LET'S GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY: Yes, there is crime in Mexico. Certain areas are plagued by cartel violence and drug-related deaths. But there is also crime in the U.S. In fact, according to the FBI, you’re four times more likely to be killed in our own nation’s capital than you are in Mexico’s. Your chances of being involved in a violent crime drop even further in states like Yucatán, Oaxaca and Querétaro, whose crime rates are comparable to those of U.S. states like Wyoming and Montana.

In other words, being an American who’s anxious about visiting Mexico is like being a Brit who’s anxious about visiting the States for fear of being caught in a mass shooting. Of course, we don’t want to trivialize the very real dangers that are still present in many border towns on both sides of the Rio Grande, but the country stretches another 2,000 safe, inviting, beautiful, warm, friendly miles south.

And across that vast landscape you’ll find everything from sleepy beach towns to modern metropolises welcoming all manner of vacationers and visitors. For Houstonia’s guide to Mexico, we visited six such geographically diverse spots, aiming to find the ultimate destinations for food lovers and outdoorsy types, history junkies and beach bums, culture hounds and shopaholics.

These six cities represent the best of Mexico right now, each offering an easy getaway from Houston, each with its own unique charms, each waiting for you to come and reacquaint yourself with the country you thought you knew.

In This Feature:

Mexico City, the World’s Fifth-Largest Metropolis, Feels Like Home

In the Condesa district, a city with 20 million people suddenly doesn’t loom so large.

11/21/2016 By Roxanna Asgarian

7 Reasons to Visit Still-Sleepy Tulum Right Now

Everything you’d want out of a Yucatan vacation—minus the tourists.

11/21/2016 By Marianella Orlando

Querétaro: A Modern City with a Well-Preserved Colonial Past

Chances are, this Mexican metropolis isn’t on your bucket list—but it should be.

11/21/2016 By Katharine Shilcutt

Mole y Más: Tasting History in Oaxaca City

Plus: the 5 best things we ate in Oaxaca

11/21/2016 By Alice Levitt

Taking on the Gulf of California in Cabo San Lucas

The nightlife here is legendary, but Cabo’s endless athletic options are often overlooked.

11/21/2016 By Adam Doster

A Little Rain Won’t Stop the Party in Puerto Vallarta

If the weather’s keeping you off the beach, there’s plenty more to do in Puerto Vallarta.

11/21/2016 By Gwendolyn Zepeda