Mountains, Desert, or Coast?
Spanning 2,000 miles — from the western Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico in the east — Mexico's extremely diverse geography encompasses nearly every geological form found in the Western Hemisphere: low plains, rolling hills, rugged mountains and deserts to the north; 6,000 miles of seacoast; tropical lowland jungles; snowcapped mountains; and awe-inspiring gorges.
The Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges on the east and west and a row of towering, widely spaced volcanoes enclose the central highlands, comprising 60 percent of the country's land mass.
Mexico's terrain touches four distinct bodies of water, which accounts for the country's unmatched array of sunny seaside destinations. The Sea of Cortés (also called the Gulf of California) to the northwest, and the Caribbean to the southeast, contain some of the world's richest marine life. The Gulf of Mexico borders Mexico's northeastern coast, and the Pacific Ocean meets the western shore. Nearly half the country is more than 5,000 feet above sea level.