For some variety away from the beaches and some real Mexican history and flavor, journey into Central Mexico. You won’t find any shortage of small- and medium-sized towns and cities in the area, each with its own important ancient, colonial, and/or revolutionary history to discover. Each one has its own town square and at least one cathedral worth a visit, and the whole area is known for its artisanal ceramics and handicrafts. Stop in and watch some of the artists at the workshops in the area, and you’ll see methods that have been in use for centuries. Central Mexico also has a number of nature reserves and parks that that can be explored by bus, on horseback, or on foot. Most notable is the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, where you can find some of most spectacular sights of a Central American rainforest, such as orchids, parrots, and bromeliads of brilliant color, as well as deserts and towering caves in the huge and diverse reserve. Unfortunately, the Mexican train system has been taken out of service, but visitors can still travel around cheaply by bus. Bring along a Spanish-English dictionary on the bus if you’re not well-versed, and you can pick up on some local tips – and see some of the countryside while you’re at it!