Travel around Mexico: All the Best Things to Visit, Eat and Do!

travel around mexico - all the things to see, eat and do - carnaval de los muertos

 “Mexico is a mosaic

of different Realities and Beauties

Enrique Pena Nieto / Ex-Mexican President –

With 69 national languages spoken (Spanish and 68 indigenous idiomas), a growing population of 126M people, a worldwide-renown (and damn tasty!) cuisine, warm hospitality and an impressive variety of landscapes, Mexico is one of those destinations you’ll never end up exploring completely!

The yearly number of international visitors visiting Mexico in the past year doubles the ones of Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Colombia combined (37Million vs 17Million), is not by chance: in the last decades, Mexico has been investing heavily to improve its tourism sector, becoming safer for tourists and show the world its incredible culture!

As of today, the efforts are paying off and we can safely say (supported by the numbers!), that Mexico is one of the hottest destination in the world right now! 😀

In this article, we would like to gift you a glimpse into the enormous natural, social and cultural tapestry of Mexican heritage and show you in brief the best cities to visit, natural wonders to witness, foods to try and activities to do.

Of course, describing in one article the complexity of Mexico and the myriad of things to do when traveling there it’s humanly impossible, but we hope this article will be useful to you to get some inspiration to plan an upcoming Mexican trip! 🙂

To help us choosing the best Mexican experiences to insert in this pocket article, we reached out to Mexico travel, an incredible travel blog about Mexico which also offers insights into a vast array of experiences that range from exploring ancient ruins to savoring world-class cuisine, from relaxing on pristine beaches to hiking through lush jungles.

These are the fruits of our collaboration, so let’s dive right in and let’s start traveling around Mexico! 😀

Summary

1. Top 5 Mexican Destinations you Should Visit

2. Top 5 Cultural Experiences you Should Witness

3. Top 5 Mexican Foods you Should Try

4. Top 5 Adventures in the Nature

5. Top 5 Practical Travel Tips for Traveling Around Mexico

6. Conclusion

1. Top 5 Mexican Destinations you Should Visit

1. MEXICO CITY

mexico city - mexico

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Mexico City, with its 8,8M inhabitants, is the Capital of Mexico and a metropolis that seamlessly blends the Old with the New (Atzech, Colonial and Contemporary architectures seamlessly co-exist!).

This is the ideal place to start your journey around Mexico: rich history, vibrant culture, a colorful art scene and delicious foods will make you feel at home 🙂

FUN FACTS:

  • Mexico City has more than 180 Museums (2023)
  • Built on the Atzech Ruins of Tenochtitlan 
  • Was nicknamed the “City of Palaces”

BEST POINTS OF INTEREST:

  • Templo Mayor, Metropolitan Cathedral, Museo Frida Kahlo, Chapultepec Castle, Bellas Artes Museus

2. CANCUN AND THE RIVIERA MAYA

cancun and the riviera maya

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

This is THE Caribbean Paradise!

For those seeking sun, sand, and sea, Cancun and the Riviera Maya offer idyllic beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Nearby, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins such as Tulum and Chichen Itza.

FUN FACT:

  • Cancun didn’t exist in 1970: it was born as a touristic destination on a Caribbean Island, but in few decades turned out into a city of 880.000 inhabitants.
  • The Sand of Cancun is made of crushed-corals, and doesn’t burn your feet!

THINGS TO DO:

  • Tulum, Chicken Itza, Playa Delfines, Kukulcan Promenade, Watersports

3. OAXACA

city of oaxaca

, Me

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Oaxaca is an UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, renowned for its colonial architecture (feels a bit like Cuba!) indigenous culture, and especially delicious cuisine (the most diverse of all Mexico!).

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Oaxacan mole, Oaxacan Mezcal and visit the local markets!

FUN FACTS:

  • The Oaxaca Valley was inhabited since 11.000BC
  • Oaxaca is considered Mexico Gastronomic Capital

POINTS OF INTEREST:

  • Hierve el Agua Waterfalls, Monte Albàn Archeological Site, Mercado Benito Juàrez , Mercado 20 Noviembre, Jardin Etnobotanico

4. GUANAJUATO

Guanajato drone view, Mexico

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

With its colorful buildings, winding alleyways, and rich artistic heritage, Guanajuato is a picturesque city in the Mexico Central that captivates all visitors and offers more than meets the eye!

Explore the Diego Rivera House Museum and the Cervantes Festival.

FUN FACTS:

  • In 1800, Guanajato was the world leading center for silver-extraction, and today it’s still possible to visit the entrance of the cave called “Boca del Infierno” (“hell’s mouth”), which is 600m deep.

POINTS OF INTEREST:

  • Monumento al Pipila, Jardin de la Union, Museo de las Momias (macabre, yet interesting mummy exhibition), the 68cm wide “Kiss Alley”

5. CHIAPAS

Chiapas, Mexico

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Chiapas is a southern Mexican state for the adventurous. 

What can you expect to find here? The most gorgeous natural wonders of Mexico: from the lush jungles of Palenque to the mesmerizing Sumidero Canyon and the indigenous communities in San Cristóbal de las Casas!

FUN FACTS:

  • It’s the Southern-Most State of Mexico
  • Home to one of the largest indigenous populations in the country

POINTS OF INTEREST:

  • Aguas Azul, Ruins of Palenque Pyramic, Sumidero Canyon, San Cristobal de las Casas, 

2. Top 5 Cultural Experiences you Should Witness

1. DAY OF THE DEAD

travel around mexico - all the things to see, eat and do - carnaval de los muertos

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd (just after the Halloween of the Western World), this is one of Mexico’s most iconic festivals.

It’s a time to honor deceased loved ones with colorful altars, marigold decorations, and delicious food offerings. 

FUN FACTS:

  • It’s a pre-Columbian tradition that dates back to the ancient Atzechs
  • People prepare the favourite plates of the deceased, to show how much they still care about them!

2. DANZA DE LOS VOLADORES

danza de los voladores, mexico

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

The ritual of the Danza de los Voladores, according to a Myth was created in pre-Columbian times to ask the gods to end a severe drought.

In few words, it consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter (98 ft 5 in) pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. 

FUN FACTS:

  • Original of Papantla, now it is possible to find this dance in many cities of Mexico

3. FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM

FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

The “Casa Azul”, as it’s also called the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico, is one of the most prestigious art exhibition in Mexico, where you can find artworks of the most influential Mexican and international artists of the ‘900, from Frida Kahlo to Rivera, José María VelascoPaul Klee and Michael Duchamp to quote a few 🙂

4. DOLORES OLMEDO MUSEUM

museo dolores de olmedo

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Enterpreneur, philantropist and Mexican artist, Dolores Olmedo is another one of the most influential personalities of Mexican culture.

The Olmedo Museum is a pre-Hispanic, colonial, folk, modern and contemporary art museum in Mexico City with operas of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Riviera between many others!

5. GET LOST IN A LOCAL MARKET

LOCAL MARKET in Mexico

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

You have not been in Mexico if you’ve not lived local markets at least once!

Visiting the bustling markets like Mercado La Merced in Mexico City, or Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca are awesome experiences to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of everyday Mexican life.

Useless to say, that if you’re a foodie you’ll find the paradise for your palate ;D

3. Top 5 Mexican Foods you Should Try

1. TACOS

mexican tacos

Tacos are a signature dish of Mexico!

Whether you prefer the simplicity of street tacos or the complexity of gourmet creations, Mexican tacos are a culinary delight and there are so many different types!

Try classics like al pastor or cochinita pibil for something special ;D

2. TAMALES

tamales mexicanos

This is something that outside of Mexico is very hard to find!

Tamales are savory or sweet steamed corn dough parcels wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks are a beloved Mexican staple.

Don’t forget to try the Oaxacan specialty, tlayudas.

3. SPICY SAUSES AND GUACAMOLE

GUACAMOLE BOWL

As a masochist extreme spicy-lover, I had to put spicy sauces in the list!

Mexico’s salsas range from mild to fiery hot (try Trinidad, California Reapers of Habanero Peppers for a true punch!), and they accompany nearly every meal.

If you like spicy, but not at the crazy levels I do (eheh!), pair them with freshly made guacamole for a taste explosion and to mitigate the spiciness!

4. MEZCAL AND TEQUILA

TEQUILA E MEZCAL - BAR IN MEXICO

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?

Tequila and Mezcal are Mexico’s world-famous spirits, both deriving form the agave plant (a very common plant in Mexico 🙂 )

Taking a tour of a distillery and savoring the distinct flavors of these agave-based beverages is surely an experience worth doing in Mexico, don’t forget salt and lemon to complete the experience!

Note: both Tequila and Mezcal can go above 40° of alcohol, so drink moderately or prepare for a big headache 😉

5. MOLE

mexican mole sauce - mole

Mole is a complex sauce made from a blend of ingredients, including chocolate, chilies, and spices.

Each region of Mexico has its own variation, so sampling different moles is a culinary adventure in itself 🙂

BONUS: UNKNOWN FOODS!

torta ahogada mexicana

Here you get a bonus!

As Mexican cuisine is so complex and unique, describing all of its dishes would be impossible in just one article.

Said that, if you’re interested to know more secrets about Mexican food, be sure to check out our special article about 10 Unknown Mexican Foods that will make you drool! 😉

4. Top 5 Adventures in the Nature

1. WATERSPORTS IN THE CARIBBEAN

watersport in the caribbean

Mexico’s coastline spans thousands of miles, offering pristine beaches along the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

Relax, swim, or indulge in water sports at Playa del Carmen, Sayulita, or Tulum.

2. SCUBA DIVING

scuba diving in mexico

Being located between two Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, Mexico is an incredible place for underwater adventures!

Explore the mesmerizing underwater worlds of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and the cenotes (natural sinkholes) of the Yucatan Peninsula.

3. JUNGLE ADVENTURES

jungle

Explore the lush jungles of Chiapas, Veracruz, and the Yucatan Peninsula, where you can discover ancient ruins, vibrant wildlife, and hidden cenotes ( natural sinkholes, holy for the Mayas, exposing pristine waters underneath.)

4. WHALE WATCHING

tamales mexicanos

There are few places in the world were you can have a chance to spot whales better than in Mexico!

Indeed, here is possible to witness the annual migration of gray whales in Baja California (over 1/3 of all whales in the world spend time here every year!).

5. HIKING AND ECO-TOURISM

waterfall in mexico

Mexico’s diverse landscapes are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Hike to the summit of volcanoes like Popocatépetl or explore the Copper Canyon system.

5. Top 5 Practical Travel Tips for Traveling Around Mexico

MEXICAN SIESTA

 (Here after, I thought of leaving you couple of info and tips that might help you travel around Mexico with ease:

  • Language: While many Mexicans speak some English in tourist areas, it’s helpful to know basic Spanish phrases to enhance your experience and interactions with locals: it’ll make you appreciate the local culture more, and you might even get better prices! ;D
  • Currency: The official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for small purchases and markets, as the informal economy is still very developed.
  • Safety: You often hear lot of bad stories in the news about Mexico and guerrillas between drug cartels, which you might be wondering how safe that is. Truth is, that for tourists Mexico is VERY safe! Exercise common-sense precautions and stay informed about local safety guidelines. Keep your belongings secure and be cautious when using ATMs 🙂
  • Transportation: Mexico has an extensive and affordable bus network, with long-haul sleeping buses (called “bus cama”). Domestic flights are also a convenient way to cover long distances.
  • Local Etiquette: Embrace Mexican customs, be polite, and engage with the locals respectfully. Tipping is customary in restaurants and for various services.

6. CONCLUSION

MEXICAN PANORAMA

And here we are at the end of the article!

In this article, we briefly saw the best places to visit in Mexico, the best foods to try and activities to do.

In conclusion, Mexico is an incredible country of gorgeous landscapes, rich history and cultural diversity.

Its landscapes, from the pristine beaches of the Riviera Maya to the rugged canyons of Copper Canyon, showcase nature’s finest work and the places worth visiting are so numerous that choosing is essential! 😀

Before going, I would like to ask you:

  • What do you think about the article? Was it useful to you?
  • Have you been to Mexico before?
  • How was your experience? Where did you go? What did you visit?

If you’d like to share your experience, we would be happy to hear it! 🙂

So please, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and as always…

See you in the next article! 🙂

 

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