Sightseeing in Mexico. Famous and not so famous.
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America. Travelers are offered a wide range of entertainment and plenty of attractions. This and the ancient historical ruins and temples, and pristine rainforests and beaches.
Of course, all the attractions of Mexico in one article, we are unlikely to consider. But here are 10 of them we will tell you. It is fair to say that each of these attractions is worthy of a separate large article, although they are not always famous.
Baja California Forest
The picturesque Baja California Peninsula is the perfect place for nature lovers. This ecologically pristine region is home to numerous species of flora and fauna. And some are endemic to the region.
The elongated peninsula is surrounded by the ocean, resulting in high humidity despite the area’s low rainfall.
There are also deserts on the peninsula. Notably, it is in the Baja California Desert that you can see a unique natural phenomenon, the Desert Rivers, flowing out of the San Ignacio Lagoon. The most incredible feature of these rivers is that they create tree-like structures in the landscape. True, you can only see it from above.
City of Joxocotlan in Oaxaca
The Day of the Dead is an ancient tradition in Mexico. The best place to see it is the town of Hoxocotlan. In the hustle and bustle of the city, thousands of Mexicans become part of a huge festival with candles and flowers. This is how they pay tribute to the dead.
Day of the Dead in Hoxocotlan
The scale of this tradition in recent years has reached a veritable carnival. Locals come out with guitars and sing songs together. So if you are in Mexico on October 31, be sure to visit the town of Hoxocotlan.
Las Posas Park in the town of Gilitla.
This is a huge theme park created by an Englishman named Edward James. The park is located 60 meters above sea level in a subtropical forest. Here you will see surreal sculptures that replicate the ruins of an ancient kingdom.
Las Posas is an attraction that is best visited by the whole family. The ruins blend beautifully with the surrounding landscape, creating a fantastic sense of moving back in ancient times.
Underwater Museum in Cancun
Just one kilometer off the coast of the city of Cancun is one of the most popular attractions not only in Mexico, but in the world. This is the famous Underwater Museum.
The museum was the brainchild of sculptor Jason Taylor. The museum features many different figures made of special concrete. Tourists can take a ride on a boat with a glass bottom to view this museum or go down to them in a scuba diver. The main purpose of this museum is to protect and preserve the natural corals in this region.
We strongly recommend you read our article about the Underwater Museum in Cancun. From it you will learn what kind of sculptures lurk on the seabed and how they protect corals.
Located about 70 km from Mexico City, Popocatepetl is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. The volcano’s name translates as “Smoking Mountain”. One of the most striking features are the monasteries that were built on the slopes of this active volcano by monks in the 16th century.
Volcano Popocatepetl is a sight that attracts not only nature lovers, but also those interested in history. Tourists visiting Mexico City can take a day trip to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We’ve already covered the site in detail in our extended article about the Popocatepetl Volcano.
El Castillo at Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is the most popular Mayan ruins in Mexico. El Castillo has its own place here. It is also known as the Temple of Kukulcana. It is the most photographed attraction in the vicinity. It is a huge pyramid with 365 steps. It was built between the 9th and 12th centuries.
Now the Temple of Kukulkan attracts thousands of travelers from all over Mexico and the world. The peculiarity of this pyramid is its astronomical orientation. If you are there at any of the two equinoxes of the year, you can observe the unique phenomenon of optical illusion from light and shadow during sunset. It then appears as if a serpent is slithering down the slope of the pyramid.
Cenote in Chichen Itza
Cenotes, or natural sinkholes in the ground, are quite common in Mexico.
However, some of the cenotes have historical significance and have been visited by tourists for many years. The cenote at Chichen Itza is one such attraction. The cenotes were often regarded as holy places where Mayan priests made sacrifices to the gods.
El Arco in Cabo San Lucas
El Arco in the town of Cabo San Lucas is sometimes called “Lands End”. It is a stunning rock formation at the edge of the earth surrounded by pristine beaches.
The vicinity of El Arco Rock was heavily used in the 16th century by pirates who hid here before attacking merchant ships.
Want to learn more about this place, then head to our article about El Arco.
Puerto Balandra Bay
Located just a few kilometers from the bustling city of La Paz, Puerto Balandra Bay is a true natural gem.
Eight beaches between the stunning red mountains and turquoise lagoon provide the perfect escape from the daily hustle and bustle of city life. Warm, crystal-clear waters with many colorful marine life make Puerto Balandra an ideal diving destination.
It is noteworthy that there is almost no tourist infrastructure in the bay. Therefore, these places are suitable for lovers of unspoiled nature and pristine beaches.
Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, is the most popular tourist city in the country. Both in and around the city there are plenty of attractions. Combined with an ever-growing tourist infrastructure, Mexico City is ideal for tourists of all ages and interests. There are many examples of historic architecture dating back to its colonial era.
The city has many beautiful parks and gardens, including the Joschimilco Floating Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mexico City is also known for its exotic culinary specialties and vibrant nightlife.
What sights to see in Mexico: Top 20
Mexico… The name alone evokes associations with golden sunshine, azure waters, emerald forests and mysterious ancient civilizations whose ruins lurk in the shadow of the jungle. Therefore, tourists who do not know which attraction is in Mexico should not worry. There are so many interesting places in the country that one vacation is definitely not enough to explore each one. Therefore, we offer the top 20 main attractions of Mexico with brief descriptions.
An ancient city in Mexico founded more than 2.5 thousand years ago. Located on a low mountain range. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At one time Monte Alban was considered a political, economic center and capital of the Zapotecs.
The city has many tombs, tombs and temples crowned by bells and frescoes. There is an ancient observatory, a library and a ball field. The central part of the palaces and squares with sculptures. Also of great interest to tourists are excavations on the hills.
At the exit of the complex are stores and cafes selling sandwiches. More nourishing food tourist can eat only in the city of Mexico – Oaxaca.
- where is it located: 9 km from Oaxaca
- opening time: 09:00-17:00
- cost to visit: 51 pesos (photo and video are paid separately)
City of Coba
Considered to be the largest settlement and trade center of the Maya civilization, where the ancient roads, the sakbe, crossed. Their true purpose is still unclear, because the ancient Maya did not have carts. In total, there are more than 6,500 structures hidden in the jungle. Now available only five. It is noteworthy that the found structures have not been restored and preserved their original form.
The buildings are scattered over a huge area. They can be viewed on foot (about 4 hours), by bicycle (50 pesos) or rickshaw (120 pesos for two). The highest Mayan pyramid in Mexico, the Nooch Mul (42 m), attracts special attention. Its summit is accessed by 120 narrow, time-broken steps, but the difficulty is worth it because it offers an unforgettable view. It is believed that those who climb the stairs will gain vitality.
- where is it located: 3 hours from Cancun
- opening hours: 08:00-17:00, 17:00-19:00
- cost to visit: daytime hours 50 pesos, evening hours 220 pesos
The Pyramids of Teotihuacan
The mysterious and oldest city in Mexico. The exact date of its foundation is still unknown. Today, Teotihuacana is Mexico’s most popular open-air museum complex. The archaeological group includes: palaces with preserved ancient frescoes, the citadel (a mini-complex of pyramids and temples), the museum, where the artifacts found here are kept.
Separate words deserve the pyramid of Sun and the pyramid of Moon, located on both sides of the “road of the dead”. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third highest pyramid in the world (64 m). On top of the pyramid of the Moon sacrifices were performed, as evidenced by the human and animal remains found.
- where is it located: 40 km from Mexico City
- opening hours: 07:00-17:00
- cost to visit: 75 pesos.
The most famous Mayan settlement, where thousands of tourists come to Mexico every year. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to it the ancient temples, once looted by the Spaniards, have been recreated in their original form.
The complex includes: an observatory, a temple of warriors, a temple of Jaguar, a 50-meter sacrificial well where jewels and bones were discovered, a wall of skulls, a stadium for ball games during which victims for the gods were determined, and many other structures. The most famous structure is the Temple of Kukulkan (Feathered Serpent). Its height reaches 30 meters, and the number of steps equals the number of days in the year – 365. The spring and summer carnivals of Mexico are held here.
- Where is it located: 1.5 hours from Merida
- open hours: 08:00-18:00
- Cost to visit: 220 pesos (without guide)
Another ancient Mayan site in Mexico. Unfortunately, the original name has not survived. The Spanish dubbed the place by its current name. The ruins of the city, often shrouded in mist, are built in a picturesque place – in the heart of the jungle among the waterfalls and rivers. It is protected by UNESCO.
Palenque consists of 1.5 thousand structures, and only 34 of them are studied. The location of available attractions is indicated on the map at the entrance to the complex. The most popular of all are the grand palace complex, consisting of a whole labyrinth of passages, and the temple of inscriptions with thousands of hieroglyphs. The tomb of a Mayan leader was discovered there. A mysterious image was carved on his tombstone, which they are still trying to decipher.
- where is it located: northwest of Chiapas
- opening hours: 08:00-17:00
- cost to visit: 75 pesos (57 pesos – photo and video)
Another UNESCO monument in Mexico. Again, tourists can touch the remains of an ancient civilization. Ushmal is considered one of the most beautiful Mayan cities.
Among the attractions of Mexico tourists are attracted by the pyramid of a magician, the palace of the governor, a convent. The pyramid of the wizard is the tallest building, almost 40 meters. From there shamans once dropped sacrifices to the gods. Unique with its rounded corners and base. The palace of the rulers, built on an 8-meter pedestal, is covered with mosaics, sculptures of snakes and deities. The convent, an ornate complex of four structures, was not really a temple. It is believed that it was a Mayan educational institution.
- where is it located: 68 km from Mérida
- opening hours: 08:00-17:00
- cost to visit: 400 pesos.
Combines the delights of ancient civilization with the best beaches in Mexico. On the coastline there are bars and cafes, where the bill for a full meal is about 200 pesos. Of the modern buildings is in great demand Sky Bar, with a roof garden.
Lovers of antiquity will be interested in the Mayan city, surrounded by a high wall. Of the sights stand out especially the temple of frescoes and El Castillo, which, according to scientists, served as a lighthouse.
Among the natural attractions Tulum offers tourists to Mexico to visit the caves and swim in the mysterious underground river Sac-Actun. It is most often visited by visitors from the Riviera Maya resorts.
- Where is it located: 68 km from Playa del Carmen
- opening hours: 08:00-16:30
- cost to visit: 65 pesos.
The underground river Sac Actún. Tulum.
A cenote or “Gateway to the Realm of the Dead” is a natural well that the Maya used to obtain fresh water and sacrifice rites. Today, the cenotes, scattered all over the island, are more popular than ever with tourists in Mexico. They are included in most tours of ancient Mayan ruins, and divers often come here.
The cenotes usually have stairs. There is a place for photographs, sometimes towers for jumping. The walls of the well are covered with plants, and shade reigns. It is believed that if you dive into the cenote, you can find yourself in the open sea.
Rio Lagatos Reserve
The place with the most stunning scenery in Mexico. Rio Lagatos boasts a wealth of flora and fauna. Of the animal life, tourists are attracted to the crocodiles that roam peacefully through the Mexican reserve.
Feeding the predators is allowed only in the presence of a guide.
In addition to reptiles, tourists long to see the legendary pink flamingos. Flocks of unusual birds live in the reserve, but are afraid of people, so you should not go close to them. Besides flamingos, hundreds of other species of Mexican birds live in Rio Lagatos.
Among the natural beauties in the first place is the Pink Lake. The water in it has a rich pink hue because of the microorganisms. However, bathing in it is prohibited. Tourists also go to the salt plant, to admire the salt mountains there.
- location: 5 hours from Timisin
- Cost to visit: 1000 pesos
It was built in 1791 and was finished only in 1829 as a shelter and hospital for the poor. It is protected by UNESCO.
The hospital has a unique architecture. There is a 30 meters high chapel, a kitchen and gardens with fountains for walks. Inside, the chapel is decorated with frescoes by the famous Mexican artist of the 1930s, Orozco, of which there are almost 60. His works combine Spanish and Native American motifs. Today the hospital has become a museum with guided tours.
- Where is it located: city of Guadalajara
- opening hours: 10:00-18:00
- Cost to visit: 1000 pesos
A corner of Mexico where the amusement park, the reserve with wild animals, exotic plants and a piece of ancient civilizations are united. Guests of Mexico are offered a variety of activities: jungle walks, rafting, an extreme journey on an underwater river or a relaxing holiday on the beach. A butterfly park, a turtle farm, and a dolphinarium are of particular interest to children. In the evenings there are colorful performances dedicated to the ancient Maya.
In the park are the ruins of the city of Pole. You can also visit the Mayan village, watch the show and buy a souvenir. There are many cafes in the park with rather high prices (the average bill is 550 pesos).
- Where is it located: 6 km from Playa del Carmen
- opening time: 08:30-22:30
- cost to visit: 3000 pesos.
Or Women’s Island is a paradise in Mexico. On a small island neighbors exotic jungle, historic ruins, snow-white beaches and modern hotels. Tourists dive, snorkel, go fishing, visit nature reserves and relax by the sea. The best place to walk is Medina – a street with hundreds of cafes and stores where prices are lower than in Cancun.
Of particular interest to the island of Mexico will cause fans of legends and mysteries. Legend has it that the ancient pyramid of the Goddess of the Moon, accessible to tourists, has hidden countless treasures that hundreds of travelers are trying to find. Another mysterious place is the Maka Lagoon, where ruthless pirates lived and hid their gold.
- Where is it: 30 minutes from Cancun
- one way trip: from 160 pesos
A striking natural attraction in Mexico, often compared to the Grand Canyon in the U.S. The chain of 6 canyons reaches a depth of 1,500 meters, where forests and rivers extend. It got its name because of the moss, greenish-copper color.
In the canyon is a village of ancient Indians. It is home to a third of all life in Mexico, thousands of species of birds and plants. Climbers from all over the world come here.
- Where is it located: the state of Chihuahua
Mexico’s largest island, almost entirely covered by dense jungle. The main attraction here is the underwater world. Millions of divers come here every year to see one of the most beautiful reefs. Tourists can go snorkeling or take scuba diving lessons.
Of land-based activities, tourists are interested in parks, ancient Mayan ruins, and a museum. In the center of the island, San Miguel, there are stores, restaurants, cafes and clubs. The average bill in a cafe is 250 pesos.
- Where is it located: 19 km from Peninsula. Yucatan
Palace of Fine Arts
The main attraction of the capital of Mexico, Mexico City, made of marble. The palace was built in the early twentieth century. It is an opera and ballet theater, museum and exhibition hall.
Many tourists visit the palace for the inexpressible beauty of the architecture. Over the interior decoration worked the best artists and architects of the past years. Elegance, luxury and wealth reign in every element of the decor.
- Where is it located: Mexico City
- for information on performances and prices, visit the official site
The capital and main attraction of New Mexico. Once here, it feels like you’re back in time. The houses, both residential and public, are all in the Pueblo style, named after the tribe that once lived in what is now Santa Fe.
The pueblos built their dwellings out of clay and sand. Today’s houses are made of concrete, but they don’t look any different from the old buildings. This is what makes Santa Fe a special place on earth. There are many good cafes, such as Sazón, and it is a great place to take a stroll.
- Where is it located: New Mexico
Underwater Sculpture Museum.
A relatively new but already very popular attraction in Mexico. Its author is Jason de Kairos Taylor. The installation consists of four hundred figures of people and cars and several parts.
You can see the underwater museum in detail only with a scuba diver. Although some tourists examine the exhibits with masks, this method does not allow you to see the attraction properly. The only drawback is the high price.
- Where is it located: near the island of Isla Mujares
- opening time: 09:00-17:00
- Cost to visit: from 1900 pesos
San Francisco de Campeche
The capital city of Campeche on the coast of Mexico. Is a UNESCO heritage site and has a long history. The city was built in the 16th century on the site of a Mayan village, and since 1999 has been restored about a thousand buildings.
Modern San Fransisco de Campeche has preserved its colonial baroque style. You can admire the monuments of architecture on foot or by tourist bus. Of the attractions of the city – the Cathedral, the historic center, the fortress of San Miguel, the ruins of the Maya Enza and much more.
- Where is it located: state of Campeche
National Museum of Anthropology
Mexico’s most famous museum. Every year it is visited by several million people, both tourists and locals. The museum has two presentations, ethnographic and anthropological, which in turn are divided into eleven exhibitions.
The museum contains thousands of exhibits of the culture of the ancient peoples of Mexico – Maya, Aztecs, Olmecs and others. Among them are real treasures, sculptures of ancient deities and the famous Aztec calendar – the Sun Stone. Some of the exhibits are on display outside in the courtyard.
- Where is it located: Mexico City
- opening time: 09:00-17:00
- cost of admission: 75 pesos (free on Sundays)
It is not even one, but three beaches, located in the resort of Akumal. It is about these beaches say “paradise place”. Palm trees, snow-white sand and clear sea welcome tourists into their arms.
However, the beaches are not the only reason why tourists from Mexico come here. Akumal is the most famous place where there are big sea turtles. You can meet them if you swim with a snorkel twenty meters from the shore. The sea bottom there is covered with algae, among which swim and wonderful creatures.
It is better to swim in the sea in slippers because of the seaweed and reef.
On the beach there are many cafes, stores, hotels. Entrance to the coast is free, but the locals often stand near the beach and demand money for the passage. Typically, they do not speak Russian or English, using gestures. The season lasts from November to March.
Colorful Mexico will not leave anyone indifferent. It preserves the monuments of ancient civilizations, which beckon with their mysteries and secrets, while much of it is still unexplored. There are beaches with clear blue water and snow-white sand, which everyone dreams to be on. Next to the modern constructions there is an impenetrable jungle, full of danger and spirit of adventure.
In addition to architectural and natural attractions, Mexico has many cities to explore, such as Monterrey, Isamal, Valladolid, and San Cristóbal de Las Casas. And even more resorts, for beach tourism – Cancun, La Paz, Mazatlan.