Mexico is a truly diverse country and has everything from beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife to a rich cultural scene. Below I will show you some best places to visit in Mexico.
No1. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, locally known as Playa, is quickly becoming the hippest place in the Yucatán Peninsula; with lively bars, chic cafés, timeshares, and all inclusive resorts opening up all over the city. Playa’s large expat community that has been growing since 1900’s has a significant influence on the local flavor. This international influence is one of the things that make this town so different from the rest of Mexico. Nowhere else will one find such a wide variety of flavors within a few feet from each other.
Travelers who simply want to relax under the sun and swim in the crystal clear oceans by day, and then drink and dance at nightclubs until the sun comes up, Playa is the place to be. However, travelers who want to experience Mexican culture and traditions, might want to skip over this once sleepy fishing town gone wild and look elsewhere.
No2. Isla Cozumel
Cozumel is an island just off Playa del Carmen and is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the western hemisphere. It is rare to find such natural beauty, crystal clear waters and vast marine life. Although, diving and snorkeling are the main draws, travelers who opt to explore outside the tourist area will not be disappointed. Deserted beaches, wild natural parks and stunning scenery are waiting to be explored by those who dare to step off the gringo-trail.
In the 1950s, before Cancún and Ixtapa, Acapulco used to be the most famous go-to destinations in Mexico. It was the playground of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, John F. Kennedy and Elvis Presley until a spree of violence tarnished the city’s reputation. However today, the violence has lessen drastically and Acapulco’s beautiful beaches are once again safe to visit. In fact, Acapulco is slowly becoming a popular destination for spring breakers who enjoy the lively nightlife, bustling waterfront promenade and international cuisine that the city has to offer.
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and a popular getaway spot for people who are interesting in Mexican culture. The city has an abundance of museums and cultural sites preserving Mexican history. Moreover, both mariachi and tequila were born here, so it comes to no surprise that Guadalajara also offers some of the best nightlife in Mexico.
No5. Los Cabos
Los Cabos is where the desert meets the sea and the sun shines 350 days a year. The municipal encompasses the towns of Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and the Resort Corridor that lies between the two. It is the ultimate seaside escape for surfers and divers who come here year-round for its pleasant climate and geography. Los Cabos is also famous for its great golf and sport fishing opportunities, which draws in over two million visitor per year.
No6. Chichén Itzá
Who hasn’t heard about Chichén Itzá, one of the new seven wonders of the world? It is one of the most famous and best preserved Maya site in Mexico. With over 1.2 million visitors every year, this beautiful UNESCO Heritage Site in Mexico can get very overcrowded but even the most seasoned traveler will be impressed by the ruins greatness. Stay in one of the small towns nearby and arrive early to beat the crowds to have most of the site to yourself. There are also a number of stunning cenotes and smaller archaeological sites near Chichén Itzá that are worth a visit. If you are staying somewhere along the Riviera Maya (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.) you can book a day tour to Chichén Itzá here.
Akumal, meaning “Place of the Turtles” in Mayan, is indeed a nesting ground for sea turtles who come ashore to lay their eggs every year. Many travelers come here as a day trip from either Playa del Carmen or Tulum to swim with the turtles and enjoy the clear waters of the shallow lagoon.
No8. Isla Holbox
Travelers who want to escape the hustle of Cancun will want to visit Isla Holbox. With its sandy streets, lack of cars and colorful Caribbean houses, it is as peaceful as it can get. Although the water is not as clear as in the rest of the Yucatán, during the summer months, visitors can swim alongside whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean. Isla Holbox is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 150 bird species, including flamingos and pelicans calling the island their home.
No9. Copper Canyon
The Copper Canyon is a group of canyon consisting of six distinct canyons in northwestern Mexico. The canyon system is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Although the canyon can be explored by hiking, biking or horseback riding, the most popular way is by train. The train runs along the main canyon from Chihuahua to Los Mochis and takes about 15 hours to complete. The Copper Canyon is also home to a large number of indigenous people who live in the mountains isolated and independent from the rest of the world.
No10. Sumidero Canyon
Sumidero Canyon is a narrow and deep canyon located in the state of Chiapas. It is a major tourist attraction with Mexican visitors who visit the canyon to bike, swim, hike, camp and picnic here. The stunning scenery of the canyon is best enjoyed on one of the boats which ferry people through the canyon along the Grijalva River. The Sumidero Canyon is also popular among extreme athletes who come here to mountain bike, rock climb or go caving.
Cancun, the resort capital of Mexico, has long been popular among spring breakers and travelers who enjoy the luxury of all-inclusive resorts and Mexico timeshares. However, Cancun is not all party and luxury. Head away from the hotel zone into the city itself, and you will find regular Mexicans going about there daily lives, enjoying traditional local food and dancing to salsa instead of whatever is in the charts right now. The prices here are cheaper and everything is more authentic compared to the hotel zone. And if you are tired of the city, simply hop on a bus and head to the white sand beaches located just outside of town.
No12. Islas Marietas
The Marieta Islands are a group of small uninhabited islands off of the coast of Mexico. The island is home to an abundant marine life population and is a popular location for snorkeling and scuba diving. The government used to conduct military testings on the islands which created amazing caves and rock formations. One of this caves is nicknamed the “hidden beach” or “beach love” and is frequently featured in travel magazine. Today the islands are a national park and only a few companies are allowed to transport travelers onto the islands.
The ruins of Palenque are just as impressive as those of Chichen Itza, if not even more, yet many travelers neglect to visit them. The ruins are set in the midst of the jungle and are surrounded by stunning waterfalls and caves that are waiting to be explored.
No14. Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun and can be easily explored on a day trip. However, for those who are looking for some peace and quiet might want to stay in one of the many cheap hotels on the island. Besides turquoise blue water and white sand beaches, the island also offers whale shark tours, underwater museum, several water parks, and snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Visitors to the island can easily get around by renting a golf cart, scooter or bicycle, as the island is small and all the attractions are located close to each other. Around dinner time make your way back to the waterfront promenade near the ferry terminal and enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants.
No15. Gran Cenote
A cenote is a natural sinkhole, resulting from collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Ancient Mayas many times used cenotes for sacrificial offerings and as a source of drinking water. The Yucatán Peninsula has so many centoes, I would call it Cenote Heaven. Cenotes are great places for those who want to cool off from the sun and swim in crisp mineral-rich waters in ancient caves or in midst of the jungle. Some of the most popular cenotes are: Cenote Yokdzonot near Chichén Itzá, Cenote Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote near Tulum and Cenote Azul near Playa del Carmen.
No16. Agua Azul Waterfalls
Agua Azul is breathtaking waterfall located in the state of Chiapas, about 60km from Palenque. The area boasts a stretch of shallow canyons and cliffs where one can watch the turquoise water plunging down into natural pools. Agua Azul is in the heart of the jungle which is home to a variety of local flora and fauna and the perfect spot for observing exotic wildlife.