The 17 Most BeautifRenowned for its traditions, colors, and diversity, Mexico promises its visitors a unique journey. Few countries can boast of such cultural and historical richness!
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Mexican territory is divided into 31 states over which stretch superb fine sandy beaches, important Mayan and Aztec archaeological sites, and equally spectacular forests, volcanoes, and canyons.
Have you always dreamed of visiting Mexico but need help figuring out where to start? You will need more than one trip to explore this country’s treasures of almost two million km2, but our selection of the 17 most beautiful places could help you choose!
1. Mayan archaeological sites
In pre-Columbian times, the Maya civilization occupied extensive territory in Guatemala, Belize, part of El Salvador and Honduras, and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This explains the presence of many ancient Mayan cities in this territory, considered true archaeological marvels.
Chichen Itza (5th-10th century), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and elected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is the country’s most famous and visited Mayan archaeological site. But many others deserve your attention if you plan to visit Mexico.
2. San Cristobal de Las Casas
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, located more than 2000 meters above sea level in the mountains of Chiapas, is a city of the Spanish colonial era in Mexico.
The Tzotzil Indians and Westerners, who have fallen in love with the cultural capital of Chiapas, coexist in the narrow and colorful streets of this charming and cosmopolitan city to do in Mexico.
If you are passing through San Cristobal de Las Casas, take the opportunity to visit the pretty Tzotzile church of San Juan de Chamula, a few kilometers away. The traditional indigenous shamanic religion is still practiced there, and there is an indescribable atmosphere.
3. Cacahuamilpa Caves
What is an unusual experience to do in Mexico? Why not explore the most impressive caves in the world? those of Cacahuamilpa! This National Park, in the State of Guerrero, is made up of eight large caves linked together by tunnels, in which it is possible to observe stalactites and stalagmites several meters high.
Wonder and thrills are guaranteed!
4. Las Cenotes
A cenote is a natural well of fresh water, sometimes partially salt water, formed by the collapse of a limestone base above a cave or an underground river. The cenotes were considered sacred places by the Mayan civilization, and sacrifices and rituals took place there.
5. Bacalar Lagoon
Are you about to visit Mexico? Then, head to Quintana Roo, in the country’s southeast, to relax with your feet in the Bacalar lagoon! The one we call the lagoon with 7 shades of blue changes from turquoise blue to deep blue, depending on the sunshine and the depth of the water.
We go there to kayak, cycle along the lagoon in search of cenotes (Cenote La Bruja, for example), or simply enjoy the soothing atmosphere of the place in an idyllic setting.
The unmissable Tulum, from the Riviera Maya to the Yucatan, could not be absent from this list of Mexico’s most beautiful places to visit. Imagine the remains of the only Mayan city built by the sea, overlooking beaches worthy of the most beautiful postcards stretched for miles and miles, all on the edge of a lush jungle.
Some of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico are found around this Eden on the Caribbean coast.
On the list of things to do in Mexico, we find the former mining town of Guanajuato, whose historic center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The presence of universities makes it a lively and cultural student city, and every street corner has lovely surprises for you (flowery squares, monuments with colonial architecture, groups of musicians, the alley of the kiss, the Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato basilica…).
To enjoy an exceptional view of the whole city and its colorful houses, we recommend climbing the Pipila monument hill. Breathtaking!
8. The islands of Quintana Roo
The state of Quintana Roo is full of nuggets to visit in Mexico, and the islands below are undeniably one of them:
Holbox, a small island of 56 km2 in the Gulf of Mexico, is the ideal place to stroll on a white sand beach, snorkel, and observe pink flamingos or whale sharks.
Cozumel, or the land of swallows in Yucatec Maya, is an island in the Caribbean Sea whose seabed is among the most beautiful in the world.
Isla Mujeres, off Cancun, in the open Caribbean Sea, seduces snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, especially with its underwater museum.
To visit Mexico is to visit Pueblos Magicos, or magical villages, of which Cholula is a part. Located at altitude, at the foot of the still active Popocatepetl volcano, this village fascinates with its Great Pyramid, which is none other than the largest pyramid in the world.
At the top of the hill that covers this pyramid, the Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios church dominates the plain, thus offering a striking spectacle, with the volcano as a backdrop.
10. Agua Azul Waterfalls
Return to Chiapas to discover the special biosphere reserve of the Agua Azul waterfalls, which means blue water. This series of waterfalls, an emerald blue that seems almost unreal, is formed thanks to the junction of three rivers through the jungle. A pleasure for the eyes!
Notice: since the powerful earthquake of September 2017, the course of the rivers has changed, causing the Agua Azul waterfalls to almost dry up.
11. Nevado de Toluca Volcano
The Nevado volcano, also known as Xinantecatl, is located in the Toluca Valley in the State of Mexico.
The view of its crater is simply spectacular, like its two lakes, Lac de Lune and Lac du Soleil. Hiking enthusiasts? The Nevado de Toluca volcano is for you!
12. Other pre-Columbian archaeological sites
Other pre-Columbian archaeological sites are of significant importance in the history of Mexico and for the civilizations that succeeded one another. We find, among others:
El Tajin, in the state of Veracruz, was built by the Amerindian people of the Totonacs (5th-12th century). The site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the State of Mexico, Teotihuacan (1st-7th century) means the Place where the Gods are created. Its name bears witness to the power and influence of this Mesoamerican city. The site is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The majestic ruins of the Zapotec archaeological site of Monte Alban overlook the valley of Oaxaca and are also classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
13. Barrancas del Cobre
Are you planning to visit Mexico and, more specifically, the state of Chihuahua? Then, you should tour the imposing Copper Canyons, located in the middle of the Sierra Madre.
The best way to explore the Barrancas del Cobre is to hop on the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico, or El Chepe, the train which runs between the towns of Chihuahua and Los Mochis along the main canyon.