The 11 best places to visit in Mexico

Mexico is a popular tourist attraction due to its beautiful beaches, delectable culinary scene, vibrant culture, and ancient pyramids. Mexico is a colourful and contrasted country. Beaches throng with people leads to sleepy colonial towns, while resort cities provide access to jungles teeming with parrots and howler monkeys. Magnificent mountains give way to barren deserts. Near Spanish haciendas, traditional pueblo houses can be found. Mayan city ruins have been discovered outside of urban metropolises.

We curated this list of the best places to visit in Mexico based on cultural attractions, beaches, and nightlife, as well as traveller votes and expert reviews, to help you decide which destination is right for you.

1. Cancun

The resort attractions of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the island of Cozumel, known colloquially as the Mayan Riviera, are located along a spectacular stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. This beautiful location at the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula draws approximately 6.5 million tourists per year, significantly increasing tourist revenue. Despite these numbers, the Riviera’s big beaches and endless crystal-clear waters do not feel crowded.

Cancun beach - Mexico
Cancun beach during sunset

2. Tulum

Tulum attracts history and water enthusiasts alike, as it is home to the world’s only waterfront Mayan ruins. The city, which is located along a stretch of the Riviera Maya, offers a variety of accommodation options, including small boutique hotels, wellness retreats, and all-inclusive resorts. Subsequently, every traveller can choose the vacation that is most beneficial to them. You can spend your time on the beach, visiting ancient ruins, and swimming in picturesque cenotes in Tulum’s underwater caves, regardless of where you stay.

Tulum at sunset
Caribbean beach at the cliff in Tulum at sunset

3. Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has a palatial dining scene, with restaurants serving everything from succulent tacos and tostadas to sushi and expertly prepared seafood, as well as an even swankier bar scene. Furthermore, this Riviera Maya destination entices visitors with its soft sand beaches and spectacular scenery of the coastline. Visitors can also ride their bikes to a nearby cenote for a relaxing swim or play golf at one of Playacar’s upscale golf courses. In this area, all-inclusive resorts, vacation rentals, and boutique properties abound, providing travellers with a wide range of choices to fit their tastes and budgets.

Playa del Carmen beach
Playa del Carmen beach and park

4. Cozumel

Coral reefs and cruise ships are perhaps the two most well-known features of this island. The turquoise blue water and laid-back beaches, as well as the variety of water sports, draw visitors to this attraction. Kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkelling equipment are available from a variety of outfitters and resorts. Cozumel is a peaceful place where you can learn about Mayan culture and relax on the beach with a good book. Visit the San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site for a dose of history.

Cozumel Island - Mexico
Beautiful aerial view of Cozumel Island

5. Huatulco

Huatulco, a tranquil coastal town near Oaxaca on the Pacific Ocean, has nine bays and 36 beaches. The town’s tourist amenities are upscale without being expensive, and environmental protection is one of its highest priorities. As a result, buildings are limited to six floors in height, and most of the lush natural scenery is preserved. Snorkelling and ecological tours are major attractions. You can spend your days lounging on the beach and dining at one of the many seaside bars and restaurants if you want to relax.

Huatulko - Mexico
Cacaluta beach in Huatulko

6. Guanajuato

In this UNESCO World Heritage-listed area, ornate colonial houses, bustling plazas, and richly painted homes can be found everywhere. Guanajuato is renowned for its underground streets and tunnels, which you can tour or experience at your ease. After applauding the city’s cobblestone streets and elegant structures, stop by the busy Mercado Hidalgo for a souvenir or a bite to eat. If you enjoy art, come to Cervantino in October for the iconic Festival Internacional Cervantino.

Guanajuato - Mexico
Aerial view of Guanajuato with cathedral

7. Mexico City

Mexico’s most populated state is rich in arts and heritage. Mexico City has scrumptious food, ancient Aztec sites, and world-class hotels – all at reasonable prices – but if you want to splurge, Polanco’s Avenida Presidente Masaryk has an abundance of chic shops. The Palace of Fine Arts and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe are two must-see cultural attractions. Consider signing up for a food tour if you want to eat your way around the area.

Mexico´s city monument
Mexico´s city monument

8. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, is the most well-known, visited, and spectacular of the country’s many Mayan sites. This is strange because its most prominent buildings do not follow the Classic Mayan architectural style but rather display clear influences from other Central Mexican civilizations. While the blistering heat and vast numbers of people may deter some visitors, the incredible archaeological ruins were named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World for a reason.

Kukulcan El Castillo
Mayan pyramid of Kukulcan El Castillo

9. Oaxaca

Head to this colonial city in southern Mexico for complete cultural immersion. Oaxaca, at over 5,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, is a great place to learn about indigenous cultures, visit thriving markets, and eat delicious Mexican food. The Templo de Santo Domingo church, which dates from 1555 and was once used as a military barracks, and the protected ruins of Monte Albán are two notable cultural sites.

Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua in the Central Valleys

10. Zacatecas

Travel to historic Zacatecas if you’re looking for a pure Mexican encounter away from the crowds. This colonial area, which was once known for silver mining, has a rich history that tourists can learn about through local cuisine and cultural sites like Mina El Edén (a 16th-century mine with a rock and mineral museum) and Museo de Pedro Colonel (an art museum). Take a cable car to the top of El Cerro de la Bufa mountain for an exceptionally special treat, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city below.

Zacatecas – Mexico

11. Zihuatanejo

In case you would like to depart from traditional beach resorts then it is time to visit the beautiful Zihuatanejo, which has worked hard to preserve its small town ambience. Situated along a small, well-sheltered bay, it is a pleasant and safe town that is home to a number of fine hotels and restaurants. There are fun activities such as shopping the fish market, or better yet, taking a fishing trip to catch some of your own.

Zihuatanejo – Mexico

Worthy Mentions:

1. Puerto Vallarta

Vacationers seeking exquisite beaches and authentic regional cuisine flock to Puerto Vallarta. Its charming location on Banderas Bay (on Mexico’s western coast) and famous landmarks like Los Arcos and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe set it apart from other packaged visitor attractions – and make for great photo opportunities. Tourists can relax on the beach, take a whale-watching tour, or partake in tequila tastings.

Atardecer en Playa Los Muertos
Atardecer en Playa Los Muertos

2. Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is the party capital of the Baja peninsula, but it also has some of Mexico’s most opulent hotels and golf courses. The beaches here are lovely, but they’re mostly for sunbathing; just a few stretches of sand are swimmable. If you want to get away from Cabo’s crowded beaches and noisy nightclubs, stay in nearby San José del Cabo.

The arch point (El Arco) at Cabo San Lucas
The arch point (El Arco) at Cabo San Lucas

3. San Miguel de Allende

You may think you’ve jumped back in time while wandering through the streets of San Miguel de Allende. Visit this city to see colonial structures coexisting with chic art exhibitions and shops. Visit one (or more) of San Miguel de Allende’s open-air markets and famous tourist attractions, such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Keep your day-to-day plans open as well, as there will almost certainly be something going on during your stay. Year-round festivities in the region commemorate everything from music to religious holidays.

San Miguel Sunset
San Miguel Sunset

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