So you don’t know where to travel in Mexico? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. With so many options to choose from ranging from big cities to small towns to beaches to archaeological sites, you will have a hard time picking a single destination. I certainly do.

You can virtually find in Mexico anything you need for a dream vacation. That’s why I came up with some useful information to help you make a more informed decision. Let’s get started!

Beaches, Baby!

Turquoise water right next to a cliff.

Some of the main attractions in Mexico are its beaches. Did you know that Mexico’s coastline is 5,800 miles (9,330 km) long? This places us at number 14 worldwide. There are certainly other places with longer coastlines like Canada and Norway, but the fact that many people from those places come to visit our country’s beaches should tell us something.

Mexico is surrounded by two oceans: the Atlantic Ocean (including the Gulf of California) to the west and the Pacific Ocean (including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) to the east. The side along the Pacific Ocean is more than 3 times longer than the side along the Atlantic Ocean. There are many beaches with varying degrees of blue along the coastline.

Due to our proximity to the equator, many parts of our country enjoy a tropical climate. Most of our beaches have warm-hot temperatures all year round, not to mention they are very beautiful, making them a perfect destination for tourists escaping from the cold weather in their countries.

Among the most visited beaches we have:

  • Playa del Carmen
  • Nuevo Vallarta
  • Cancún
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Los Cabos
  • Puerto Progreso
  • Mazatlán
  • Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
  • Acapulco

Cosmopolitan Cities

Skyscrapers in Mexico City.
Mexico City

Mexico is not a desert with men wearing ponchos and sombreros taking siestas on the street. We have large cities with modern technology and tourist attractions of all kinds.

The three largest cities are:

  • Mexico City. International hub with restaurants of all kinds, more museums than any other Mexican city, numerous parks, an active cultural scene, and much more!
  • Guadalajara. Land of the mariachi and tequila. Need I say more?
  • Monterrey. Mexico’s industrial hub and the land of cabrito and carne asada. It also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene.

Other cities worth mentioning are:

  • Puebla City
  • Tijuana
  • Toluca
  • León

Visiting a large city doesn’t have to be boring. You can find activities for all the family. Or if you’re traveling solo or with friends, you have plenty of options as well.

Colonial Cities

View of San Miguel de Allende with the Cathedral in the background.

Due to our Spanish heritage, there are many cities of this kind in Mexico. Colonial cities reflect the architecture and culture from the Spanish Colony, hence the title. Unlike other cities in Mexico, colonial cities boast cobbled streets, monumental buildings, and houses with balconies, doors, and windows of Spanish style. They were the most prosperous cities back in those times.

Some of the most famous colonial cities include:

  • Guanajuato
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • Querétaro City
  • Zacatecas City
  • Mérida
  • Morelia
  • Oaxaca City
  • San Cristóbal de las Casas
  • Taxco
  • Puebla City

I feel like traveling back in time when I visit these places. They all have a special charm to them that can be seen in their main squares, their plazas, their kiosks, their buildings, their dishes… You don’t want to miss out!

Pueblos Mágicos

An old town lit up at night.
Real de Catorce

If you prefer small towns, you should check out pueblos mágicos. These are small towns all over Mexico that possess a strong cultural identity among other things, which distinguish them from other places in Mexico. I always try to visit at least once when I travel. You can learn about the culture, admire the architecture, enjoy regional dishes, watch a regional dance, take many photos, and just unwind. A magical experience!

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t visit other small towns. I’ve visited several places that are quite charming but are not considered pueblos mágicos. Don’t let this discourage you from visiting.

You can read more about pueblos mágicos here.

Archaeological Sites

A Maya pyramid.
Chichén Itzá

Mexico has 189 sites open to the public, and the number just keeps growing. Some of them have even been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Most people are familiarized with the Maya and Aztecs, but we have had many other ethnicities like Totonacs, Zapotecs, Tzotzils, and Tarahumaras, just to name a few.

The majority of archaeological sites are found in central/southern Mexico. If you are an archaeology enthusiast like me, you have to add them to your travel bucket lits. I always try to visit one when I travel. I’m amazed by the architecture, the history, the symbolism, everything! There are some I could visit over and over again.

Some of the most visited archaeological sites are:

  • Teotihuacán
  • Chichén Itzá
  • Uxmal
  • Tulum
  • Monte Albán
  • Cobá
  • Palenque
  • El Tajín

You will be impressed by all you can learn there. Not to mention you will be able to take a lot of cool pictures for your Instagram account.

Natural Attractions

A crater lake.
Nevado de Toluca

Due to being one of the most biodiverse countries in the whole world, Mexico has many different ecosystems throughout its territory. You can find deserts, tropical rain forests, coniferous forests, high mountains, coral reefs, coastal lagoons, among others.

Geographically speaking, the northern part of Mexico is drier than the southern portion. Among some natural attractions with mountains we can mention:

  • Barrancas del Cobre (connected to the Grand Canyon in Arizona)
  • Cerro Tetakawi
  • Cerro de la Silla
  • Parque La Huasteca
  • El Pinacate

If you haven’t had enough yet, you could visit one of the many volcanoes we have like:

  • Pico de Orizaba
  • Nevado de Toluca (long-time extinct)
  • El Chichón
  • Popocatépetl
  • Colima volcano
  • Paricutín
  • Iztaccíhuatl

On the contrary, the south is greener and has lots of forests and jungles.

Some of the most popular destinations in this category are:

  • Selva Lacandona
  • Huasteca Potosina
  • Calakmul

Other important ecotourism destinations include:

  • Cabo Pulmo
  • Akumal
  • Xilitla
  • Bacalar
  • Lagunas Montebello
  • Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca
  • Rio Lagartos
  • Hierve el Agua
  • Jalcomulco

The list above is just for you to have an idea. As you can see, the options are endless!

For more information on all the destinations mentioned in this article, you can visit Mexico’s official tourism website. For your convenience, the site offers information in different languages like English, German and French.

To Wrap Up

Mexico is such a vast country that it will take you months if not years to tour it all. That’s why I have a bucket list. There are so many places waiting to be visited. Give yourself a chance and plan your vacation to one or many of these different wonderful destinations.

There are no more excuses. I hope to have provided some good recommendations for your upcoming trip. As always, I would love to read your comments below. And if you liked this, please feel free to share it with your loved ones. See you soon!

==> Start planning your trip now!<==

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 Here you can compare rates and choose the one that fits you best.

Book your bus tickets

You can save money by booking bus tickets online. My favorite site to do this is Busbud.

Get travel insurance

Never travel without a travel insurance policy, especially during these days! Travel insurance can save your life. My recommendations are World Nomads and Insured Nomads. Both companies cover COVID-19 related incidents, which is crucial these days.

More resources

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.


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32 Replies to “Where to Travel in Mexico – A Simple Breakdown”

  1. Hi Enrique,

    I love your post! It suggests so many wonderful places in Mexico, that it’s hard to choose! 🙂 I went to Mexico last year and I only managed to visit Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta but I loved every second of it.
    A lot of people wonder if it’s safe or not but I can personally guarantee that it’s very safe. We were 3 women traveling on our own and never had any reason to worry. Of course, speaking at least a bit of Spanish helps.
    The next destination will probably be Cancun and Chichen Itza. Already looking forward to it!
    What will your next destination be?


    1. Hi, Stef,

      I’m glad you liked this and above all, that you have visited already. Like you mention, there are people who hesitate to visit because of fear. That’s really unfortunate. They’re missing out on a lot of cool places and experiences.
      I’d love to visit Cancun and Chichen Itza again! I’m sure you’ll love them.
      Answering your question, I don’t know. I have so many places on my bucket list that it’s hard to choose.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. “Mexico is not a desert with men wearing ponchos and sombreros taking siestas on the street”. I am so disappointed, I wanted to believe this forever, a lot like Santa Claus!

    Lots of great information about traveling to Mexico and what attractions are on offer depending on your reasons for visiting Mexico. I have never been to Mexico, mostly due to living in the UK and not being a fan of long haul flights. Where would you suggest would be the best destination for a young family to travel to? We would ideally like to see some attractions yet still enjoy the sandy beaches.

    1. Hi, Mike,

      You made my day with your comment lol.

      I’m glad you found this useful. That is one of my main objectives.

      Answering your question, if you’re traveling with kids, you still have plenty of options. Mexico City has many destinations and activities for all the family, including zoos, parks and museums. Other destinations worth mentioning here are Puebla City and San Miguel de Allende. Now, if you want to hit the beach, you should definitely visit the Cancun/Riviera Maya area in the Yucatan Peninsula. They have lots of attractions for the whole family like Xcaret, Discovery Jungle and Dolphin Discovery. You won’t have time to get bored.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. You have a lot of good suggestions and information as to where to visit. Great Job! I suppose most of these destinations are close to airports?

    1. Hey, Phil,

      Most destinations are close to an airport, although there will be cases where you will have to drive or take a tour.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Love this!

    Over the years I’ve found a couple of places in Mexico that I love, but I’m always looking to discover new spots and your post is the perfect jumping off point. It’s a great mix of beaches, cities and historical sites and I’ll definitely use your list as I start planning my next trip.



    1. Hi, BB,

      A list of places always comes in handy when planning a trip. I’m glad you found this useful.

      What places have you visited in Mexico?

      Thanks for commenting.

  5. Love this! I’ve always wanted to travel in Mexico, and with the info found in this article, I can easily narrow down the areas that suit me best!

  6. Thank you for this incredible post! I was just looking for what to do a week in Mexico and now I think I will have to stay a month!! To begin with, I had not thought of the beaches, just big cities and Unesco sites. This post opens a world! All the colonial cities that are interesting as well and those beautiful beaches. I will have to talk to my boyfriend. What do you think, how much time would we really need if our goal was to get a real insight on this country and also enjoy ourselves? Like beaches, nightclubs, but also culture, food, and archeology. Mexico so much more interesting than I thought.
    Would you write us a travel plan if we told you the exact dates? Like with season festivals and stuff?
    Thank you so much in advance, awesome post!

    1. Hey, Janie,

      Glad to hear you’ve been considering visiting Mexico! There are so many things to see and do. To be honest, a week is not too much time especially if you’re visiting a large city like Mexico City. If you want to have a longer experience, I’d say a month is much more reasonable. There are beaches all over Mexico, so that wouldn’t really be a problem. Several cities like Mexico City, Cancun and Monterrey have a superb nightlife, so you’re covered as well. Most archaeological sites are located in central/southern Mexico, although there are some in the north/northwest. You can enjoy delicious food anywhere you visit although I would say some of the most well-known are the cuisines from Oaxaca and Puebla. They’re both delicious! For culture, you have Mexico City, Zacatecas City, Queretaro City…
      If you need some guidance, feel free to contact me.
      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Hey, I never even knew that Mexico had such biodiversity. I only knew it from the movies and never really thought about going there, but you changed my mind. Thanks for a list of all these great places. Now I just have to choose.

    1. Hey, Hendrik,

      I know. People who have never visited think of it as what Hollywood or the TV portray in their productions. I hope you visit someday.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. Love it. Looks like a beautiful nation with some great vacation spots. Thanks for sharing. And the plan is definitely to take a trip there some day.

    1. Hi, Yama,

      Yes, it’s a beautiful nation with lots to offer. Let me know if I can be of any assistance on your next trip there.

      Thanks for commenting.

  9. I had no idea Mexico had any vulcanos until reading this article. I’d like to explore those and some of the only temples when I make my way down there. Thanks for the information.

  10. Hi Enrique,

    Wow, your post makes me want to go to Mexico now!
    Looks like there are lots of places worth to see!
    I am always a traveller and my dream is travelling around the world, but I haven’t been to Mexico yet.

    The small town pueblos mágicos catch my eyes as I always like to visit the town like this!
    You have sold me this trip now^^

    Thank you for sharing!


    1. Hi, Jamie,

      I’m glad you liked this post! And yeah, there are many cool places to visit.

      I’m just like you. I love traveling, meeting new people, trying different foods, learning about other cultures and everything related to travel. I’d love to visit as many places around the world as I can, but right now my focus is Mexico.

      Pueblos mágicos are certainly charming. I always try to visit at least one when I travel. Hope you visit some day.

      A cousin of mine visited Japan earlier this year and he loved it! I hope to visit someday as well.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  11. Hi Enrique,

    Great post. I have a fascination with the Aztecs and archeology in general. I have never been to Mexico but my aunt has owned a condo south of Arizona for years and absolutely loves Mexico. It sounds like a great travel destination with many things to see. It is unfortunate the the media here in the US seems to have put a negative spin with the drugs and cartels. But as with most news stories they are only focused on the negative. I am sure it is a small percentage though. Very good post thank you for sharing. I will have to plan a trip someday.

    1. Hi, Eric,

      Glad to hear you’re into the Aztec culture and archaeology. I love it too.
      Yes, it’s unfortunate the image portrayed of Mexico in the media. There is some of that, but generally it’s safe to visit. It’s not like they’re stealing and killing people on every corner. Each country has its own problems. I’m glad you have an open mind regarding this matter.
      I hope you visit someday. You’ll love it. You could even plan a trip with your aunt. She might be your guide. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  12. I want to travel to Mexico one day, hopefully very soon. Your post has given me a lot to think about. I think that Mexico City is a great place to visit. I’ve met a few Mexicans here in Dublin and they are all great people. I can’t wait to experience the whole culture. Besides, who wouldn’t want to explore all those beaches as well as ancient attractions. Thanks for sharing your detailed guide!

    1. Hi, Ivan,

      Yes, Mexico City is a great place to visit. It’s full of culture, delicious cuisine and activities for all ages. Glad you’ve met some fellow Mexicans. We’re all over the world lol. I hope you visit someday.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  13. Mexico is definitely a great place to visit. I spent a month there several years ago, and it was not enough time. I loved the beaches and was amazed by the powdery white sand in Cancun.
    The pyramids blew me away, especially the size of the temple of the sun and moon in Teotihuacan. And the jungle setting of many of the other temple sights, including Palenque, was amazing. I can’t wait to visit again soon.
    Thanks for reminding me what a great place Mexico is.

    1. Hi, Andrew,

      Glad to hear you’ve already visited. Time goes by fast when we’re on vacation, doesn’t it?
      I totally agree with you. Every archaeological site is unique and full of history. I can never get enough of them. Palenque is among my favorite sites. There are so many to explore.
      I hope you visit again soon.
      Thanks for commenting.

  14. Hi Enrigue,
    Thank you for this great guide! I’ve never been to Mexico, but I’ve always wanted to go. I had no idea where to go and was a little nervous so this actually helped me out a lot and gave me some great ideas. It definitely seems like a beautiful place and the friends I know who have gone there have loved it! I’d love to go to Mexico city. It looks beautiful! I can’t wait to visit. Thanks gain for this cool post!

    1. Hi, Dan,

      Glad you found this useful. There are so many cool places that it’s hard to pick just one. Where have your friends been? I’m sure they can give you some good recommendations.
      I hope you visit someday. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
      Thanks for commenting.

  15. Wow! One day if I’m lucky enough to travel through Mexico, this list would be a great help. 🙂 I particularly like the thought of exploring the natural attractions and archaeological sites. I looked up Xilitla and the Yucatan Uxmal – very interesting!

    Thanks for this,

  16. Hello,

    I must say, I enjoyed every minute reading this article. It gave me useful information about my next trip. I have a friend from Mexico, and he enjoyed his time there. He told me so much about how great Mexico is. He visited Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta beaches. I will visit them on too next trip!

    You sure explained everything in detail about vast areas to visit, which made me feel like “home,” and right now, I am writing my list for cities and some old sites to see like pyramids there. Mexico is definitely a great place to visit, especially during winter or spring (as I heard).

    Also, I have a question for you. Which best ten areas or cities do you recommend someone like to visit since it will be my first time? I bet there are places considered a “must” to visit for the first time! I would love to hear your opinion and recommendation about this.

    Thank you for this amazing post about an amazing country. I will keep an eye on your website for more great articles about Mexico, I would love to read about restaurants and food there it is part of the trip you know!

    1. Hi, Mohammad,

      Your words mean a lot to me. The purpose of this site is precisely that: to help people who are or might be interested in visiting Mexico. I’m glad you found this useful.

      If you want to visit pyramids and beaches, we’ve got plenty of those! As a matter of fact, Mexico is among the countries with most archaeological sites. And talking about beaches, we have many on both coasts. All of them are beautiful, but your decision can vary depending on your preferences. The good thing is you can visit them all year long!

      Answering your question, I wrote an article covering that topic. Here’s the link: Most destinations on the list are beaches. I could add San Luis Potosi City, Merida, Oaxaca City, Puebla City, Zacatecas City and a lot of pueblos mágicos to the list. It’s hard to come up with a list of just ten places.

      Feel free to reach out if you need any more recommendations or if you have any other questions. I’ll also try to include more info about restaurants as they are an essential part of any trip like you said. Hope you visit soon. Thanks for commenting!

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