CAN WE JUST GO AHEAD and admit that we’re jealous of Mexico? Sure, it’s got problems, but so do we, only ours come without tropical turquoise waters, an inspiring culinary legacy, majestic pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture, and a bounty of crafts perfected over the centuries. We Texans have swarmed into Mexico to partake of its enviable pleasures since—well, since we were Mexicans ourselves. And the rest of the country has followed our lead: Today Mexico is Americans’ top foreign-travel destination.

We’re agreed, then—it’s time for a south-of-the-border getaway. But where, exactly, should you go? To help you decide, we’ve cooked up a kind of botanas platter from the vast menu of possible Mexican adventures: a foodie’s fantasy in Puebla, a cosmopolitan romp through one of the largest cities in the world, a stress-free family ing on the Mayan Riviera, a shopping binge in artisan-rich Michoacán, and a pseudo-Crusoe experience on the Pacific shore. We’ve made it easy for you too, spelling out how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. (But we still recommend that you take along a good, current Mexico guidebook, preferably one with a chapter on useful Spanish phrases.)

So vámonos a Mexico. It’s like a whole other country.

by Suzy Banks