Mexico’s Colonial Highland

Ajijic & Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico CitySan Sebastion, Mascota & Talpa

The central highlands are classic Mexico, with prickly pear cacti, heavily laden burros, red-tiled roofs, narrow cobblestone streets and drowsy afternoon siestas. In addition to Mexico’s greatest cities, cathedrals, Aztec ruins, museums, markets and crumbling haciendas, the colonial region encompasses hundreds of hot springs, major peaks and national parks, rivers, volcanoes, caves and other natural wonders.

It also includes most of Mexico’s people and endures the usual stress pains associated with rapid modernization and a growing population. Nonetheless, the majority of its inhabitants are concentrated in large cities and most of the central region still has a pleasantly rustic, rural character.

Most of the central region is above 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) elevation, with peaks soaring to more than 18,000 feet (5,486 meters). Compared to other regions of Mexico, the weather here is moderate, stable and generally “fine.” Temperatures can be quite chilly at higher elevations, of course, but I find the cool winter nights and clear, warm days to be almost ideal. In summer, this is my favorite area of Mexico for rainy-season travel and van camping.