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!

Teotihuacan

Pyramids in Teotihuacan.

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 of 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.

Chichen Itza

Centered pyramid of Kukulcan and some people in the distance to the left.

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!

Xochimilco

Various colorful water vessels with different names and carrying people.

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

Tall post with four men suspended from the top against the sun.

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

Mexican calaverita and marigolds.

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

Professional diver in midair.

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.

Mariachi

Two mariachis dressed in black and white playing violins. A white sombrero at the front.

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.

Copper Canyon

Little girl dressed in typical Tarahumara clothing.

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.

Whale Watching

Whale jumping out of the sea to breathe.

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.

Cozumel

Group of tourists getting ready to snorkel.

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.

Summary

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!

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12 Replies to “Mexico Tourist Attractions – Hot Spots to Visit”

  1. Hello Enrique. You have really done a great job taking out your time to share this helpful post recommending some hot spots to visit while on vacation at Mexico. These Mexico tourist attractions are truly attractive and welcoming. Each one of these hot spots are unique, attractive, intriguing, fun to be while others are scary too. Haha… Beautiful to behold. I’d surely have a great time visiting anyone of these especially Teotihuacan (the visual is awesome) plus I’d love to go for whale watching.

    Regards!

    1. Hey, Biizy,

      Thank you very much. This is but a glimpse of what you can see in Mexico. 

      By the way, what attraction is scary? LOL! I’m curious.

      I hope you visit someday and see it for yourself. Have a great day!

  2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. I had no idea that Mexico had so many interesting places to see. There’s a couple of things I noticed that are similar to our culture in Manila, Philippines. You mentioned that each Trajinera(s) was unique. I think it’s the same with the Jeepney’s in Manila. Each one is handpainted and unique. The other one is the Day of the Dead. You mentioned it’s on November 2nd. In the Philippines, it’s on November 1st. 

    Great Article!

    Sunny

    1. Hi, Sonny,

      Wow! It’s interesting how two cultures from two different countries on opposite sides of the world have some similarities. Maybe it’s because of our Spanish heritage?

      I’ve never visited the Philippines, but I’d love to. I’d especially like to see the Jeepney’s.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article. I prefer to travel. Now I wish I would go to Mexico next vacation .But I’ve heard that the city is very big so I was wondering where to start. Right then your article caught my eye. From your article I have determined where I am going. I like the beach anyway. And I want to give my kids a little something else. And I’ve heard whales are seen here sometimes so I’ve decided I’ll see the sea. So I must go to Los Cabos to watch whales .Also, the Cozumel Swing is a great snorkel ready for me .I would definitely like to thank you for this article, as well as seeing you mention archaeological sites that are very instructive. But I will definitely visit these archaeological sites again and when I get a vacation, this time I want to spend the whale watching. One of my questions is can a travel guide be found here? And I will share this article with my family and tell them about my next vacation planning. I hope they are very happy.

    1. Hi, Shanta,

      Yes, Mexico is huge. We have beaches, deserts, mountains, forests, archaeological sites, large cities, small towns, you name it.

      If you like beaches, we’ve plenty of them on both coasts. The most famous ones are located on the Yucatan Peninsula, but there are many more.

      Answering your question, yes, you can find guided tours most of the time wherever you go. Just make sure to check your options and compare them.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  4. I have to admit that if I plan to travel to Mexico, I will definitely go to Chichen Itza. The Teather of Kukulcan built by the Maya is really spectacular. If you ask why I want to go there? I can tell you, I watched the 2012 movie before I got a preliminary understanding of the Maya story, and later learned that the Maya live in Mexico.
    Finally, thank you for sharing this Mexico Tourist Attractions-Hot Spots to Visit the blog, let me know about Mexico’s popular tourist attractions.

    1. Hi, Jealous,

      Chichen Itza is a must-visit. I would say it’s the most representative Maya site in Mexico, but there are way many more.

      Regarding the movie, there was some controversy revolving around it. Remember not all you see in movies is 100% accurate.

      Feel free to come back anytime to check out more info and tips for travel in Mexico. Thank you for commenting. 

  5. Yes! Your amazing take on Mexico must be because it is home! In 2006 my family was granted the joy of accompanying our 4th daughter, with cancer who had been given a Make-a-wish from its Oklahoma branch. Not only did it encourage our young teenage daughter so much that it helper her stay alive, but our entire family, who was on a cruise to Cozumel had never felt so warmly welcomed as we did there! Mexican families, grandparents and all made our hospital-weary family feel happiness and like a family again amidst the families there in Cozumel. I will never forget it!

    Thank you for reminding me what a hospitable people and family oriented group the Mexicans in Cozumel are. And the rest all sound fascinating! Maybe I can get there some day too!

    1. Hi, Amy,

      Glad to hear your daughter made it through and kept her spirits up during those hard times.

      Yes, I agree with you. Mexican people are very welcoming and hospitable. I’ve heard many comments from other people, and most of them agree.

      Mexico has so much to offer everyone. I hope you can visit in the near future. Thanks for commenting!

  6. I would love to go to Mexico! Why did I think Day of the Dead was Cinco De Mayo? What is celebrated on May 5th, if it’s not Day of the Dead? I would really like to go to Los Cabos to watch whales. It sounds like so much fun! I want to watch and listen to mariachis in Guadalajara and tour the Copper Canyon. Xochimilco with its canals seems like the type of fun I’d enjoy. Just sitting there watching the water while eating and listening to music. How long can a person do that? I’m so weird I could do it all day if people wouldn’t try to talk to me. (I’m an introvert.) Thank you so much for sharing these ideas!

    1. Hi, Cathy,

      LOL! You made my day! Actually, Day of the Dead is Dia de Muertos and is celebrated on November 2nd. On May 5th, we commemorate the Mexican victory against the French in Puebla, although there’s this idea in the U.S. that we celebrate our independence on that day.

      Believe it or not, I’m more of an introvert just like you. I’m not too much into partying and the like. I like a little bit of everything and will try almost everything at least once.

      I hope you visit Mexico in the near future. Thank you for dropping by.

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