If you think of Mexico as either desert wasteland or balmy seacoast, you're barely scratching the surface! The incredible variety that exists in Mexico's culture is mirrored by its geography! Mexico is located in the northern region of the American continent between the Gulf of Mexico on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. It is bordered by the United States on the north and by Guatemala and Belize on the south. Mexico’s land area extends 1,964,375 sq km, which is divided into six tourist regions.

Mexico, with its variety of geographical regions and climate variations, has something for just about anyone. The 31 states (plus Mexico City's federal district), run the gamut from high desert and scrubland to lush tropical jungles and dazzling seacoast regions. There are 6,000 miles of coastline stretching along the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, but that's just the beginning!

It's easiest to think of Mexico as split into three main sections.

The northern sector is much like the Desert Southwest in the U.S. It is an area of stunning natural beauty, and the Mexican government has done great work with nature preserves and keeping large tracts unspoiled for hikers, rock climbers and campers. The proximity to the U.S. border means there are also major industrial and business centers here.

Central Mexico is primarily a volcanic plateau, surrounded by vast mountain ranges running north-south. Mexico City is the heart, but the entire region is "Old Mexico" at its finest, with major agriculture operations, picturesque small towns and colonial cities beautiful enough to be made World Heritage sites.

Southern Mexico is an ecotourism haven, with seacoast, jungles and marshes and mangrove forests that offer adventure and beauty for any traveler in search of a reconnection with nature at its most vibrant. The native Mayan culture is still very much alive here, also, with temples and towns to explore and native crafts to purchase.

The seacoast regions deserve mention, as well, since they are the prime destination for most vacationers.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a tropical paradise, with beaches on the Caribbean Sea and stunning coral reefs and submerged caves, known as cenotes, which are major favorites for scuba divers of all skill levels.

The Pacific Coast is the jewel in Mexico's crown, with historic destinations such as Acapulco offering old-world charm along with all the modern conveniences and entertainment. The water is warm and the climate couldn't be better!

The Baja Peninsula, inhabited since time immemorial, is almost totally devoted to making vacations into memorable experiences. With a desert landscape leading up to the verdant seacoast, the Baja is the place to go for active vacations or just for soaking in the sun. World-class golf and whale watching are also favorites here.

Area: 1,972,500 sq. km (761,600 sq. mi.)
Capital: Mexico City
Major cities: Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Acapulco, Merida, Leon, Veracruz.
Terrain: Coastal lowlands, Central high plateaus and mountains uo to 5,400 meters (18,000feet).
Climate: Tropical to desert.
Mexico Map

Mexico’s 32 states are truly diverse, as each one has countless tourist destinations offering a wide array of activities.

FACTS

Official name: Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States)
Capital: Mexico City
Terrain: high, rugged mountains, low coastal plains, high plateaus and desert.
Area: 761,606 square miles
Climate: varies from tropical to desert.
Main rivers: Balsas, Rio Grande, Yaqui
Highest elevation: Volcan Pico de Orizaba at 18,701feet.
Lowest elevation: Laguna Salada at 33 feet below sea level.
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