Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Mexico


By Mackenzie Roche

Welcome to Mexico, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From ancient archaeological sites to stunning beaches and vibrant cities, Mexico offers a wide range of attractions that are sure to captivate any traveler. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient Mayan ruins, relaxing on pristine white sand beaches, or immersing yourself in the colorful traditions of Mexican culture, there is something for everyone in this diverse and captivating country.

One of Mexico’s most famous attractions is Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This ancient Mayan city is home to the iconic El Castillo pyramid, as well as a number of other well-preserved temples and structures. Exploring Chichen Itza offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and architectural achievements of the ancient Mayan civilization.

If you’re looking for natural beauty, look no further than the stunning beaches of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. With crystal-clear turquoise waters, powder-soft white sand, and a vibrant coral reef ecosystem, these beaches are a paradise for snorkelers, scuba divers, and sun-seekers alike. From the bustling nightlife of Cancun to the laid-back vibes of Tulum, the coastal areas of Mexico offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

In addition to its historical and natural attractions, Mexico is known for its vibrant cities and cultural heritage. Mexico City, the country’s capital, is a bustling metropolis that offers a wealth of cultural experiences, from world-class museums and art galleries to vibrant street markets and traditional cuisine. The city’s historic center, known as the Zocalo, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace.

Ancient Mayan Ruins

Mexico is home to some of the most breathtaking ancient Mayan ruins in the world. These magnificent structures offer a glimpse into the rich history and advanced civilization of the Mayan people.

One of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico is Chichen Itza. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Yucatan Peninsula and is renowned for its stunning pyramid, known as El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan. Visitors can climb to the top of the pyramid and marvel at the panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Another must-visit site is Tulum. This ancient walled city sits on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, creating a truly awe-inspiring setting. Tulum is well-preserved and features beautiful structures such as the Temple of the Frescoes and the Castillo. Visitors can also access the nearby beach and enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters.

Palenque is another remarkable Mayan ruin site. Located in the Chiapas state, Palenque is known for its impressive architecture and intricate carvings. The Temple of the Inscriptions is particularly noteworthy, as it houses the tomb of the famous Mayan ruler Pakal the Great.

For a unique experience, visit the ancient city of Uxmal. This site is known for its ornate facades and intricate stone mosaics. The Pyramid of the Magician is a must-see, with its rounded edges and unique architectural style. Uxmal is also home to the Governor’s Palace, which is adorned with detailed sculptures and carvings.

These ancient Mayan ruins offer visitors a chance to step back in time and explore the awe-inspiring achievements of the Mayan civilization. With their breathtaking architecture and fascinating history, they are truly a must-see for any traveler in Mexico.

Vibrant Mexico City

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers a rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and fascinating history.

One of the must-see attractions in Mexico City is the historic center, also known as Zocalo. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to iconic landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, and the Templo Mayor. Strolling through the streets of Zocalo, visitors can admire the stunning colonial architecture and soak in the lively atmosphere.

For a taste of Mexico City’s vibrant art scene, head to the neighborhood of San Angel. This bohemian enclave is filled with art galleries, cultural centers, and colorful markets. Be sure to visit the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, the former home and studio of the famous Mexican artists.

No visit to Mexico City would be complete without sampling its world-renowned cuisine. From street tacos to gourmet restaurants, the city offers a tantalizing array of flavors. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional dishes such as chiles en nogada, mole poblano, and tamales.

For a breath of fresh air, escape to Chapultepec Park. This expansive green space is not only a great place for a leisurely stroll or picnic, but it also houses several must-visit attractions. The Chapultepec Castle, located within the park, offers breathtaking views of the city and a glimpse into Mexico’s history. The park is also home to the National Museum of Anthropology, which showcases the country’s rich indigenous heritage.

Finally, no trip to Mexico City would be complete without immersing yourself in its vibrant street life. From dance performances to street vendors selling traditional crafts, the city’s streets are always bustling with activity. Explore neighborhoods such as Condesa and Roma, where you’ll find trendy cafes, boutique shops, and a thriving nightlife scene.

In conclusion, Mexico City is a vibrant and diverse destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, cuisine, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, this city will captivate and enchant you.

Beautiful Beaches

When it comes to beautiful beaches, Mexico has no shortage of options. With its long coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, there are countless stretches of sandy shores to explore and enjoy.

One of the most famous beaches in Mexico is Cancun’s Playa Delfines. Known for its crystal-clear turquoise water and powdery white sand, this beach is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning views, Playa Delfines has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a more secluded and tranquil beach experience, head to Tulum. Located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum boasts pristine beaches with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. The combination of the ancient Mayan ruins and the turquoise waters makes Tulum’s beaches truly unforgettable.

For those seeking adventure, Playa del Carmen is the perfect beach destination. The warm waters and vibrant underwater life make it a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. After a day of exploring the colorful coral reefs, you can unwind on the soft sandy beach and soak up the sun.

Another hidden gem is the unspoiled beach of Isla Holbox. Located off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, this remote island offers a peaceful beach retreat. With its shallow waters, it’s the ideal spot for swimming and spotting marine life such as dolphins and flamingos.

These are just a few examples of the beautiful beaches Mexico has to offer. Whether you’re a beach lover or simply looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, Mexico’s coastline is sure to provide the perfect setting for your beach vacation.

Chichen Itza – World Wonder

Chichen Itza is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico and has been declared a World Wonder. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, this ancient Mayan city is a testament to the advanced civilization that once thrived in the region.

The centerpiece of Chichen Itza is the magnificent pyramid known as El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulkan. This iconic structure is a marvel of architecture and engineering, with its precise alignment to the movements of the sun creating a stunning display of light and shadow during the spring and autumn equinoxes.

In addition to El Castillo, Chichen Itza is home to numerous other important structures and landmarks. The Great Ballcourt is the largest of its kind in Mesoamerica, with stone walls that stand over 26 feet tall. The Observatory, known as El Caracol, is an impressive circular building that was used by the Mayans to study the stars and the cosmos.

Visitors to Chichen Itza can also explore the sacred cenote, a natural sinkhole that was once used for ceremonial purposes. The cenote was believed to be a gateway to the Mayan underworld and has provided archaeologists with valuable artifacts and insights into the ancient civilization.

A visit to Chichen Itza is a journey back in time to the height of Mayan culture. The site’s rich history and stunning architecture make it a must-see destination for history buffs and travelers alike.

Mariachi Music and Folklore

Mexico is famous for its vibrant and lively music scene, and at the heart of this lies the tradition of mariachi music. Mariachi is a unique style of music that originated in western Mexico and is characterized by its powerful vocals, intricate guitar work, and a combination of traditional Mexican instruments such as the vihuela, guitarrón, trumpet, and violin.

Mariachi music is deeply rooted in Mexican folklore and has long been an integral part of Mexican celebrations and festivities. It is often performed during important events such as weddings, birthdays, and national holidays. The music sets the mood and creates an atmosphere that is both joyful and emotional, bringing people together in celebration of Mexican culture.

In addition to its lively music, mariachi is also known for its traditional attire. The musicians typically wear charro outfits, which consist of intricately embroidered jackets, tight pants, boots, and wide-brimmed sombreros. These outfits have become iconic symbols of Mexican culture and are instantly recognizable around the world.

One of the best places to experience mariachi music and folklore is in the city of Guadalajara, often referred to as the birthplace of mariachi. The city is home to the famous Plaza de los Mariachis, a lively square where mariachi bands gather to perform and entertain locals and visitors alike. The plaza is filled with the infectious sounds of mariachi music and the colorful sights of musicians in their traditional charro outfits.

If you’re a fan of mariachi music, be sure to plan a visit to one of Mexico’s many mariachi festivals. These festivals showcase the talents of mariachi bands from all over the country and provide a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant energy and rich cultural heritage of mariachi music up close.

Whether you’re strolling through the streets of Guadalajara or attending a lively mariachi festival, the music and folklore of mariachi are sure to captivate your senses and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the rich cultural traditions of Mexico.

Colonial Towns and Architecture

Mexico is renowned for its stunning colonial towns and architecture, which reflect the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. Exploring these towns is like taking a step back in time, as their well-preserved buildings and cobblestone streets transport visitors to a bygone era.

One of the most famous colonial towns in Mexico is San Miguel de Allende. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, this picturesque town is known for its colorful facades, beautiful churches, and charming plazas. The streets are lined with colonial-style buildings that have been converted into boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants, offering visitors a unique shopping and dining experience.

Another must-visit colonial town is Guanajuato, located in central Mexico. This charming town is famous for its stunning architecture, including colorful houses that line narrow, winding streets. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to many notable landmarks, such as the Teatro Juarez, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato, and the Alhondiga de Granaditas. Exploring the underground tunnels and alleys of Guanajuato is a unique experience that allows visitors to discover hidden gems and uncover the town’s fascinating history.

Oaxaca is another colonial gem that should not be missed. The city is home to magnificent Baroque architecture and preserved colonial buildings that showcase its rich cultural heritage. Oaxaca’s historic center is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is filled with beautiful churches, museums, and markets. The city is known for its vibrant art scene and traditional crafts, such as pottery and textiles.

One of the oldest colonial cities in Mexico is Zacatecas, located in the central part of the country. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is characterized by its intricate colonial architecture. The iconic pink facade of the Zacatecas Cathedral is a must-see, as well as the picturesque Callejon del Beso, known as the “Alley of the Kiss,” which is said to bring luck to couples who kiss on its third step.

Colonial Town Notable Features
San Miguel de Allende Colorful facades, beautiful churches, boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants
Guanajuato Colorful houses, Teatro Juarez, Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato, and the Alhondiga de Granaditas
Oaxaca Baroque architecture, preserved colonial buildings, beautiful churches, museums, and markets
Zacatecas Intricate colonial architecture, Zacatecas Cathedral, Callejon del Beso

Visiting Mexico’s colonial towns is a journey through history and an opportunity to appreciate the country’s remarkable architecture and cultural heritage.

Teotihuacan – City of Gods

Teotihuacan, located just outside of Mexico City, is known as the “City of Gods”. This ancient Mesoamerican city is one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Teotihuacan was once the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas and served as a political, economic, and cultural center for the region. The city flourished between the 1st and 7th centuries AD and was home to a diverse population of various Mesoamerican ethnic groups.

The most prominent structures in Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third-largest pyramid in the world and offers spectacular views from its summit. The Pyramid of the Moon is equally impressive and provides a glimpse into the city’s religious and ceremonial practices.

Aside from the pyramids, Teotihuacan is also home to the Avenue of the Dead, a long ceremonial avenue that stretches for 2.5 kilometers through the city. This avenue is lined with numerous smaller pyramids, temples, and palaces that further showcase the city’s architectural and artistic achievements.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Teotihuacan is the absence of a clear historical record or knowledge of its original inhabitants. The city was abandoned by the time the Aztecs discovered it in the 14th century, and its original name remains unknown. Today, archaeologists continue to unearth new discoveries and piece together the puzzle of Teotihuacan’s ancient civilization.

Visiting Teotihuacan is like stepping back in time and experiencing the grandeur of an ancient civilization. Whether you’re interested in history, archaeology, or simply marveling at impressive architectural feats, Teotihuacan is a must-visit destination in Mexico.

Tulum – Paradise on the Caribbean

Tulum is a stunning coastal town located on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico. With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and ancient Mayan ruins, Tulum is truly a paradise on the Caribbean.

One of the main highlights of Tulum is its stunning beaches. Stretching along the coastline, these picturesque beaches offer breathtaking views and a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. Whether you want to relax on the soft sand, swim in the warm waters, or snorkel among the coral reefs, Tulum’s beaches have something for everyone.

Another must-visit attraction in Tulum is the Tulum Ruins. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, these ancient Mayan ruins are a sight to behold. Explore the well-preserved structures, including the iconic El Castillo pyramid, and learn about the fascinating history and culture of the Mayan civilization.

Tulum also offers a unique blend of nature and adventure. Explore the nearby cenotes, which are natural sinkholes filled with crystal clear freshwater, perfect for swimming and diving. Discover the Tulum National Park, a protected area home to various wildlife species and a stunning network of underground rivers and caves.

When it comes to dining, Tulum has a thriving food scene. From beachfront seafood shacks to upscale restaurants serving modern Mexican cuisine, there are plenty of options to satisfy every taste bud. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, freshly caught ceviche, made with marinated seafood and tangy lime juice.

Tulum is also known for its eco-conscious and sustainable tourism practices. Many hotels and resorts in the area are designed with eco-friendly materials and strive to minimize their environmental impact. You can even find eco-chic accommodations nestled in the lush jungle or overlooking the breathtaking ocean views.

In conclusion, Tulum is a true paradise on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. With its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, natural wonders, delicious cuisine, and commitment to sustainable tourism, it is not surprising that Tulum is a top-rated destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Tulum!

Day of the Dead Celebrations

Mexico’s Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a vibrant and colourful celebration that takes place annually on November 1st and 2nd. It is a time for families and communities to come together to honour and remember their loved ones who have passed away.

The festivities often begin on October 31st with families visiting the graves of their ancestors to clean and decorate them with marigold flowers, candles, and photos of the deceased. Altars, or ofrendas, are also created in homes and public spaces, adorned with the favourite foods, beverages, and possessions of the departed.

On November 1st, known as All Saints’ Day, it is believed that the spirits of deceased children return to earth to be reunited with their families. Known as Dia de los Angelitos, this day is often marked with special altars and offerings dedicated to children. Families may also participate in processions, where they dress in traditional clothing and carry tall statues of saints through the streets.

November 2nd, known as All Souls’ Day, is when the spirits of deceased adults are believed to visit their families. Families gather together to participate in various activities, such as sharing stories and memories of their loved ones, playing music, and enjoying traditional Mexican foods and beverages. It is a time of joy and remembrance, rather than mourning.

One of the most iconic symbols of the Day of the Dead celebrations is the calavera, or sugar skull. These intricately decorated skulls are created as both art objects and edible treats. They are often adorned with bright colours, flowers, and intricate designs, and can be found in markets and shops throughout Mexico during the festivities.

The Day of the Dead celebrations vary in different regions of Mexico, each offering its own unique traditions and customs. Some cities, such as Mixquic and Patzcuaro, are particularly renowned for their elaborate celebrations, featuring parades, concerts, and traditional dances.

Visiting Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations provides a truly unforgettable experience. It is an opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of Mexico and the deep connection between the living and the deceased. The vibrant colours, cheerful music, and overall sense of joy and celebration make it a truly unique and special time to be in Mexico.

Cenotes – Natural Sinkholes

One of Mexico’s most unique natural wonders, cenotes are natural sinkholes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, revealing underground pools of freshwater. These stunning geological formations can be found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and are a must-visit for any nature enthusiast.

The word “cenote” comes from the Mayan word “dzonot,” which means sacred well. The Mayans considered cenotes to be sacred and believed they were the entrances to the underworld. Today, cenotes are not only revered for their natural beauty but also for their historical and cultural significance.

There are different types of cenotes, ranging from open-air cenotes with crystal clear water to partially or completely enclosed cenotes. Many cenotes are surrounded by lush vegetation, creating a picturesque setting for swimming, snorkeling, or even diving.

The cenotes offer a unique opportunity to explore an underground world filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and other breathtaking rock formations. The clarity of the water allows for excellent visibility, making it ideal for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

Swimming in a cenote is a surreal experience, as you can float in the cool, refreshing water surrounded by the natural beauty of the cenote’s walls. The cenotes also attract a variety of bird species, making them a popular spot for birdwatching.

Some of the most famous cenotes in Mexico include Dos Ojos, Ik Kil, and Gran Cenote. These cenotes are easily accessible and offer facilities for visitors, including restrooms, changing rooms, and even restaurants. However, there are also numerous hidden cenotes off the beaten path, waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers.

Whether you’re looking to connect with nature, explore underwater caves, or simply relax in a tranquil setting, visiting a cenote is an experience not to be missed during your trip to Mexico.

Important tips for visiting cenotes:

  • Always respect the environment and do not disturb any wildlife or plants.
  • Follow the rules and regulations of each cenote, including any restrictions on diving or snorkeling.
  • Bring biodegradable sunscreen, as regular sunscreen can harm the delicate ecosystem of the cenotes.
  • Be cautious when entering and exiting the cenote, as the stairs and rocks can be slippery.
  • Leave no trace behind and dispose of any trash properly.

With their natural beauty and historical significance, cenotes are undoubtedly one of Mexico’s top attractions. Explore these fascinating natural sinkholes and immerse yourself in the unique world of the underground cenotes.

Frida Kahlo Museum

The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House (La Casa Azul), is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the renowned Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Located in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood, the museum is housed in the same building where Kahlo was born and spent a significant part of her life.

The museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore Kahlo’s personal and artistic journey. The rooms have been preserved to recreate the ambiance of Kahlo’s home, allowing visitors to get a glimpse into her daily life and the inspiration behind her artwork.

The museum showcases an extensive collection of Kahlo’s paintings, including her iconic self-portraits that have made her one of the most celebrated artists in the world. Visitors can admire her vibrant use of color, symbolic imagery, and powerful storytelling through her art.

In addition to Kahlo’s paintings, the museum also displays a wide array of personal belongings, photographs, and memorabilia that provide further insight into her life and artistic process. This includes her wardrobe, featuring her signature Tehuana dresses and corsets, which she used as a form of self-expression and identity.

The Frida Kahlo Museum is not only a tribute to Kahlo’s artistic legacy but also an important cultural institution in Mexico. It serves as a platform for promoting Mexican culture and heritage, as well as a space for artistic and educational activities related to Kahlo’s work.

Visiting the museum is a must for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone interested in learning more about one of Mexico’s most iconic figures. The museum offers guided tours, workshops, and temporary exhibitions, ensuring a rich and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re a fan of Kahlo’s art or simply curious about her life and legacy, a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum is sure to be an unforgettable experience that will deepen your appreciation for this remarkable artist.

Riviera Maya – Playa del Carmen and Cancun

Riviera Maya is a popular tourist destination located on the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It stretches along the Caribbean Sea and is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs.

One of the main attractions in Riviera Maya is Playa del Carmen, a lively coastal town famous for its vibrant nightlife, white sandy beaches, and shopping options. Visitors can explore the famous Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian street lined with restaurants, bars, and shops. Playa del Carmen is also a popular starting point for excursions to nearby attractions such as the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum or the natural theme park of Xcaret.

Another renowned destination in Riviera Maya is Cancun, a top-rated beach resort city that offers something for everyone. Cancun’s Hotel Zone is known for its luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and turquoise waters. Visitors can indulge in various water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply relaxing on the beach. Cancun is also a gateway to the stunning Great Maya Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world.

For nature enthusiasts, there are many eco-parks and cenotes (natural sinkholes) to explore in Riviera Maya. Xel-Ha, Xcaret, and Xplor are just a few of the eco-parks where visitors can swim in natural cenotes, snorkel, zip line, or simply enjoy the local flora and fauna.

Riviera Maya offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern attractions, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a tropical paradise.


What are the top-rated attractions in Mexico?

The top-rated attractions in Mexico include Chichen Itza, Tulum, Mexico City, Cancun, and the Riviera Maya.

What can I see in Chichen Itza?

In Chichen Itza, you can see the famous El Castillo pyramid, the Temple of the Warriors, the Great Ball Court, and the Sacred Cenote.

What are the best places to visit in Mexico City?

The best places to visit in Mexico City are the historic center, where you can see the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan.

What attractions are there in Cancun?

In Cancun, you can enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches, go snorkeling or scuba diving in the Great Mayan Reef, visit the Mayan ruins of El Rey, and explore the underwater museum of art.

What is there to do in the Riviera Maya?

In the Riviera Maya, you can visit the stunning beach destinations of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, go snorkeling in the crystal-clear cenotes, explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba, and swim with dolphins in Xcaret Park.

What are the top-rated attractions in Mexico?

Some of the top-rated attractions in Mexico include the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan, the stunning beaches of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the vibrant capital city of Mexico City, the colonial towns of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, the Mayan ruins of Tulum, and the natural wonders of Copper Canyon and Tepozteco.

What are the best places to visit in Mexico?

Mexico offers a diverse range of destinations to visit. Some of the best places include Mexico City, which offers a mix of history and modern attractions, the coastal resorts of Cancun and Puerto Vallarta for stunning beaches and water activities, the colonial towns of Guanajuato and Oaxaca for rich culture and architecture, the Yucatan Peninsula for ancient ruins and cenotes, and the Pacific coast for surfing and whale watching.


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Mackenzie Roche

Mackenzie Roche, part of the content operations team at TravelAsker, boasts three years of experience as a travel editor with expertise in hotel content at U.S. News & World Report. A journalism and creative writing graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, she brings a wealth of literary prowess to her work. Beyond the desk, Mackenzie embraces a balanced life, indulging in yoga, reading, beach outings, and culinary adventures across Los Angeles.

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