10 Best Places To Visit In Mexico: Top Rated Locations

The best places to visit in Mexico is a question many travelers first ask when thinking of planning a trip to Mexico.

Mexico is a country with a dramatic and unique rich history, beautiful beaches, flora, and fauna.

It is often considered as “the land of the eternal spring” by different people from all over the world. Mexico is an incredible place for those who are interested in archeology as well as those who want to enjoy beautiful beaches and resorts.

Without further ado, these are the 10 best places to visit in Mexico for your next vacation.

10. Huatulco


Located off Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco is a popular tourist destination for those who want to enjoy water activities. The area is one of Mexico’s safest areas and offers an incredible variety of things to do including high-speed boating, kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling around coral reefs.

Additionally, Huatulco has several beautiful beaches with fine sand and calm waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

For those who love to go shopping, Huatulco offers an incredible variety of shops and boutiques where you can find original handicrafts, jewelry, clothes, postcards, and much more.

If you are planning a trip to the Pacific coast to visit Huatulco, one of the best places to visit is the Huatulco National Park (Parque Nacional Huatulco) which is a nature reserve full on the Oaxacan coastline full of marine life such as fish and sea turtles, and stunning scenery. Worth doing a day trip if you are in Oaxaca City!

9. Agua Azul Waterfalls

Best attraction in Mexico - Agua Azul Waterfalls

Located in Southern Mexico close to the town of Palenque, Agua Azul Waterfalls is one of Mexico’s best tourist attractions made of three blue waterfalls surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and one of the best places to visit in Mexico.

Agua Azul Waterfalls are listed as one of Mexico’s Natural Wonders which is certainly well-deserved. The turquoise color of the water mixes perfectly with green trees and rocks making for an incredible landscape you can admire from several different angles along the trail that leads to the main waterfall.

To get to Agua Azul Waterfalls you need to make your way to Palenque or San Cristobal de las Casas. From these cities, you can take a day trip tour as the drive is about 1.5 hours from Palenque and 4 hours from San Cristobal de las Casas.

There are several tours available starting in Palenque or San Cristobal de las Casas which include transportation, food, and more depending on your preferences.

8. Oaxaca City

Oaxaca City in Mexico

Oaxaca City is one of Mexico’s must-see destinations which is often overlooked by people visiting some of the more popular tourist attractions in Mexico.

However, the city is an incredibly beautiful colonial city with shopping districts, bars and clubs, restaurants serving amazing regional food, colonial architecture inherited from Spanish colonization during the 16th century, and a bunch of ancient ruins to explore.

One of the best places to visit in the colonial city Oaxaca City is Mitla which was an ancient Zapotec town destroyed by Spanish missionaries during the 16th century. At that time Mitla was abandoned until Dr. Edward Seler came to excavate at Mitla between 1897 and 1907 leading to its discovery as a fascinating archeological site with striking pre-Columbian stone mosaics.

For a better understanding of Mexican culture, Oaxaca City is the right place to visit. The town offers incredible food, nice people, and excellent shopping opportunities in vibrant districts such as Zocalo and Santo Domingo.

7. Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres - island near Cancun

Located just off the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a tiny island with striking turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and is a great place for scuba diving and other activities.

Isla Mujeres has tons of amazing beach hotels as well as several small bars where you can order seafood dishes or simply enjoy your favorite tropical cocktail while relaxing in hammocks enjoying the scenery.

Isla Mujeres is one of Mexico’s best places to visit if you are an animal lover as there are hundreds of interesting animals living on the island such as monkeys, iguanas, sea turtles, parrots, toucans, peacocks, deer among others. There are some designated areas like the Aquatic Funday Park on Isla Mujeres where you can interact with these animals close-up while learning about them from local experts. A great place in Mexico for a family getaway.

One of the best places to visit in Isla Mujeres is the various diving centers that offer courses for scuba diving, yoga classes, and other outdoor activities surrounded by nature in an international-level facility with stunning vistas of the Caribbean Sea.

6. Izamal

Yellow town in Mexico - Izamal

Izamal is a small town in the Mexican state of Yucatan famous for its extremely colorful colonial architecture and being an important religious center during the pre-Columbian era.

During the height of the Mayan Empire, Izamal was one of their biggest cities as it had a population of up to 20,000 residents which dwindled over time following the Spanish conquest. Over time Izamal lost most of its power and prestige becoming a tranquil little town called San Antonio Izamal.

In 1862, Izamal was declared a historical monument preserving everything from the ancient Maya temples and ancient Mayan ruins to the monasteries built by conquistadors. In 1987, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to cultural significance as one of Mexico’s best places to visit.

There are a bunch of amazing activities you can do in the ancient city of Izamal such as exploring the town on foot, discovering and learning about Mayan culture, visiting ancient Mayan temples such as Kulkulkan, and Chichen Itza which are both just an hour away from the city, and more.

For shopping lovers, Izamal has an awesome artisan market in the city center full of souvenir items you can’t find anywhere else in the region such as colorful hammocks, Mexican cowboy boots, handmade silver jewelry among other items to take back home with you.

Be sure to put this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your bucket list as these Mayan ruins and this ancient Mayan City will only deteriorate over time. You could even plan a day trip from Mérida.

5. Chapultepec Castle

Popular place in Mexico - Chapultepec Castle

Chapultepec Castle is one of the best places to visit in Mexico and is the official residence of the Mexican President situated in Mexico City which used to be a castle during Spanish colonization.

The Chapultepec Castle has been the scene of several important events in Mexico City such as when Miguel Hidalgo called Mexicans to fight for independence from Spain when Emperor Maximilian ordered to execute people from the Reform War. Another example is when Benito Juarez banned Catholicism.

After serving as a presidential residence, Chapultepec Castle was turned into an exhibition center with arboretums full of plants and animals that can only be seen in Mexico. 

You can walk along its cobblestone paths while enjoying beautiful botanical gardens and views over Mexico City’s Zocalo District. There are also various world-class museums inside Chapultepec Castle’s walls such as the National Museum of Cultures which exhibits a wide variety of artifacts from around Mexico and the world. Another museum in Chapultepec Castle is the Woodworking Museum dedicated to showcasing wood art pieces made by Mexican masters with local or exotic wood.

Some of the best things to do at Chapultepec Castle are to explore its vast gardens, visit the museums inside of it, discover Mexico’s past while learning about national heroes such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and Benito Juarez, have a picnic, and enjoy the views over Mexico City from the castle’s towers.

4. San Miguel De Allende

Best city to go in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is one of the best places to visit in Mexico as it’s a picturesque town located in the central part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico known for its pleasant climate year-round, rich culture, historic architecture, religious sites, and Spanish influence.

The town of San Miguel De Allende was founded by Spanish conquistadors back in 1542 thus becoming an important spiritual and cultural place for early settlers who built churches and monasteries all around town.

Despite being a small town with a population of only 100,000 people today, San Miguel De Allende has been named one of the best places to visit in Mexico because it’s filled with great restaurants serving traditional Mexican cuisine, Westernized Mexican food decorated with French influences, and colorful homes.

San Miguel De Allende is a great place to learn about Mexican history as you can visit various museums such as the Regional Museum of Guanajuato that showcases the state’s weird past including its “Glory Days” from 1760 to 1810 when it was one of Mexico’s richest states fueled by mining exploitation.

Another of San Miguel De Allende’s museums is the Casa de la Zacatecana which showcases old-style Mexican furniture, silverware, kitchenware, textiles, and hats among other things.

Some of the best places to visit in San Miguel De Allende are its churches including the Church of San Francisco, the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno, and the Church of Santo Domingo all of which have been built in the 1740s by Spanish settlers.

You should also visit San Miguel De Allende’s historic center which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s filled with cobblestone roads, colonial buildings, restaurants serving Mexican food, and shops selling souvenirs.

3. Cancun

Cancum - popular tourist destination in Mexico

Cancun is one of the traditional beach vacation spots everyone has heard of before. Cancun is also one of the best places to visit in Mexico as it’s a modern beach resort town known for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and coral reefs making it perfect for swimming and diving. One of the many perfect beach destinations in Mexico!

The city of Cancun was founded back in 1970 by Mexican architect Carlos Durst who wanted to create a world-class tourist destination featuring resorts with luxury hotels that reminded him of Miami Beach at the time.

Cancun has been a top tourist spot in Mexico ever since they built a world-class international airport hosting more than 4 million tourists annually especially from Canada and Europe where they come to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand together with drinks on patios overlooking white powdery beaches.

Cancun is not the place to visit if you are looking to explore quiet fishing villages or a traditional Mexican town. One of the most popular things to do in Cancun is to go swimming and diving as the city has a vast coral reef system that stretches from Isla Mujeres for 30 kilometers right into the center of Cancun.

You should also visit one of the best places to visit in Mexico if you’re a history buff as Cancun does feature several Mayan ruins such as Ek Balam which is located just 30 minutes from the city center.

There’s also the pre-Hispanic city of El Rey located on Isla Mujeres where visitors can see what life was like before Columbus arrived in America as well as how Mayan civilization thrived for over a millennium before its virtual disappearance around 1500 AD.

2. Tulum

Tulum beach destination in Mexico

Tulum, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, was one of the last cities built by Mayan settlers somewhere between 1200-1500 AD making it one of the best places to visit in Mexico if you want to learn about how Mayans lived before they were conquered by Spanish conquistadors.

The lively resort town of Tulum thrived throughout the 13th century while its seaward side protected it from foreign invaders while its jungle helped shield them from inland threats.

Today, tourists visit Tulum because it features a walled city with various turrets, small cottages, temples, palaces, and other buildings that are all surrounded by lush foliage where wildlife still exists today.

One of the most popular things to do when visiting Tulum is to climb up one of its watchtowers and watch the sunset and rise over the Caribbean Sea as Tulum is one of the best places to visit in Mexico if you enjoy romantic sunrises or sunsets.

The town of Tulum has seen a surge of popularity thanks to several Hollywood movies that were filmed there including 10,000 BC, The New World, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and Apocalypto among others.

Tulum also features amazing luxury resorts, some bars and nightclubs where tourists can drink after taking part in activities on its various white-sand beaches which are some of the top attractions for visitors who want to relax on soft white sand next to the natural beauty of the calm blue waters of Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.

Tulum is also a great place to explore marine life like whale sharks by taking one of the many tours available in the city. You can also take a deep-sea fishing tour if that’s of interest to you.

1. Mexico City

Best place to visit in Mexico: Mexico City

It is one of the best places to visit in Mexico as it’s a modern, vibrant city that has managed to preserve the natural beauty of its past.

The Mexican capital is also one of the largest cities in the world with more than 21 million people living within its metropolitan area which means there is always something new and exciting for tourists to do.

Mexico City features some of the most impressive Aztec pyramids which you can climb up if you want an amazing panoramic view of this metropolis by night or day.

You should also visit Mexico City after visiting Teotihuacan since both were built around 200 BC at nearly the same time. Their rivalry was just friendly rivalry rather than actual warfare between the two main Mayan cities.

There’s also the National Anthropology Museum where you can learn about all of Mexico’s major pre-Hispanic civilizations and empires such as the Toltecs and Aztecs.

Mexico City boasts a truly marvelous National Palace in its historic city center. The National Palace is located exactly in Mexico City’s main square Zocalo so you can’t miss it.

Visitors should also visit one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico City such as the Historic Center of Mexico City, and the Central University City Campus.

Visitors who want to do something more modern and fun with their family should visit one of the many theme parks in Mexico City such as the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Mirapolis Xtreme Park, or Outdoor Traveler Park. You can also visit Cerro de la Estrella which is a hill located in the southern part of Mexico City that has become famous for its sunrises at night.

If you’re looking for an adventure outside of this megacity then consider visiting nearby towns like Puebla or Tlaxcala which have unique charm and culture that is distinct from Mexico City.

Mexico has so much to offer, whether you are looking to explore colonial influences, partake in water sports and other water activities, or just travel along Mexico’s Pacific coast and Yucatan Peninsula, there is so much to do that one visit just isn’t enough.

Be on the lookout for more travel content to find more hidden gems in Mexico for your next visit!

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!