Top 16 Places to Visit in Mexico

There are plenty of other reasons why you should visit Mexico, if you plan to do so anytime soon; have a look these following Top-Rated places to visit in Mexico!

Mexico is no longer only North Americans favorite vacation destination, but this beloved city become increasingly popular with tourists and travelers all over the world, and for good reasons. It’s a country that’s full to the brim with unique cultures and history. It’s also a place where ancient Aztec and Mayan sites and historic colonial cities (designed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites) meet, creating a diverse range of possibilities and ensuring to remain untouched for generations to come.

Mexico is also the 14th largest country by landmass which gives it a great variety of regions and landscapes, from pristine coastlines to dense jungles. In addition to that, it has one of the most amazing cuisines in the world! And the cherry on top is that it’s actually quite affordable to visit. Mexico is currently open to travelers and there is no need to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival.

To ensure you plan the very best Mexican travel itinerary possible, Giorgy aka G-Extreme created the following list of the top 16 Places to Visit in Mexico ~ starting from the most remote beautiful places up to the most touristic ones!

#1. THE HISTORIC CENTER: MEXICO CITY

Where is it?
Starting from the capital of Mexico is undoubtedly a must-visit, among all it’s the most populous city in North America! It might not have beaches, but it has everything else you might think of.

Why go?
At the historic city center, you are going to find most of Mexico’s attracctions teeming with culture, history, and beautiful architecture, Mexico City has numerous famous landmarks such as Plaza de la Constitucion, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple.

The city is also considered an art hub as it has hundreds of museums and art galleries as well as fascinating street art. Visit the Palacio Nacional and check out Diego Rivera’s famous and awe-inspiring mural ‘The History of Mexico’. Museo Frida Kahlo, where the artist was born, raised, lived, and died, is also not to miss!

#2. OAXACA CITY GIVES YOU A REAL TASTE OF MEXICO

Where is it?
Oaxaca city is the capital of a state with the same name, located in the Valley
in the foothills of the Sierra Madre.

Why go?
This is the destinaiton for travelers interested in sampling a taste of the real Mexico. Because here you’ll find an interestin mix of native Indian and Spanish elements such as colonial architecture, archaeological sites, a thriving art scene, and some of the best Mexican cuisine! No wonder why it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

One of the biggest celebrations in the country for the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) takes place in Oaxaca as well as the Guelaguetza festival, which highlights the indigenous culture of the area. Some of the highlights of the city include Monte Alban, the Zocalo, and the Oaxaca Cultural Museum.

#3. MERIDA: THE YUCATAN’S WHITE CITY AND MAYAN METROPOLIS

Where is it?
Merida is the cultural capital and largest city in Yucatan state and it has been nicknamed “
The White City” due to the color of its old buildings. 

Why go?
Named the American Capital of Culture several times, Merida has quite a rich history and vibrant culture. 
Kick off your visit by a walk around the city’s Centro Historico where you will come across many historical landmarks such as Merida Cathedral, Municipal Palace, Casa de Montejo, and the Governor’s Palace. 

I also recommend taking a refreshing dip in one of the city’s many cenotes (natural sinkholes) after a long hot day!

Hey Goofball! The Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also an incredible place to visit while you’re there. It was built by the Maya people and it’s considered one of the great mythical cities. Don’t miss out these noteworthy point of interest: El Casillo (the Pyramid of Kukullkan), the tallest structure, and Caracol, a 1’000-year-old observatory to figure out how advanced the Mayans were.

#4. COPPER CANYON IS THE GRAND CANYON OF MEXICO

Where is it?
Nearby New Mexico US boarders in Chihuaha, is home to one of the country’s most visited natural attracions: Barranca del Cobre aka the stunning Copper Canyon.

Why go?
Along with other spectacular group of deep canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental region, the Copper Canyon is considered larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. The name comes from its distinctive copper green coloring along its steep canyon walls created from the then-Rio Fuerte.

Hey Goofball! Because of the increased popularity, nowadays the Canyon is more accessible and you can even take the scenic rail on the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico to have the one time life experience! To the more Extremers adventure yourself with the bike or even on horseback!

#5. DIVING INTO THE PARADISE ISLAND OF COZUMEL

Where is it?
Located 20 ilometer from the Yucatan Penisula, this lush tropical paradise taked its name from the acient Mayan “Ah-cuyamil” aka land of the swallows.

Why go?
It is definetly the paradise for any divers: fullfield with rich marine life and diving around landmarks and scultures! Or simply grab your guggles and flippers and get down there on your own.

#6. PUEBLA CHARMIN COLONIAL STATE

Where is it?
Puebla is a charming colonial state located in east-central Mexico bordering the states of Tlaxcala and Hidalgo to the north and Oaxaca to the south.

Why go?
If you want a taste of authentic culture, mesmerizing architecture, and delicious food, then Puebla is definitely the place to go!

Puebla de Zaragoza is the capital and its largest city and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. While in Puebla, make sure to visit the Catedral de Puebla, the International Museum of Baroque Art, and Cholula where you will find the largest pyramid in Mesoamerica. Don’t miss out on trying the mole poblano and chiles en nogada!

#7. THE ACIENT FORTNESS OF TULUM

Where is it?
Tulum is a pre-Colombian walled city in the state of Quintana Roo situated on a cliff
overlooking the Caribbean in the Yucatán Peninsula and its mostly used as a major port of Cuba.

Why go?
It used to be some sort of hidden jewel, but now it’s quite popular among travelers because of its stunning white sands and turquoise waters. 
Not only does Tulum have the best-preserved Mayan ruins, but it is also less crowded than Playa del Carmen and Cancun which makes it quite charming and ideal if you prefer fewer crowds!

Some of the most significant landmarks include El Castillo, Temple of the Frescos, and of course the cenotes! 

#8. STEP BACK IN TIME IN GUADALAJARA

Where is it?
Guadalajara is the second-largest city in Mexico after Mexico City, capital of the state of Jalisco, and it’s also the origin place of both tequila and mariachi.
The city boasts incredible nightlife and an array of cultural sights.

Why go?

Famous for its broad avenues flanked by picturesque park and fine old buildings, Guadalajara is an unmisseable place full of traditional Mexican culture. The best way to start off your visit is to explore the historical center of the city where you will find cathedrals, busy markets, and important landmarks such as the Plaza de Armas.

Visit the Government Palace and check out the magnificent murals by the artist Jose Clemente Orozco. Finally, feast on the delicious tortas ahogadas, a local specialty consisting of sandwiches completely drowned in a sauce made from dried chili peppers.

#9. LET’S GO ON AN ADVENTURE IN PUERTO VALLARTA

Where is it?
Located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta has tons of activities and fun things to do. For instance, you can go sky diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, sailing, kite surfing, and deep-sea fishing.

Why go?
If you love adventure, you’ll definitely love Puerto Vallarta!

Vallarta is also a popular diving destination where you can encounter dolphins, manta rays, and hunchback whales: Puerto Escondino. One of the most popular things to do is to walk around the Maleco where you can experience street performances, dine or have a drink, and do lots of local handcraft shopping!  

There’s more to this small unique city than surfing though; some of the activities you can do include swimming with Bioluminescent Planktons, going dolphin watching, snorkeling, and even horseback riding.

Hey Goofball! Do not forget to check out the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta such as Riviera Nayarit!

10#. PALENQUE A POPULAR MAYA CITY

Where is it?
One of the most popular and best Mayan ruins: Palenque. Situated in the state of Chiapas among the dense jungles in the area!

Why go?
It’s less packed of people because of its location in the jungles – just you and the nature! Along the ruins, you can visit the waterfalls, some famous attractions such as the Temple of Inscriptions, the massive Pyramid of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon. 

#11. RELAX AT CABO SAN LUCAS

Where is it?
At the southern tip of the beautiful Baja Penisula, Los Cabos aka Cabo, is one of Mexico’s top beach destinations.

Why go?
If you need a break from everything and immerse yourself into the water and doing nothing other then chilling… Cabo San Lucas it’s the place for ya, fullfield with numerous resorts!

Hey Goofball! If you are looking into something still on the country’s Pacific coast but less packed, I suggest you to visit some of the country’s smaller vacation destications: Ixtapa.

#12. EXPLORE ON FOOT GUANAJUATO

What is it?
Thanks to its many old colonial buildings, winding lanes, and narrow alleys, Guanajuato is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why go?
It is definetly worth visiting it by foot starting from the delightful Jarding de la Union along to San Diego Church, Juarez Theater and so on… go with the flow and get lost in the beauty of the city! Do not skip the city’s subterranean streets that onces were carried a river untile human took it over and using by cars and pedestrians.

Home to a lot of galleries don’t miss out Museum of Quixote, the famous Mummies of Guanajuato exhibit, and if you happen to be there the International Cervantino Festival!

#13. SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

Where is it?
This colorful small city is located in the state of Guanajuato and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why go?
San Miguel de Allende got its name after two people: the monk who founded it, Juan de San Miguel, and General Ignacio Allende, a martyr in Mexico’s War of Independence.

This city will charm you with its stunning Spanish colonial architecture, its cobblestone streets, lovely handicraft shops, and its frequent festivals and events. Some of the highlights include La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, Cañada de la Virgen, and the public library.

#14. MORELIA A DELIGHTFUL UNESCO COLONIAL-ERA CITY

What is it?
Founded in 1541 the colonail-era Morelia is a delightful UNESCO World Heritage Site place to wander around in Mexico.

Why go?
Thanks to the more than 200 well-reserved buildings, the city remained the same along all these years allowing you to step back in the past! Just start from the Playa de Armas and letting the flow leading you to the right way… maybe at the attractive Morelia Cathedral! There are plenty to do for any kind, enjoy it!

#15. TAKING A DIP AT PLAYA DEL CARMEN 

Where is it?
Because of its location right in the heart of the Riveria Maya, Playa Del Carmen is a very popular resort town in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Why go?
The city is home to many marvelous beaches in which you can snorkel, go fishing, or just relax and enjoy the beauty!

There are also several eco-parks and natural reserves such as Xcaret Eco Park and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve where you can enjoy some bird watching, swim with sea turtles, and explore caves! 

#16. VISIT THE TOURISTIC HUB: CANCUN AKA 

Where is it?
Located on the Caribbean along the beautiful stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico (Yucatan Penisula), Cancun is usually the place most travelers visit first when they land in Mexico. 

Why go?
This magnificient area that’s known for its all-year-round wonderful weather, its breathtaking wide beaches, and incredibly endless crystal-clear waters, as well as its vibrant nightlife. The area is fullfield of some of fun things to do there such as scuba diving in the world’s largest underwater museum, snorkeling among reefs and tropical fish, parasailing, jet-skiing, and dolphin and stingray swims. Therefore attracts some five million visitors each year!

It’s also considered the gateway to the Mayan culture with several Mayan ruins, a Mayan museum, and a closeness to Chichen Itza, the largest and most impressive Mayan temple ~ just a few hours away.

BREAKING DOWN THE BUDGET FOR YOU

And finally, here’s a simple budget breakdown that might help you plan for the costs of your trip! As I mentioned earlier, Mexico is a very big country which means the prices will vary according to the region and your travel style, this budget is just an average of the daily costs. 

! On average you should expect to pay about 68 USD per day including food, accommodation, and transportation. Of course, you can spend less or more according to your budget so I’ll give you a couple of suggested budgets for different travelers! 

Accommodation
20-40 USD per night for a single hostel or hotel room;
50-70 USD per night for a double room;
You can find other accommodation that fits into your budget and your style better! From HotelshostelsAirbnbsCouchsurfing and work away (where you can work for bed and boars) so on… all sorts!

Food
16- 20 USD per day.

Transportation
10- 14 USD per day.

 

Entertainment
17-20 USD.

Hey Goofball! There are plenty of ways to save money during trips, and here Giorgy aka G-Extreme is about to add another list of her top tips to keep your budget even slower than the one mentioned above. Ready to know the trick to break down Mexico in low-budget style?

  1. Low/shoulder-season – As mentioned before, not only does traveling outside high season allow you to save you a lot of money but it also won’t be packed with people too!
  2. Eat al local restaurants – Locals who run their own restaurants are cheaper and more delicious of the touristic restaurants; offering the best value in the country.
  3. Type of transportation – Slower but cheaper, the local buses offer you the best option to travel around.
  4. Avoid tour activities– Most cities offer a free walking tour around the city offering an inside of the city’s history and culture, also getting to know new travelers. Try to avoid other tour activities which are overrated and way too expensive. Instead do also hiking, swimming, and relaxing around which cost you nothing at all!
  5. The secret of the Nights Out – Who said you have to necessarily drink alcohol every time you go out? You can still have fun without alcohol and drinking, no alcohol each night can also significantly reduce travel costs.
  6. Camping – A lot of resorts and hostels allow you to put your tent on their property.
  7. Own your Water bottle – Since it’s safe drinking water in Mexico, I suggest you all have this amazing filtered water bottle.
  8. Cash vs Digital banking – Digital banking is getting more available in most of Central America; keep in mind this is going to save you unwanted fees.
  9. Slow travel – If you have the luxury of traveling long-term instead of a few weeks, it is going to allow you to incorporate more free days around the city and explore what you like around you without being in a hurry – which means saving a lot of money as well.

There you have it! Now you know where to go in Mexico, as you could read it’s a really beautiful and vast country that is worth exploring for so many reasons.

The main question is not whether you should visit Mexico, but where to go in this vast beautiful country! With these recommendations for the top-rated places to visit, I hope I gave you the right inspiration because Mexico is waiting for you Goofball. Let’s go on an adventure!

 

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