Mexico is much more than beaches—it’s ancient archaeological gems, cobblestoned colonial towns, 16th-century cathedrals, and open-air markets. From eclectic Mexico City to magical San Miguel de Allende, the romantic highlands of central Mexico have a colorful nostalgia that has inspired many books and films into fruition.

Read: Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis

Wander the bustling streets of Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood in the 1980s with teenage protagonist Luisa as she searches for a boy who works in the real-life bookshop Through the Looking Glass. This coming-of-age novel paints an intoxicating portrait of Mexico like you’ve never seen it.

Read this is if you like coming-of-age stories.

Read: The View from Casa Chepitos: A Journey Beyond the Border by Judith Gille

This real-life story of one Seattle family’s impulsive purchase of a hot-pink hacienda in San Miguel de Allende provides a compassionate look into the relationship between two countries’ cultures. Gille’s account of how her family becomes part of the local community in San Miguel is filled with insight, history, and charm.

Read this if you enjoy travel memoirs.

Watch: Frida

Artist Frida Kahlo remains one of Mexico City’s most-loved celebrities—her lifelong home has even been converted into a museum where much of the 2002 film Frida was shot. Depicting the painter’s bold and controversial life with husband Diego Rivera, Frida was also filmed throughout Mexico City and at the Teotihuacan pyramids, one of Kahlo’s favorite places.

Watch this if you love art history.

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