According to the World Tourism Organization, Mexico has been among the most visited countries in the world and is the second-most visited country in the Americas. Since the 1960s, Tourism in Mexico is a very important industry. The country has a significant number of UNESCO World Heritage sites with the list including natural reserves, colonial cities, ancient ruins, and also works of modern public and private architecture which make Mexico one of the top places to visit in North America.
Best Time to Visit Mexico
Mexico is a large country and because of regional variations, there is no bad time to visit the country. The best time to visit Mexico actually depends on where you want to go. Throughout the year the weather on both coasts tends to be warm to hot, allowing for good beach stays although the best time is between October and May. There is no rain between December and February and as a result has the mildest period.
Mexico City which is on a higher ground can be chilly at night in the winter. In the south, the rainy season begins in May and lasts until October. If you’re interested in spotting the visiting whales, a visit to Baja California between January and March is a must! Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during January and followed by June and July. Those willing to visit Mexico in the least expensive month must plan their vacation in October
Best Places to Visit in Mexico
#1 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Cancun, the resort capital of Mexico, known for its party-town reputation which is popular among spring breakers, but Cacun has so much more to offer. While some travelers may avoid it because of its reputation, families who holiday with their children also can find plenty of options here. Cancun is one of the best places to visit in Mexico for an absolute variety in nightlife, resorts, and shopping. It has some of the most picturesque beaches in the world! Tourists who want to experience the tropical Yucatan climate (a rainy and muggy season) must visit the gorgeous drama-free family resorts that cater to their needs.
Many significant Mayan ruins can be found here, like the Yamil Lu’um and El Rey, a crumbling tower of pale gray stone. If you’re interested in learning more about this ancient civilization then you must visit the Museo Maya de Cancun. For a more literal taste of Mexico, Museo Sensorial del Tequila tour shouldn’t be missed. If you’d like to experience traditional Mexican life, food, and music then you must visit this city, which has more traditional vibes than the hotels offer. Everything here is cheaper and more authentic than the hotels which make Cacun one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico.
#2 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Tulum has a few beaches that are among the best beaches in Mexico. Turquoise water and sugar sand beaches are not all that Tulum has going for itself, it also has the most picturesque ruins in Mexico. Tulum has Mayan ruins towering over the sea and is the only archaeological sites to have been built overlooking the ocean.
These archaeological sites are incredibly well preserved and are the last to be built by the Mayans. Tourists can take a break from beaches to visit the Temple of the Descending God, El Castillo, and the Temple of the Frescoes. If you’d like to explore an underground river under a canopy of stalactites (an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave) then you must try the LabnaHa Eco Park, or if snorkeling inside of caves in the middle of a forest interests you more, then dive into Cenote Dos Ojos caves in the middle of a forest. These amazing attractions at Tulum make it one of the most interesting places to visit in Mexico
There are also several excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, fun water parks, breathtaking cenotes, great street art, and also beautiful nature reserves and much more just a few feet away. If you’d like to enjoy, relax and spend time with locals and escape the overly crowded tourist locations in Mexico then Downtown Tulum is the place to be! With so much to offer, Talum is one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico. Tulum has a wide range of accommodations ranging from rustic cabanas to hip boutique hotels and grand all-inclusive.
Playa del Carmen
#3 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Located about 35 miles south of Cancun and considered as one of the top diving destinations in the world, Playa del Carmen or just Playa is amongst the top places to visit in Mexico, thanks to the dazzling underwater caverns, chic cafés, bars, timeshares, and vibrant sea life. If you’re looking for lively bars, or spending some quality time on the golf course, or just like to wave hello to the playful spider monkeys you can head to The Jungle Place sanctuary, Playa is the place for you!
The large expat community of Playa has been growing since the ’90s and have had their influence on local Playa flavor and culture. Some tourists also like exploring the ancient ruins of the Coba Mayan Village while others prefer shopping and strolling along the pedestrian street of Quinta Avenida (“5th Avenue”).
A Bit farther south of the town of Playa is Playacar which is an upscale tourist development where most of the resorts are located. The international influence like at Playa is seen nowhere else in Mexico which is why you can find a wide variety of flavors within a few feet from each other, making this one of the top tourist destinations in Mexico.
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
The island of Cozumel is regarded as one of the top tourist attractions in Mexico and also the best scuba diving destinations in the western hemisphere. It is rare to find such crystal clear waters, vast marine life, and natural beauty. Located about 20 kilometers from the Yucatán Peninsula, Cozumel gets its name from ancient Mayan, “Ah-cuzamil,” which means “land of the swallows”. Some of the top beaches for the sun-seekers are Playa Santa Rosa, Playa San Francisco, and Playa San Juan.
Although snorkeling and diving are the main attractions here, tourists willing to explore the outside can find wild natural parks, deserted beaches, and stunning sceneries waiting to be explored! Cozumel is a destination for both adventure and romance, with a year-round Caribbean climate, abundant nightlife, and untrammeled jungle which together make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mexico
#5 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If you’re looking for a beach destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca with 36 beaches and nine bays is one of the best places to visit in Mexico. Most of these are protected as part of the Bahias de Huatulco National Park. Huatulco has amazing beaches to soak in the sun! Most of them have calm and clear blue-green waters. If you’re looking for top-in-class resorts like Las Brisas Huatulco or would like to play on one of the best golf courses on the Pacific Coast then you must visit Tangolunda Bay.
Huatulco was chosen by the government as one of the top destinations for tourism in Mexico, but not much development is seen here as a result of which there are many natural areas and virgin beaches waiting to be explored. As a result of its pristine landscapes and rich biodiversity. Huatulco attracts many tourists throughout the year to observe flora and fauna both on land and in the sea
#6 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If there is a city that should be explored on foot it is Guanajuato. It is home to many interesting museums and fine galleries, including the famous Museum of Quixote which is dedicated to the works of well-known Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. In honor of the writer, the city also hosts the International Cervantino Festival which is Latin America’s most important festival.
A particularly memorable experience is visiting its many plazas, including the delightful Jardin de la Union, which has splendid old architecture and is also the city’s main square. Famous tourist attractions like the majestic Juárez Theater and beautiful old San Diego Church can be found here along with cafés, fountains, restaurants, and flower beds.
Another major attraction that adds Guanajuato to the list of places to visit in Mexico is the city’s famous Mummies of Guanajuato exhibit! If you’ve got the stomach for it you must check out the many naturally mummified remains of locals who died during the outbreak of cholera which dates back to the mid-19th century. Mining tours both inside and outside the city along with museum-hopping attracts a lot of tourists to Guanajuato
#7 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Rising from the ruins of Tenochtitlan, Mexico City is not only the capital of the country and the seat of government. It is also amongst the most visited places in Mexico because of its many famous art galleries, attractions, and museums. Mexico City is also home to world-class convention and meeting facilities, hotels, performance venues like the Chapultepec Park, the Zócalo square, and more than 100 museums.
Other popular attractions include the neighborhoods of Coyoacán and San Ángel. Mexico City also has two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the historic city center (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad) which has more than 1,400 important colonial buildings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and the archaeological zone of Teotihuacan.
The city has a very active culture with a year-round calendar of film festivals, music, art exhibitions, dance, and business fairs. Mexico City enjoys a diverse and lively culture, although the city was once known for its crime rates, the city has gone through a big transformation and public spaces are being cleaned up and brought back to life, making it among the top tourist destinations in Mexico
#8 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Located on the pacific coast of Southern Mexico is a beautiful colonial city called Oaxaca. Oaxaca remains a traditional Mexican city as it is mostly untouched by development and as a result, is home to colorful festivities, vibrant arts and craft scenes, stunning natural beauty, delicious local cuisine, and large indigenous culture. The historic center here is one out of over 35 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Mexico.
In the Oaxaca region along the Pacific Coast is a one-mile beach called Zipolite which maintains a progressive, hippie vibe. Before a few decades, Zipolite was a nude beach, although not so much today. Zipolite attracts travelers looking for an authentic Mexican atmosphere and a counter-culture vibe. Another major attraction just off the beach that offers cafes, bars, and shops is the well known Av Roca Blanca. No matter what kind of traveler you are, there is always something for you at Oaxaca, which makes it one of the top places to visit in Mexico
#9 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Los Cabos is located on the southern tip of Baja California Sur where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. It is easily accessible by plane because of which it is one of the most famous places to visit in Mexico for American travelers, drawing in over two million visitors per year. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo along with the twenty-mile resort corridor between the two distinct cities together make up Los Cabos.
The area has several high-end spas and resorts, near-impeccable year-round weather, and of course beautiful beaches which make it one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico! With the Pacific Ocean on one side and Sea of Cortes on the other, Los Cabos gives a sense of being on an “island-like” sanctuary.
Not all beaches in Los Cabos are suitable for swimming, but there are so many other activities to keep tourists entertained like sport fishing, whale watching, camel rides, and golfing. San Jose del Cabo is a charming town with many boutiques and art galleries while on the other hand Cabo San Lucas has plenty of nightclubs, restaurants, and resorts.
#10 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Puerto Vallarta also known as “Vallarta” is Mexico’s prettiest resort town and has everything from beautiful beaches, nightclubs, lush jungles, and colonial buildings. The coastal city of Puerto Vallarta is among the top places to visit in Mexico for beach lovers; it was a playground for North America’s social elite in the 1960s and ever since has become a second home among foreigners looking for a sunny, warmer climate.
Many parts of Vallarta haven’t been touched by modern development and still follow old traditional methods. Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone! Whether it may be an older cruise ship audience looking to swim with the dolphins or younger travelers looking for adventure activities like jet skiing and paragliding, Vallarta is the place to be. For the rest who like vacationing at a much slower pace, the city has so many spots to either to simply stroll along pleasant beachsides with lush green spaces or shop for arts and crafts
Great Pyramid of Cholula
#11 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
The Great Pyramid of Cholula should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Mexico! As it is an archeological site that is home to the largest pyramid in the world and boasts of a larger volume than any other man-made ancient structure including the Egyptian pyramids. The pyramid was built in four stages, with the first stage beginning 2,300 years ago. Thanks to the bushes and grass that have overgrown its walls, the largest man-made pyramid in the world now looks more like a hill topped by a Catholic church, ”Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios” which was built in 1594 by the Spanish. The site along with the network of tunnels are open to visitors for unguided or guided tours, it is advised to take the tours during the daylight hours.
Cabo San Lucas
#12 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Another major tourist attraction in Mexico is Cabo San Lucas, which is a famous and well-known destination for both A-list travelers in need of a getaway and spring breakers. An incredible arch found in Cabo San Lucas which is itself the extreme southern end of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, a distinctive rock formation at the southern tip known locally as “El Arco”, which can be translated to “the arch” in Spanish.
A stroll along the beach gives the opportunity for taking amazing pictures of El Arco, which can be viewed from several angles, not to mention views of the gray whales that frequently frolic in the ocean, blue waters, and additional rock formations along the coastline. The arch has become an icon of Cabo San Lucas and also marks the spot where the Pacific Ocean becomes the Gulf of California.
The beaches here range from the serene waters of Playa del Amor and the Sea of Cortez to the kickin’ waves of Zippers, which is a surfer paradise. If you’re interested in spending time with some local animals by taking a camel ride through the Desert Park Natural Reserve or swimming with dolphins, head to the coves and rock formations of the Cannery beaches. With so many things to do at Cabo San Lucas, makes it to the list of the most interesting places to visit in Mexico
San Miguel de Allende
#13 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Founded in 1542, San Miguel de Allende is a small colonial destination in the Bajio Mountains of Central Mexico. The city is a mix of Hispanic and Mesoamerican influences and is bursting with history! It was founded by a San Franciscan Monk who played a vital role in the Mexican independence war against Spain and also had a vital spot on the Mexican silver trail.
However, today it is known for the enchanting cobblestone streets and its colonial architecture. The top attractions at San Miguel de Allende are the Santuario de Atotonilco which is an enormous church complex and also part of a World Heritage Site, and the pink Teatro Angela Peralta. San Miguel de Allende is among the most visited places in Mexico and is home to many ex-pats from the USA and Canada.
#14 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Another well-known archaeological site that is located on the western edge of the Mayan empire (present-day state of Chiapas, Mexico) is Palenque. Though much smaller than the other neighboring Mayan cities, Palenque has some of the finest sculptures and architecture the Mayans ever produced. Most of these structures can be dated back to 600 AD to 800 AD which includes the only Mesoamerican pyramid built as a funerary monument, The Temple of Inscriptions.
The ruins are present in the midst of the jungle which is surrounded by caves and stunning waterfalls, waiting to be explored. Although just as impressive as Chichen Itza, many travelers still neglect to visit them. Make sure to add Palenque to your list of places to visit in Mexico if you’d like to travel back to historic Mayan times!
#15 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If you wish to visit one of the new seven wonders of the world this vacation, Chichén Itzá should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Mexico. With over 1.2 million visitors every year, it is one of the best-preserved and most famous UNESCO Heritage Sites in Mexico. Chichén Itzá is generally overcrowded, to beat the crowd and have most of the site to yourself try staying in one of the small towns.
There are other smaller archaeological sites and a number of stunning cenotes near Chichén Itzá which are also worth a visit. If you‘re staying at Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, or somewhere along the Riviera Maya, you can book a day tour to Chichén Itzá from here. Chichén Itzá is one of the best restored and biggest archaeological sites in Mexico.
#16 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
The modern resorts of Ixtapa and the bayside city of Zihuatanejo, approximately 150 miles north of Acapulco make up the third most visited tourist attractions in Mexico, especially for sports fishermen. After the Mexican Government built the nearby resort of Ixtapa in the 1970s, Zihuatanejo gained international popularity.
The resort soon became one of the top places to visit in Mexico for a vacation. Mangrove and Coconut producing town of Ixtapa has been planned carefully keeping tourism in mind. Lying along a small, well-protected bay Zihuatanejo is a safe and delightful town to explore and is also home to a number of fine restaurants and hotels.
The resort town of Ixtapa was founded in 1970 by the National Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR). Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo shares a beautiful setting, with the Sierra Madre mountain chain to the east and the crashing waves of the Pacific to the west. Zihuatanejo has an old-Mexico feel to it while Ixtapa has a more modern vibe. Some of the more popular activities in this area include deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, and surfing. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, the twin destinations are easily accessible to travelers from the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International airport.
#17 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If you’d like to spend your vacation in sandy streets with lack of cars, colorful Caribbean houses and a peaceful vibe then Isla Holbox is the place to go! The word Holbox means Black Hole in Yucatec Maya. This is perfect for travelers who want to escape the hustle of Cancun. Although the water here is not as clear as in the rest of the Yucatán, many visitors come here during the summer months to swim alongside the largest fish in the ocean, whale sharks.
With over 150 species Isla Holbox is also a haven for birdwatchers which include pelicans and flamingos. Isla Holbox ranks high on the list of best places to visit in Mexico for relaxing! Shopping in the street shops, walking along the shore, or just simply sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the view of native birds are things you can do for an enjoyable afternoon here.
#18 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Just eight miles off the coast of Cancun is a small island called Isla Mujeres that can be easily explored on a day trip. Also known as the Island of the Women it is believed to have been sacred to the Mayan goddess of childbirth. Isla Mujeres the perfect tropical paradise as it is away from the craziness of the outside world. This is among the most peaceful places to visit in Mexico as there is not an awful lot going on here – which is the selling point of the island!
Besides the white sand beaches and turquoise blue water, the island also offers snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, an underwater museum, whale shark tours, and several water parks. As the island is small and all the major attractions are located close to each other, visitors can easily get around the island by renting a bicycle, scooter or a golf cart. This is not all!, enjoy delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants on your way back to the waterfront promenade near the ferry terminal.
#19 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Mexico is an amazing destination to spend your time relaxing on the beaches, but if seeking history is what interests you, then Morelia is the perfect destination for you! The colonial-era Morelia is a lovely place to linger in Mexico, the city has seen its share of battles including the Mexican War for Independence. The monuments of the many battles that had been fought here can be seen throughout the city. Founded in 1541, little changes have been made to the layout of this historic city ever since.
The entire downtown has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to the more than two hundred well-preserved buildings that can be dated back many hundreds of years. Other famous attractions to visit include the attractive Morelia Cathedral, started in 1640 and built over a period of 100 years, the structure dominates the skyline even to this day! This is open to the public so make sure to pop inside too and spend time examining interesting artwork and other amazing features.
At a short distance from here is another top tourist attraction in Mexico, the Morelia Aqueduct. This was completed in 1789 with over 250 arches and has been the city’s main source of drinking water for years. With so much to do here, Morelia should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Mexico especially if history is something you seek.
#20 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
If you want to experience an authentic mix of Mexican traditions, culture, and history within a modern destination, Mazatlan on Mexico’s Pacific coast is the best place to visit in Mexico. To get a feel for the history of the place, visitors stroll around the streets of old Mazatlan. If you like spending time on beautiful beaches or having fun at hip restaurants and nightclubs then you must head to the Golden Zone.
Popular worldwide for being a sport fishing destination, visitors can also enjoy other activities like swimming along its 16 miles of golden beaches, mountain biking, surfing, bird watching, horseback riding, and golfing. With so much going on in Mazatlan, it’s certainly worth coming and staying for a good long while.
Don’t forget to check out California and New York which are another very famous tourist attractions in North America. Let us know in the comments if this blog helped you plan a better vacation to Mexico !