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Sink your toes into the sand, and get cozy with some of the best travel books on your next Mexico vacation. Whether you’re waiting at the airport or relaxing by the pool, vacations are the perfect time to catch up on your list of good books to read. For a little reading that will connect you to this beautiful country, grab one of these books to bring on vacation.


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, 1989

Romance novels are a classic choice for books to bring on vacation. In Water for Chocolate, Tita is growing up in an all-female house during the turn of the century when Pancho Villa is roaming the Mexican countryside. As the youngest daughter, she is forbidden to marry in order to care for her mother until she dies. When she falls in love, a little magic seduces Pedro, but with her promise to never marry, only fate is on their side. For a little romance, this is one of the best travel books for Mexico.

Aztec by Gary Jennings, 1980

Mixtli-Dark Cloud lives in one of the world’s great empires: the Aztec empire. His world is full of vibrant colors and cultures. Through his honest eyes, we see both the best and worst of his people, but all that is about to change as conquistadores arrive from across the sea. This is one of the greatest books about the ancient Aztec empire.

The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes, 1962

One of the most recommended books by Carlos Fuentes is The Death of Artemio Cruz. As much as it’s about Cruz’s death and the chaos that surrounds it, it also looks at the moments that made the character into the corrupt politician, businessman, and lover he is.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, 2009

Barbara Kingsolver has written many good books to read, but when traveling in Mexico, The Lacuna is the perfect choice. Harrison Shepherd was born in the US but raised in Mexico. In the epic story of his life, he encounters Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Lev Trotsky while dark problems threaten his home country. The subtle weaving of history into the drama of a beloved character’s life makes this one of Kingsolver’s most recommended books.

Mexico by James A. Michener, 1992

When an American journalist travels to Mexico to cover a duel between legendary matadors, he discovers more about his ancestry and family drama. Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winner, this novel combines the brutality of ancient civilizations, the bloodshed of battles, and modern Mexico into one sweeping tale, and it’s one of the books to bring on vacation if you’re looking for an exciting read.

The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenbeck, 2009

Based on recently discovered notebooks in Frida Kahlo’s home, this fictional tale is one of the greatest books about her life. As Frida fills her notebooks with stories, recipes, and ideas, Haghenbeck creates one of the truly good books to read while visiting Kahlo’s country. 

The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings by Octavio Paz, 1950

Octavio Paz’s works are some of the most recommended books in the world. This book includes a series of essays that explore the complexity of Mexico and its place in the world. This is one of the best books to read on vacation is you want something that will provoke your intellect with beautifully written prose.

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, 2007

Some of the best books to read on vacation are also about travelers. In “Under the Volcano,” a series of characters connected to the British consul must struggle to understand the meanings of friendship, family, and marriage. Set on Day of the Dead and in a labyrinth of tropical streets of Quauhnahuac, Mexico, this story and its characters will captivate you.

Down The Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos, 2010

Tochtli, or Rabbit, isn’t just any young boy growing up in Mexico. His dad is one of Mexico’s drug lords, forcing him into an isolated childhood that’s far from normal. This debut novel from Juan Pablo Villalobos is one of the best travel books that combines humor with a look at the sordid side of life and the disappointments that all adults face.

Leaving Tabasco by Carmen Boullosa, 2002

Magic, feminism, and family: the combination you want for the best books to read on vacation. Delmira Ulloa is growing up in a charming and quirky town in Tabasco, Mexico, but she’ll have to leave the town and the country to discover her past. The depth and charm of the heroine will seep into your heart and touch you with a little of Mexico’s magic, proving it to be one of the greatest books here.

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