Nestled in the southern portion of North America, Mexico is a long-standing favourite vacation destination. This vibrant country is home to rich culture with an intriguing mix of native traditions and Spanish influences.
In Mexico, you’ll come across an abundance of stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, awe-inspiring architecture, cultural attractions, and historical landmarks. There is so much to explore in the country, but a few spots certainly deserve to be on your bucket list.
To help you compile the perfect travel itinerary when touring Mexico, I’ve highlighted the best destinations for an unforgettable trip. From resort towns to natural attractions, you can find them all below.
37 Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Table of Contents
- 37 Best Places to Visit in Mexico
- 1. Mexico City
- 2. Tulum
- 3. Cabo San Lucas
- 4. Oaxaca
- 5. Copper Canyon
- 6. Cancún
- 7. Guanajuato
- 8. Puerto Vallarta
- 9. Cozumel
- 10. Merida
- 11. Chichen Itza
- 12. San Miguel de Allende
- 13. Morelia
- 14. Acapulco
- 15. Guadalajara
- 16. Puebla
- 17. Zacatecas
- 18. San Cristóbal de las Casas
- 19. Todos Santos
- 20. Cabo Pulmo
- 21. Costa Maya
- 22. Riviera Nayarit
- 23. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
- 24. Volcan Paricutin
- 25. Isla Espiritu Santo
- 26. Pico de Orizaba
- 27. Isla Mujeres
- 28. Huasteca Potosina
- 29. Isla Holbox
- 30. Izamal
- 31. Palenque
- 32. Manzanillo
- 33. Sumidero Canyon
- 34. Akumal
- 35. Mazatlan
- 36. Gran Cenote
- 37. Agua Azul Waterfalls
- Ready to Explore the Best Places in Mexico?
Whether you’re looking to visit a breathtaking beach vacation spot or explore a historic city, you’ll find a variety of diverse destinations in Mexico. Here are the top spots that you should visit.
1. Mexico City
Mexico City is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country. If you’re a culture-loving adventurer looking for an affordable trip, visiting this capital city would be perfect for you.
Tourists flock to the city for its lively atmosphere, renowned arts, delicious cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene. A stroll in the downtown area will allow you to experience the city’s colonial-style architecture and intriguing past.
Some of the top attractions and famous landmarks in the city include the Frida Kahlo Museum, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, and Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. Another must-visit location is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It is a notable cultural centre in the city that has hosted esteemed events in music, theatre, dance, opera, and literature.
Located on the Caribbean coastline of Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum is a must-visit location. This ancient city boasts well-preserved Mayan ruins and beautiful white sand shores with turquoise waters.
After soaking up the sun at the beach, you can tour the Tulum Archaeological Site, where you’ll learn more about the area’s fascinating history. For more spectacular experiences in the area, check out Playa Paraiso, Cenote Calavera, Coba Ruins, and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
Tulum offers spectacular experiences with a range of accommodation options. Whether you want to stay at a 5-star resort or beachside bungalow, there are plenty of options to fit your taste.
Don’t Miss my Post on 33 Fantastic Things to do in Tulum.
3. Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is one of the top beach destinations in Mexico. This resort city is situated on the southern tip of the stunning Baja California Peninsula. Here you’ll come across several beautiful beaches and scuba diving locations.
Some of the marine life you can expect to see in the dazzling waters include striped marlin, stingrays, and mahi-mahi. When visiting, be sure to check out the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, El Medano Beach, Playa del Amor (Lovers Beach), and Mt. Solmar for a fun outing.
Oaxaca is a vibrant destination that offers a taste of the real Mexico. It comprises a fascinating mix of native Indian and Spanish elements and has remained mostly untouched throughout the years. As such, it has maintained much of its natural beauty.
This unspoiled city is home to plenty of captivating old architecture. Here you’ll also come across several weekly markets, colourful fiestas, and a vibrant art scene. Other must-see attractions include the UNESCO-listed Historic Centre of Oaxaca and the nearby Monte Alban.
Don’t Miss my post on 23 Must-See Landmarks in Mexico.
5. Copper Canyon
If you’re looking for a destination that’s rich in biodiversity and cultural history, the Copper Canyon is certainly worth visiting. Nestled in northern Mexico, you can find this group of deep canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains.
This renowned natural attraction gets its name from the distinctive copper-green colour of the canyon walls. When visiting this scenic destination, you can enjoy several activities, including hiking, zip-lining, and horseback riding.
One of the best ways to explore the area is aboard the Ferrocarril Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon Railway). On this scenic trail ride, you’ll have stunning views of tropical valleys, alpine forests, and rocky landscapes of the canyons.
Cancún is a lively resort and beach destination located on the eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. The bustling city attracts countless travellers each year and is a popular spring break holiday destination among university students.
There are plenty of fun things to do in this city, including snorkelling, jet skiing, and swimming among reefs and tropical fish. Another exhilarating experience is exploring the Cancún Underwater Museum. Here you’ll come across a stunning collection of sculptures submerged in water that will leave you in awe.
Nestled in central Mexico, Guanajuato is renowned for its silver mining history and stunning colonial architecture. The historic city was founded in the early 16th century and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Today, it’s a charming vacation spot that offers spectacular experiences. If you’re looking for a central location to tour the city, the Jardin de la Union plaza is ideal. It’s the perfect location to explore the winding lanes and tunnels on foot.
You’ll also find numerous fine art galleries, intriguing museums, and an abundance of architectural gems. Some notable attractions to check out include the Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato, Juarez Theater, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato.
8. Puerto Vallarta
Located on the Pacific coast in Jalisco state, Puerto Vallarta promises exceptional experiences for those looking for a beach holiday. There are plenty of enjoyable water activities for every kind of traveller.
Whether you want to swim with the dolphins or relax on a luxury yacht sightseeing tour, adventure is abundant in the sparkling sea. In addition to the city’s stunning shores, you’ll find several boutique stores and a range of restaurants along the cobblestone streets. When touring the city, be sure to visit the Puerto Vallarta Pier, Los Muertos Beach, and Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
Cozumel is a popular Mexican island located just off the Yucatan Peninsula. It is an ideal destination for sun-seekers wanting to explore the magnificent marine life found in the Caribbean Sea.
Cozumel is renowned for its scuba diving spots around its coral reefs. You’ll also find diverse marine life such as manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins in the glistening waters.
A few of the top beaches on the island include Palancar Beach, Paradise Beach, and Playa Punta Morena. Other notable attractions in the area are Zona Arqueológica San Gervasio, Discover Mexico Park, and Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park.
If you want to discover the magnificent Mayan sites in Yucatan, Merida is the place to be. In the city, you can easily access historical attractions such as the Chichen Itza and Tulum.
This capital city is one of the most outstanding old colonial areas in Mexico. Merida is known as the “white city” due to its collection of white stone mansions. While it is called the white city, Merida is a truly colourful and vibrant place, filled to the brim with rich culture and history.
You’ll find eye-catching European influences with French architecture in the area. And there are plenty of admirable places to visit, such as the Mayan World Museum of Merida, Paseo de Montejo, and Plaza Grande.
11. Chichen Itza
The spectacular Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. You’ll find this massive and well-restored site situated on the Yucatan Peninsula.
The ancient city is home to magnificent structures that have been around for thousands of years. Chichen Itza thrived from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s. Today, it is visited by countless travellers seeking to experience the rich Mayan culture.
One of the most popular points of interest in the area is the massive step pyramid, El Castillo (Temple of Kukulkan). Many travellers enjoy a Chichen Itza day trip to this magnificent location during their stay in Merida, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen.
12. San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a colonial-era city nestled amongst central Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains. It is known for its Colonial and Spanish architecture and visual arts.
This city features a romantic atmosphere and is perfect for couples. It’s also a top spot for travellers looking to explore the thriving art scene, music, food, and culture festivals.
In the historic city centre, you can enjoy strolls through the 500-year-old narrow walkways. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of artisan shops that sell stunning jewellery, crafts, and handmade accessories. Other top spots to visit include the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, Fábrica la Aurora, and Charco Del Ingenio.
Located in the central state of Michoacán, Morelia is a delightful place to explore in Mexico. Here you’ll find more than 200 well-preserved historic buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Additionally, the colonial city’s downtown area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The picturesque Plaza de Armas is a great starting point to explore the city on foot.
In this large public space, you can easily access several restaurants, cafes, and shopping spaces. There are also spectacular sightseeing opportunities, from statues of revolutionary heroes to scenic gardens.
Acapulco is a renowned beach resort town situated on the Pacific coast. In the 1950s, it was a popular getaway destination in Mexico. And today, this iconic spot is making a comeback with increasing popularity as a vacation destination for travellers seeking a lively atmosphere.
Acapulco is best known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. So, if you’re a beach bum or party lover, this epic location is certainly worth visiting. It is also a popular getaway for spring breakers and those looking to indulge in international cuisine.
Guadalajara is a fun city located in western Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Jalisco, where mariachi music and tequila were born. Guadalajara is the second-largest city in the country, and there are plenty of exciting things to do here.
The city’s historic centre is filled with colonial plazas and famous landmarks, including the Teatro Degollado, Palacio del Gobierno, and the Baroque Guadalajara Cathedral. Additionally, you can discover the vibrant Mexican culture all around the city. From the mariachi music to the delicious foods, Guadalajara offers an enjoyable experience for all.
Situated in east-central Mexico, Puebla is renowned for its colonial architecture, pottery, and culinary history. Here you’ll come across an extensive display of awe-inspiring pre-Hispanic art that includes mural fragments and ceramics.
If you’re looking for a getaway filled with rich traditions and eye-catching arts, exploring Puebla is a great choice. There are several attractions in the area that are worth visiting such as the Zona Arqueologica de Cholula, Catedral de Puebla, and Museo Amparo.
Puebla is also well-known for its sweet and spicy cuisine. One of the top dishes to try is Mole Poblano. This traditional Mexican dish is made with delicious ingredients, including chocolate, chilis, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
If you’re looking for a Mexican getaway with fewer crowds, Zacatecas is the perfect place to visit. This spectacular state is located in north-central Mexico. It is home to a rich heritage that you can experience through the local foods and captivating cultural sites.
A notable landmark in the area is the La Quemada archaeological site. At this massive pre-Columbian hilltop settlement, you’ll come across a magnificent museum, pyramid and columns. More must-visit attractions for art enthusiasts are the Museo Pedro Coronel and the 16th-century mine, El Eden.
18. San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas is situated in the state of Chiapas. It features a combination of Mayan culture and colonial architecture.
The highland town features a combination of Mayan culture and colonial architecture, which includes the yellow San Cristobal Cathedral. When touring the downtown area, be sure to check out the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya. At this striking museum, there are several breathtaking displays of colourful, traditional textiles and historical exhibits.
19. Todos Santos
Todos Santos is located at the foothills of the Sierra de La Laguna Mountains on the Pacific coast of Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. This charming vacation spot offers both warm hospitality and weather for a well-deserved getaway.
Todos Santos is a haven of natural beauty and an excellent option for adventure-seeking travellers. Many individuals are attracted to this location for its arts, healthy lifestyle, and surfing opportunities.
You’ll find many beautiful beaches in the town as well as art galleries. Some of the top spots to visit include Los Cerritos Beach, Punta Lobos, and Casa de la Cultura Profr Nestor Agundez.
20. Cabo Pulmo
Cabo Pulmo is one of the best places to visit in Mexico for epic scuba diving experiences. This protected National Marine Park is located on the east coast of the Baja California Peninsula, spanning between Pulmo Point and Los Frailes Cape.
At Cabo Pulmo, you can rediscover the dazzling beauty of the underwater world. You can expect to see an abundance of horse-eye jacks and triggerfish, as well as black coral bushes. Larger marine life that you might spot includes whale sharks and spy hammerhead sharks.
21. Costa Maya
If you’re seeking an intimate holiday with quiet beaches, Costa Maya promises a peaceful stay. This stretch of the Caribbean coast is situated on the eastern Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Here you’ll find quaint fishing villages, spectacular scenery, and a laid-back atmosphere.
There are also exceptional diving sites for those looking for some extra adventure. Some of the best places to visit in the area include Mahahual Beach, Costa Maya Port Mexico, and Maya Lost Mayan Kingdom.
22. Riviera Nayarit
The Riviera Nayarit is a nearly 322 kilometre stretch of sandy shores and charming villages north of Puerto Vallarta. Natural beauty is abundant in Riviera Nayarit, making it one of the top places to visit in the country. The most popular cities in Riviera Nayarit include Sayulita, Bucerias, and Nuevo Vallarta.
If you want to catch some waves or watch the best sunsets, there are plenty of breathtaking beaches in the area. Some of the best unique beaches to visit are Sayulita Beach, Playa San Pancho, and Nahui Beach.
23. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, or Reserva de la Biósfera Santuario, is a beautiful nature preserve in Mexico. You’ll find this breathtaking biosphere within the rugged forested mountains northwest of Mexico City. It supports the wintering habitat of the gorgeous monarch butterfly.
This picturesque site is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts, especially during the annual migration and overwintering of the monarch butterfly. Popular months to visit to witness these phenomenal golden-orange butterflies are between mid-November and mid-March.
24. Volcan Paricutin
If you’re looking to climb a volcano, Paricutin is certainly worth checking out. It is a cinder volcano in the state of Michoacan. Paricutin is the youngest volcano in the world and gained popularity after it surged in 1943.
This dormant volcano stands at around 2,800 metres in elevation and offers an exhilarating climb. Here you’ll walk through the scenic forest before making your way over a sea of lava rocks. Once at the top, the stunning vistas will leave you in awe.
25. Isla Espiritu Santo
Isla Espiritu Santo is a stunning island that offers a relaxing escape in Mexico. You can find this protected ecological reserve located in the Gulf of California off Baja California Sur. A day trip to the island promises a spectacular experience.
Here you can enjoy several water activities, including kayaking, snorkelling, and diving. It is also an excellent spot for wildlife watching. Some of the species that you can expect to see include sea lions, corals, starfish, manta rays, blowfish, and hawksbill sea turtles.
26. Pico de Orizaba
If you want a thrilling trek, visiting Pico de Orizaba would be worthwhile. Pico de Orizaba, also called Citlaltepetl Volcano, lies on the border of Veracruz and Peubla in south-central Mexico. At 5,636 metres in elevation, it is the highest mountain in the country and the third highest in North America.
If you’re ready to get your hiking boots dirty, this hike will not disappoint. You’ll have breathtaking views of the surrounding mountainous terrain as well as the domes and bell towers of historic churches in the distance.
27. Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small Mexican island off the coast of Cancun. It’s an ideal destination for a Isla Mujeres catamaran tour exploring the Caribbean Sea. The island is known for its crystal-clear waters, where you can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and swimming with whale sharks.
As Isla Mujeres is relatively small, it’s easy to explore nearby attractions on foot. Additionally, you can rent a golf cart, bicycle, or scooter to get around on the island. A few notable points of interest on the island include Playa Norte, Garrafon Natural Reef Park, and Avenida Miguel Hidalgo.
28. Huasteca Potosina
Huasteca Potosina is situated in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. The remote region offers an idyllic escape surrounded by tropical gardens. It is also home to an impressive network of rivers and cascading waterfalls.
From admiring tropical flowers to exploring the caves, there are plenty of enjoyable activities for all. In addition to the breathtaking scenery, you can also discover the rich culture of local Huastec people in the region. Top attractions in Huasteca Potosina include the Bridge of Gods, Media Luna Swimming Park, and Tamasopo Waterpark and Waterfalls.
29. Isla Holbox
If you want a peaceful island getaway, a trip to Isla Holbox is a great option. It is located in Quintana Roo State, north of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Isla Holbox is also an excellent choice for a day trip if you want a break from the bustling city of Cancún.
The island features colourful Caribbean houses, a lack of cars, and a laid-back atmosphere. Although the seawater is not as clear as other areas in Yucatan, visitors can swim alongside sea turtles and whale sharks during summer.
The island is also home to more than 150 bird species, including pelicans, white ibis, pink spatulas, and flamingos. When visiting Isla Holbox, be sure to check out the Punta Mosquito, Playa Holbox, and Playa Punta Cocos.
Nestled in Yucatan, Izamal is one of the most photogenic towns that you’ll find in Mexico. This small town is nicknamed “Ciudad Amarilla” which means “Yellow City” in English.
In this magical town, you’ll find countless buildings painted in yellow. This bright colonial city is certainly worth visiting, even just for a day trip from Merida. And you definitely wouldn’t want to forget your camera to get those Instagram-worthy pictures.
In addition to the striking buildings, there are several historical sites to see in Yellow City. Some of the top sights include the Kinich Kakmo Pyramid, the Archaeological Zone of Izamal, and Convento de San Antonio de Padua.
Palenque was a Maya city-state in Southern Mexico. It was anciently known as Lakamha and perished in the 7th century. Today, you can discover the rich history in a scenic setting at the Palenque Archaeological Zone.
The Mayan ruins at Palenque are just as remarkable as those of Chichen Itza. The ruins are positioned in the middle of the jungle which is filled with mahogany, cedar, and sapodilla trees, as well as gorgeous waterfalls.
Located in the state of Colima, Manzanillo is a popular place to visit for sun-seekers and sea lovers. It’s a Pacific Ocean port city and resort that features two bays, Bahía de Manzanillo and Bahía de Santiago.
Bahia de Santiago is well-known for its stunning shores, such as Playa La Boquita and Playa La Audiencia. The beautiful beaches bustle with water sports and offer calm waters, perfect for beginners.
The waters off the coast are great for exploring the captivating coral reefs, dive sites, and shipwrecks. There is also plenty of marlin in the sea. As such, the area is also a popular deep-sea sportfishing site.
33. Sumidero Canyon
If you’re visiting the state of Chiapas, taking a trip to the Sumidero Canyon should certainly be on your itinerary. Located in the city of Chiapa de Corzo, this natural beauty is a major tourist attraction.
Sumidero Canyon is a deep and narrow canyon that offers a picturesque setting for outdoor adventures. Here you can enjoy several activities, such as picnicking, swimming, hiking, and camping.
You can also enjoy the stunning views with a thrilling Sumidero Canyon tour along the river between the canyon’s walls. And if you’re an extreme sports enthusiast, the area is excellent for rock climbing as well as mountain bike rides.
Akumal is a stunning coastal resort on Riviera Maya, on the Yucatan Peninsula. In the Mayan language, Akumal means “Place of the Turtle”. It is also a popular nesting ground for sea turtles.
Akumal is also a renowned snorkelling destination. So if you’re exploring the sparkling waters, you might just find a sea turtle beside you.
Other marine life that you may see include coral reefs, stingrays, and tropical fish. In addition to Akumal Beach, other top attractions in the area include Aktun Chen, Yal-Ku Lagoon, and Akumal Monkey Sanctuary.
Mazatlan is a resort town located along the Pacific shoreline in Sinaloa, Mexico. It is home to numerous historic sites, intriguing museums, and golden beaches. The area is also famous for big-game fishing. So if you’re an eager angler, it would be a great spot to visit.
In Mazatlan, you’ll find spectacular historical landmarks such as the Teatro Angela Peralta and Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Other points of interest include the Plaza Machado, Acuario Mazatlan, and Parque Acuático Mazagua.
36. Gran Cenote
Gran cenote is a popular tourist attraction situated just outside Tulum. A cenote is a natural sinkhole created by a collapse of limestone bedrock that uncovers the groundwater. This large cenote has relaxing mineral-rich waters for swimming, a massive cave, and plenty of wooden platforms to relax in nature.
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The Yucatan Peninsula is home to many cenotes. Of course, the Gran Cenote would be a top choice if you’re visiting Tulum or nearby areas. Other famous cenotes in Mexico include Cenote Azul and Cenote Yokdzonot.
37. Agua Azul Waterfalls
Last but certainly not least is the picturesque Agua Azul Waterfalls. It is a series of waterfalls situated in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico that’s certainly worth visiting.
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Here you’ll find a magnificent stretch of shallow canyons and cliffs where you can admire the bright blue water thundering down into natural pools. The spectacular Agua Azul is in the heart of the jungle. So, you can expect to see a variety of native flora and fauna as well.
Ready to Explore the Best Places in Mexico?
A trip to Mexico would not be complete without visiting one of these spectacular destinations. The endless sunshine, sand, and sea provide the perfect combination for a relaxing getaway.
Whether you’re looking to explore the Mayan ruins or soak up the sun on the white sand beaches, there is a suitable place for every kind of traveller. Regardless of the destination you visit, all offer epic experiences with a vibrant atmosphere.
Looking for more places to explore in North America? Check out this guide on the most beautiful US states.
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