F1 2023 Insider’s Guide No. 20 – Mexico

27 Oct 23


F1 2023 Insider’s Guide No. 20 – Mexico

The Mexico City Grand Prix is a real treat, taking place on a high-speed circuit traditionalists love. The 1960s and the 1980s saw many epic on-track battles here involving stars of the sport at the time. Since Mexico’s return to the calendar in 2015, the Grand Prix here has become a firm fan favourite. After the race you can explore the thrills and spills of nearby Mexico City - from lucha libre to fine dining. And then strike out to the beach for an unforgettable Mexican adventure of culture, history, tacos and turtles.

Which is Mexico's best beach town?

Puerto Escondido – Oaxaca’s little seaside gem is the one Mexican beach locale you’ll kick yourself if you miss. Its main beach is where most people hang out but slink round the coast to the less-known Playa Carrizalillo and you’ll find a perfect sheltered horseshoe beach that is the most wonderful place to spend a day. Behind it on the cliff tops are a run of fantastic restaurants and independent boutiques. And nearby you can even release baby turtles into the sea thanks to the Vive Mar charity.

What are some of the best historic attractions?

Ancient city of Tulum – Mayan Mexico is awash with incredible archaeological sites like the great pyramids at Chichen Itza. But there are many more ancient sites from the smallest to the largest. One that is definitely worth exploring is the ancient city at Tulum. A wonderfully preserved ancient city featuring residential and ceremonial buildings sits on cliffs above the sea as if time has stood still. A spiritual element seems to hang heavy in the air, as if the Gods are still somehow watching over as the iguanas prowl along the hot pavements between the visitors.

How can you make the most of Mexico City?

Dining, staying and enjoying the city – CDMX as Mexicans call it is truly having a moment in hipster circles. An array of modern restaurants in particular has catapulted the city into the international dining spotlight, with everyone from celeb chefs to street food creators designing the freshest eats. The city’s art galleries like the Zumex Museum have been making waves. And fashion designers have been supercharging the city’s shopping scene. The city’s Zoo and the park surrounding it are huge weekend attractions and the Roma Norte area is attracting fans of art deco architecture - many of the coolest places to eat and buy are here. Stay in the city’s lauded JW Marriott in cool Polanco - another must-explore area.

Where can you relax?

Conrad Tulum – With no less than five pools, the Conrad on the Riviera Maya is a place to get away from the stresses of modern life. Five-star luxury and a 200-metre-long beach epitomise this place. Modern, masculine accents in the interiors bathe the spaces in a kind of calm, while the outdoor areas are exquisitely cared for - gardens, trees, lawns, a beach - of course - and you can eat Mexican food out on the terraces too. This part of the Riviera Maya is a little quieter than some more rowdy tourist zones.

Where has great food and drink?

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques – Acapulco became famous as a jet set destination in the 1960s and today its cliff divers are still a famous attraction. The Banyan Tree Cabo Marques brings tranquillity and luxury to this section of coastline. The hotel’s private villas perch on the cliff edge with staggering views and even private pools. Have Mexican or Asian food delivered to you, all prepared to the highest of standards. And after that head into Acapulco to enjoy the febrile nightlife and shopping.

Where does the jetset stay?

Hacienda Puerta Campeche – Campeche is a handsome old town with plenty of historic buildings. It’s no surprise then that one of the oldest and most lauded of these historic hacienda buildings has been turned into the Hacienda Puerta Campeche. The several-hundred years-old building has been sensitively restored with Mayan tile floors and luxurious furniture. It also boasts an inside pool and an al fresco pool with sun decking. This town gives you the chance to enjoy a slice of real Mexico.

What's Mexico's quirkiest driving experience?

Golf carts on Isla Mujeres – Skulking off the east coast of the Quintana Zoo peninsula is the quirky little island of Isla Mujeres. Something of a respite from the Cancun crowds on the mainland, especially in the quiet south of the Island, Mujeres has a windswept and dramatic east coast and a west coast with lagoons, white beaches and calm waters. To get between all the points on the isle you rent a golf cart. Hundreds of these trundle up and down the main roads to almost comical effect. Driving them is never boring. Just remember you have to keep them topped up with fuel.


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