Photograph by Robb Kendrick/National Geographic Stock
Costumed for pre-Easter rituals that merge ancestral beliefs with Christianity, members of the remote community of Choguita in the Sierra Madre prepare for their roles as Pharisees. Three days of dancing and a symbolic battle between good and evil will end with Judas, the traitor, burned in effigy.
Photograph by David Alan Harvey
A brotherhood of horsemen in crisp white hats converges each January on a mountain in central Mexico. Their journey to honor Jesus Christ ends at a 65-foot-tall (20-meter-tall) depiction of him at the top of Cubilete mountain in the state of Guanajuato.
Chichén Itzá Pyramid
Photograph by Jeremy Williams, My Shot
A pyramid built by the mysterious Maya looms against sunburst clouds in Chichén Itzá, a postclassic site of the lost civilization on the Yucatán Peninsula. Recent decades have brought new understanding of the Maya culture and its rise and fall over 2,000 years.
Palm-Lined Beach, Cancun
Photograph by Mike Theiss/National Geographic Stock
Rows of palm trees line a tropical beach in Cancun, which lies on the Caribbean Sea. The famous resort spot is a popular port of call for cruise ships, and its stretches of white sand beach and party atmosphere attract visitors from all over the world.
Photograph by La Coroza/Getty Images/LatinContent RM
In a traditional courtship dance, women wave colorful dresses back and forth to the rhythm of mariachi music. Men approach with their hands behind their backs while the women use their skirts to keep the men enticed from a respectful distance. The movements are combined with percussive footwork, or zapateado, that keeps time with the bass.
Bullfighting, Mexico City
Photograph by Hughes Herv/Photo Library
Thousands of spectators gather at a bullring in Mexico City, where matadors and vaqueros, or cowboys, provide a show for the audience. Many of the world's top bullfighters begin in Spain in March, move to Lima for a month in October, then head to Mexico to close the year.
Photograph by George Grall/NO INFO
Smack in the middle of the blazing Chihuahuan Desert, a snorkeler scans the bottom of a spring-fed pool for aquatic life. Known as Cuatro Ciénegas, or “four marshes,” this unique region of sparkling waters was set aside by the Mexican government as a biological reserve.
Flamingos Taking Flight
Photograph by Diane Menditto, My Shot
Flamingos run through shallow water before taking flight in the muddy wetlands of the Yucatán Peninsula, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Flamingos are found in warm, watery regions on many continents—and are likely to be the only tall, pink bird in any given locale.
Day of the Dead, Mexico City
Photograph by Luis Costa/AFP/Getty Images
Relatives of the deceased gather at Mexico City’s San Gregorio Atlapulco cemetery during Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrations. The upbeat festival, which has roots in the ancient traditions of Mexico’s indigenous civilizations, was adjusted to the Catholic calendar following the Spanish conquest in the 16th century and is now held on November 1 and 2, correlating with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Photograph by Bustamante Rosas, My Shot
The centuries-old city of Guanajuato—capital of the central Mexican state of the same name and recently listed as one of the top five World Heritage sites to visit by National Geographic Traveler magazine—rises and falls along several hillsides and is characterized by its steep streets and colorful buildings.
Guelaguetza Celebration, Oaxaca
Photograph by Ethan Welty/Welty Photography
A delegation from Juchitán, a town on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, arrives at the annual Guelaguetza celebration in San Antonino Castillo Velasco in the state of Oaxaca. The Guelaguetza is an annual folk dance festival that takes place in Oaxaca City and nearby towns and brings dancers from different regions of the state to perform in traditional costume.
Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City
Photograph by Hiroyuki Matsumoto/Getty Images
Traffic encircles the Angel of Independence monument on Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma. The oldest metropolis on the American continent, Mexico City is home to vibrant neighborhoods, expansive parks, ancient ruins, and cosmopolitan hot spots.
San Miguel de Allende
Photograph by Carsten Bockermann, My Shot
A man is silhouetted against the outer wall of a church in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. One of Mexico’s most culturally inviting towns, the city's beauty and mild climate have attracted many foreign residents.
Photograph by Mike Paterson, My Shot
A colorful iguana is captured up close on Cozumel Island off the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. A common sight in the popular vacation destination, the herbivores are among the largest lizards in the Americas and have an average lifespan of 20 years in the wild.
Kayakers, Land’s End
Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins
Kayakers navigate the waters around Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist destination at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. The continued coastal development of the nature-rich finger of land has raised questions about possible environmental damage.
Photograph by Carsten Bockermann, My Shot
Mariachis accompany a girl following a church ceremony for her
quinceañera—the 15th-birthday celebration that in Mexico marks a young woman’s coming of age. Mass is usually followed by a reception with family and friends, and tradition calls for the birthday girl to be dressed in full-length pastels and frills.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Show us your best photos of nature, cities, and people from your travels around the world.