One of the most visited destinations in the world, Mexico boasts a vibrant art scene, rich culture, a long history of ancient societies, exciting gastronomy and paradisiacal landscapes. With so many different types of activities, from scuba diving to skiing, this is the kind of place to fall in love with at any time of the year. If you are going there and is trying to work out your itinerary, you came to the right place as we will show you now all the Top things to do in Mexico.
Enjoy some of the world’s most paradisiacal beaches
With an extensive coastline facing the Pacific and the Mexican Golf, the country has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Places with turquoise water, white sandy beaches and palm trees stretching along the coast that you thought only existed in your dreams are a not so rare scenario.
Tip: we know some of the following destinations can be extremely touristy and if you – like us – is not into the big crowded resorts accommodation, why not getting your own villa? Check this site for house rentals in Mexico.
On the East Coast, you should not miss Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Amor, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel – the perfect spot for scuba divers – and Isla Mujeres, which has the largest concentration of whale-sharks in the world!
On the Pacific Coast, head to Costa Alegre and its beautiful scenery. Surfers alike should watch out for beaches around Baja California, Vallarta and Oaxaca.
Enjoy Mexico City
Mexico’s capital city is one of the largest in the world. It has around 10 million inhabitants and it won’t be difficult to find interesting things to see and to do in the midst of its chaos. As many locals speak English over there, it will make exploring a bit easier.
Start walking around the Centro Histórico and make sure to visit the Palacio de las Bellas Artes, Museu Frida Kahlo, Catedral Metropolitana, which took 200 years to be completed and is now one of the largest on the continent, the Basilica of Guadalupe, Templo Mayor and Zócalo Square, the world’s second largest public square, just behind the Red Square in Moscow. During the weekends, enjoy the colourful, vibrant and delicious street markets.
Bonus: Not far away from Mexico City’s centre there is the agricultural borough of Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the “Venice of the New World” which you should check.
Visit as many archaeological sites as you can
Mexico is the birth place of many Mesoamerican cultures. From the Mayans to the Aztecs, its ruins are all over the country. According to an article from National Geographic, Mexico has more ancient archaeological sites than any other country in the Americas! How great is that?! Whether you are an archaeological lover or not, you just cannot miss these sights. Here you are then three of the most important:
One of the most visited spots in Mexico, Tenochtitlan is only an hour away from Mexico City which makes it a great day trip. Its name means “the place where men become gods” and its highlights are the famous Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon – Pirámides del Sol y de la Luna – and the Avenue of the Dead.
One of the “Seven Wonders of the World”, this famous ancient city in Yucatán Peninsula was once a sophisticated urban hub of the Mayan empire. There are many temples scattered around, but the most majestic is the pyramid “El Castillo” (also known as Temple of Kukulkan as it was dedicated to Kukulkan, the Plumed Serpent). There are 91 steep steps at each of the 4 sides of the pyramid, which together with the top one adds up to 365 steps (one for each day of the year). Before, visitors were allowed to climb it, but now you have to admire it from a distance. The other highlights of the visit are the “Temple of the Warriors” and the “Great Ballcourt”.
These ruins are not as magnificent as the other two mentioned before, but its surroundings and history is so incredible that it’s worth the visit. This was one of the last Mayan cities to survive the Spanish invasion and the remnants of this once walled city sits on tops of a cliff overseeing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Due to its proximity to some of Mexico’s best known beach resorts, Tulum Ruins are always crowded with tourists, so make sure to arrive early if you want to beat the tour groups.
Celebrate the Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead (or “Dia de los Muertos”) is a unique celebration taking place in many Latin American countries, but especially in Mexico. It’s believed to have originated during Aztecs festivities and have mixed with Catholic Spanish traditions until becoming what it is today.
During the 2 days holidays, the 1st and the 2nd of November, many people honour the lives of the beloved ones who have passed away, making many offers (“oferendas”) at home, streets and cemeteries. They believe that during these days, the spirits of the deceased ones will return home to be close to their families and they put food, drinks, clothes, candles, flowers and other objects to welcome them.
Larger cities like Mexico City have street parades during the Dia de los Muertos, taking thousands of Mexicans to the streets dressed up as skeletons and the traditional Mexican La Catrina figure. Other great places to experience it first-hand are the cities of Patzcuaro and Oaxaca. But bear in mind that even though it looks like a festive cheerful festival, this is a time to honour the lives of the closed ones, so be respectful.
Eat until you can’t have enough
Mexican cuisine is amongst the most famous food in the world for a good reason. The mix of pre-Spanic flavours and techniques with European, African and even Asian influences makes it a very rich and diverse gastronomy.
There isn’t a such unique Mexican gastronomy, as it is mostly a mixed of many regional cuisines. Therefore, make sure to try different dishes and spices at each destination. Here are some of the things you should look for while travelling around: Guacamole, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, chilaquiles, grilled corn, Mexican rice and fajita. There are many street foods going on, so just let your hair down.