for a hotel in Mexico to bring high-energy dan plenty of fun this summer, then look no further than the ME Cabo, an upscale resort that has a full summer lineup of electric pool parties. Sure, some hotels are perfect for relaxing but this Baja Peninsula location, which features a gorgeous backdrop of desert-meets-ocean, is for those who are looking to let loose. Stay for a week at least so that you can fully experience the relaxing weekdays and high-energy weekends that this hotel is known and loved for.

5. Sheraton Grand Los Cabos

CREDIT: PHOTO: sheratongrandloscabos/Instagram

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Hacienda del Mar, the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos sits on top of 28 acres of land in the upscale enclave of Cabo del Sol. You have plenty of options in how to stay here, since the resort offers 270 guest rooms, including 31 private suits with private terraces. There are five restaurants, six bars, and 24-hour room service. And did I mention the two Five Star Diamond award-winning waterfront restaurants? Sure, the atmosphere seems like you’re in a little seaside village, but it’s luxury all the way.

6. Ignacia Guest House

CREDIT: PHOTO: ignaciamx/Instagram

If you’re traveling to Mexico City, then you simply must stay at Ignacia Guest House, a chic boutique bed and breakfast located in the gastronomic center of Mexico City in the vibrant Colonia Roma neighborhood. It’s an exclusive B&B with just five suites that feature a combination of Mexican artisan tradition and history with contemporary design. The cooks here prepare everything from scratch, using their pantry and sourcing all of their ingredients at neighborhood markets. And for the true foodie, you can even experience one of Casa Jacaranda’s cooking classes (just above Ignacia Guest House). 

7. Hyatt Zilara Cancun

CREDIT: PHOTO: hyattzilaracanc/Instagram

Located on the beautiful beaches of Cancun, the Hyatt Zilara Cancun is an all-inclusive resort that’s adults-only, which makes it perfect to visit with your sweetie or your girls. But the best part of this grand, luxurious hotel is their brand new Zen Spa. There’s so much to do that you won’t know where to start. Other than the incredible facial and massage options, you’ll want to try the Alchemy Ritual. This is a spa offer that includes a workshops at Alchemy, a private spa “test kitchen” where you will be able to create personalized balms and moisturizers made with all-natural ingredients. 

8. W Punta de Mita

CREDIT: PHOTO: wpuntademita/Instagram

For a mix of modern bohemian luxe with traditional vibes (in this case, those of the Huichol culture found in Nayarit), you’ll want to visit this gorgeous hotel that’s located in the middle of a jungle but also has a beachfront that’s to-die-for. Your first stop might just be the fantastic beach bar, called Chevycheria, which serves fresh ceviche and craft beer from a repurposed 1950’s Chevy pickup truck. If you really want to up the ante, though, you can book a mezcal and tequila tasting that also includes the not-so-known raicilla that is another alcohol made from the agave plant.

9. Vivo Resorts Mexico

CREDIT: PHOTO: vivoresorts/Instagram

Oaxaca is known to be one of the most beautiful parts of Mexico (then again, what part isn’t) and that is particularly true of this resort which is located on the untouched Pacific coast beach on the Oaxaca Emerald Coast. The Vivo Resorts Mexico are an exclusive community where you can stay for vacation and even buy condos so that you can come back over and over again. There are plenty of activities you can enjoy on-site, but one of the really great things is that here you’ll also be able to explore the charming downtown Puerto Escondido markets for fresh local products.

10. Las Ventanas al Paraíso

CREDIT: PHOTO: lasventanasalparaiso/Instagram

Located in between the historic town of San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, this luxury resort on the tip of the Baja Peninsula is a wonder of Rosewood Hotels expertise and beauty. The accommodations range from 84 suites and villas, each of which features a private infinity-edge pool and absolutely AH-mazing views of the Sea of Cortez. There are also incredible dining options, including the Instagram-worthy Arbol restaurant that has a giant tree in the middle. Plus, plenty of spa and wellness options, all of which are inspired by the four elements and will surely add a special something to your vacation.

11. UNICO 20°87°

CREDIT: PHOTO: unico2087/Instagram

Located in the Riviera Maya with plenty of stunning white sand beaches for you to enjoy, this is an immersive, all-inclusive hotel that’s tailor made for anyone with an adventurous spirit and seeking a unique experience. There are locally-inspired cocktails and cuisines, gorgeous art in the rooms, three unique pools and a holistic spa and wellness center that create an overall relaxed luxury experience. But beyond that, there are also pop-up events that give you some spontaneity and create a perfect atmosphere in this adults-only resort that’s perfect for millennials. 

12. Casa Decu

CREDIT: PHOTO: nelita_k/Instagram

The newest boutique hotel in the Condesa District of Mexico City (it opened at the end of 2017), the Casa Deco is housed in a restored Art Deco building. Featuring contemporary design with elements of the indigenous Mexican Art Deco style, it’s housed in a neighborhood that has been newly energized with galleries, bars, and restaurants, and so it’s perfect for those looking for a bit of luxury in the middle of a busy city. There are 27 luxury suites as well as a fitness center, beautiful rooftop garden terrace, and a continental breakfast all to be had before you venture out into the city streets. 

13. Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

CREDIT: PHOTO: taykim81/Instagram

For the tequila lover, you’ll simply WOW with the impressive ceviche and tequila bar at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. There are over 180 different tequilas to choose from, along with 12 kinds of draft beer, exclusive cocktails, and a variety of ceviche dishes. The property even has their own blend, Tequila CasaMagna, which is often poured by the resort’s own Tequilier, Audrey Formisano. There’s also plenty of authentic Mexican cuisine, fresh seafood, and of course an incredible spa and fitness center.

14. Le Méridien Mexico City

CREDIT: PHOTO: lemeridienmex/Instagram

If you can’t travel without your loyal kitty or pup, then this is the hotel for you. Not only does it offer 160 great rolls, but it’s also pet-friendly, which could make for a different kind of vacation that you’re sure to love. Beyond that, however, Le Méredien is known for offering phenomenal global programs, such as this summer’s Au Soleil, which brings French heritage to hotels around the world such as this one. There are drink and menu offerings that are sure to wow any guest. 

15. Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos

CREDIT: PHOTO: leblancresorts/Instagram

If you’re looking to TRULY relax during your Mexican vacation, then you simply must visit the Le Blanc Spa Resort. The Le Blanc Spa, located on the Baja Peninsula, offers state-of-the-art wellness experience for anyone who needs some extra R&R to go along with their beach vacation. There is a robust menu of modern and time-honored treatments, all meant to achieve paradise within. The facility is absolutely lavish, with 25 treatment suites that include 15 single rooms and nine couple’s rooms. The best part? If you book three or more nights, you will get an unlimited spa promotion during your stay.

16. Barceló Maya Beach

CREDIT: PHOTO: cheapcaribbean/Instagram

The recently refurnished hotel has quite a few things to brag about lately: There is a striking club house that hosts reception cervices, a Club Premium Lounge, and a beach lobby bar that has a smoking terrace for those still partaking, as well as a beach buffet restaurant, a speciality restaurant, and a gift shop. There’s a variety of suites and an All-Inclusive program that features snacks and drinks that are available 24 hours a day, plus of course access to all three restaurants. There’s even a special pool for adults, and one for children. 

17. Cala de Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa

CREDIT: PHOTO: firstclassandmore/Instagram

If dramatic cliffside views and unsurpassed beauty is what you’re looking for, then Cala del Mar offers plenty of that overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s a resort with plenty of activities, attractions, and things to do for an unforgettable vacation. Interested the annual whale migration? Then here you are. Or did you want to relax on the pristine Playa el Palmar? You’ve got it. And if you’re the kind of want to take in a game of golf, then here you go. And I haven’t even yet mentioned the Spa El Capricho, which combines Aztec healing traditions and rituals with local ingredients. It’s pretty incredible, really.

18. Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta

CREDIT: PHOTO: queroviajarmais/Instagram

I fully admit that I used to think that the Hard Rock Hotel chain, which explores the lifestyle of a rock n’ roll star, was kind of cheesy. But they’ve done an incredible job with their hotels, including this one that offers an escape to the legendary beaches and impossibly blue waters of the Bahia de Banderas in Riviera Nayarit. This luxurious, all-inclusive resort has a gorgeous beachfront setting, and plenty of options to play, eat, retreat, and bliss out. From the modern rooms and suits to the luxurious spa, you’ll finally be able to relax at this hotel on the Pacific Ocean.

19. Chablé Resort Yucatán

CREDIT: PHOTO: cntraveler/Instagram

This resort has set out to redefine the wellness game. Located just 25 minutes from the historic city of Mérida, the Chablé offers 38 casitas and two expansive villas that are perfectly situated within the lush gardens. You can enjoy nature to its fullest before hearing to the world-class spa. It’s a facility that is built around a natural cenote, which serves as an extension of the spa, and has a uniquely holistic approach. As if that wasn’t enough, their executive chef, Jose Vallejo, was recently awarded the #22 best in the world of by World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Now THAT is a winner!

20. Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

CREDIT: PHOTO: lynseyheartslife/Instagram

This vibrant, chic, and modern all-suite resort for adults only is the perfect sophisticated and lively getaway for millennials. There are 526 suites in three horseshoe-shaped buildings, each with their unique personality and vibes. You can start your days by visiting the spa, where you are sure to find new tranquility, and end the day by dancing the night away at the decelerate zone. There are also gourmet dining options and premium brand beverages at ten (yes, TEN!) trendy restaurants, nine bars and lounges, and of course 24-hour room service. Oh, and did I mention that there’s an events calendar that will surely add more to your travel itinerary? Yes, please.


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What You Need To Know About The Magic Mushroom Tourism Craze In Oaxaca

Culture

What You Need To Know About The Magic Mushroom Tourism Craze In Oaxaca

For almost 70 years, since Maria Sabina, also known as Santa Sabina, spread the culture around the ritualistic consumption of magic mushrooms in the Oaxaca highlands, the world has been fascinated by these special fungi. The region near Huautla de Jimenez, particularly places like San Jose del Pacifico, has since been swarmed with tourists in the months between July and October, both from inner Mexico and from overseas, who want to experienced the altered states of consciousness brought by one of nature’s most powerful secrets. 

So any story about Oaxacan magic mushrooms has to start with the legendary Maria Sabina, the godmother of all things trippy.

Credit: Giphy. @Hamiltons

Maria Sabina was a Mazatec curandera, or witchdoctor. She was well versed in the ancient arts of magic mushrooms and introduced the Western world to their consumption. She soon became a magnet for the rich and powerful who wanted to taste her psilocybin mushrooms. She was born in 1894 and died in 1985, so she saw the world change dramatically during her lifetime. 

She allowed foreigners into her healing evenings, known as veladas.

Credit: YouTube / Vice

She became legendary, as City A.M. reported in 2018: “It was here that, in 1955, R Gordon Wasson, a vice-president of JP Morgan and amateur ethnomycologist, consumed psilocybin mushrooms in a ceremony presided over by the healer Maria Sabina. The article Wasson subsequently wrote up for Life magazine – ‘Seeking the Magic Mushroom’ – transformed Sabina into a reluctant icon and caught the attention of scientists including Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary”. What followed is an enduring cult following of the plant. 

Mushroom tourism got a boost in the 1960s due to the high profile of some of Sabina’s visitors, who included The Beatles.

As EFE News Service reported back in 2007: “In the 1960s, the ‘high priestess of the mushrooms’ popularized this corner of Mexico located between the capital and Oaxaca city, a place visited by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan at the height of the psychedelic era”. We mean, the place has basically been a Hall of Fame! 

Consuming magic mushrooms is an ancient, ritualistic indigenous tradition that remains officially illegal.

Credit: High Times

Spanish friars first reported the use of psychedelic mushrooms in the region. Though magic mushrooms are illegal today, the authorities tend to turn a blind eye. This is due to the centrality to the customs and traditions of the Zapotecs, the area’s dominant indigenous group. Children as young as six participate in the ritualistic ingestion of shrooms.

However, tourism disrupts this long lasting understanding and ritual has turned into business.

Credit: YouTube. Vice

If you decide to try them for yourself, beware as the region is now swarmed with fake magic mushrooms offered by scammers. Anyway, San Jose del Pacifico is a natural joyita in itself, and you might get high just by taking in the landscape!

The state induced by the mushrooms is supposed to get you in touch with nature: with the soil below your feet and the celestial bodies above your head.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous. 

According to man named Andres Garcia, he was introduced to the ritual ingestion of mushrooms by his grandfather. Just outside of Huautla, the man experienced mushrooms several times. He told High Times: “The first time I tried mushrooms I was 7 years old. And each time after that was different; each time there were messages and messages. Communication with the earth, the universe, the moon, especially the energy of the moon. The mushroom shows you everything—about your errors, your problems, all the good you’ve done, all the bad you’ve done. It’s something personal.”

Even though mushrooms are widely available in Oaxaca they are not for everyone, specially not for those who disrespect the ritual and want to do mushrooms just for some mindless fun.

Credit: Musrooms-in-Oaxaca. Digital image. Own Mexico

The magic mushroom tourism industry has brought an steady income to Huautla de Jimenez, the original stomping grounds of Maria Sabina. As reported by Juan Ramon Peña in EFE News Services, “visitors are greeted when they get off the bus by boys who offer to help them found the hallucinogenic fungi”. The wide availability of mushrooms is un secreto a voces. However, each person’s brain chemistry is different and you need to have an experienced guide to help you on a mushroom-induced trip. 

And tourism has put the sustainability of the species at stake.

Credit: User comment on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_XnzIYmUYw

The lack of regulation translates into indiscriminate picking. Of course, traditional owners of the land are affected and that is just not fair. 

Magic mushrooms have a good rep, but they are also unpredictable.

Credit: 2037. Digital image. The Guardian.

Several recent studies indicate that magic mushrooms could have medical benefits in people suffering from mental health issues. As reported by The Guardian earlier this year in relation to a study conducted at Imperial College London: “Magic mushrooms may effectively ‘reset’ the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests”. However, this study was done in a controlled environment. Doing mushrooms can have unpredictable effects that some people have described as a “bad trip”

Note: the consumptions of magic mushrooms is illegal throughout Mexico and only specific Indigenous groups can consume them for spiritual purposes. We do not condone the consumption of illegal substances. This article is for informational purposes only.

Amelio Robles Ávila Was Mexico’s First Trans Soldier And A Revolutionary Hero, More Than 100 Years Ago

Culture

Amelio Robles Ávila Was Mexico’s First Trans Soldier And A Revolutionary Hero, More Than 100 Years Ago

Today is Mexico’s Independence Day! After a war that lasted over 11 years, Mexico achieved independence from Spanish rule and would begin a path toward self-determination. On September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, launched the Mexican War of Independence. Yes, decolonize! 

To celebrate Mexican history, we’ll be focusing on one hero today, not of the Mexican War of Independence but of the Mexican Revolution. Colonel Amelio Robles Ávila is recognized as the first trans soldier in the Mexican military’s history. A decorated colonel, Ávila lived as a man from the age of roughly 22 or 24 until the day he died at 95 years old. 

While some believe it was Ávila’s wealthy family that allowed him to live life as his truest self, it certainly may have helped, but his courage in battle and in life must be honored and celebrated. Ávila’s identity was not always met with kindness, but the soldier was well-equipped to deal with challenges to his gender. The pistol-whipping colonel was a ladies man, skilled marksmen, and hero. This is the story of Colonel Amelio Robles Ávila. 

Amelio Robles Ávila

Amelio Robles Ávila was born to a wealthy family on November 3, 1889, in Xochipala, Guerrero. In his youth, Ávila attended a Catholic school for little girls where he was taught to cook, clean, and sew. However, at a young age, he began to express his gender identity. He showed an aptitude for things that were, at the time perceived to be, masculine like handling weapons, taming horses, and marksmanship. 

Perhaps, it was a natural response, if not the only response, to being pressured to conform to a gender identity that isn’t yours —  Ávila was perceived as stubborn, rebellious, and too much to handle for the school nuns. But it would be his tenacity and obstinance that served him in the long run. 

In 1911, when Ávila was arranged to be married to a man, he enlisted as a revolutionary instead. 

Not a woman dressed as a man, just a man.

To force the resignation of President Porfirio Dîaz and later, to ensure a social justice-centered government, Mexico needed to engage much of its population in warfare. This meant that eventually women were welcomed with many limitations. Soldaderas were able to tend to wounded soldiers or provide food for the militia but were prohibited from combat and could not have official titles. 

Ávila legally changed his first name from Amelia to Amelio, cut his hair, and became one of Mexico’s most valuable and regarded revolutionaries. 

“To appear physically male, Robles Ávila deliberately chose shirts with large chest pockets, common in rural areas, and assumed the mannerisms common among men at the time,” according to History.com

While he was not the only person assigned female to adopt a male persona to join the war, unlike many others Ávila kept his name and lived as a man until the day he died. 

“After the war was over, their part in it was dissolved along with whatever rank they held during the fight, and they were expected to return to subservient roles. Some did,” writes Alex Velasquez of Into. “Others, like Amelio Robles Ávila, lived the rest of their lives under the male identities they had adopted during the war.”

You come at the king, you best not miss.

Ávila fought courageously in the war until its end. Becoming a Colonel with his own command, he was decorated with three stars by revolutionary general Emiliano Zapata. He led and won multiple pivotal battles where his identity and contributions were respected. 

However, that respect was sometimes earned through empathy other times through the whip of his pistol. Ávila was a man and anyone who chose to ignore this fact would be taught by force. On one occasion, when a group of men tried to “expose” him by tearing off his clothes, Ávila shot and killed two of the men in self-defense. 

Colonel Amelio Robles Ávila

Unsurprisingly, Ávila was a bit of a ladies man, though he finally settled down with Angela Torres and together they adopted their daughter Regula Robles Torres. In 1970, he was recognized by the Mexican Secretary of National Defense as a veterano as opposed to a veterana of the Mexican Revolution, thus Colonel Amelio Robles Ávila is considered the first trans soldier documented in Mexican military history. The swag is infinite! 

After the war, Ávila was able to live comfortably as a man where he devoted his life to agriculture. He lived a life, that still for so many trans people around the world seems unfathomable. Colonel Ávila lived to be 95 years old and the rest  — no all of it — is history.