If you’re ever planning a getaway trip to Mexico, you might get overwhelmed with the many choices of places you should see and visit.
Mexico, a wondrous place filled with rich history, culture, and diverse people, boasts many attractions and sites that will make every visit worth it. Check out these 15 must-see places to tick off your travel itinerary on your trip to Mexico.
Mexico’s “sleepless party capital,” Cancún, is housed on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula along with other top-notch resort destinations on the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, such as Playa del Carmen Pearl Beach, Isla Mujeres, and the island of Cozumel.
These resort beaches, collectively known as the Mayan Riviera, offer many lively activities such as dolphin and stingray swims, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
On the other side of the city, you can discover the historic, Spanish-infused old town center which you can enjoy after a beautiful day at the beach.
San Miguel De Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a popular out-of-town weekend spot for travelers from Mexico City. It is also one of the country’s most stunning colonial centers, boasting pristine Spanish-style churches and sun-splashed piazzas reminiscent of Andalusia.
While there, visit the beautiful Plaza de Armas and its manicured laurel bushes and the vibrant pink-hued El Jardin and San Miguel’s international eateries and galleries before taking a stroll at the place’s tight-knit cobbled streets.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is easily a must-see when visiting Mexico, as it is also one of the most visited archaeological sites. Chichén Itzá was once the site of a pre-Colombian city built by the Mayans.
People flock from all over the world for the Caracol, an observatory built with narrow slits on its walls to allow the sun to penetrate twice every year so that priests could accurately determine the date.
The site also displays statues such as the Mayan Chacmools as they hold their sacrificial vessels to protect the old temples.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guanajuato, is a city best explored on foot because of its majestic colonial buildings, winding lanes, and narrow alleys.
The Jardin de la Union, the city’s main square, is where you can find the San Diego Church and Juárez Theater, both majestic examples of old architecture.
Guanajuato is also known as an art city as it is home to many art galleries and museums, with the Museum of Quixote being the most prominent.
If you’re up for an adventure, visit the Mummies of Guanajuato to see naturally mummified remains of locals who died during the cholera outbreak in the mid-19th century.
Tulum, the only fortified Mayan settlement located on the coast, is one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most visited attractions. The site’s well-preserved ruins can be seen from miles as it sits atop a 12-meter-high cliff overlooking the wonderful Caribbean Sea.
Tulum dates back to the 13th century; the town contains many critical archaeological relics, such as the sculptures and reliefs of the Temple of the Frescoes and the Castillo, the site’s most significant building famous for its cliffside location.
Santiago De Querétaro
One of Mexico’s safest and prettiest towns, Santiago de Querétaro, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
With bougainvillea spilling from the low-rise pueblo cottages in the historic center, casting majestic shadows on the Spanish cobbles, the place sure does deserve the much-coveted UNESCO title.
It is also rich in history as this is where the former home of the city’s Spanish viceroyalty stands, the Theater of the Republic, where Maximiliano, Mexico’s one-time foreign ruler, was found guilty at Benito Juarez’s hands.
Oaxaca City gives travelers and tourists a taste of real Mexico. Its diversity of native Indian and Spanish elements makes the place vibrant and exciting, mainly because it has remained untouched by extensive development. As a result, the area is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is a cultural hub for numerous events and festivals, including the Guelaguetza, an indigenous festival held every July.
Oaxaca is also a great jumping-off point to explore the legendary Monte Alban, one of the many ancient ruins that travelers can enjoy and experience.
The capital of Jalisco and second to Mexico City in size, Guadalajara, proudly shows its mix of colonial and native Tapatíos influences.
The place is famed for its broad avenues lined with stunning parks and European-inspired buildings. The city is fun to explore on foot because of the four large squares that form a cross that comprise the old city center.
Plaza de Armas is an ideal place to begin touring. It includes notable buildings such as the iconic 17th century Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) and the breathtaking Baroque Guadalajara Cathedral (Catedral de Guadalajara) between 1558 and 1616.
One of the finest old colonial cities in Mexico, Mérida was established in 1542 by the Spanish and is now the capital of Yucatán.
The place is uniquely patterned onto a grid, making it easier for travelers and tourists to explore the scenic colonial city. Old city squares and plazas still have evidence of French architecture.
The place also prides itself on being neat and tidy, earning the nickname Ciudad Blanca or the “white city”– a name which citizens wear like a badge of honor because they love dressing in white.
The historic city of Morelia has had very few changes since its foundation in 1541. The city is listed as another UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its more than 200 well-preserved buildings that date back to many hundred years ago.
Its main attractions include the Plaza de Armas, a large public square built 500 years ago, where you’ll find many cafes, restaurants, shopping opportunities, in addition to picturesque gardens and fountains.
Travelers can also visit the Morelia Cathedral, built from local stone for over 100 years starting in 1640. A short walk will bring them to the Morelia Aqueduct nearby, which was completed in 1789 and boasts 250 arches made of local stone.
Located 20 kilometers from the Yucatán Peninsula, the island of Cozumel is visited by travelers and tourists looking for sunshine and relaxation for a perfect Mexican getaway.
Its main attraction is diving, where people can enjoy the wonderful coral reef structures, which are rich with fish and other marine life.
Serious and experienced divers can head to the Palancar Reef on the southwest tip of the island, where they will be greeted by an 80-meter dive around human-made landmarks, sculptures, and bronze figures.
Mexico’s Grand Canyon, the Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre), is located in the Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua’s northern state. Unknown to many, the Copper Canyon is larger and deeper than the more popular Grand Canyon.
The steep canyon walls, colored with copper green coloring, were formed by six rivers that converge in the Rio Fuerte before draining into the Gulf of California.
The place can be visited through scenic rail trips in the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico or bike excursions and horseback riding for the more adventurous ones.
Cabo San Lucas And The Los Cabos Corridor
Located south of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo is one of Mexico’s top beach destinations. It is a 30-kilometer stretch of coastline that extends from the towns of Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos Corridor.
One of the most popular activities here includes snorkeling around the El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, a famous natural landmark and huge archway carved out of the coastline.
Meanwhile, the Shoppes at Palmilla offers swish boutiques and art galleries where you can go if you’re no in the mood for a swim.
The Pacific coastal city of Puerto Vallarta, or Vallarta for short, is another of Mexico’s popular beach destinations increasing in popularity.
The city grew to fame in the 1960s and became a playground for North America’s social elite and foreigners looking for second homes in a sunny place.
The city is a hit to older and younger tourists and travelers, as activities range from paragliding and jet skiing to dolphin swimming.
Tourists can take it slow through the many arts and crafts shops or stroll along the pleasant beachside to marvel at the green spaces and sculptures.
First discovered in the 1940s, the place became a magnet for celebrities who raised condos and villas along Acapulco’s shores.
Despite taking a backseat in favor of other newer places such as Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, the place still offers beautiful promenades, pristine beaches, and enjoyable cliff-diving off the La Quebrada.
You can travel and see many places in Mexico, but nothing will compare to the top 15 places to visit stated above to make the most of your Mexico trip.