Covering almost 2 million square kilometres, Mexico is a vast country with a more than 3000 kilometre (2000 mile) northern border with the USA. It extends southwards into the isthmus of Central America and has borders there with Guatemala and Belize. Two long mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental stretch from the USA border to Mexico City. At the northern end of the western range is the area of canyonland and spectacular mountain scenery known as Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon). Bigger than Arizona's celebrated Grand Canyon, this area is home to the Tarahumara Indians, an ancient people famed for their long distance running exploits. As much as 1800 metres deep, the interconnecting valleys of the Copper Canyon region presents lots of opportunities for exciting trekking and mountain biking. The 160 kilometre-long 'Silver Trail', for example, is a superb trek that follows an old mining supply route to the Spanish colonial town of Batopilas. From a mountain biker's perspective, some of the best and most varied riding in the world is found here, from slickrock and singletrack to rough jeep roads, with challenging climbs and monster descents.


Mexico is a vast country covering over 770,000 square miles, almost 2 million square kilometres. To the north it shares a 3336 km / 2066 mile long border with the USA. More than half of this border is demarked by the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo del Norte). In the south the country extends beyond the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to include the Yucatan Peninsula to the northeast. Its southeastern borders are with Guatemala and Belize. To the west and south lies the Pacific Ocean. The Mar de Cortes, or Gulf of California, separates mainland Mexico from Baja California - the world’s longest peninsula; barely 200km/125 miles at its widest point and stretching for an incredible 1300km/800 miles. Mexico’s eastern coast is the southern curve of the Gulf of Mexico. Two long mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental stretch from the northern border to Mexico City. Either side of these ranges are coastal plains and between them is a highland area known as the Altiplano central. At the northern end of the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental is an area of canyonland and spectacular mountain scenery known as Barranca del Cobra (Copper Canyon). South of these ranges the Cordillera Neovolcanica runs east to west and contains many active volcanoes including Popocatepetl 5452m/17887ft. Mexico City is situated in the heart of this volcanic country at an altitude of 2300m/7545ft. Running along the southern Pacific coastline are two further mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre del Sur to the west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the east. Beyond the Chiapas ranges, a vast area of rainforest stretches east into the Peten of Guatemala and northwards to gradually merge into the flat savannah of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Time Zone

The time in Mexico is GMT -6 hours


You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A’. A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at

Additional Sources/Information

Mexico - Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit.
The Rough Guide to Mexico
The Best of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, “where history meets the future” - Richard D. Fisher. Sunracer Publication.

Mexico: GeoCenter Publishing. 1:2,500,000

Lonely Planet -
Rough Guides -