Hint: its a lot more than just beaches!
Mexico is home to vibrant culture, salsa dancing, and of course, tacos. The landscapes of this country are ever-changing and simply incredible. Many see a vacation to Mexico as an all-inclusive beach getaway, which it can be, but the country offers so much to thrill-seeking adventurers as well. To get you going, here’s a list of the top things you should definitely tick off your to-do list in Mexico!
Vibe out in colorful Mexico City
The food scene
Mexico City is a real treat for a budget city traveler. The city is bustling with color and life… and food. In fact, Mexico City is the most populated city in all of North America, so you have plenty of opportunities to lose yourself in all that the city has to offer.
One of the first things to enjoy in Mexico City is definitely its food culture. The never-ending street food bars (or five-star restaurants) will provide plenty of opportunities to treat yourself to authentic Mexican cuisine. Don’t miss out on the chance to taste churros at El Moro, a spot in the centre of the city with more than 80 years of experience in making these delicious treats. Other spots to eat your favourite Mexican foods are at:
- Ricos Tacos Toluca: best tacos in town
- La Tonina: a family restaurant serving top-notch guisados, or stews
- El Cardenal: enjoy the best of a Mexican breakfast
- Jenni’s Street Quesadilla: Quesadilla’s for life
Remember, when it comes to food in Mexico City, you’ll never run out of options. Make sure to spend one of your evenings eating tapas and drinking tequila at Bar Oriente, perfect for a late-night out with some karaoke.
Get all artsy
Beyond Mexico City’s never-ending food scene, you’ll find its artistic wonders. For any art-lover, Mexico City is a must. The contemporary art scene is truly wonderful, which you will discover in the districts of San Miguel Chapultepec, Roma, and San Rafael. Check out Proyectos Monclova and Kurimanzutto to experience the best of contemporary art.
You’ll also find lots of cool urban murals around the city, featuring the street are scene in Mexico. You’ll find these beautiful art pieces located in Colonia Roma and Coyoacàn. Other famous museums and art spots to check out in Mexico City are:
- Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo: an iconic landmark
- Palacio de Bellas Artes: for fans of architecture
- Museo Nacional de Arte: featuring the finest masterpieces
- San Miguel Chapultepec: the Chapultepec botanical gardens are something to see
There truly is something for everyone in the corners of Mexico City, but it is often most notably known for its art and food culture. Taking a Free Walking Tour is also a good idea to get a glimpse of this massive concrete jungle. You can even scope out your favorite spots along the tour and go discover them in detail later! If you want to speed up your trip around the city, renting a bike is a perfect solution.
Marvel at one of the New 7 Wonders of the World
Chichen Itza is known as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a place definitely worthy of seeing. The ruins of this pre-Columbian city are an amazing sight for historians and photographers alike. Keep in mind that if you really want to take a deep dive into the history of this world wonder, it is recommended to hire a tour guide. You’ll have lots of fun discovering it on your own as well, or perhaps along with some like-minded TripMates!
Mexico things… Go chasing waterfalls
One of the most magnificent waterfalls in Mexico that you must see is El Chiflon. We recommend getting to this massive wonder early, as the crowds start growing over the course of the day. If you’re relying on public transport to get there, you can take a bus from San Cristobal to Comitán, and then a colectivo, a mini-van offering rides for tourists, from Comitán to El Chiflon. The total cost of this trip is about 114 pesos or 5,51 USD. You’ll also need to pay a small entry fee of 30 pesos or 1,45 USD to get into the El Chiflon park. The scenes you will see on your short and relatively easy hike are simply incredible. Make sure to take a dip in the turquoise waters along the trails! There’s also the option to zip line back from the waterfall for a fee starting at 150 pesos (7,25 USD). A guaranteed unique experience!
Experience island vibes in Cozumel
The island, situated 20 kilometers from the Peninsula of Yucatán is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Cozumel has so much to offer to its visitors, that you might easily spend two weeks here. The rich marine life and beautiful coral reefs are definitely a sight to experience. Cozumel is also known as the top party destination in Mexico, so you can be sure to enjoy vibrant night-life here. Hike to the top of El Mirador, an arch carved into the rocks by the sea, eat your way through the island, and enjoy spectacular sunsets with a margarita in hand. There are plenty of things to do in Mexico, but Cozumel definitely deserves one of the top spots.
Ride into Copper Canyon on the ‘El Chepe’
Known as one of the greatest trips to experience by rail, this one is definitely a must. The ‘El Chepe’ runs from Chihuahua and Los Mochis for a distance of about 650 kilometers. This ‘Grand Canyon‘ of Mexico and the ride there is like taking a step back in time. A hot tip is to start your ride from Chihuahua instead of the other end so that you don’t miss out on some of the most incredible sights on the ride. And remember, it’s the journey, not the destination! Although in this case, it is both. 😉
Go cenote hunting
You may have seen pictures of the amazing cenotes in Mexico, and it almost seems surreal that these exist. A cenote is a natural pit formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. This exposes fresh groundwater, which forms secret little swimming caves. Cenotes are especially found on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, and are quite unique to the area… so make sure to go for a swim or jump into seeming nothingness (first making sure it is safe, of course). You’ll find some of the best cenotes in Mexico at:
- Chihuan (an underground paradise)
- Yaxbacaltun (this one’s perfect if you want to go for a swim)
- San Actun (the most famously known cenote in Mexico)
- Calavera Cenote (a bike ride away from Tulum!)
Wander around the colorful streets of colonial towns
All around Mexico, you will find pastel-colored colonial towns, and visiting at least one is definitely a good idea. You can find yourself dancing salsa with the locals by moonlight and enjoying street music. Visiting a colonial town is a real cultural experience, as many are the birthplaces of Mexico’s traditions that still reign today. Don’t miss out on these cultural hubs…
- Guanajuato (‘the most beautiful city in Mexico’)
- Taxco (‘city of silver’)
- Queretaro (a tranquil paradise two hours north from Mexico City)
- Merida (a UNESCO wonder)
Attend a carnival… perhaps a death-themed one?
Mexico is famously known for its festival ‘Day of the Dead.’ This carnival is held on November 1st and November 2nd, so if you happen to be in Mexico at this time, definitely go check it out. The entire carnival is a celebration to gather and pray for family and friends who have passed away and celebrated with a festive mood.
Mexico City is also widely known for its Vive Latino Festival, an annual music festival taking place usually in the months of March and April. If you have the chance to attend, this festival definitely lives up to the hype.
Last but not least… enjoy beaches of Mexico
Of course, we could not end our list of things to do in Mexico without mentioning its beaches. After all, that’s what Mexico is often known for. There are a few beaches that deserve a notable mention, of course. For example, Puerto Vallarta Beach has something to offer for everyone. Snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, whale watching…. you name it! Playa del Amor or Lover’s Beach is quite popular, but the rock formations and pristine waters make it well worth a visit… the name of it makes it sound like a perfect destination for a getaway with your partner! Tulum is also known for its white sands and turquoise water, the kind of getaway you dream of in the middle of your winter blah’s. Other beaches that you should hit up include:
- Playa del Carmen (the beach bars are endless)
- Puerto Escondido (enjoy cheap taquitos on the beach)
- Balandra Beach (you’ll think you’re at a lagoon)
- Isla Holbox (get away from the tourists and go wind surfing)
The vibrant culture of Mexico and its endless scenery will always leave you wanting to come back for more… Luckily now you have plenty of things to do on your visit(s). Scroll down to check out some awesome trips to Mexico with JoinMyTrip, or discover our other trips to some pretty amazing and unique destinations. What’s best, you’ll get to do it alongside some like-minded travelers. Or, join the squad of TripLeaders in planning your own adventure!
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