Things To Do In Mexico
Mexico is huge. There are so many things to do in Mexico that you could feasibly create a list of 1,000 things and still not end up repeating yourself. It’s basically a country that has it all: food, history, culture, beaches, good weather, and amazing nightlife.
You can’t get bored in Mexico.
Mexico: The Basics
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What is Mexico known for?
With 32 fascinating states (including Mexico City), and a landscape that ranges from tropical rainforests to cactus-filled deserts, gorgeous canyons to jaw-dropping beaches, Mexico is truly a country that has something for everyone.
Throw in a history that just won’t quit and a culture so fun and vibrant that you’ll be aching to return. And do we need to even mention Mexican food? Tacos, burritos, and guacamole are just the start. Don’t forget it’s also the land of Frida Khalo, tequila, and the ancient Aztecs, Maya, and Olmecs. They also do Halloween like no other country.
In short, Mexico is f*cking amazing. And if you’ve been wondering what to do in Mexico, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve collected the 100 best things to do in Mexico and put them all in this easy-to-scan list so you can find the right thing for you.
A small confession: we haven’t been to every place on this list. But we’ve been to many of them, and we’ll deinitely be coming back for the rest.
107 Best Things To Do In Mexico
- 1. Visit One of the New Seven Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza
- 2. Stay Longer Than You Expected in San Cristobal de Las Casas
- 3. Visit the Craziest Church in the World
- 4. Stay in the First Bitcoin-Friendly Hostel in Mexico
- 5. Explore the Legendary Palenque Ruins
- 6. Waterfall Hop Around Palenque
- 7. Get Wet at El Chiflon
- 8. Feast on Mexican Food
- 9. Museum Hop Around Mexico City
- 10. Spot Crocodiles in the Sumidero Canyon
- 11. Dive in a Cenote
- 12. Go to a Cooking Class
- 13. Get Lost in Mexico City
- 14. Experience Day of the Dead
- 15. Visit the Copper Canyon
- 16. Relax in Tulum (if you can…)
- 17. Puerto Escondido
- 18. Marvel at the Ruins of Teotihuacan
- 19. See the Giant Olmec Heads of La Venta
- 20. Swim with Whale Sharks in the Yucatan Peninsula
- 21. Participate in a Traditional Peyote Ceremony (Or Not)
- 22. Imagine Yourself as Frida Kahlo
- 23. Climb the Largest Pyramid in the World
- 24. Explore the Marieta Islands
- 25. Take Part in a Cacao Ceremony
- 26. Visit Oaxaca City
- 27. Go Back in Time at Monte Albán
- 28. Take a Mezcal Tour in Oaxaca
- 29. See the Frozen Waterfall of Hierve el Agua
- 30. Go Flamingo Spotting Near Merida at the Celestún Biosphere Reserve
- 31. Go on a Wine Tour in Baja California
- 32. Rediscover the Ancient Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan
- 33. Bathe in a Traditional Natural Spa (Temazcal)
- 34. Get Lost in Guanajuato
- 35. Snorkel to Your Heart's Content in Isla de Mujeres
- 36. Attend a Lucha Libre Match (Mexican Wrestling)
- 37. Visit the Charming City of Puebla
- 38. Take a Dip in the Caribbean
- 39. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife of Playa del Carmen
- 40. Explore the Beaches of Baja California
- 41. Visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
- 42. Get Your Tooth Pulled Out in Cozumel
- 43. Stand in Awe Before Sierra de Naica (The Crystal Cave)
- 44. Spend a Day Wandering Around the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
- 45. Pop to the Montebello Lakes Near the Guatemalan Border
- 46. Pop to Guatemala Itself…
- 47. Visit the Town that Popularised Magic Mushrooms
- 48. Climb the Pyramid at Uxmal
- 49. Marvel at the Bacalar Lagoon
- 50. Get Lost in the Guachimontones Archaeological Zone
- 51. Experience the Guelaguetza Festival of Oaxaca
- 52. Take a Tequila Tour
- 53. Gawp at Art in the Palacio de Bellas Artes
- 54. Get Off the Beaten Track at Coba
- 55. Take a Boat Tour of Xochimilco
- 56. Dive Into History at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa
- 57. Try Being a Digital Nomad
- 58. Shop for Handicrafts at Coyoacán Market in Mexico City
- 59. Go Trekking in the Sierra Norte Mountains
- 60. Stay in the Beautiful City of Merida
- 61. Try Strange Foods
- 62. Try Exotic Fruits
- 63. Help Out in an Animal Sanctuary
- 64. Visit a Witch Market (Mercado de Sonora) in Mexico City
- 65. Relax in the Hot Springs of Tolantongo
- 66. Pop to Belize
- 67. Check Out the Riviera Nayarit
- 68. Go Caving in Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
- 69. Visit the Mazunte Turtle Museum
- 70. Get Into Nature at Cascada de Basaseachi
- 71. Wander the Streets of Zacatecas
- 72. Visit the Museum of Mayan Culture in Chetumal
- 73. Experience the Cliffs of Acapulco
- 74. Be Serenaded by a Mariachi Band
- 75. Visit the Charming Town of Morelia
- 76. Explore the Jardin Botanico de Vallarta
- 77. Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara
- 78. Learn Spanish
- 79. Surf in Puerto Escondido
- 80. Go on a Free Walking Tour
- 81. Eat in a Central Mercado
- 82. See a Football Game
- 83. Go Skydiving in Puerto Vallarta
- 84. Dive in the Underwater Museum of Cancun
- 85. See Tons of Butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve
- 86. Take a Chocolate Tour in Oaxaca
- 87. Hop on a Boat Tour of the Sea of Cortez
- 88. Visit the Magic Town of Izamal
- 89. Attend the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato
- 90. Venture into the Desert of Wirikuta
- 91. Explore the Ruins of Calakmul
- 92. Admire the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco
- 93. Go Scuba Diving in the Great Maya Reef
- 94. Catch up on History in Chapultepec Castle
- 95. Immerse Yourself in the Tastes and Smells of Tlacolula Market
- 96. Spend a Few Nights in Campeche Old Town
- 97. Explore the Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes
- 98. Visit the Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl
- 99. Wander the Old Streets of El Tajin
- 100. Pop to the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato
- 101. Jump Off a Cliff in Matacanes
- 102. Go White-Water Rafting in Veracruz
- 103. Hop on a Sunset Cruise in Cabo
- 104. Venture Into the Puebla Tunnels
- 105. Check Out the Sculptures on Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon
- 106. Visit the Lively San Miguel de Allende
- 107. Find Peace in the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
1. Visit One of the New Seven Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is the big daddy Mayan ruin. It features one of the most iconic and best preserved pyramids in the world as well as dozens of other important buildings, ball courts, and observatories. When you’re thinking of things to do in Mexico, Chichen Itza is almost always near the top. It’s not ranked one of the 7 wonders of the world for no reason.
The main pyramid was designed to be aligned with the stars. Not only that but it has 91 steps on each of its four sides, and when combined with the temple itself, that equals 365: the exact amount of days in the Maya solar year. It was once one of the largest and most important Mayan cities, serving as a major centre for political, economic, and religious activities.
The name, Chichen Itza translates to “at the mouth of the well of Itza.” It was built over 1,500 years ago and reached peak occupancy around 1,000 years ago. Another interesting fact is that the Great Ball Court of Chichen Itza is the largest and best-preserved Mesoamerican ball court in existence. It’s 168 m long and has intricate carvings along the walls with depictions of the ball game.
Chichen Itza was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, and in 2007 it was listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. For a crazy experience, head there on the spring or autumn equinox. Just be aware it’ll be crowded.
2. Stay Longer Than You Expected in San Cristobal de Las Casas
If you’re a traveller who’s flexible with their time, then you’ll likely end up staying longer than you expected in San Cris. This magical town is a melting pot for incredible culture, amazing food, and even better people.
We came to San Cris, intending to visit for a weekend. We ended up staying three months. And we’re not the only ones. It’s a common theme among travellers there. They come, but they don’t leave.
It’s a great place to work remotely if you’re trying out the digital nomad life, and it’s small enough that you can stay on the outskirts and be near nature, but still only 20 minutes or so to walk to the centre.
We switched apartments a few times while we were there. Staying central is great, but if you want a bit of nature, we can’t recommend the western side of the city enough. There are hills there that are great for hiking, a large supermarket so you can get everything you need for cooking (though the local markets throughout the city are better for fruit, veg and meat), and it’s just a 10-minute bus ride to the centre and back.
The colonial town centre is beautiful to walk around in. There are dozens of churches and some great free walking tours if you want to get to know the area a little better. There are several pedestrian streets that are full of restaurants. You can stroll up and down without worrying about getting beeped at. The rest of the streets are a little narrow though, and the pavement is elevated because it floods during the rainy season.
3. Visit the Craziest Church in the World
Just a short bus drive from San Cris, you’ll find San Juan Chamula. This small indigenous town is home to the most bizarre church you’ll ever step foot in. What might you expect in a normal church? Seats, paintings, an altar or two – the usual. What can you expect in the church of Chamula? Mayhem.
Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures inside. This is a rule that should be taken seriously too. The local Mayans don’t really give two sh*ts about the Mexican government. They have their own rules, and their own punishments. The Mexican police and military are banned from San Juan Chamula. Rule-breakers face the local justice system.
They are a very superstitious type of people. Legend has it that they believe photographs steal a part of their soul. Taking pictures of locals, or the church, is not only frowned upon, but they may even take your camera or kick you out of the town. Or worse.
Inside the church, you’ll find no seats but lots of people. They sit on the floor, which is covered in hay. There are candles everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean there are more candles inside the church of Chamula than I’ve seen inside any other church combined. They’re on the floor, on tables, on altars. There are men whose job it is to come and take the melted candles, sweep up the wax, and put new ones down.
But that’s not all this chaotic place has to offer. Mayan singers, complete with instruments are casually playing dramatic music while drinking hard liquor. Families come in with huge bottles of Coca Cola, drinking it or offering the bottle to their god or saint. And then you get the chickens. We saw a guy strangle a chicken in the church. And it’s not particularly uncommon either.
It’s the place where the Catholic church meets the Mayan customs. And it’s not to be missed.
4. Stay in the First Bitcoin-Friendly Hostel in Mexico
Whether you’re a crypto enthusiast or think the entire thing is a big scam, Casa Satoshi is the best hostel in San Cristobal de Las Casas, no question. With a stunning rooftop that has panoramic views over the city, including a jaw-dropping sunset, Casa Satoshi is more than a gimmick. Located just a short walk away from the main square, Casa Satoshi only opened in early 2023 and it’s already gained a name for itself as being one of the best hostels in town.
As the first Bitcoin-friendly business in Chiapas and Southern Mexico, the owner, Jordan, aims to transform San Cris into a Bitcoin Mecca, like the Strike guys did in El Salvador’s El Zonte. The indigenous Mayans of Southern Mexico are no strangers to technological innovation, especially in regards to currency. In fact, they already have their own digital currency, túmin.
Accepted by more than 350 vendors in San Cristobal, túmin was a way for the locals to counter cash shortages, inflation, and the Mexican authorities as a whole (it’s not recognised as a national currency). It’s also worth noting that as of 2021, 63% of Mexicans were unbanked.
However, due to the lack of decentralisation and/or hard-coded inflation caps, túmin isn’t a feasible long-term solution. But maybe Bitcoin is… By staying in Casa Satoshi, you get discounts for paying in BTC and you can be part of a revolutionary movement. Or just enjoy the rooftop terrace: the choice is yours.
5. Explore the Legendary Palenque Ruins
While Chichen Itza gets all the recognition, the true gem of the Mayan ruins in Mexico goes to Palenque. Buried in the jungles of Chiapas, Palenque is home to stunning pyramids, a world class museum, and the infamous sarcophagus of Pakal. Weighing a whopping 7 tons, the lid to the sarcophagus is inscribed like something straight outta ancient Egypt.
Rather than coming here on a day trip, Palenque is well worth staying a night or two and visiting the ruins in your own time. There are plenty of other things to do in Palenque that might pique your interest. Waterfalls anybody?
6. Waterfall Hop Around Palenque
While we were there, we visited Agua Azul waterfall and Misol-Ha waterfall on the way from Palenque to San Cristobal. I would recommend both of these, especially if you’re heading that way anyway. You can get a bus that stops at both and drives you to your final destination. The road itself used to be considered highly dangerous due to local communities having conflicts, or rebelling against the government in general. However, in recent years, the road is considered a lot safer. Having said that, we were still part of a convoy of buses that were escorted by several police cars.
There are several other waterfalls that you can visit near Palenque:
- Agua Azul waterfall
- Misol-Ha waterfall
- Roberto Barrios waterfalls
- Welib-Ha waterfall
- Sombrillas waterfalls
- Motiepa waterfall
The first three are the most well-known, while the latter three are more off-the-beaten-track.
7. Get Wet at El Chiflon
If you want to be in awe, you need to head to El Chiflon. You can go on a day trip from San Cristobal, or from Tuxtla Guttierez, but it’s easier to spend the night in Comitan and visit from there. It’s a 45 minute bus ride from Comitan town centre and a short walk through nature. Just prepare to be surprised. This whopper of a waterfall is more than 120m tall. Standing anywhere near the main drop will get you wet with mist.
There are also 4 smaller waterfalls on the way to the big drop, each one a scenic little spot that’s great for pics. There are also a few spots to take a dip if you have your swimsuit. Instead of walking back, you can take a zipline. Just don’t go on there if you have big blisters like my first experience ziplining in Thailand… You’ll glide over the forest canopy with the gorgeous El Chiflon waterfall in the distance. Definitely a memorable experience. It’ll set you back around 150 pesos for one ride, or 280 pesos for two.
8. Feast on Mexican Food
State: ALL OF THEM (but Oaxaca and Chiapas in particular)
Of all the things to do in Mexico, eating the traditional food has to be one of the best. Whether it’s street food from the local market or a sit-down meal at a restaurant, you can’t visit Mexico without trying the food. It’s incredible.
The general consensus is that Oaxaca is the state with the best food. They have a few of their own specialities, but mostly will be serving the same food you can get all over the country. I visited Oaxaca for a week or so and found that the food there was no better than in Chiapas. In fact, I’d argue that the food in Chiapas is probably even better.
I was eating street food there regularly. Quesadillas are my personal favourite, especially if they’re with pulled pork (cochinita pibil). God damn. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Here are some Mexican foods that should be near the top of your things to do in Mexico list:
- Pulled pork quesadillas
- Divorced eggs
I have to admit, I’ve only tried mole twice, and both times it was from another person’s plate. It’s not my favourite, but it was Frida Kahlo’s so what do I know? As for tamales… A lot of people love them, but I think they’re as dry as a mouthful of sand. Maybe I just went to the wrong place, but make sure you have a drink handy when you’re trying these.
Don’t forget: Mexico is also the home of tequila, mezcal, and margaritas!
9. Museum Hop Around Mexico City
State: Mexico City
Mexico City is enormous. There are tons of museums and you could easily spend a few weeks here and never get bored. It’s a capital city with some world class museums. From the Anthropology Museum to the National History Museum, Frida Kahlo Museum to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, you can’t go wrong with a little museum hop around Mexico City.
Add these to your list of things to do in Mexico:
- National Museum of Anthropology
- Frida Kahlo Museum (book in advance)
- Palacio de Bellas Artes
- University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC)
- Museum of Popular Art
- National Palace
There are dozens more. If you’re a museum nerd, you can find more museums in Mexico City here.
10. Spot Crocodiles in the Sumidero Canyon
If you’re based in San Cristobal de Las Casas, then a trip to Sumidero Canyon is definitely worth your time. Located in between San Cris and the nearest big town, Tuxtla Guttierez, Sumidero Canyon is a natural wonder where you can spot crocodiles and all sorts of other wildlife, as well as sheer natural beauty.
The starting point for Sumidero Canyon tours is Chiapa de Corzo, a registered magical town by the Mexican government. Though I have to admit, the town itself is not all that magical. It’s quite nice, and blisteringly hot compared to the higher altitude San Cris, but it’s just a tourist town for people taking the trip to the canyon.
11. Dive in a Cenote
State: Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche
Cenotes are natural sinkholes mostly found on the Yucatan Peninsula. They are considered sacred in Mayan tradition; they believed that cenotes were entrances to the underworld, known as Xibalba.
Nowadays these cenotes are biodiversity hotspots with their own unique ecosystem and diverse flora and fauna. They are often connected by an underground maze of rivers. For a while, the Yucatan Peninsula was known for being home to the world’s longest underwater cave system called the Sac Actun system, meaning “White Cave System”, which spans over 216 miles (347 kilometres). However, in January 2023 it was surpassed by Quintana Roo’s Ox Bel Ha. The new leader is more than 270 miles long (435 km) and has over 150 cenotes in the system!
Anyway, the important thing when going to cenotes is to dive in! They’re usually crystal clear and you can often jump straight in as the edges are incredibly steep. Here are some of the best cenotes in south-east Mexico:
- Ik Kil: A stunning cenote with lush vegetation near Chichen Itza. There’s a beautiful waterfall cascading into the sinkhole.
- Gran Cenote: In Tulum, you’ll be able to explore the underwater caves and admire the diverse marine life with your snorkel. There are impressive stalagmites and stalactites too.
- Cenote Dos Ojos: The two-eyed cenote is another popular one for diving and snorkelling.
- Cenote X’keken: Located near Valladolid, this underground cenote has beautiful blue water which is enhanced by the natural skylights.
- Cenote Azul: Situated a short distance from Bacalar town centre, this cenote is one of the deepest in the entire Yucatan Peninsula. It almost looks more like a lake than a sinkhole as it’s 650 feet wide and more than 300 feet deep!
12. Go to a Cooking Class
When visiting Mexico, one of the most immersive and rewarding experiences is to delve into the rich culinary heritage of the country. As avid travellers and food bloggers, we highly recommend going beyond just sampling the delicious street food and instead signing up for a cooking class. These classes offer a hands-on opportunity to learn the secrets of authentic Mexican cuisine from expert local chefs.
If you’re eager to get a taste of Mexico’s flavours before your trip, be sure to explore our Mexican recipes pages, where you’ll find delightful recipes like burritos and guacamole. These mouthwatering dishes will provide a sneak peek into the amazing flavours that await you on your Mexican adventure.
13. Get Lost in Mexico City
State: Mexico City
If you thought Mexico was big, wait until you see the capital. Weighing in at a whopping 22 million people, Mexico City is the 5th biggest city in the world. You could spend days and days wandering the streets of CDMX, visiting museums, parks, cafes, but you still wouldn’t have experienced it all. There are just too many things to do in Mexico City and the surrounding region.
The main square, Zocalo, was once the main ceremonial centre of the Aztec empire. There are some ruins there now, as well as a big cathedral (as is common in colonial cities). It’s a beautiful area with plenty of fancy restaurants nearby.
There is also the Roma neighbourhood which is known for its young and hip arty scene. Stroll through here to try cafes that feel straight out of Paris. There are lots of little parks around here, too.
Alternatively, head to Coayacan to see Frida Kahlo’s house and the famous market there. This is a trendy little area that’s fun to explore. It has its own charm and feels far enough away from Centro Historico to be its own little town. Mexico City is beautiful if you know where to look.
A word of warning: Be careful on the metros, especially if travelling to and from the airport with luggage. When I first visited Mexico City back in 2016, I got my phone pickpocketed on the first day coming from the airport with my backpack. I saw somebody else have their wallet pickpocketed just a few days later. We didn’t have any issues when we visited in 2023 (apart from a car chase with our taxi, also coming from the airport) but it’s worth mentioning. There are female-only sections on the majority of metros too.
14. Experience Day of the Dead
Experience the vibrant and captivating tradition of Day of the Dead in Mexico, an extraordinary celebration that honours and remembers loved ones who have passed away. This unique cultural event takes place annually from October 31st to November 2nd, and it’s a time when families come together to create elaborate altars adorned with marigolds, candles, and photographs of their departed relatives.
Walking through the bustling streets, you’ll be immersed in a lively atmosphere filled with music, colourful costumes, and intricately designed sugar skulls. Don’t miss the chance to witness mesmerising parades, where locals in skull-painted faces and traditional attire dance to rhythmic tunes, capturing the essence of joy and remembrance.
Unfortunately we arrived just after Day of the Dead, but we’d love to return to see it for real.
15. Visit the Copper Canyon
Visiting the Copper Canyon is an absolute must for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Located in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of Northwestern Mexico, this stunning natural wonder is often referred to as Mexico’s Grand Canyon. Spanning over 60,000 square kilometres, the Copper Canyon offers breathtaking vistas, towering cliffs, and deep, lush valleys that will leave you in awe.
Whether you choose to hike along its winding trails, take a scenic Copper Canyon train ride through its picturesque landscapes, or immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the indigenous Tarahumara people who call this region home, a visit to the Copper Canyon promises an unforgettable experience that showcases the raw beauty and diversity of Mexico’s landscapes.
16. Relax in Tulum (if you can…)
State: Quintana Roo
Tulum is a jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its Mayan ruins are some of the most picturesque because of their Caribbean Sea backdrop, and the town itself has grown a name for itself for being a spiritual-focused resort town. However, this isn’t for everybody.
I visited Tulum in 2016, just to visit the ruins. I stayed one night in the town but didn’t think much of it. Now, apparently, there are luxury resorts everywhere and hundreds of overpriced spirituality programs, including yoga and meditation classes, tarot readings, psychedelic retreats, and more. It’s certainly an interesting place, and the ruins are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, but if you’re travelling on a budget, you may want to skip through it quickly.
17. Puerto Escondido
Nestled on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Escondido is a hidden gem known for its world-class surfing at Zicatela Beach. Beyond the waves, you can relax on pristine beaches like Playa Carrizalillo and Playa Bacocho.
Don’t miss the magical bioluminescent boat tour at Manialtepec Lagoon. As the sun sets, indulge in delicious seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine. We heard many good things about this place, but didn’t make it over there ourselves. Next time, though…
18. Marvel at the Ruins of Teotihuacan
State: State of Mexico
Teotihuacan is a sight to behold. If you’re at all into ancient ruins and their history, and if you’re anywhere near Mexico City, then Teotihuacan cannot escape your attention. Located 25 miles (40km) northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacan was one of the most influential cities in Mesoamerican history. Its impact on the region is unrivalled.
The name Teotihuacan means “the place where the gods were created” in the Nahuatl language. If that doesn’t speak to its significance, nothing will. It has dozens of temples and pyramids, including the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. It’s said to have reached its peak around 1,500 years ago, reaching a dizzying population of 100,000 – 200,000 people.
Its Avenue of the Dead stretches for more than a mile and is surrounded by numerous structures and platforms. When viewed from above, the site looks eerily like a motherboard from a computer. Nobody knows exactly when or who built Teotihuacan, but it certainly pre-dated the Maya, Aztecs, and the Olmecs.
Just another of the many mysterious things to see in Mexico.
19. See the Giant Olmec Heads of La Venta
Talking of mysterious things to do in Mexico, take a look at the giant Olmec heads. While they’re now scattered around this diverse country, the heads originated from the state of Tabasco, north of Chiapas, wedged in the gap between the Yucatan Peninsula and the rest of Mexico. These colossal heads are said to be built by the Olmec civilisation of Mexico, but have drawn speculation as to their source of inspiration as the heads depict features uncommon in Olmec people.
If you don’t have the time to go to La Venta itself, you can still visit Olmec heads throughout the country. There is one in the National Anthropological Museum of Mexico City. Others can be found in Xalapa’s Anthropology Museum, while more still can be seen in San Lorenzo’s Tenochtitlán Museum. When we visited the Olmec heads, we saw the one in Mexico City and the La Venta ones that have been moved to the Parque – Museo de La Venta in Villahermosa.
While the city of Villahermosa isn’t quite as hermosa as the name suggests, it is home to some impressive heads. We didn’t know before we went to the park that it also doubles as a zoo. It was an interesting surprise to be face-to-face with a jaguar when going to visit the heads, but be warned: the animals there live in smaller cages than they probably should and it wasn’t always a comfortable experience.
20. Swim with Whale Sharks in the Yucatan Peninsula
An unforgettable experience awaits you in the Yucatan Peninsula if you’re looking to swim with whale sharks. These magnificent creatures, the largest fish in the world, gather in the pristine waters off the Mexican coast from May to September.
It’s a truly unique opportunity to witness their grandeur up close. With the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, you’ll have the chance to glide alongside these gentle giants in their natural habitat. If you come at the right time, it’s one of the best things to do in Mexico, hands down.
I swam with whale sharks in Sulawesi in Indonesia and couldn’t recommend it enough.
21. Participate in a Traditional Peyote Ceremony (Or Not)
Peyote is a sacred plant, a cactus, that is revered by the indigenous peoples of Northern Mexico and southern U.S.A. As such, there is controversy about recommending this as a thing to do in Mexico. There is a divide in the community between people who want to share the experience of Peyote with outsiders, and those that want to protect their sacred plant for fear of it becoming extinct (it only grows wild in a specific region of Northern Mexico and southern U.S.A). Because of this, and of the plant’s popularity, they are over-harvested and take a long time to regrow.
Ultimately, you should be careful to ensure that the shaman you choose to accommodate you is legitimate, just as if you were doing Ayahuasca in the Amazon. Be respectful of the sacred rites and traditions and approach the plant as if you are a guest. The active ingredient is mescaline, the same kind from Aldous Huxley’s infamous The Doors of Perception.
22. Imagine Yourself as Frida Kahlo
State: Mexico City
The Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan is easily one of the best things to do in Mexico. If you’re an art lover, you’ll know this monobrow queen to be the Mexican painter, famous for her unique art style. The vivid colours, intricate symbolism, and sometimes horrifying blend between realism and fantasy peel back some layers of the human condition and display them boldly before you. Her work captured people for a reason. And in Mexico City, you can see a lot of it.
Others were drawn to Frida Kahlo because of her life story. She was in a horrific accident when she was just eighteen years old. The bus she was on crashed and she found herself impaled on one of the poles. She was told she’d never walk again, but her grit and determination saw that to be nonsense, though she did struggle and spend the majority of her life in pain, something she paints so evocatively.
In the Frida Kahlo Museum, or the Blue House as it’s often called, you’ll find Frida’s home things, some of her sketches and drawings, as well as a look into the place she actually lived, breathed, and died.
Warning: BOOK YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. The museum’s website is frustrating to navigate, with no clear section on where to buy the tickets. But if you look real close, there’s a thin button on the bottom right that takes you to this ticket page. You will not be able to enter without a ticket and they are almost impossible to buy on the day. In fact, they usually sell out a few days in advance at least.
23. Climb the Largest Pyramid in the World
In Cholula, a Mexican-registered magical town in the suburbs of Puebla, you’ll find the largest known pyramid on planet Earth. But unless you knew it was a pyramid when you looked at it, you might well mistake it for a hill. It’s still overgrown with grass and there is a cathedral built on the top.
Unlike other Mesoamerican temples which cathedrals have been built on top of, this cathedral looks like a dot in comparison to the sheer size of the Cholula pyramid. It’s one of the best things to do in Mexico for history lovers. You can also explore the tunnels under the pyramid if they’re open. They stretch for miles underground! There’s a small archaeological site there and a nice path up the hill to visit the cathedral and soak in the panoramic views.
The history of Cholula is pretty insane, too. It was one of the biggest slaughters of innocent people during the Spanish colonisation of Mexico. They gathered all the town’s people to the centre for an important message, but then murdered them all. Cholula is a fascinating place to visit to learn more about the blood-soaked history of Mexico.
24. Explore the Marieta Islands
Located just off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, the Marieta Islands in Mexico are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. One of the highlights is the Hidden Beach, a secluded paradise tucked away within a volcanic crater. You can reach it by swimming or kayaking through a narrow tunnel.
The crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering rock formations create a surreal atmosphere that’s perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life. You can also take a boat tour around the islands to admire the striking rock formations, spot dolphins or whales, and observe nesting seabirds.
Keep in mind that the islands offer limited shade, so pack sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water, as the islands offer limited shade. The Marieta Islands are a true natural wonder that will leave you with unforgettable memories of your Mexican adventure
25. Take Part in a Cacao Ceremony
Cacao is originally from the Amazon basin, but the plant somehow made its way up the snaky continent of Central America and landed in the hands of the Aztecs. Revered as a gift from the god Quetzalcóatl, cacao was made into a drink and offered to Spaniards when they first arrived. The drink was made from fermented cacao beans, honey, water, and chilli peppers. It adapted and evolved over the years, especially when the Spanish took it back to Europe. In fact, the chocolate that we all know and love actually comes from the Aztec name for this drink: Xocolatl.
However, a cacao ceremony is more than just hot chocolate. It’s a ritual with intention and meditation baked in. Technically, you can buy the ingredients and perform a cacao ceremony yourself, but for your first attempt, you might want to have a guide lead the way. I did mine in San Cristobal (where else?). We went up onto the rooftop, set an intention, did a guided meditation and a few card readings, and drank the cacao. Then we talked for an hour or two about random things. I’ve been making cacao ever since, and Yelena’s hooked too.
Despite chocolate’s bad reputation, cacao is actually a very beneficial plant and has tons of positive effects on the body, most notably, stimulating the release of endorphins which provide happiness.
26. Visit Oaxaca City
Oaxaca is a colonial town that’s worth exploring. This beautiful city is often recommended as one of the best things to do in Mexico, and for good reason. It’s got plenty to see in the centre, but also a nice number of day trips nearby, making it a great base for several days.
In the middle of town, you’ll find a bunch of nice museums, several big cathedrals, and just a short taxi ride away, Monte Albán, an ancient ruin that deserves its own entry on this list (see #27). Oaxaca City is famous for its food so be sure to check out the local market (Mercado Benito Juárez).
27. Go Back in Time at Monte Albán
What was once the capital of the Zapotec civilisation, one of the lesser-known empires of old Mexico, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 500 BC, Monte Albán is strategically situated on top of a mountain ridge overlooking vast swathes of Oaxacan countryside. It has commanding panoramic views that were once used to defend the city from invasion. Now they’re great for another reason: pictures!
The architecture and layout of Monte Albán reflect the advanced engineering skills and urban planning of the Zapotec people. The site features numerous structures, including temples, palaces, ball courts, observatories, and residential areas. The main plaza, known as the Grand Plaza, is an expansive area surrounded by several ceremonial platforms and buildings.
Monte Albán is a remarkable destination for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.
28. Take a Mezcal Tour in Oaxaca
Immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant culture of Mexico by embarking on a mezcal tour in Oaxaca. Known as the birthplace of mezcal, Oaxaca offers an authentic and unforgettable experience for spirit enthusiasts. This traditional Mexican liquor, distilled from agave plants, holds a special place in the heart of Oaxacan culture.
However, it’s important to note that our personal experience with mezcal was not as enjoyable as we had hoped. In fairness, we purchased the cheapest version available, and we strongly recommend that you opt for a good quality mezcal to truly appreciate its nuanced flavours.
29. See the Frozen Waterfall of Hierve el Agua
The name “Hierve el Agua” translates to “the water boils,” but in reality, the water does not actually boil. The name comes from the visual effect created by the mineral deposits on the cliffs, resembling cascading water frozen in time. The water is rich in minerals such as calcium carbonate and has created stunning white rock formations over thousands of years.
Visitors to Hierve el Agua can enjoy hiking along designated trails that lead to the petrified waterfalls. The site offers two main waterfalls: the larger one called “Cascada Grande” and the smaller one known as “Cascada Chica.” These formations resemble giant frozen waterfalls, with water slowly trickling down the mineral-covered rocks: definitely one of the best things to do in Mexico.
30. Go Flamingo Spotting Near Merida at the Celestún Biosphere Reserve
The Celestún Biosphere Reserve is a beautiful spot 56 miles (90km) outside of Merida, the capital of the Yucatán state. It is a protected natural area that encompasses diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, estuaries, and lagoons. This reserve is renowned for its abundant birdlife, and it serves as an important habitat for the American flamingo.
Flamingos usually migrate here during the winter (November – March). Check with local tour operators for more accurate information as the population of birds varies throughout the year.
31. Go on a Wine Tour in Baja California
State: Baja California
If you’re a wine enthusiast looking for a unique experience in Mexico, a wine tour in Baja California is a must-try. Located just a stone’s throw away from the U.S.-Mexico border, this region boasts picturesque vineyards and a burgeoning wine industry.
On a wine tour, you can explore the beautiful countryside, learn about the winemaking process, and, of course, savour some exceptional wines. The prices for wine tours in Baja California typically range from moderate to high(from £10 to £100), depending on the winery and the package you choose.
32. Rediscover the Ancient Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan
State: Mexico City
Tenochtitlan, the ancient capital of the Aztec Empire, is a captivating historical site that should be at the top of your list when visiting Mexico. Located in what is now modern-day Mexico City, Tenochtitlan was a magnificent city with a rich cultural and architectural heritage.
As you explore the ruins, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of grandeur and marvel at the impressive feats achieved by the Aztec civilization. The remnants of temples, palaces, and canals provide a glimpse into the city’s intricate urban planning and advanced engineering skills. You can walk along the reconstructed causeways, imagining the bustling markets and vibrant ceremonies that once took place.
33. Bathe in a Traditional Natural Spa (Temazcal)
Temazcal, a traditional natural spa practice in Mexico, offers a unique and therapeutic experience. Inside a domed structure made of volcanic stones, participants engage in a guided ceremony led by a shaman. The heated rocks are infused with herbs and water, creating a steam-filled environment that promotes detoxification and relaxation. Through ancient rituals and chants, Temazcal helps release physical and emotional toxins, allowing visitors to find renewal and a deeper connection with nature.
Top Temazcal Destinations in Mexico:
- Tulum: Beaches and eco-resorts.
- Mexico City: Urban and rural centres.
- Oaxaca: Indigenous communities.
- Riviera Maya: Resorts and retreats.
- San Miguel de Allende: Colonial city.
34. Get Lost in Guanajuato
Guanajuato, a captivating city in central Mexico, offers a delightful blend of history, architecture, and cultural experiences. Its cobblestone streets and vibrant buildings create a picturesque atmosphere as you explore its charming colonial neighbourhoods. Don’t miss the iconic Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato, a stunning landmark that showcases remarkable architectural beauty.
For a unique adventure, venture into the underground streets of Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss), where a romantic legend of forbidden love unfolds. And of course, don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine, which offers a variety of traditional dishes such as enchiladas mineras, chiles en nogada, and delicious sweets like cajeta and ates.
With its undeniable charm and cultural richness, Guanajuato promises an unforgettable experience for every traveller.
35. Snorkel to Your Heart’s Content in Isla de Mujeres
Discover the breathtaking beauty of Isla de Mujeres through an exhilarating snorkelling adventure. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear turquoise waters and explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with a diverse array of marine life. Swim alongside tropical fish and graceful sea turtles as you create unforgettable memories in this underwater paradise.
Bring your own snorkel if you want to ensure good vision and nobody else’s saliva…
36. Attend a Lucha Libre Match (Mexican Wrestling)
An exhilarating experience not to be missed when visiting Mexico is attending a Lucha Libre match, the country’s beloved style of professional wrestling. Step into the vibrant world of masked luchadores, where colourful characters with larger-than-life personalities engage in acrobatic manoeuvres and theatrical performances inside the wrestling ring.
The atmosphere in the arena is electric, with passionate fans cheering and jeering, creating an infectious energy that sweeps through the crowd. The wrestlers, donning their iconic masks, showcase their incredible athleticism and skill, executing gravity-defying moves and high-flying acrobatics that will leave you in awe.
Ticket prices range from around 150 to 500 Mexican pesos (approximately £7 to £25) for regular seating. However, for premium seats or high-profile matches, prices can be higher.
37. Visit the Charming City of Puebla
Puebla, a charming colonial city in the heart of Mexico, offers a wealth of cultural and culinary experiences for travellers. Known as the ‘City of Angels,’ Puebla boasts a rich history reflected in its stunning architecture, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre.
The nickname “City of Angels” for Puebla originates from its full official name, “Puebla de los Ángeles” (Puebla of the Angels). The city was given this name due to a legend that tells the story of the city’s founding. According to the legend, the angels themselves guided the Spanish conquistadors to the location where Puebla now stands. Over time, the nickname “City of Angels” has become a symbol of Puebla’s cultural heritage and religious devotion, adding a touch of mystique to its identity.
38. Take a Dip in the Caribbean
State: Yucatan or Quintana Roo
Nothing says Caribbean like white sand beaches, palm trees and coconuts. In Mexico, as well as a huge strip of the Pacific Coast, you also get the Caribbean. Whether you’re diving in Cozumel, snorkelling in Isla Mujeres or swimming from the beach at Tulum, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen, Mexico’s east coast is great for underwater activities. Here are some of the best beach towns or islands on the Caribbean coast:
- Playa del Carmen
- Puerto Morelos
- Isla Mujeres
- Puerto Aventuras
39. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife of Playa del Carmen
State: Quintana Roo
If you’re a party person, you’ve probably already got Playa del Carmen on your radar. As it’s right next to Cancun, a common jumping off point for European tourists, it’s an easy stop to make during your time in the Yucatan. A lot of people come here just for this town, spending a week holed up in a five star resort with a pool and all-inclusive food and drink. If you’re into that, this is one of the places to go. If, however, the very thought of flying across the planet to live in a hotel for a week is baffling to you, then there is still a lot to do nearby.
The main strip is lively, full of bars, restaurants and cafes. There’s a large digital nomad community in Playa del Carmen but it doesn’t have quite the same authenticity as other towns in Mexico. There are a few nice beaches, some great bars and clubs, and quite a few excursions. It’s close to Tulum, Cancun, and a whole bunch of ancient ruins. You can even visit Chichen Itza on a day trip, or hop to the island of Cozumel.
40. Explore the Beaches of Baja California
State: Baja California
Discover the enchanting beaches of Baja California, a coastal haven that offers endless opportunities for beach lovers. With its stunning coastlines and diverse beach towns, Baja California presents an array of options to suit every preference.
Whether you’re seeking lively beachside activities or peaceful relaxation, this region has it all. From the vibrant shores of Cabo San Lucas to the serene beaches of Todos Santos and the rugged coastline of Ensenada, Baja California’s beaches provide a range of experiences. Enjoy thrilling water sports, soak up the sun on pristine sands, or savour breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific.
41. Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
State: Quintana Roo
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a captivating destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers along Mexico’s eastern coast. Covering over 1.3 million acres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases the stunning tropical landscapes that Mexico is known for. Visitors can explore a diverse range of ecosystems, including mangroves, wetlands, and pristine beaches. The reserve is also home to an array of wildlife, such as jaguars, manatees, and colourful bird species.
Additionally, the site features ancient Mayan ruins, adding a touch of history to the natural beauty. Whether you’re kayaking through clear cenotes, taking a boat tour along scenic canals, or simply enjoying the tranquillity of the beaches, Sian Ka’an offers an unforgettable experience immersed in Mexico’s remarkable biodiversity.
42. Get Your Tooth Pulled Out in Cozumel
Okay, maybe don’t try this one on your trip to Cozumel. But if you do find yourself in dire need of a dentist, you’re lucky that the locals are super friendly and will point you in the right direction. I hopped into a local dentists there when I had really bad tooth and gum pain. He checked me over from his somewhat unorthodox registry, and then kindly suggested a professional who would take good care of me. The professional he spoke of told me he had never taken more than thirty minutes to remove a tooth. One hour later, he was sighing and straining as he used a chisel, pliers and drill in my mouth to finally get the tooth free.
However, not all trips to Cozumel have to end with four days in isolation in case the ball of blood in your gum hole liquifies in the heat. In fact, believe it or not, you can have quite a good time on Cozumel. It’s only a small village so try renting a car or a bike and visiting the other parts of the island. You won’t regret it.
43. Stand in Awe Before Sierra de Naica (The Crystal Cave)
Located in the north of Mexico, this giant crystal cave is a sight to behold. Discovered in 1910 by miners who broke through from the neighbouring silver mine, Sierra de Naica is known as the “cave of crystals”. It’s home to some of the largest crystals in the world. The biggest crystal they have there is selenite that comes in at a whopping 11m long and more than 55 tons!
However, with a humidity of 100% and temperatures that knock on the door of 50 degrees Celsius, Sierra de Naica is not for the faint-hearted. If you stay for too long (more than ten minutes in certain areas), your breath can condense in your lungs which can be fatal.
44. Spend a Day Wandering Around the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
State: Mexico City
This museum is massive! If you want to know all about the different civilisations of Mexico – and there are a lot – then this is the place to be. Expect to see artefacts from Maya, Aztec, Olmec, Zapatec and other cultures. It’s a crazy place for history-lovers as it contains entire replicas of temples and findings, including Pakal’s burial chamber we spoke about earlier from Palenque. I’ve been to this museum twice and still not seen everything. Expect a full day, and get a good kip the night before as it’s a long one.
45. Pop to the Montebello Lakes Near the Guatemalan Border
Renowned for its picturesque lakes, lush forests, and scenic landscapes, Montebello Lakes National Park is a fantastic place to spend a few days to get in touch with nature. In this national park, there are more than 50 lakes and ponds of varying sizes and colours. Ranging from emerald greens to intense blues, the vibrant colours are a result of their mineral-rich waters and the reflection of sunlight.
The park’s diverse ecosystem supports abundant flora and fauna. The forests surrounding the lakes are inhabited by a variety of wildlife species, including howler monkeys, jaguars, toucans, and colourful butterflies. Birdwatchers will be in paradise too.
The region is home to indigenous communities as well, such as the Tzeltal and Ch’ol peoples, who have a deep connection to the land and its lakes. Overall, a few days here (or a day trip from San Cristobal) is well worth your time.
46. Pop to Guatemala Itself…
We know this is supposed to be a list of things to do in Mexico, but the truth is: Guatemala is often an addition to a Mexican trip. As the country is rather small, and the tourist trail quite limited, Guatemala is an amazing country to visit for a week or two during a longer trip around Central America.
Guatemala deserves its own in-depth guide, but to scratch the surface, check out the following places:
- Antigua: A vibrant colonial town that feels super safe, despite being nestled under the watchful eye of an active volcano.
- Lake Atitlan: A mesmerising lake surrounded by volcanoes and little villages.
- Tikal: One of the greatest Maya cities ever discovered, a trip here – to the middle of the Guatemalan jungle – is a truly unforgettable experience.
- Semuc Champey: Located smack bang in the middle of nowhere, Semuc Champey is a series of natural pools that you can find in a secluded lush valley. This is a great place for adventurous activities like rafting and caving.
47. Visit the Town that Popularised Magic Mushrooms
Known as Huatla de Jimenez, this small Oaxacan town is nestled in the mountains of Sierra Mazateca. It’s notable for its cultural significance and its association with the Mazatec indigenous people and their traditional practices, including the use of sacred plants such as the psilocybin mushrooms. The place became famous when Maria Sabina became the focus of researchers, scholars, and hippies.
María Sabina’s work with mushrooms attracted the attention of researchers, scholars, and individuals seeking spiritual experiences, making Huatla de Jiménez a destination for those interested in Mazatec culture and traditional healing practices. Those who have seen the Netflix documentary, How to Change Your Mind, will know this story already. The village became overwhelmed with tourists and has been left with a somewhat mixed legacy.
It’s important to note that magic mushrooms aren’t legal in Mexico. However, officials have been known to look the other way when the sacred plant is taken as part of indigenous traditions and rituals.
48. Climb the Pyramid at Uxmal
Uxmal is a super cool, off-the-beaten-track Mayan ruin for those that want to avoid the crowds that come with Chichen Itza and Tulum. The atmospheric setting, surrounded by dense jungle, adds to the allure and mystery of Uxmal. It’s definitely quieter and more intimate than the most popular ancient ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The name “Uxmal” translates to “built three times” in the Mayan language, likely referring to the site’s construction over multiple periods. The Pyramid of the Magician (known as the Pyramid of the Dwarf in the local language) is the most recognizable structure in Uxmal. It stands approximately 115 feet (35 metres) tall and has a rounded, elliptical base.
Located 52 miles (84 km) from Merida, Uxmal makes for an easy day trip. Tickets cost just short of 500 pesos (around £22). Unless you’re going on a tour, it’ll be cash only.
49. Marvel at the Bacalar Lagoon
State: Quintana Roo
Bacalar is a cool place to chill and wind down near the Belizean border. We visited here on our way back to Mexico from Belize and it was certainly a welcome stop. As well as the main lake, there are plenty of cenotes and even some recently opened ancient ruins nearby.
Often referred to as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors,” Laguna Bacalar is famous for its varying shades of blue and turquoise, creating a mesmerising natural spectacle. Bacalar has become a popular destination for travellers seeking tranquillity, natural beauty, and outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, and boat tours.
50. Get Lost in the Guachimontones Archaeological Zone
The Guachimontones Archaeological Zone is a captivating destination for any history enthusiast. This archaeological site showcases the unique circular pyramids known as “guachimontones,” which were constructed by the ancient Teuchitlán culture.
Exploring the site offers a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Columbian era, with its well-preserved structures and ceremonial platforms. Visitors can appreciate the architectural ingenuity of the Teuchitlán people and learn about their cultural practices.
51. Experience the Guelaguetza Festival of Oaxaca
One of the must-see cultural events in Mexico is the Guelaguetza Festival. Held annually in the city of Oaxaca during the last two Mondays of July, this vibrant celebration showcases the rich traditions and indigenous heritage of the region. The festival brings together various communities, each displaying their unique dances, music, and colourful costumes. It’s a captivating spectacle that highlights the diversity and unity of Mexican culture.
An interesting fact about the Guelaguetza Festival is that it has its roots in pre-Hispanic times, dating back thousands of years, and continues to be an important event in the present day, attracting visitors from all around the world.
52. Take a Tequila Tour
Who would’ve thought it? Tequila comes from a town called Tequila! Located 40 miles (65km) from Guadalajara, Tequila is the birthplace of the world-famous spirit of the same name.
On a tequila tour, you’ll explore the town, visiting several tequila distilleries on the way. You’ll learn about the tequila-making process and sample different varieties, likely getting a little tipsy on the way! You’ll see everything, from the agave fields to the bottling process. There’s also a National Museum of Tequila that’s worth a look.
53. Gawp at Art in the Palacio de Bellas Artes
State: Mexico City
One of the best things to do in Mexico is look at art. And there aren’t many better places than the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This beautiful palace is an interesting building all on its own, but when partnered with the art inside it becomes really special. Hosting artwork from several artists, its most notable mural is Diego Rivera’s El Hombre Controlador del Universo, which itself is a redone version of the mural he was commissioned to paint at the Rockefeller Center in New York.
54. Get Off the Beaten Track at Coba
State: Quintana Roo
The ancient ruins of Coba are another Mayan marvel to add to your Yucatan Peninsula bucket list. Far less crowded than sites such as Tulum and Chichen Itza, Coba offers all the same delights, including ball courts and pyramids. It was settled from 100 AD to 1600 AD.
One of the unique things about Coba is its network of sacbeob (ancient Mayan roads). The longest sacbe in Coba, known as the “White Road,” stretches over 62 miles (100km) and connects Coba with other nearby Mayan sites.
To get to Coba, there’s an ADO bus that goes directly from Tulum. Alternatively, you can take a day tour or even get a taxi if you don’t mind paying extra.
55. Take a Boat Tour of Xochimilco
State: Mexico City
Located in the southern part of Mexico City, this enchanting neighbourhood offers a unique experience that takes visitors back in time. Hop on a colourful trajinera, a traditional Mexican gondola, and float along the picturesque canals, surrounded by lush vegetation and vibrant gardens. As you glide through the tranquil waters, local musicians serenade you with lively mariachi tunes, adding to the festive ambiance.
Did you know that the canals of Xochimilco are remnants of an ancient system of waterways built by the Aztecs? These canals were once used for transportation and agricultural purposes, providing a vital lifeline to the Aztec civilization. Today, they serve as a fascinating testament to the engineering skills of the Aztecs and offer visitors a chance to explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with history and natural beauty.
56. Dive Into History at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa
If you’re interested in delving into Mexico’s rich cultural heritage, a visit to the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa is a must. Located in the captivating city of Xalapa, this museum offers an insightful glimpse into the country’s diverse pre-Columbian civilizations.
One of the highlights of the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa is the renowned Olmec collection. The Olmec civilization, considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, left behind remarkable artefacts that provide insights into their advanced society. Visitors can marvel at the colossal stone heads, intricate figurines, and exquisite jade jewellery, all showcasing the Olmec’s artistic mastery and cultural significance.
57. Try Being a Digital Nomad
Ever fancied being a digital nomad? Work from your laptop wherever there’s an internet connection? It might not be for everyone, but this flexible way of working certainly has a charm. Mexico has a number of towns that are great for digital nomads, complete with fast WiFi, good cafes, a vibrant scene of like-minded people, and a whole host of things to do in your free time. Whether you’re into graphic design, copywriting, or online teaching, the following cities might be worth a stop for you. They’re also great for networking.
- San Cristóbal de Las Casas
- Playa del Carmen
- Mexico City
- Oaxaca City
- Puerto Vallarta
58. Shop for Handicrafts at Coyoacán Market in Mexico City
State: Mexico City
Coyoacán Market is in the same neighbourhood as Frida Kahlo’s house and museum. It’s where she grew up, and despite being known for being her place of residence, Coyoacán also has a lively scene of its own. This vibrant and historic market is known for its bohemian atmosphere, colonial architecture, and artistic heritage. It’s definitely worth a wander.
The market is not just about shopping either; it also has a lively and festive atmosphere. You can often find musicians, street performers, and artists showcasing their talents.
59. Go Trekking in the Sierra Norte Mountains
What a beautiful place. The Sierra Norte Mountains are home to traditional Zapotec villages and you can hike from one to the next, exploring the region’s cultural history and experiencing the friendliness of the locals first-hand.
The region offers opportunities for plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, birdwatching, and exploring traditional Zapotec villages. The views are breathtaking and there’s a certain energy in the mountains that makes you want to stay longer.
60. Stay in the Beautiful City of Merida
As the capital city of the Yucatan, Merida is definitely worth a visit. Most people think of Cancun and Chichen Itza, but Merida is where you break away from the holidayers and start to meet the travellers. Merida is more authentic than Cancun and has a stronger culinary scene, as well as being a great base for those looking to head to less-visited Mayan ruins.
It’s also starting to earn a name for itself in the digital nomad world as more and more laptop workers head there for longer stays.
61. Try Strange Foods
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love to try weird stuff. We bought a guinea pig from the market and cooked it ourselves in Peru. I ate bull testicle soup in Bolivia (and fully recommend it!). I’ve eaten a wide range of bugs on Khao San Road in Bangkok, including tarantulas and scorpions. All this to give some credibility for when I say that Mexico has some pretty weird dishes.
From ant larvae to roasted grasshoppers, stink bugs to cacti, you can get all sorts if you search hard enough. In Cholula and many other towns, you’ll find people selling ants and grasshoppers alongside nuts and other salted snacks as if there is little difference between the two. Embrace it.
62. Try Exotic Fruits
On the other side of the spectrum, we have exotic fruits. Mexico has dozens of different climates, from tropical to desert, mountains to coast. In this kind of diverse country, you get a lot of interesting fruits. While your typical tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and papaya are available (and delicious when in season), there are also some less common fruits that you may not even recognise. Always check out the local markets in the cities you visit. Your senses will thank you for it.
Check out the following fruits on your next trip to Mexico.
- Zapote: Tan-brown and a little fuzzy, zapotes taste like a weird combination of vanilla, cinnamon and pear.
- Tuna: Not the fish, but the prickly pear. It comes in a variety of different colours including green, yellow, red, and purple. It tastes a little like watermelon, a little like strawberry, and a little like neither.
- Chirimoya: Chirimoya is a small fruit with a scaly green skin and soft, white, sweet, and fragrant flesh. It’s usually used more in smoothies and desserts.
- Guanabana: A tropical fruit known for its green spiky skin and creamy white flesh, guanabana has a sweet and tangy flavour reminiscent of a combination of pineapple and strawberry.
- Mamey: Mamey is a large fruit with a rough, brown skin and sweet orange flesh. It has a unique flavour that is often described as a combination of sweet potato, pumpkin, and apricot.
There are plenty more to try. Go to the local markets and check them out!
63. Help Out in an Animal Sanctuary
While this can be done anywhere, there is a particular cat home in San Cristobal that inspired us to add it to the list. They just want people to come in and play with the cats. If you’re a cat-lover, or you’re missing your furry friend back home, you can come here for a few hours and enjoy the feline goodness.
Most cities in Mexico (or anywhere for that matter) have sanctuaries like this. If it’s something you’re interested in, give it a Google before you go. You’ll be surprised.
64. Visit a Witch Market (Mercado de Sonora) in Mexico City
State: Mexico City
One of the most interesting things to do in Mexico, especially if you’re into witchy things, is to visit the Mercado de Sonora. It’s also known as Mercado de las Brujas (Witch Market). It is known for its wide array of items related to esotericism, magic, traditional healing, and spiritual practices. With a long history, Mercado de Sonora is one of the most well-known witch markets in Mexico.
To get here, you’ll have to travel to the neighbourhood of La Merced, in the southeastern part of Mexico City. The market is a labyrinth of stalls and shops offering a fascinating assortment of items that cater to various mystical and spiritual interests. You can find tarot readings, aura cleansings, and a wide variety of items like crystals, incense, potions, and amulets.
It’s well worth checking out, but don’t treat it too lightly. Go with respect and engage the locals with an open mind.
65. Relax in the Hot Springs of Tolantongo
Nestled within the rugged Tolantongo Canyon, the hot springs of Tolantongo offer visitors a unique and relaxing experience amidst breathtaking natural scenery. The water is rich in minerals and is known for its healing properties, making it a popular destination for relaxation and wellness. This is a similar theme among hot springs all over the world. Even the hot springs of Pamukkale in Turkey are renowned for their mineral-rich healing properties.
The area is also home to waterfalls, including the stunning Cascada Grande, which cascades down the cliffs into a natural pool. Visitors can swim, relax, or even take a thrilling ride on a zip line that crosses the canyon. There are also cave systems to explore, such as the Cueva del Murciélago (Bat Cave), adding a sense of adventure to the experience.
66. Pop to Belize
We included Guatemala, so it wouldn’t feel right if we neglected Belize. When travelling Central America, a lot of people skip over Beize as it’s kind of all on its own on the eastern coast. However, that would be a mistake. Belize is an untouched gem that has plenty of Mayan ruins, pristine beaches, incredible snorkelling and underwater activities, and thick swathes of untouched jungle. It’s home to a large number of jaguars, howler monkeys, and toucans. You’ll even see crocodiles at some of the Mayan ruins. It’s certainly an adventurous place.
However, there is a drawback. Belize is expensive. Like really expensive. We couldn’t really understand why the prices were so much higher there, but they were. If you’re just passing through, it’s not too much of a big deal. We were intending to stay for a long time so it threw us off a bit. Mexico can be half the price in some places.
If you do end up going, here are some places to check out in more depth:
- The Great Blue Hole
- The Belize Barrier Reef
- San Ignacio
- San Pedro Town
67. Check Out the Riviera Nayarit
Riviera Nayarit, located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, offers an array of captivating experiences for travellers seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure. With its pristine beaches and picturesque coastal towns, it serves as a serene escape from bustling city life.
From exploring the charming fishing village of Sayulita with its vibrant local culture to indulging in delicious seafood delicacies along the coastline, Riviera Nayarit offers a taste of authentic Mexico.
68. Go Caving in Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
If you’re seeking an awe-inspiring natural wonder in Mexico, make sure to visit the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa. These magnificent caves offer an unforgettable underground adventure. As you explore the labyrinthine passageways, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking stalactite and stalagmite formations that have taken centuries to form.
69. Visit the Mazunte Turtle Museum
Located in the beautiful coastal town of Mazunte, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of sea turtles. With a focus on conservation and education, the museum provides valuable insights into the life cycle and habits of these magnificent creatures. Visitors can explore informative exhibits, learn about the efforts taken to protect sea turtles, and even witness the hatching and release of baby turtles during the nesting season.
The entrance fee for the museum is around 175MXN (£8).
70. Get Into Nature at Cascada de Basaseachi
Cascada de Basaseachi is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts exploring Mexico. Located in the heart of the Copper Canyon region, this stunning waterfall captivates visitors with its raw beauty and tranquil surroundings. As one of Mexico’s tallest waterfalls, Cascada de Basaseachi offers a breathtaking sight as water cascades down from great heights, creating a mesmerising display of power and serenity.
If you’re a waterfall lover, this is easily one of the best things to do in Mexico.
71. Wander the Streets of Zacatecas
This charming city offers a delightful experience for travellers who love to explore on foot. Strolling through the streets of Zacatecas allows you to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and witness the authentic daily life of its residents. You’ll encounter narrow alleys, colourful colonial buildings, and bustling markets, creating a picturesque setting that captures the essence of Mexican culture. From quaint cafes to vibrant street vendors, the city’s streets are filled with the enticing aromas of traditional cuisine, offering plenty of opportunities to savour the local flavours.
72. Visit the Museum of Mayan Culture in Chetumal
State: Quintana Roo
Located in Chetumal, Mexico, the Museum of Mayan Culture stands as a captivating testament to the rich heritage of the ancient Mayan civilization. This museum offers a valuable glimpse into the intriguing world of the Mayan people without overwhelming visitors with unnecessary frills. Through its well-curated exhibits and informative displays, the Museum of Mayan Culture provides an educational and immersive experience, allowing visitors to deepen their understanding of this remarkable civilisation.
73. Experience the Cliffs of Acapulco
This natural wonder offers an unforgettable experience for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Standing tall and rugged, the cliffs provide a stunning backdrop as the waves crash against their base. Visitors can soak in the breathtaking views, capturing the essence of Acapulco’s beauty.
Warning: While cliff diving is a popular activity in some areas of Mexico, such as La Quebrada in Acapulco, it should only be performed by professional divers who are familiar with the location and its specific conditions.
74. Be Serenaded by a Mariachi Band
One of the best things to do in Mexico is to listen to the captivating tunes of Mariachi music. This vibrant and soulful genre is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and has the power to transport you to a world filled with passion and emotion. As you stroll through the bustling streets or relax at a local cantina, the melodic sounds of the trumpets, guitars, and violins fill the air, creating an ambiance that is truly unique to Mexico.
75. Visit the Charming Town of Morelia
A delightful destination for travellers seeking a glimpse into the country’s rich history, Morelia is a well-preserved colonial town that showcases its heritage through cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and a remarkable aqueduct. Strolling through its narrow alleys, visitors will discover beautiful churches, lively plazas, and local shops offering crafts and traditional Michoacán delicacies.
Food enthusiasts can indulge in mouthwatering dishes like carnitas and corundas, while nature lovers can venture to the nearby Lake Cuitzeo for stunning views and opportunities to observe migratory birds.
76. Explore the Jardin Botanico de Vallarta
Located in Puerto Vallarta, this botanical garden offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city. The garden boasts a diverse collection of plant species, showcasing the rich biodiversity of the region. Strolling through the well-maintained pathways, you’ll encounter lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and towering trees.
The botanical garden is actively involved in preserving and propagating endangered plant species native to the region. Through their dedicated conservation programs, they aim to protect the unique flora and contribute to the sustainability of Mexico’s natural ecosystems.
77. Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara
One of the must-see events in Guadalajara, Mexico is the Mariachi Festival. This vibrant celebration showcases the rich cultural heritage of the country through its traditional music. The festival brings together talented mariachi bands from all over Mexico, creating an electrifying atmosphere that captivates both locals and visitors.
The Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara typically takes place during the month of September. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific dates and schedule for the current year as they may vary. You can find updated information about the festival from local tourism websites or official event calendars closer to your travel dates.
78. Learn Spanish
One of the essential activities to engage in while exploring Mexico is to learn Spanish. Being the official language of the country, understanding basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience. Whether you’re conversing with locals, navigating through bustling markets, or deciphering menus at authentic eateries, having a grasp of the language opens doors to cultural immersion and meaningful connections.
The cost of learning Spanish in Mexico can vary. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from £8 to £30 per hour for private lessons, while group classes may range from £5 to £20 per hour.
79. Surf in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is renowned for its world-class waves, attracting surf enthusiasts from around the globe. Nestled on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido offers an authentic and unpretentious surfing experience.
The powerful and consistent swells create an adrenaline-pumping environment for both seasoned surfers and beginners looking to catch their first wave. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches, Puerto Escondido provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable surfing adventure in Mexico.
80. Go on a Free Walking Tour
One of the best things about free walking tours in Mexico is that you only need to tip the guides for their excellent services. They generously share their knowledge and passion for their country, ensuring you have a memorable and informative experience. One of our favourite walking tours was in San Cristobal, where we had the opportunity to explore the enchanting streets and learn about the city’s fascinating history. At the end of the tour, we were pleasantly surprised to be treated to a free tasting of “pox,” a special Mexican drink. It was the perfect way to conclude our walking tour, indulging in a local delicacy while reflecting on the incredible sights and stories we had encountered along the way.
81. Eat in a Central Mercado
When exploring Mexico, one must not miss the opportunity to eat at a central mercado, especially if you’re travelling on a budget. These bustling marketplaces offer a true taste of authentic Mexican cuisine at very affordable prices
Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, as locals and visitors alike gather to savour the diverse flavours and textures of Mexican gastronomy. Eating in a central mercado is an essential part of the cultural and culinary journey through Mexico, offering an unfiltered glimpse into the country’s vibrant food scene.
82. See a Football Game
Mexico is known for its passionate football culture, and you have two options to enjoy the match atmosphere. You can either head to a stadium and witness the action firsthand, or join the locals at a lively sports bar to watch the game on big screens surrounded by passionate fans.
Whichever option you choose, the atmosphere is electric and filled with anticipation. The cheers, chants, and friendly banter create an immersive environment that showcases the true spirit of Mexican football.
83. Go Skydiving in Puerto Vallarta
Skydiving in Puerto Vallarta offers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for adventure seekers. Nestled along the stunning coast of Mexico, this popular destination provides the perfect backdrop for a thrilling skydiving adventure. As you ascend to the skies in the aircraft, the anticipation builds, and once you leap into the open air, you’ll feel an adrenaline rush like no other. The breathtaking views of Puerto Vallarta’s coastline, azure waters, and lush landscapes will leave you in awe as you freefall through the air.
84. Dive in the Underwater Museum of Cancun
Located off the coast of Cancun, this unique underwater museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors. The museum is home to a captivating collection of underwater sculptures that have been carefully placed on the ocean floor. As you dive into the crystal-clear waters, you’ll find yourself surrounded by these intriguing sculptures, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. It’s a truly remarkable sight to witness, providing a blend of art and marine life.
85. See Tons of Butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve
State: Michoacán and Mexico
Situated in the scenic region of Michoacán, this reserve offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience.The migration of the monarch butterflies to the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico typically occurs between late October and early November. During this time, millions of monarch butterflies arrive at the reserve, seeking the warmer climate and shelter provided by the oyamel fir trees. They stay in the reserve throughout the winter months, and then, as spring arrives, they begin their return journey back to the north, starting in late February or early March.
An interesting fact about the Monarch Butterfly Reserve is that the journey of the monarch butterflies is not completed in a single generation. The butterflies that travel from Canada and the United States to Mexico are part of the fourth generation of monarchs. This means that the butterflies that reach the reserve have never been there before and have no previous knowledge of the location. Despite this, they navigate their way back to the same trees in the reserve that their ancestors used, using a combination of celestial cues and an internal magnetic compass.
86. Take a Chocolate Tour in Oaxaca
Oaxaca is renowned for its rich and flavorful chocolate, and this tour offers a delightful opportunity to explore the history and production process behind this delectable treat. During the tour, visitors can witness the traditional techniques used to harvest and grind the cacao beans, gaining a fascinating insight into the chocolate-making tradition that has been passed down through generations. Sampling the various chocolate creations is undoubtedly the highlight, as travellers indulge in the distinct flavours and textures that make Oaxacan chocolate so special.
An interesting fact about the Chocolate Tour in Oaxaca is that the cacao beans used in the chocolate-making process are grown locally in the region. Oaxaca’s unique climate and fertile soil provide the perfect conditions for cultivating high-quality cacao beans, resulting in chocolate with exceptional flavour profiles. The tour offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the different varieties of cacao and the significant role they play in the rich culinary heritage of Oaxaca.
One of these roles is that Chocolate has a long history of being traded as a valuable commodity. During the colonial era, cacao beans were used as currency and played a crucial role in international trade and economic systems.
Whether you’re a chocolate aficionado or simply appreciate the art of fine craftsmanship, the Chocolate Tour in Oaxaca promises an authentic and satisfying experience for all.
87. Hop on a Boat Tour of the Sea of Cortez
State: Near Baja California
Boat Tour of the Sea of Cortez allows travellers to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of this renowned body of water. Cruising along the serene waves, visitors can witness the mesmerising marine life and vibrant coral reefs that make the Sea of Cortez an ecological treasure. The boat tour offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city life, providing a tranquil setting to admire the surrounding rugged coastline and soak in the refreshing ocean breeze.
88. Visit the Magic Town of Izamal
Magic Town of Izamal, also known as the Yellow City. This picturesque town captivates visitors with its unique charm and vibrant yellow buildings. Walking through the streets adorned with colonial architecture, you’ll feel transported to a different era. Izamal is steeped in history, as it was once an important Mayan religious centre.
You might ask why yellow?
The choice of yellow as the predominant colour in Izamal holds cultural and historical significance. The colour yellow is closely associated with the Franciscan order, who played a vital role in the town’s history. In the 16th century, Spanish Franciscan friars arrived in Izamal and established a monastery. The yellow colour was traditionally associated with the Franciscans, and it is believed that the buildings in Izamal were painted yellow as a tribute to their influence and presence in the town.
Additionally, the colour yellow has symbolic meaning in the Mayan culture. It represents the sun, which holds great importance in Mayan cosmology and mythology. By painting the town yellow, it not only pays homage to the Franciscans but also serves as a visual representation of the town’s connection to Mayan traditions and beliefs.
89. Attend the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato
Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato is a vibrant and culturally rich festival that celebrates the arts in a unique way. Named after Miguel de Cervantes, the renowned Spanish writer, the festival brings together artists, performers, and enthusiasts from all over the world. It showcases a diverse range of artistic disciplines, including theatre, music, dance, and visual arts. The streets of Guanajuato come alive with captivating performances, exhibitions, and workshops, providing visitors with a truly immersive experience.
The Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato usually takes place in the month of October. However, the festival schedules may vary from year to year.
90. Venture into the Desert of Wirikuta
State: San Luis Potosí
The Desert of Wirikuta offers a unique and captivating experience for travellers. With its vast expanse of arid landscapes, the Desert of Wirikuta showcases the raw beauty of nature. Visitors can immerse themselves in the serene and tranquil surroundings, taking in the mesmerising views of the desert’s golden dunes and sparse vegetation.
It holds great cultural and spiritual significance for the indigenous Huichol people of Mexico. They consider Wirikuta to be a sacred place and believe that it is the birthplace of their ancestors. The Huichol people have been making pilgrimages to this desert for thousands of years to perform rituals and ceremonies, seeking spiritual guidance and connecting with their cultural roots.
91. Explore the Ruins of Calakmul
Located in the dense jungles of the Yucatán Peninsula, these the Ruins of Calakmul ancient offer a glimpse into the captivating world of the Mayan civilization. Unlike some other popular archaeological sites, the Ruins of Calakmul remain relatively untouched, providing an authentic and immersive experience. As you explore the site, you’ll be surrounded by towering structures, intricately carved stone facades, and a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur. Walking through this ancient city, you can’t help but imagine the vibrant life that once thrived here, making it a truly remarkable and educational journey for any travel enthusiast.
One intriguing aspect of the Ruins of Calakmul is its remote and hidden location within the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. This UNESCO World Heritage site spans over 7,200 square kilometres and is one of the largest protected tropical forests in Mexico.
To reach the Ruins of Calakmul, you can fly to Cancun International Airport and then either rent a car or take a bus to the town of Xpujil. From Xpujil, you can hire a taxi or join a guided tour to reach the ruins. The journey from Cancun to Calakmul takes approximately 6-8 hours by road.
92. Admire the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco
State: Baja California
The Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco offer a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Created by indigenous communities thousands of years ago, these rock paintings depict various scenes of daily life, mythological figures, and intricate patterns. The simplicity and rawness of these artworks are striking, leaving visitors in awe of the talent and creativity of the past civilizations. Exploring the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco is like stepping back in time and experiencing the artistic expressions of Mexico’s ancestral cultures.
The Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco were discovered by a group of explorers and researchers led by a Mexican anthropologist named Carlos Lazcano Sahagún in the 1960s. While exploring the rugged and isolated mountains of Baja California, they stumbled upon the astonishing rock art hidden in the canyons and caves of the region.
93. Go Scuba Diving in the Great Maya Reef
State: Yucatán and Quintana Roo
One exhilarating experience to add to your itinerary when exploring Mexico is scuba diving in the Great Maya Reef. This magnificent underwater world offers a captivating glimpse into the diverse marine life that thrives within its crystal-clear waters. As you descend into the depths, you’ll be surrounded by vibrant coral formations, graceful sea turtles gliding effortlessly, and an array of colourful tropical fish darting through the reefs. The Great Maya Reef’s sheer size and biodiversity make it a prime destination for scuba enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable adventure beneath the surface. So grab your gear and immerse yourself in this awe-inspiring underwater playground for an experience that will leave you breathless.
94. Catch up on History in Chapultepec Castle
State: Mexico City
Immerse yourself in the captivating history of Mexico by paying a visit to the magnificent Chapultepec Castle. This iconic attraction, perched atop Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City, beckons travellers with its grandeur and panoramic views. Step inside and transport yourself to a bygone era as you explore the castle’s halls and chambers. From its regal beginnings as a royal residence to its later transformation into a renowned military academy, Chapultepec Castle has witnessed pivotal moments in Mexican history.
Deep within the chambers of Chapultepec Castle, a hidden room is said to hold a legendary jewel known as “The Heart of Chapultepec.” This mystical gem possesses the power to grant the deepest desires of those with pure hearts. Countless adventurers have braved the castle’s secrets in search of this elusive treasure, encountering trials and puzzles along the way. While the legend’s authenticity remains uncertain, it adds an intriguing layer of enchantment to the already captivating allure of Chapultepec Castle.
95. Immerse Yourself in the Tastes and Smells of Tlacolula Market
Tlacolula Market in Mexico offers an authentic and vibrant experience of local culture. From colourful textiles to fresh produce and delicious street food, it’s a must-visit for any traveller wanting to immerse themselves in the heart of Mexico.
When visiting Tlacolula Market, there are a few must-try items that should not be missed. One such delicacy is the traditional Oaxacan cuisine, particularly the tlayudas. These large, crispy tortillas are topped with a variety of ingredients such as refried beans, cheese, meat, and salsa, creating a mouthwatering combination of flavours. Another local specialty to indulge in is the mezcal, a smoky and distinctive Mexican spirit made from agave plants. Tlacolula Market is known for offering a wide selection of high-quality mezcal brands, allowing visitors to savour this unique beverage. Lastly, make sure to sample the fresh and vibrant fruits found at the market. From juicy mangoes to exotic varieties like mamey and pitaya, the fruit stands at Tlacolula Market offer a refreshing and delicious taste of Mexico’s natural bounty.
96. Spend a Few Nights in Campeche Old Town
Campeche’s old town is a captivating destination that offers a glimpse into Mexico’s rich history and colonial past. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts well-preserved architecture and a charming atmosphere that takes visitors back in time. Strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter colourful facades, ancient churches, and imposing forts that once defended the city against pirates. The old town’s authentic ambiance and cultural significance make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those seeking a taste of Mexico’s architectural heritage.
An interesting fact about Campeche is that it was once a frequent target of pirate attacks during the 16th and 17th centuries. The city’s strategic location along the Gulf of Mexico made it vulnerable to raids by notorious pirates such as Sir Francis Drake and Jean Lafitte. To defend against these attacks, the city constructed a formidable system of fortifications, including the famous Fort San Miguel, which still stands today as a testament to Campeche’s historical battles against piracy.
97. Explore the Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes
One notable attraction in Mexico is the Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes. Located in the state of Chihuahua, this ancient site offers a glimpse into the pre-Columbian civilization that once thrived in the region. The archaeological zone features well-preserved structures, including multi-story adobe buildings, intricate murals, and underground ceremonial chambers. Exploring this site allows visitors to appreciate the architectural achievements and cultural significance of the Paquimé civilization
98. Visit the Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl
State: Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico
Immerse yourself in the captivating allure of Mexico’s history by venturing to the Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl. These enchanting monasteries, dating back to the 16th century, transport you to a bygone era where Spanish and indigenous cultures intertwined.
Legend has it that the Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl hold a mystical connection to the ancient volcano towering above. According to local folklore, the monasteries were constructed by Spanish monks who sought to appease the powerful spirit dwelling within Popocatepetl, a mighty deity believed to govern the forces of nature. It is said that these monks performed sacred rituals and offered prayers to maintain harmony between the human realm and the volcanic forces.
The legend takes a romantic twist with the tale of a forbidden love that blossomed within the monastery walls. It is whispered that a young monk, captivated by the ethereal beauty of a local indigenous woman, fell passionately in love with her. Despite the strict vows of celibacy, their affection grew deeper, and they secretly met beneath the shadow of Popocatepetl. However, their clandestine affair could not escape the watchful eyes of their fellow monks.
One fateful day, as the young lovers embraced on the slopes of the volcano, a jealous monk discovered their secret rendezvous. Consumed by anger and betrayal, he reported their forbidden love to the monastery’s authorities. The punishment was swift and severe. The indigenous woman was banished from the vicinity, while the young monk was imprisoned within the monastery walls for eternity.
It is said that the spirit of the lovelorn monk still lingers within the monasteries, his yearning echoing through the corridors and cloisters. Visitors claim to feel his presence, a bittersweet reminder of a love that defied societal norms
99. Wander the Old Streets of El Tajin
El Tajin, a pre-Hispanic city located in Mexico, is a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and curious travellers alike. This archaeological site offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. With its ancient pyramids, ball courts, and intricate stone carvings, El Tajin showcases the impressive architectural achievements of the Mesoamerican civilization. Exploring the well-preserved ruins provides a unique opportunity to learn about the customs, beliefs, and daily life of the people who once inhabited this remarkable city.
100. Pop to the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato
While the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato may be considered macabre due to its collection of naturally mummified bodies, it is not necessarily horrific. The museum focuses on providing historical and cultural insights into the phenomenon of natural mummification rather than aiming to frighten visitors. The bodies on display are respectfully presented, and the museum offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about the process of mummification and the stories behind the individuals. However, it’s important to note that some visitors may find the concept of mummified remains unsettling, so it’s advisable to consider personal comfort levels before visiting.
101. Jump Off a Cliff in Matacanes
State: Nuevo León
If you’re an adventure seeker looking for an adrenaline rush, one experience you shouldn’t miss in Mexico is cliff jumping in Matacanes. Located in the northern region of the country, Matacanes offers breathtaking natural beauty and thrilling cliff diving opportunities. With its rugged terrain and pristine waterfalls, this hidden gem attracts thrill-seekers from around the world. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating plunge as you leap off the cliffs into the crystal-clear waters below.
102. Go White-Water Rafting in Veracruz
White-water rafting in Veracruz is an exhilarating experience that shouldn’t be missed. The region offers thrilling rapids and breathtaking natural beauty, making it a paradise for adventure seekers.
103. Hop on a Sunset Cruise in Cabo
State: Baja California
If you’re looking for a memorable experience during your visit to Mexico, be sure to include a sunset cruise in Cabo on your itinerary. Cabo San Lucas offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, and a sunset cruise allows you to witness the sky transform into a palette of vibrant colours as the sun slowly dips below the horizon.
104. Venture Into the Puebla Tunnels
An intriguing aspect of the Puebla tunnels is their remarkable length, spanning over 10 kilometres (6 miles) in total. This extensive underground network not only served as a means of transportation but also provided essential drainage for the city during heavy rainfall. The tunnels were ingeniously designed with arches and vaulted ceilings to distribute the weight evenly and ensure their structural integrity. As you explore the dimly lit passageways, you’ll come across remnants of the past, such as old staircases, hidden chambers, and even ancient graffiti, adding to the mystique and allure of this unique attraction.
105. Check Out the Sculptures on Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon
When exploring the vibrant city of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, one must not miss the captivating sculptures that adorn the Malecon. This scenic promenade, stretching along the city’s picturesque coastline, is home to an array of intriguing sculptures that showcase the rich artistic heritage of the region. From abstract creations to figurative pieces, the sculptures on Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon offer a fascinating glimpse into the local culture and history.
106. Visit the Lively San Miguel de Allende
When exploring San Miguel de Allende, there are a few must-see attractions that should not be missed. First and foremost, the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is an iconic landmark and a symbol of the town. Its stunning architecture and intricate details make it a captivating sight. Another must-visit spot is the El Jardín, the central square of San Miguel de Allende. This lively plaza is the heart of the town, surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants, where you can soak up the local atmosphere and enjoy some people-watching. Additionally, a visit to the Instituto Allende is highly recommended. This renowned art school and cultural centre offers art exhibitions and classes, providing a glimpse into the vibrant art scene of the town. Finally, make sure to take a stroll along the picturesque streets of San Miguel de Allende, where you’ll encounter charming courtyards, boutique shops, and vibrant street art.
107. Find Peace in the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
If you’re looking to explore the cultural gems of Mexico, a visit to the Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a must. Located near San Miguel de Allende, this historic site holds significant religious and artistic importance.
An interesting fact about the Sanctuary of Atotonilco is that it played a significant role in Mexico’s fight for independence. During the early 19th century, this sanctuary served as a secret meeting place for revolutionaries, including Miguel Hidalgo, who initiated the Mexican War of Independence. The sanctuary became a gathering point for rebels to plan and strategize, making it a historically significant site beyond its religious and artistic value. This fascinating blend of religious, artistic, and revolutionary history makes the Sanctuary of Atotonilco a captivating destination for travellers interested in Mexico’s past.
There Are Too Many Things to do in Mexico
If you can’t fit all these crazy adventures into your trip to Mexico, don’t worry. You can always come back! Simply put, there are too many things to do in Mexico. Whether you’re visiting Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatan, or any of the other huge states, you’ll never be short of things to do.
Anything we’ve missed that deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comments!
For more travel inspiration, see our other destinations. Don’t forget to check out our Mexican recipes too so you can enjoy the cuisine before you go:
Try Our Mexican Food REcipes
While this bean burrito recipe appeals to vegans, even meat-eaters can fall in love with a Mexican bean wrap done well. Here’s your guide.
If you’ve always wondered how to make guacamole, it’s easier than you think. This mouth-watering guacamole recipe will tell you all you need to know.
If your tastebuds are set on tasty burritos, you don’t have to go all the way to Mexico. Our healthy chicken burrito recipe can be made in your own kitchen.