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Things to do in Mexico: Top tourist attractions to discover

by Juan José Herranz | April 21, 2022
sea turtles playing in Mexican waters

It's never possible for one to be a travel enthusiast and not have Mexico on their list. While the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is the dazzling beaches and cocktails of Mexico, in reality, there's so much more to be explored, making it the perfect spot for not only surfers and water enthusiasts but even history fanatics and adventurers.

The country's rich culture, a fascinating blend of indigenous peoples and Spanish colonial influences, is reflected in everything from its culinary delights to its vibrant musical and dancing traditions. Let's look at some of the places that you need to visit on your tour:

Swim in the Riviera Maya

The resort locations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, the island of Cozumel and beyond are located along a stunning length of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Riviera Maya is the name given to these groups of islands. With crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life, Cozumel diving, along with other fun activities like dolphin and stingray swims, snorkeling among reefs and tropical fish, and scuba diving in the world's largest underwater museum, a spectacular collection of sculptures submerged at depths of up to eight meters, is a must-do for anyone visiting the island.

Riviera Maya Mexico

Explore Mayan Ruins in Chichen Itza

Chichén Itzá, the majestic Mayan metropolis, is one of Mexico's most visited archaeological sites, as well as one of the largest and best maintained in the country.

There are several reasons to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The huge El Castillo, also known as the Pyramid of Kukulkán and the site's tallest structure at 30 meters, is a must-see.

Mayan ruins Pyramid of Kukulkán

Visit Mexico City

Mexico City (Ciudad de México) is not only the country's capital and seat of government, but it is also one of the most popular alternative travel destinations in the country.

Most of Mexico City's major attractions, including the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec treasures, are located here, many of which are within walking distance of Constitution Square (Plaza de la Constitución), the city's a busy main plaza and are surrounded with amazing scenery to add to the vibe.

Experience a Colonial Town

Beautiful colonial towns may be found all around Mexico. Guanajuato is one of the best, with cobblestone lanes, pastel-colored buildings, and tranquil tree-lined squares surrounding cathedrals.

Visiting the charming Jardin de la Union, the city's main square with its splendid ancient architecture, where you'll find the gorgeous old San Diego Church and the imposing Juárez Theatre, as well as fountains and flowers beds, cafés, and restaurants, is a very pleasurable experience.

Hike in Sierra Norte

Sierra Norte is a fascinating region, and hiking between the "Pueblos Manucommunandos" with a local guide is the best way to explore it. Instead of palm trees, there are pine trees.

The heat of the shore will be replaced by the crispness of the mountains. Have a terrific hiking experience with Expediciones Sierra Norte, which focuses heavily on eco-tourism. The location itself is a nice change of pace from the regular Mexican settings.

Visit Guadalajara

Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco, is the second-largest city in Mexico and it has successfully highlighted its distinctive combination of colonial and native Tapatios influences.

The Plaza de Armas, which includes such notable buildings as the 17th-century Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) and the majestic Baroque Guadalajara Cathedral, is the ideal spot to start a sightseeing tour (Catedral de Guadalajara). One of the finest things about GDL is the city's fantastic nightlife and night markets, where you can eat, drink, shop, and dance your way through an incredible evening.

Plaza de Armas Guadalajara Mexico

Explore the Sonora Market

Unlike the regular markets, the Sonora market is dedicated to magic and witchcraft. It is a place where you may buy therapeutic herbs as well as stuff related to magic and the occult. There are statues dedicated to the Saint of Death, as well as a range of potions and herbs, and voodoo dolls, amongst others.

You can participate in tarot card readings or a mini-ouija board session to get a glance into the crystal ball, making it surely one of Mexico's most unique experiences.

Walk through the Monarch Butterfly Reserve

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a large protected area that attracts monarch butterflies every year and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate south of the border to Michoacán and the Mexican state of Michoacán every winter, turning the trees orange and black.

An ideal win for nature lovers and a must-see if your vacation plans cover the end of the year.

Stop by San Juan Chamula

Visitors are allowed to enter this church, which is located in a little community just outside of San Cristobal.

There are no benches in this church. The local religion is a blend of Catholicism and Maya Ritual. Instead, the floor is covered in pine needles, and churchgoers sit on the ground. Don't be surprised by the animal (chicken) sacrifices, chanting healers employing eggs and bones, and the overwhelming smell of incense.

Traditional ceremonies are done as thousands of candles flicker, and the people's chants and prayers echo around. However, photos are not permitted once inside, and what you will see is unlike anything you've ever seen before, making it an unforgettable memory.

Try the Spirits from Mexico

Tequila is a form of mezcal, which is an agave-based distilled alcoholic beverage. While mezcal is available throughout the country, the best spot to sample it is in Oaxaca, which is known for manufacturing high-quality spirits. You can visit a mezcal farm and learn about the production process, or you can stop by a small Mezcaleria for a tasting and pick your favorite.

You can also go to a restaurant that specializes in unique mezcal cocktails if you don't want to drink it straight. Mezcal and tequila are both extremely popular in Mexico, and sampling them is one of the best things to do there.

Depending on your country of origin, you may or may not need a visa for Mexico to enter the country. Find out more about your visa here.