Mexico is a land of extraordinary diversity. Great cultures and empires flourished here centuries ago, and their descendants -over 50 distinct Indigenous peoples, each with it's own language- maintain vestiges of traditional lifestyles even in the midst of rampant modernization. Traditional sources of wealth such as mining, fishing and agriculture coexist with modern manufacturing industries and services. Tourism is very important.
Mexico is a vast country, comprising nearly two million square miles of coastline, desert, rain forest, and fertile plains. The country's diversity stems partly from its topography: mountains and more mountains. The two main mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental, hug the west and east, finally merging into the volcanically active central highlands and the capital, Mexico City - the most populous city in the world.
Further south, the country narrows to only 100 miles, then broadens again before reaching the Guatemalan border. There are two major peninsulas in Mexico that are almost countries themselves. In the west is the Baja Peninsula, which seals in the biological riches of the Sea of Cortes; to the east, protruding into the Caribbean, is the Yucatan Peninsula, bursting with rain forests, Mayan ruins, and white powder beaches.
The population is about 106 million. Only in this century have modern roads, airplanes, radio and television knitted the various regions together into a national consciousness. Even so, being Mexican still means very different things to people in the nation's many distinct regions.
Mexico has been graced with an unusually temperate climate year-round. The most important thing to remember is that the Mexican summer is also the rainy season, although the rain rarely last more than a few hours, and typically arrives in the late afternoon. Extremes are present only in the North (including Monterrey) and in Baja California, both with deserts where the temperature rises above 40°C. Mexico City has a year-round temperature in the 20°Cs, while the coasts usually stay in the mid-30°Cs year round. Night - time temperatures fall somewhat, but rarely fall bellow the comfortable 10°s.
For the traveler, Mexico holds inexhaustible fascination in its cultures, cuisines, handcrafts, art and history. To explore Mexico is to travel through vast deserts, past snow-capped volcanoes, along tropical jungle-clad beaches, amidst ancient ruins, in teeming modern cities, timeless villages and posh resorts. The adventure is endless. Mexico has it all. What you make of it is up to you.