Best places to visit in Mexico [Complete guide]

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Mexico is one of the most visited countries in Latin America. It has several archaeological sites of ancient cultures, such as the Aztec or the Mayan, or its incredible beaches, make this destination a sun and beach vacation spot, while you soak up its history. With no doubt, there is a long list of places to visit in Mexico.

If you have already decided on this destination and you are thinking about the best places to visit in Mexico, we tell you about must places for you to make the most of your visit to this beautiful country.

Chichén-Itzá

To talk about Mexico is to talk about the Mayan culture. In the state of Yucatan are the most famous Mayan archaeological ruins, included by UNESCO as World Heritage and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

pyramid in chichen itza mexico

This is the archaeological site of Chichén-Itzá, an ancient Mayan city that still preserves some of its constructions from 800-1,000 A.D. Although we tend to believe that the entire area of Chichén-Itzá is included in the New 7 Wonders of the World, it is the Temple of Kukulcán (the pyramid) the only included.

This temple was dedicated to Kukulkan, which means “feathered snake”, and that is the reason its facades are full of different decorations of these snakes. It is “only” about 30 meters high, but it is its calendar and astronomical symbolisms that make this temple so special.

Thus, in Chichén-Itzá you will find about 20 more archaeological ruins that will take you back centuries when this culture reigned in Mexico. This place has to be on your list of places to visit in Mexico.

Cenotes in Yucatan

Close to the ruins of Chichén-Itzá, less than 1 hour by car, you will find another paradise in the Yucatán peninsula, the cenotes of Valladolid.

Cenotes are large water wells that are located below the ground. Swimming in one of these is one of the best things you can do in Mexico, without a doubt.

tourists swimming in a cenote

Although they exist all over America, the most famous ones are here. Don’t leave Valladolid without visiting the Suytun, Zaci or Il Kil cenotes, they are all Incredibles!

CancĂşn and Isla Mujeres

We put them together because they can’t go one without the other.

First of all, Cancun is the tourist epicenter of all Mexico, and with no doubt, one of the favorite tourist destinations when we think of paradisiacal beaches. In addition, it is one of the safest places in Mexico.

hotel zone in cancun

It is a city of recent creation, so you will not find great historical monuments or archaeological ruins. However, the monuments have the form of hotels, some of the most luxurious in the world.

On your trip to Cancun, you can’t miss a visit to Isla Mujeres, a small island located only 10 km from the coast.

It is a small fishing island, which you can tour in a few hours on the typical motorcycle that you can rent there. It is a place that preserves its essence very well, but has been able to adapt to tourism.

white beach in isla mujeres

Without a doubt, you can’t leave Cancun without visiting Isla Mujeres and having your picture taken on its white sand beaches, you’re going to cause a sensation on your social networks!

Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya stretches from Playa del Carmen, through Tulum, to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. There are more than 40 kilometers of beautiful beaches and places with great Mayan history, the culture that dominated this place in past centuries.

Playa del Carmen

On one hand, you will find Playa del Carmen, the main city of this area. It has many tourist resorts, and the city center is full of stores to buy souvenirs. Don’t miss in “La Quinta Avenida” the Mayan Portal, a 16-meter high sculpture that welcomes you to the city.

mayan sculpture in playa del carmen

It is also one of the most beautiful places if you are in Mexico during “The Day of the Dead”. This city is known for its festival of “Todas somos Catrinas” when its streets are transformed into murals and there are many workshops related to this festival.

Tulum

Another area known for its Mayan archaeological remains is the city of Tulum, a few kilometers from Playa del Carmen, and on the same Caribbean coast.

tulum ruins in mexico and a beach

Here you will find its impressive “Castle” on the edge of a cliff and other remains of the Mayan civilization. You will be able to take pictures with exotic animals that are scattered around, such as iguanas and even with coatis.

Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit so you can swim in its turquoise water beach, one of the most famous in the world.

Sian Ka’an

Finally, we find in this area the Sian Ka’an Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.

sian kaan natural reserve in mexico

It is a protected natural area where you can find crocodiles, sea turtles and even dolphins. It has different areas and you can take a bath in its “natural pool” of crystalline waters.

Cozumel

Cozumel Island is located in front of Playa del Carmen. It is an island famous for its diving sites. Its crystal clear waters and the coral reefs of its coast make this island a perfect destination for snorkeling.

turtle and swimmer in cozumel

Palancar Beach and El Cielo Beach stand out. El Cielo Beach has this name because a few meters from the sand we find a huge reef, so you will surely have very easy to see colorful fish and starfish. What a luxury!

Besides sun and beach tourism, Cozumel also has its share of Mayan history. On the island, we can find the Temple of San Gervasio, preserved in perfect conditions, and its current inhabitants, the iguanas so characteristic of this area.

Holbox

You cannot leave the Yucatan Peninsula without visiting Holbox. It is a paradisiacal island located to the north of the city of Cancun. In spite of the fact that it is an island, many times the sand banks are above the water and you can get there without wetting your feet.

Of course, this island is characterized by white sand beaches and crystal clear water, just like in the movies!

swing in the beach in holbox cancun

It is a perfect place to rest, away from large crowds of people, and in a spectacular Caribbean environment. And don’t miss the picture in its main attraction, the swing in the water that will show everyone your visit to the island.

What to see in Mexico City

The capital of Mexico is the largest city in the country, and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with about 22 million people.

This city can provide you with countless corners full of history. You can see and visit from the Palacio de Bellas Artes to the Plaza de la ConstituciĂłn, the largest in the city. Walking down the same street you will find the famous Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City.

monument independence mexico

Don’t miss the Angel of Independence Monument and the Monument to the Revolution, two structures full of meaning for the country.

The Trajineras of Xochimilco

Surely you have heard of the trajineras. This is a place you can’t miss if you’re in Mexico City. Its meaning is: “place of the flowery sowing”.

colorful boats in mexico city

They are boats decorated with flowers and bright colors. Each one has its name and you can enjoy a relaxing ride through the water channels.

Teotihuacan

Another must if you travel to Mexico City. Teotihuacan is an archeological zone, meaning “city of the gods”, and is another the places to visit in Mexico that UNESCO has designated as World Heritage.

It is believed that around 100,000 inhabitants lived in this area in its best times, being one of the most important cities during the Classic Period (between the 3rd and 7th centuries A.D.).

woman in pyramid teotihuacan

There you will find the Pyramid of the Sun, its most important monument. We encourage you to climb its 63.4 meters high, and enjoy the views of the entire area of Teotihuacan, an activity not to be missed!

Nowadays, it is the archaeological zone that more tourists visit from all over Mexico, even above Chichén-Itzá, and new remains of this important culture in the history of Mexico are still being discovered.

San Miguel de Allende

This beautiful city is located about 300 km from Mexico City, and like most of the sites included in this list, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

With about 70,000 inhabitants, San Miguel de Allende has one of the most beautiful historical centers you can find. Its colorful streets and colonial-style monuments will make you feel in a magical environment.

pink church in san miguel de allende mexico

A must-see is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a beautiful neo-gothic style cathedral that has undergone different transformations throughout its history. In its last reconstruction, the architect used pink quarry for the façade, giving this church an unusual charm.

Palenque

This city is located in the state of Chiapas, the area that connects the Yucatan Peninsula with the rest of Mexico.

On one side we find Palenque, an archaeological site of the Mayan culture, but smaller in size compared to Chichen-Itza.

mayan pyramid in palenque mexico

There are many temples in a perfect state of conservation, such as the Temple of the Count or the Temple of the Inscriptions, or the Palace, a complex of interconnected buildings whose emblematic element is the 4-story Tower!

San CristĂłbal de las Casas

Really close to Palenque is San Cristobal de las Casas. Despite its proximity on the map, the truth is that to get from one city to another, you will need a few hours by bus (more than 5). Don’t worry, because, after so many curves and hours of travel, the destination is going to be worth it.

tourists visiting san cristobal de las casas

San CristĂłbal de las Casas is a city of almost 200,000 inhabitants, which stands out for its colonial architecture. There you can find numerous churches and temples of this characteristic style.

The charm of its streets and buildings have served to make this city one of the most beautiful in all of Mexico. As a symbol of this, the President of the Republic recognized San Cristobal de las Casas as “The Most Magical of the Magical Towns in Mexico” in 2010.

Now that you have seen all the incredible places to visit in Mexico, do you think you can rule out any of them?

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