Saturday, June 22, 2024

New York Times picks 3 must-see destinations in Mexico for 2024

Riding the Maya Train, observing monarch butterflies and viewing the upcoming total solar eclipse are three great reasons to visit Mexico in 2024, according to the New York Times.

The newspaper published its annual “52 places to go” list on Tuesday, and included the Yucatán Peninsula and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán and México state in the 2024 edition.

Maya Train Palenque
The newly inaugurated Maya Train made it onto NYT’s list as a “great reason” to visit Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. (Tren Maya/X)

The beaches of Mazatlán also got a mention. More on that later.

Yucatán Peninsula 

The (partial) opening of the Maya Train railroad last month was the catalyst for the Yucatán Peninsula’s inclusion on the Times’ latest “52 places” list.

“A new train makes remote sites more accessible,” the newspaper said, noting that the 1,554-kilometer-long railroad “will connect popular destinations on the Yucatán Peninsula – including beachy Cancún, historical Mérida and the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá – to more distant sites, like Calakmul, a once powerful and still relatively intact Maya city near the Guatemalan border, and Palenque, gateway to the famous archaeological park in Chiapas state.”

The Times acknowledged criticism of the US $20 billion government-funded project on environmental grounds, but also noted that “it is hoped that the service will benefit less-touristy destinations like the gulf port town of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage site.”

“… Intended to bring jobs and investment and spread tourism beyond Mexico’s Caribbean beaches, the train will eventually ring the peninsula, traversing five states over nearly 1,000 miles of track and connecting directly with the new airport in Tulum.”

Want more Yucatán Peninsula travel inspiration?

Check out these Mexico News Daily articles on cenotes (swimmable sinkholes), the Uxmal archaeological site and the “white city” of Mérida, included on CNN’s “best places to visit” list for 2024.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Straddling the México state-Michoacán border, the World Heritage-listed butterfly reserve claimed Mexico’s second spot on the Times’ recommended destinations list.

“As many as a billion monarch butterflies overwinter every year in this green forest of fir, juniper and pine trees in Central Mexico,” the newspaper said.

The best time to visit the monarch reserve in Michoacán is November through March, when the butterflies arrive. (Shiebi Al/Unsplash)

“After decades of falling population numbers, the beloved black, orange and white insect was classified as endangered in 2022 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”

The Times noted that the 139,000-acre reserve (56,259 hectares) has six sites where visitors can “hike into the forest and see the clusters of butterflies perched high in the tree canopy.”

Among them is the well-known Rosario Sanctuary, “near the historic mining town of Angangueo, with quaint hotels.”

The Times recommended visiting one of the sanctuaries midweek, when they are “less crowded and less noisy, so you may be able to not only see the butterflies, but also hear their collective flutter.”

The overwintering season of the monarchs – which migrate to Mexico every year from the United States and Canada – runs from November to March.

Want more information about butterfly-watching in Mexico?

Read these two MND articles:

The next solar eclipse to reach totality over Mexico will be visible from the beaches of Mazatlán on April 8, 2024. (Rashide Frias/Cuartoscuro)

The beaches of Mazatlán

The beaches of the Sinaloa resort city were mentioned in the very first entry in the Times’ “52 places to go in 2024” list: “The path of totality, North America.”

“From the beaches of Mazatlán, Mexico, to the rugged coves of Maberly, Newfoundland, the sky will be the stage on April 8 as a total solar eclipse sweeps across North America. This year, the moon will be near its closest point to Earth, resulting in an unusually wide swath and long-lasting totality,” the newspaper said.

“Mexico, Canada and 13 U.S. states will greet the darkness with celebrations. The Portal Eclipse Festival in Mazatlán promises ‘spiritual growth’ through D.J.s, yoga and more.”

Read more about viewing the solar eclipse from Mazatlán in this MND article.

The number of Mexican destinations on this year’s New York Times (excluding the beaches of Mazatlán) list doubled this year. Guadalajara was the only Mexican inclusion in 2023.

Among the other destinations on the 2024 list are Paris, host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games; Maui, the Hawaiian island that was devastated by wildfires last year; and El Salvador, where the “security situation has drastically improved.”

Mexico News Daily 

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