Surviving 42-degree desert heat, tramping hurricane-battered Pacific beaches and scaling lofty volcanoes, our hard-travelling authors have visited every corner of this vast, magnificent country – from the ancient caves of Baja California to the dense rainforest of the Lacandón Jungle. Here are a few of their favourite things: Dawn by kayak Paddling through the glassy, desert-backed waters of Bahía Concepción as the sun rises, surrounded by marine life, is a truly otherworldly experience. Hit the Road Driving Hwy-1, from the US border to the southern tip of Baja California through deserts, isolated mountain ranges and tropical beach towns, rates as one of the world’s greatest road journeys. Get retro chic The 1950s meets modern cool at the Boca Chica hotel in Acapulco, where fashionable chilangos sip cocktails at the pool above the madness at Playa Caleta. Subterranean swimming The cenotes of northern Yucatán – vast sun-lit caverns filled with water – are magical places for a refreshing dip; Cenote X’keken is the best. Best window onto the Aztec world Rent a boat and soak up the carnival atmosphere, flowers and traditional floating gardens at the Mexico City suburb of Xochimilco. Go syncretic The Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, in the village of San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, is an incredibly vibrant blend of Catholicism and animist tradition, with the local Mayans praying on a floor of pine needles. Best underground club You can’t get more underground than La Mina Club in Zacatecas – it’s inside the old El Edén mine shafts. Something fishy Contrast the best of Baja’s sumptuous street food – Hermanos González, in La Paz – with the Caribbean coast’s favourite shrimp tacos at Urge Taquitos in Tulum.