Things not to miss

written by Andy Turner
updated 7/19/2021
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This gorgeous colonial town, sandwiched into a narrow ravine, is home to one of the country’s finest Baroque churches, a thriving student scene and a relaxed café and bar culture.

Colored Houses Iglesia de San Roque Market Mercado Hidalgo Guanajuato, Mexico © Bill Perry/Shutterstock

#02 Silver jewellery from Taxco

The town of Taxco, an interesting place in itself, offers the most exquisite silver products in the country.

© S and S Imaging/Shutterstock

#03 Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

A huge, stunning coastal nature reserve with ecosystems ranging from tropical forest through fresh- and saltwater marshes to barrier reef. Wildlife of every sort lives here, but it’s especially good for birdwatching.

Mangrove tree in the Caribbean Sea in the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve near Tulum, Mexico © Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

#04 Tequila

Visit the town that gave birth to Mexico’s favourite tipple, surrounded by fields of blue agave, and enjoy tours of local distilleries.


T photography/Shutterstock

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#05 The Bonampak murals

The ancient temples at Bonampak depict vivid scenes of Maya life.

Bonampak is an ancient Maya's city. Chiapas. Mexico © AntonBkrd/Shutterstock

#06 Baja beaches

The Sea of Cortés coast around Bahía Concepción

, with pristine azure waters contrasting with desert-fringed mountains.

© Shutterstock

#07 Diving Cozumel

Mexico has fantastic diving opportunities: the coral reefs off Isla Cozumel provide some of the best.

© RVLIKEMIDGLEY/Shutterstock

#08 Baja Whale watching

From December to April, thousands of grey whales come to mate in the lagoons of Guerrero Negro

and San Ignacio .

© Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock

#09 The Zócalo , Mexico City

The eternal heart of the city, the capital’s main plaza is surrounded by its cathedral and the ruins of Aztec Tenochtitlán.

© Shutterstock

#10 Voladores de Papantla

An ancient religious ritual, this gravity-defying spectacle is still mesmerizing.

Papantla flyers perform their show in the magical town of Tequila Jalisco © Jose de Jesus Churion Del/Shutterstock

#11 Tulum

This important Maya spiritual and cultural centre is one of the most picturesque, with a spectacular beach.

Mayan Ruins Besides Caribbean Sea. Riviera Maya, Traveling America © DC_Aperture/Shutterstock

#12 Cenotes , Valladolid

Take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear sinkholes, one with the roots of a huge alamo tree stretching down into it.

© lunamarina/Shutterstock

#13 Museo Frida Kahlo

Politics, art and national identity combine at the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera


Frida's portrait ©

#14 Palenque

This Maya site is remarkable for its distinct architectural style and its setting in jungle-smothered hills.

Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico © Madrugada Verde/Shutterstock

#15 Chichén Itzá

The most famous of the Maya sites. See the sprawling ruins and complex carvings over a couple of days.

Chichen itza sunset, Mexico © Ondrej Kucera/Shutterstock

#16 Mariachi

You’ll find mariachi played the length and breadth of the country but most notably in Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi.

Mariachi on streets colonial Campeche city, Mexico © javarman/Shutterstock

#17 Museo Nacional de Antropología

An enormous collection of artefacts from all the major pre-Hispanic cultures.

Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico © Mikiko/Shutterstock

#18 Nightlife in Playa del Carmen

Dance on the sand or in super-hip small clubs alongside stylish Mexico City weekenders and European expats in this Caribbean boomtown.

© DisobeyArt/Shutterstock

#19 Xochimilco

Take in the carnival atmosphere and colours while being punted around the canals and serenaded by mariachi bands.

© Shutterstock

#20 Oaxaca markets

Any market in Mexico is a feast for the senses, but Oaxaca’s are especially vibrant, with everything from fresh produce to some of the country’s most imaginative textiles.

© Tati Nova photo Mexico/Shutterstock

#21 Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacán

The granddaddy of all ancient Mesoamerican pyramids, built in 100 AD and some 70m high.

Teotihuacán, Mexico © Rafal Kubiak/Shutterstock

#22 Acapulco’s cliff divers

Watch the clavadistas plunge into the sea from precipitous cliffs.

© Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock

#23 Charreada

If bullfights aren’t for you, head to a charreada (rodeo) instead; the ultimate charro (cowboy) event, traditional charreadas make a brilliant spectator sport.

© Leonardo Emiliozzi Ph/Shutterstock

#24 The Copper Canyon

Whether you take the awe-inspiring train ride or hike along the canyon floor, a visit to this vast system of chasms is the definite highlight.

Train in Barranca del Cobre, Mexico © wayak/Shutterstock

#25 El Tajín

Once the most important city on the Gulf coast but only rediscovered in 1785.

© Noradoa/Shutterstock

#26 Real de Catorce

This picturesque ghost-town once thrived on the wealth of its silver mines. Huichol pilgrims visit the nearby desert in search of peyote.

Real de Catorce, an old town in San Luis Potosi, Mexico © Shutterstock

#27 Calakmul

Deep in the heart of the jungle, this is the largest known archeological zone in Mesoamerica.

© Rainer Lesniewski/Shutterstock

#28 The Rivera murals

See Diego Rivera

's murals at the Museo Mural in Mexico City.

© vkilikov/Shutterstock

#29 Lago de Pátzcuaro

Most famous for its Day of the Dead celebrations, this enchanting lake is a worthy destination year-round.

© Marcos E Ramos Ponciano/Shutterstock

#30 Zacatecas

Ancient silver mines, thrilling ziplines and one of Mexico's most opulent cathedrals.

© stacyarturogi/Shutterstock

Top image: Death Day © Shuterstock

Travel advice for Mexico

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written by Andy Turner
updated 7/19/2021
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