Foreigners visiting the country will probably be looking for Mexico tourist attractions. After all, the country is huge, and it can be difficult to select a destination. Where do people go when in Mexico? What is there to do anyway? Is it all just about the hype?
The truth is, there is so much to do and see, that you will have plenty of options at your disposal. From white-sand beaches to impressive Mayan ruins, Mexico has it all. Below, I will list in no particular order what I and other fellow travelers consider to be the top tourist attractions in Mexico. Keep on reading!
I’m pretty sure you have heard about the Maya civilization and the impressive sites they built. At least, you may be familiar with them because of Hollywood, even if you have never actually visited. But did you know there are other equally jaw-dropping sites built by other civilizations? One of them was Teotihuacan.
Located about 25 miles from Mexico City, Teotihuacan was a major Mesoamerican settlement. Its two most famous pyramids are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. You can even try pre-Hispanic foods in the area and ride a hot-air balloon! You should visit if you’re in Mexico City.
Another major archaeological site. It was built by the Maya and is one of Mexico’s most visited spots by both national and international tourists alike. You may have seen photos of its icon: El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan (Feathered Serpent, their chief god).
Even though the Maya were portrayed as just savages by Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, the truth is, they were extremely smart people. They were advanced in the study of engineering and astronomy. You can learn more about this on site.
Unlike the pyramids of Teotihuacan, you cannot climb the ones in Chichen Itza. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. Don’t miss out if visiting the Yucatan Peninsula!
Known by some as Mexico’s Venice, you will find hundreds of water vessels called trajineras along the edge. Each one of them is unique in that all of them have different names.
You can bring your own food, or you can buy from merchants on little boats. There are also mariachis you can listen to. It’s a perfect spot to spend time with family or friends.
Xochimilco is so popular it has even been featured on movies and telenovelas. It’s a must-visit when in Mexico, and it’s just one hour away from the capital.
Voladores de Papantla
The voladores (flying men) perform a ritual to ask their gods for the rain to end the drought. The ceremony consists of five men who climb a 30-meter pole. One of them dances and plays the flute on top the whole time, while the other four launch themselves tied with ropes until reaching the ground.
Although the name derives from Papantla, a small town in Veracruz, you can find them in other parts of the country. It’s quite a spectacle to watch.
Day of the Dead
Thanks to Disney’s Coco, many more people are now familiarized with this Mexican, ancestral tradition. Who else in the world celebrates death after all? Many people think we’re crazy for doing that, but it’s something very special to us.
Many places in Mexico decorate the streets for this special occasion, especially with marigolds. People set up altars with photos and food that their loved ones liked when alive. It’s a tradition to visit the cemetery on this day. In some places like Patzcuaro, Michoacan, people can spend the whole night at the cemetery.
Whether you are a believer or not, I recommend experiencing this at least once in your life. The Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos is celebrated on November 2nd of every year.
Acapulco Cliff Divers
This has been an ongoing tradition since 1934. This group of professional divers jumps from as high as 135 ft (41 m)! Timing is crucial since the depth of the water varies.
You can watch this show at La Quebrada. They have a deck you can access for a fee, or you can watch the show from the El Mirador Hotel. You can even watch this show at night, which adds to the adrenaline. If in Acapulco, it’s a must-see.
Mariachis are an icon of Mexican culture. You must have seen them on TV or in movies. They traditionally wear charro outfits and play instruments like guitars and trumpets. The importance of the mariachi figure is such that it was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
You can watch mariachis in various parts of Mexico, although the traditional place par excellence is Guadalajara. This shouldn’t come across as a surprise since we could say Guadalajara is the birthplace of mariachis.
It’s a collection of canyons in the northern state of Chihuahua. It’s several times larger than the Grand Canyon in Arizona and has tunnels and bridges. You can tour the whole thing on board the “Chepe”. This is the only remaining passenger train in all Mexico.
There are several stops along the route, notably Barrancas (a park where you can practice extreme sports like mountain climbing and zip-lining) and magical town Creel. Although it doesn’t usually snow in Mexico, the mountains of Chihuahua are among the exception. People say it’s quite a spectacle to watch everything covered in white.
You will have the opportunity to meet the Tarahumaras, who live in the Chihuahua sierra. They’re one of the few indigenous groups remaining in the northern part of the country.
Did you know that many whales visit Mexico during the winter? They swim down from Canada and the Arctic waters to give birth to their offspring. The most popular spot to watch them is Los Cabos, but you can also watch them in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Nayarit, and Oaxaca.
No list of Mexican hot spots is complete without any beaches. As you all know, there are many beaches in Mexico on both coast sides of its territory. For the practical purposes of this post, I decided to list just one, but I will dedicate a longer post focusing on the subject in the future.
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. One of the most visited places is El Cielo. It features white-sand beaches where you can relax, participate in water sports or just take in the scenery.
Many cruises include Cozumel on their routes. You can also visit if you go to Cancun or some other destination on the Yucatan Peninsula.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. If I were to include everything, it would be a super long post. This list, however, is a good starting point to plan your vacation.
I just included two archaeological sites, but there are way more. The Yucatan Peninsula is inundated with them. I will write more in-depth about the subject.
The same thing with beaches. There are so many throughout the country, that it’s hard to just select a few. No worries, we have more time to write about those, too.
Oh, and I’m not including pueblos mágicos since each one of them is not an attraction per se but rather a collection of attractions. As you can see, there is so much more to talk about!
Thank you for being part of this awesome community. Stay tuned for more tips and information. Don’t forget to leave your questions and comments below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. See you soon!
Book your trip now!
Book your flight
The first thing you have to do is find cheap flights. But where do you find those? There are many search engines, but the one I highly recommend is Skyscanner. Here you can compare fares from all over the world and pick the one that suits you best.
Book your accommodation
The next thing you have to do is secure your lodging. Whether you prefer a hostel, a guesthouse, a B&B, or a hotel, you can find them all on Booking. You can find lodging of all kinds ranging from cheap to expensive and somewhere in between. Many people have scored good deals using it.
Another popular option is Hostelworld. This website focuses on hostels as opposed to hotels.
Book a tour
In some places, you might want to hire a tour. Not all places are equally accessible to visit by oneself. It helps enormously when you visit with a local guide who can show you around and answer any questions you might have…all in your native language. My to-go place is Viator as they offer tours of all kinds and have a presence all over the world.
Rent a car
Public transportation is usually cheaper than renting a car, but it’s sometimes more complicated and time-consuming. That’s a reality. In some cases, it’s more convenient to rent a car. My recommendation is Rentalcars.com. Here you can compare rates and choose the one that fits you best.
Get travel insurance
Never travel without a travel insurance policy, especially during these days! Travel insurance can literally save your life. My personal recommendations are World Nomads and Insured Nomads. Both companies cover COVID-19 related incidents, which is crucial these days.
Just click on the “Plan your trip” tab at the top of this page, and you will find more resources like getting Mexican insurance for your foreign car, buying travel accessories, and learning Spanish. And, of course, don’t forget to check back often to read about more tips on Mexico travel.