#01 Guanajuato

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.

#01 Guanajuato

#02 Silver jewellery from Taxco

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

Things not to miss: Silver ring, Taxco, Mexico.© 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.

#03 Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

#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.

Tequila, blue agave field© T photography/Shutterstock

#05 The Bonampak murals

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

#05 The Bonampak murals

#06 Baja beaches

The Sea of Cortés coast around Bahía Concepción, with pristine azure waters contrasting with desert-fringed mountains.

#06 Baja beaches

#07 Diving Cozumel

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

Things not to miss: Toadfish, Cozumel, Mexico.© 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.

Things not to miss: Humpback Whale, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.© 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.

#09 The Zócalo, Mexico City

#10 Voladores de Papantla

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

#10 Voladores de Papantla

#11 Tulum

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

#11 Tulum

#12 Cenotes, Valladolid

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

#12 Cenotes, Valladolid

#13 Museo Frida Kahlo

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

#13 Museo Frida Kahlo

#14 Palenque

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

#14 Palenque

#15 Chichén Itzá

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

#15 Chichén Itzá

#16 Mariachi

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

#16 Mariachi

#17 Museo Nacional de Antropología

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

#17 Museo Nacional de Antropología

#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.

Things not to miss in Mexico: Happy friends cheering and drinking cocktails at beach party outdoor.© DisobeyArt/Shutterstock

#19 Xochimilco

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

#19 Xochimilco

#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.

Things not to miss: Market, woman, Mexico.© 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.

#21 Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacán

#22 Acapulco’s cliff divers

Watch the clavadistas plunge into the sea from precipitous cliffs.

Things not to miss in Mexico: Cliff divers in action, Acapulco, Mexico.© 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.

Things not to miss: Charro on horseback who plays with the lasso, Mexico.© 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, MexicoTrain in Barranca del Cobre, Mexico © wayak/Shutterstock

#25 El Tajín

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

Things not to miss: El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico.© 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.

#26 Real de Catorce

#27 Calakmul

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

Things not to miss: Ruins of the ancient Mayan city, Calakmul, Mexico.© Rainer Lesniewski/Shutterstock

#28 The Rivera murals

See Diego Rivera's murals at the Museo Mural in Mexico City.

Things not to miss: Mexican 500 peso, Diego Rivera.© vkilikov/Shutterstock 

#29 Lago de Pátzcuaro

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

Things not to miss: Patzcuaro and Janitzio in Michoacan, Mexico.© Marcos E Ramos Ponciano/Shutterstock 

#30 Zacatecas

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

Zacatecas, Mexico© stacyarturogi/Shutterstock

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