Top-Rated Things to Do in Mexico


By Mackenzie Roche

When it comes to travel destinations, Mexico is a country that has it all. From stunning beaches to rich culture and history, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a food lover, or a history buff, Mexico offers a wide range of top-rated things to do that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

One of the must-visit attractions in Mexico is the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the iconic El Castillo pyramid, which is a masterpiece of Mayan architecture. Exploring the ruins allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Mayan civilization and learn about their advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics.

If you’re a beach enthusiast, Mexico’s Riviera Maya is the place to be. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, it’s no wonder this coastline is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Snorkeling and diving in the Great Maya Reef, the largest coral reef system in the Northern Hemisphere, is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, a visit to the Copper Canyon should be on your itinerary. This massive canyon system is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon, offering breathtaking views and incredible hiking opportunities. The Copper Canyon Train, also known as El Chepe, is a popular way to explore the area and marvel at the picturesque landscapes.

No trip to Mexico would be complete without indulging in its world-renowned cuisine. From fiery salsas to flavorful tacos and refreshing margaritas, Mexican food is a true culinary delight. Exploring local markets and street food stalls will give you a chance to taste authentic dishes bursting with flavors you won’t find anywhere else.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, embark on thrilling adventures, or savor delicious food, Mexico offers an abundance of top-rated things to do. With its vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder why Mexico continues to be a favorite destination among travelers from around the world.

Explore Ancient Ruins in Mexico

Mexico is home to some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the world. From the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza to the preserved Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan, there are countless opportunities to immerse yourself in Mexico’s rich history.

One of the must-visit ancient ruins in Mexico is Chichen Itza. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the new seven wonders of the world and is known for its iconic El Castillo pyramid. Explore the impressive architecture and learn about the fascinating history of the Mayan civilization.

Another must-see ancient city is Teotihuacan, located just outside of Mexico City. This ancient metropolis was once one of the largest cities in the world and is home to the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Climb to the top of these towering structures and admire the panoramic views.

For those interested in Mayan history, Tulum is a must-visit destination. This ancient Mayan walled city is located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and overlooks the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Explore the well-preserved ruins and take in the stunning ocean views.

One of the lesser-known ancient ruins in Mexico is Palenque. Nestled deep in the jungles of Chiapas, Palenque is known for its intricate architecture and beautiful carvings. Explore the temples, palaces, and pyramids that make up this ancient city.

Whether you’re fascinated by the Mayan or Aztec civilizations, or simply intrigued by ancient history, exploring the ancient ruins of Mexico is an unforgettable experience. From the famous sites to the off-the-beaten-path destinations, there’s something for everyone to discover in Mexico’s ancient past.

Remember to bring comfortable shoes and plenty of water for your explorations, as many of these sites require walking and can get hot.

Start planning your trip today and step back in time as you explore ancient ruins in Mexico.

Relax on the Beaches of Cancun

Cancun is famous for its stunning beaches that attract tourists from all over the world. With crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, and a tropical climate, Cancun’s beaches provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and enjoyment.

One of the most popular beaches in Cancun is Playa Delfines, also known as Dolphin Beach. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and is a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water sports. Playa Delfines is also known for its iconic El Mirador, a large Cancun sign where visitors can take memorable photos.

Another beautiful beach in Cancun is Playa Tortugas, which is located in the Hotel Zone. This beach is famous for its calm waters, making it an ideal spot for families with children. Visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and enjoy a variety of water activities such as snorkeling, jet skiing, and parasailing.

If you’re looking for a more secluded and peaceful beach experience, consider visiting Playa Nizuc. Located at the southern end of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, this beach is known for its shallow turquoise waters and stunning reef formations. Playa Nizuc is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, as it offers incredible underwater scenery and marine life.

For those who prefer a livelier atmosphere, Playa Marlin is the perfect choice. This beach is known for its vibrant energy, with beach clubs, restaurants, and bars lining the shore. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as beach volleyball, jet skiing, and parasailing, or simply relax and soak up the sun.

No matter which beach you choose to visit in Cancun, you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by natural beauty and have a truly relaxing experience. So grab your sunscreen, beach towel, and swimwear, and get ready to unwind on the pristine beaches of Cancun.

Discover the Historic Center of Mexico City

The Historic Center of Mexico City is a must-visit destination for history lovers and culture enthusiasts. With its rich heritage and stunning architecture, it offers a glimpse into Mexico’s past and present.

Start your exploration at the Zocalo, the main square in the Historic Center. This bustling square is one of the largest in the world and is surrounded by important landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, and the Templo Mayor.

Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, a magnificent example of Spanish colonial architecture. The cathedral is the largest in the Americas and houses beautiful chapels, paintings, and sculptures. Don’t forget to climb the Bell Tower for panoramic views of the city.

Explore the National Palace, located adjacent to the Cathedral. This historic building is the seat of the Mexican government and is known for its stunning murals depicting Mexico’s history. The palace also houses the famous Diego Rivera murals, which are a must-see for art enthusiasts.

Learn about the Aztec civilization at the Templo Mayor. This archaeological site was once the center of the Aztec Empire and is now an important historical site. Discover ancient ruins and artifacts that provide insight into the rich and complex Aztec culture.

Take a stroll down Madero Street, one of the oldest and most iconic streets in Mexico City. This pedestrian street is lined with historic buildings, shops, and cafes. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and soak in the city’s vibrant street life.

Indulge in Mexican cuisine at the Mercado de San Juan. This bustling market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes. From street food to gourmet ingredients, you’ll find it all here.

End your day with a visit to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a stunning cultural center that showcases Mexico’s art and music. Admire the Art Nouveau architecture and attend a performance at the renowned concert hall or theater.

Overall, the Historic Center of Mexico City is a treasure trove of history and culture. From ancient ruins to stunning cathedrals and bustling markets, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.

Indulge in Traditional Mexican Cuisine

One of the best parts about visiting Mexico is the opportunity to sample its delicious and diverse cuisine. From sizzling street tacos to flavorful mole sauce, traditional Mexican food is sure to satisfy any culinary craving.

The cuisine of Mexico is known for its bold flavors and unique combinations of ingredients. Traditional dishes often feature a variety of spices, including chili peppers, cumin, and oregano, which give them their distinct taste. Whether you prefer spicy or mild, there is something for everyone in Mexican cuisine.

One classic Mexican dish to try is the tacos al pastor. These mouthwatering tacos are made with thinly sliced pork that has been marinated in a blend of spices, including achiote, garlic, and vinegar. The meat is then grilled to perfection and served in a soft corn tortilla. Top it off with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime for the ultimate taco experience.

Another must-try dish is the traditional Mexican mole sauce. This savory sauce is made from a complex blend of ingredients, including chili peppers, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. It is often served over chicken or enchiladas, and its rich and flavorful taste is sure to leave you wanting more.

For those with a sweet tooth, Mexican cuisine also offers a wide range of delicious desserts. One popular treat is the tres leches cake, a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk. It is topped with whipped cream and often served with a side of fresh fruit.

When visiting Mexico, be sure to explore the local markets and street food stalls for an authentic taste of traditional Mexican cuisine. From vibrant salsas to fresh ceviche, the possibilities are endless. Indulge in the flavors of Mexico and discover why its cuisine is considered some of the best in the world.

Take a Boat Tour through the Copper Canyon

Exploring the stunning Copper Canyon in Mexico is an unforgettable experience, and one of the best ways to see its beauty is by taking a boat tour through the canyon. Located in the state of Chihuahua, this massive canyon system is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in the United States.

During the boat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking scenery up close, as you sail along the serene waters of the canyon’s rivers and lakes. The boat tour will take you through winding waterways, past towering cliffs, and under dramatic bridges, offering unparalleled panoramic views at every turn.

Along the way, you’ll also have a chance to learn about the fascinating history and culture of the indigenous Tarahumara people who have lived in the region for centuries. These knowledgeable guides will provide insight into their traditional way of life, as well as the unique flora and fauna that can be found in the area.

For adventure seekers, the boat tour also offers the opportunity to partake in various water activities such as swimming, kayaking, or even fishing. You can cool off in the crystal-clear waters of the canyon’s lakes or try your luck at catching some of the local fish species.

Whether you choose a half-day or full-day tour, make sure to bring a camera to capture the awe-inspiring sights and create lasting memories. The boat tour through the Copper Canyon is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Mexico, and it promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.

Visit the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza

Welcome to Chichen Itza, one of the most impressive and well-preserved ancient Mayan cities in Mexico. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Explore the breathtaking architectural wonders of Chichen Itza, including the iconic El Castillo pyramid, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. Admire the ingenious way the Mayans built this pyramid so that during the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sunlight creates a shadow that resembles a serpent crawling down the steps.

Don’t miss the Great Ball Court, the largest of its kind in Mesoamerica. Marvel at the incredible acoustics inside the court and imagine the Mayans playing their mysterious ball game, known as Pok-a-Tok.

Take a walk through the Temple of the Warriors and its surrounding colonnades. Admire the intricate carvings depicting warriors, jaguars, and eagles that adorn the columns.

Discover the sacred cenote, a natural sinkhole believed to be a gateway to the Mayan underworld. Learn about the rituals and sacrifices that took place here and take a refreshing swim in its crystal-clear waters.

Immerse yourself in Mayan history and culture as you visit the ruins of Chichen Itza. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of this ancient city.

Key Highlights:

  • El Castillo pyramid, the Temple of Kukulcan
  • Great Ball Court and the ancient ballgame of Pok-a-Tok
  • Temple of the Warriors and its intricate carvings
  • Sacred cenote and its deep significance

Note: Chichen Itza can get crowded, so it’s recommended to arrive early in the morning or visit in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Explore the Natural Wonders of Tulum

Tulum, a stunning coastal town in Mexico, is home to a plethora of natural wonders that will leave visitors in awe. From pristine beaches to ancient ruins nestled in lush jungles, Tulum offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of Tulum is its breathtaking cenotes. These natural sinkholes, formed by collapsing limestone bedrock, are filled with crystal-clear freshwater. Imagine diving into the cenote’s refreshing waters, surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites, and exploring the underwater caves and tunnels. It’s a surreal experience that will make you feel like you’re in a different world.

If you’re a nature lover, a visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including beaches, wetlands, and jungles. Take a boat tour through the reserve and marvel at the abundance of wildlife, such as dolphins, crocodiles, and countless bird species. It’s a nature lover’s paradise.

For those who seek adventure, a trip to Tulum’s eco-archaeological park, Xel-Ha, is highly recommended. With its vast network of underground rivers and cenotes, it’s an ideal place for snorkeling and swimming. Dive into the turquoise waters and discover tropical fish, colorful coral reefs, and unique marine life. Don’t forget to try out the park’s water activities, such as zip-lining and cliff jumping, for an adrenaline rush like no other.

Lastly, no visit to Tulum would be complete without exploring the Mayan ruins that overlook the Caribbean Sea. El Castillo, the iconic pyramid-shaped temple, is a must-visit. Climb to the top and take in the stunning panoramic views of the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. The ruins provide a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization and its architectural prowess.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Tulum has it all. Explore its natural wonders and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Experience the Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca

If you’re looking for a unique and immersive cultural experience in Mexico, be sure to visit Oaxaca during the famous Day of the Dead Festival. This annual celebration, which takes place from October 31st to November 2nd, is a time for friends and family to come together to honor and remember their loved ones who have passed away.

One of the highlights of the Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca is the stunning display of colorful altars and vibrant decorations throughout the city. These altars, known as ofrendas, are carefully built in homes, cemeteries, and public spaces to welcome the spirits of the deceased. Each altar is filled with marigold flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The beauty and symbolism of these altars is truly captivating.

During the festival, the streets of Oaxaca come alive with parades, music, and dancing. Locals and visitors alike don traditional costumes and paint their faces as calacas, or skeletons, in honor of the holiday. The lively atmosphere is infectious, with the sound of mariachi bands and the aroma of traditional Oaxacan cuisine filling the air.

Another must-see event during the Day of the Dead Festival is the captivating sand tapestry competition. Talented artists create intricate and elaborate designs using colored sand and other natural materials. These temporary masterpieces are displayed in the main square of Oaxaca and offer a unique glimpse into the artistic traditions of the region.

While in Oaxaca, be sure to visit the beautiful cemeteries where families gather to celebrate and honor their departed loved ones. The atmosphere is both solemn and joyous, with families sharing stories, music, and meals by the graves of their ancestors. It is a deeply meaningful experience that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural traditions of Mexico.

Overall, the Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca is an unforgettable experience that provides a deeper understanding of Mexican culture and its reverence for the cycle of life and death. Whether you’re interested in the vibrant altars, the lively parades, or the heartfelt celebrations in the cemeteries, this festival is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Take a Tour of Teotihuacan

One of the top-rated things to do in Mexico is to take a tour of Teotihuacan, an ancient city located just outside of Mexico City. Teotihuacan was once one of the largest cities in the world and is known for its impressive pyramids, intricate murals, and fascinating history.

During your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to climb the Pyramid of the Sun, one of the tallest pyramids in the world. As you make your way up the pyramid, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

You’ll also visit the Pyramid of the Moon, another impressive structure in Teotihuacan. This pyramid offers a different perspective and provides a great photo opportunity. Make sure to take some time to explore the Avenue of the Dead, a main thoroughfare in the ancient city lined with temples and other important buildings.

Throughout the tour, you’ll learn about the history and significance of Teotihuacan from a knowledgeable guide. They’ll share fascinating stories about the city’s rise and fall and explain the meanings behind the intricate murals and carvings found throughout the site.

For those interested in archaeology and ancient civilizations, a tour of Teotihuacan is a must-do activity in Mexico. It’s a chance to step back in time and explore the remains of a once-thriving civilization that continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Swim in the Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula

There are over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, each with its own beauty and charm. Some are open-air, while others are partially or entirely underground. The water in the cenotes is usually cool and refreshing, making them an ideal spot to escape the heat of the Mexican sun.

Swimming in a cenote is like exploring a hidden oasis. The sunlight filtering through the natural openings creates a magical atmosphere, with rays of light illuminating the clear water below. You can snorkel, dive, or simply enjoy a leisurely swim in the calm and serene cenote waters.

In addition to swimming, cenotes offer other activities such as hiking, zip-lining, and rappelling. Many cenotes are also home to an abundance of marine life, including tropical fish and turtles, making them perfect for underwater exploration.

While there are cenotes located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, some of the most popular ones include Cenote Ik Kil, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Samula. These cenotes are easily accessible and often have facilities such as changing rooms, bathrooms, and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a unique and refreshing experience during your visit to Mexico, don’t miss the opportunity to swim in the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure enthusiast, or simply seeking relaxation, the cenotes offer it all in a breathtaking natural setting.

Cenote Location Highlights
Cenote Ik Kil Chichen Itza Beautiful cenote surrounded by lush vegetation
Cenote Dos Ojos Tulum Connected underwater caves for diving enthusiasts
Cenote Samula Valladolid Stalactite formations and turquoise waters

Visit the Colonial City of Guanajuato

If you are looking for a charming and historic city to visit in Mexico, look no further than Guanajuato. This colonial city is known for its colorful streets, impressive architecture, and rich cultural heritage.

One of the highlights of Guanajuato is its well-preserved historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a stroll through the winding cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful colonial buildings that line the way. Be sure to visit the iconic Juarez Theater, a neoclassical masterpiece that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Another must-see attraction in Guanajuato is the famous Callejón del Beso, or Alley of the Kiss. Legend has it that couples who kiss on the third step of the alley will be granted seven years of happiness together. This narrow alley with its balconies is steeped in romanticism and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

For history buffs, a visit to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas is a must. This former granary now serves as a museum that tells the story of Mexico’s struggle for independence. Explore the exhibits and learn about the heroes who fought for freedom.

Guanajuato is also home to the Festival Cervantino, one of the most important cultural events in Mexico. This international festival celebrates the arts and attracts performers and visitors from all over the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the vibrant atmosphere of this festival if you happen to be in Guanajuato during October.

In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Guanajuato offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Take a ride on the funicular to El Pipila, a statue that overlooks the city, and enjoy panoramic vistas of Guanajuato’s picturesque landscapes.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply exploring charming streets, Guanajuato has something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to visit this enchanting colonial city on your trip to Mexico.

Hike the Volcanoes of Mexico

When visiting Mexico, one of the most exciting outdoor activities you can experience is hiking the volcanoes. Mexico is home to several impressive volcanoes, offering breathtaking views and a unique adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the most famous volcanoes in Mexico is Popocatepetl. Standing at an elevation of over 5,400 meters, it is an active volcano located near Mexico City. Hiking to the summit of Popocatepetl is a challenging but rewarding experience. You can witness the power and beauty of nature as you hike through its rugged terrain and admire the surrounding landscapes.

If you’re looking for a more accessible volcano to hike, Iztaccihuatl is a great option. Also located near Mexico City, Iztaccihuatl offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. This volcano is known as “The Sleeping Woman” due to its unique shape resembling a sleeping woman. Hiking Iztaccihuatl provides an opportunity to witness unmatched natural beauty while immersing yourself in Mexican culture and history.

For those seeking a true adrenaline rush, hiking the active volcano of Colima might be the perfect choice. With periodic eruptions, this volcano offers a thrilling and unforgettable experience for adventurous hikers. As you climb the steep slopes, you will feel the heat and power of the volcano, making it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Before embarking on your volcano hiking adventure in Mexico, it is essential to be prepared. Make sure to wear appropriate hiking gear, pack enough water and food, and be aware of the weather forecast. Additionally, hiring a local guide can provide valuable insights and ensure your safety throughout the journey.

Hiking the volcanoes of Mexico is a unique and exhilarating experience that allows you to connect with nature and witness the awe-inspiring power of these geological wonders. Whether you choose to hike Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl, or Colima, you are guaranteed an unforgettable adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime.


What are some top-rated things to do in Mexico?

Some top-rated things to do in Mexico include visiting the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, exploring the vibrant streets of Mexico City, relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Cancun, discovering the underwater world of Cozumel through snorkeling or scuba diving, and experiencing the traditional culture and delicious cuisine of Oaxaca.

Where can I find ancient ruins in Mexico?

You can find ancient ruins in Mexico at various archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan, Tulum, and Palenque. These sites offer a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and civilization of the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures.

What should I not miss when visiting Mexico City?

When visiting Mexico City, you should not miss exploring the historic center, known as Zocalo, where you can find iconic landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace. Other must-visit attractions include the Frida Kahlo Museum, the Xochimilco canals, and the renowned Anthropology Museum.

What are some popular beach destinations in Mexico?

Some popular beach destinations in Mexico include Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos. These destinations offer stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and a range of water activities such as snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing.

What is the best time to visit Mexico?

The best time to visit Mexico depends on the specific region you plan to visit. Generally, the dry season from December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico as the weather is pleasant and there is less rainfall. However, each region may have its own optimal time to visit based on factors such as climate and popular events or festivals.

What are some top-rated things to do in Mexico?

Some top-rated things to do in Mexico include visiting the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, exploring the historic streets of Mexico City’s Centro Historico, relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Cancun, and exploring the vibrant markets of Oaxaca.

What are the must-visit destinations in Mexico?

Some must-visit destinations in Mexico include Tulum, known for its stunning Mayan ruins and beautiful beaches, Guanajuato, a charming colonial city with colorful houses and underground tunnels, and Puerto Vallarta, a picturesque beach town with a vibrant art scene.


Top 10 Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico

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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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