One of the BEST vacations I had was a trip down to the City of Oaxaca (pronounced: wa-Ha-ka) in the State of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. 15 years ago it was not overly touristy. You could go fairly native if you wanted a hammock or crash-pad for US$10 a night. If you wanted middle-end you could get it for $40. Even in the winter you can go light on the clothing, shorts on the beach and just jeans in the city and polo shirts, real-cas.
We met a real Anthropologist/Ethanographer studying the indigenous people there called the Zapotec and befriended a few. We learned learned how to make rugs and cook mole', very cool time. We took the proverbial chicken-bus and even one pig-bus, where we were the only anglos. They have pyramids too.
The State of Oaxaca is on the Pacific and has some great beaches. Goto Zipolte or Port Angel. Mexico is so much cheaper than Europe too. I have been to both (many times) and find Europe pretty but just over-priced, over-populated and kinda over-rated in comparison.
That's my 2 cents,
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