25 reasons to visit Mexico

With fabulous beaches, ancient ruins, alluring culture, dynamic cities brimming with colonial architecture, and feisty mouthwatering cuisine, Mexico truly is a tropical treasure trove. Here is our selection of 25 of the best reasons to visit Mexico.
Mayan ruins at Palanque, Chiapas. Photo: Madrudgada Verde/Shutterstock
Mayan ruins at Palanque, Chiapas. Photo: Madrudgada Verde/Shutterstock

Last updated: 24.05.2023

Mexico is a destination that has something special for everyone. In addition, the country is still open to global travelers in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, with a free visa for multiple nationalities. Though you are required to complete a health form on arrival, there's currently no need to present a negative coronavirus test, nor quarantine for any measure of time. If that wasn't enough, here are 25 more reasons to visit Mexico. 

The information in this article is inspired by Inside Guides Mexico, your essential guide for visiting Mexico.

1. Mystical Mayan ruins

Some of the remarkable remains of the once-great Maya civilization can be found in Mexico. The ancient Mayans were astonishingly ahead of their time when it came to building majestic temples, as well as forward-thinking agricultural systems and advanced infrastructures. 

The Chichén Itzá ruins are perhaps the most famous in all of Mexico since they are said to reflect the civilization when it was at its peak. This is where you can find the world-renowned Kukulkan Pyramid. Other spectacular Mayan ruins can be found at Uxmal, Palenque, Coba, and Tulum.

Explore the caves, cenotes, pyramids, and beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula. Inspired by the famous Tomb Raider video game, this itinerary takes you exploring across the pyramids of Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Coba, before relaxing at the white beaches of Cozumel.

Palenque ruin in Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

2. Unreal Mexico beaches

Beaches don't get much more idyllic than in Mexico. With more than 6,000 miles of pristine coastline, there are up to 450 sandy stretches of paradise to visit. 

Near the top of the list is most certainly the palm-fringed stretch of Tulum's Playa Paraiso, then there's the beach at the charming colonial town of Sabancuy in the seemingly untouched Campeche region, and the golden expanse and rolling waves of bohemian Zipolite in Oaxaca. 

For somewhere more developed, Playa del Carmen is the go-to beach destination for volleyball on white sands and swimming in turquoise Caribbean waters, followed by evenings enjoying drinks in cocktail bars and dining in top-notch restaurants.

Playa Paraiso on the Caribbean coast at Tulum, Mexico. Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock

On this customizable tour to Mexico's nature and beaches, you will explore the nature and wildlife of Chiapas and Tabasco by visiting the Sumidero Canyon and Agua Azul waterfalls before heading off to the Yucatan Peninsula. Chichen Itza awaits to impress you with its magnificent pyramids before ending the trip at the white beaches of Holbox.

3. Out-of-this-world regional food

It goes without saying that Mexican food is downright delicious. If you don't agree, it's a safe bet that a trip to Mexico City will change your mind. Here, street-food culture reigns supreme, bringing vibrant, spicy dishes to the masses on a daily basis. Mouthwatering tacos, tamales, and enchiladas – available at the many local taquerías – are among the most popular picks. 

Discover the most unique places in Mexico City before heading out to Puebla and Oaxaca, tasting the best Mexico has to offer: mole poblano, chocolate, a corn workshop - this is a hands-on customizable tour, showing the variety Mexico has to offer, both in food and culture wise.

4. Irresistible artwork

The art scene in Mexico is a mix of classic works and modern folk art. Illustrious murals are sprinkled throughout the country, reflecting back the culture and telling stories of the people. Icons like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros were among the most powerful influencers where Mexican muralists are concerned. 

To experience traditional works from celebrated painters like Gerardo Murillo and Diego Rivera, visits to the Museo Nacional de Arte: MUNAL and Palacio Nacional in Mexico City are an absolute must. When it comes to performing arts, the Palacio de Bellas Artes is not to be missed. The building's grand, marble exterior is as awe-inspiring as the live performances to be seen inside.

Spanish Invasion, (1930) Clemente Orozco, Cabanas Cultural Institute ceiling, Guadalajara, Mexico. Photo: Bill Perry/Shutterstock

5. Enchanting boutique hotels

When vacationing in Mexico, opting for a small boutique hotel is an experience in itself. Both charming and reflective of the local culture, this style of accommodation makes for a welcome departure from large-scale resorts and international hotel chains. 

In San Jose del Cabo, at the southern extreme of the Baja California peninsula, the ultra-deluxe Casa Natalia is a fantastic example, offering individually styled rooms, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant with a sublime roof terrace, all just minutes away from the gorgeous Baja coastline.

6. Epic mountains and volcanoes

Few Mexican sights are as alluring as the majestic Popocatépetl Volcano in Puebla. Lovingly known as El Popo, this magnificent mountain is one of Mother Nature's triumphs. When traveling east toward Puebla, its snowcapped peaks tower 5,426 metres (17,926ft) high. 

Mexico is also home to several mountains that are open for hiking – the Sierra Madre Mountains, comprised of smaller scale ranges, are a popular destination for travelers looking to explore the rugged side of Mexico.

Popocatepetl volcano. Photo: ShutterstockPopocatépetl Volcano, Mexico. Photo: Cristobal Garciaferro/Shutterstock

7. Breathtaking marine life

This part of the world plays host to some pretty extraordinary sea creatures. Grey whales actually migrate to the warm, shallow waters off the Baja coast during the unforgiving Alaskan winter. From December to June, visitors can watch these beautiful creatures leaping out of the water in dramatic fashion. 

8. The blood-pumping adventure sports

Adventure travelers might want to consider Mexico for their next getaway. In Isla Guadalupe, off the Baja coast, you can get up close and personal with great white sharks by cage diving into the Pacific. For fun above the surface, you could also set off in a hot air balloon above Mexico, breathing in magnificent aerial views in the process. For something more thrill-inducing, consider paragliding.

Cage diving in Mexico. Photo: Stefan Pircher/Shutterstock

9. The architectural treasures

Some of the world's best architecture is tucked away in Mexico. In the Yucatán Peninsula, ancient buildings abound, including the incredibly well-preserved structures at the Mayan archeological site of Uxmal. Some are also revered as precious architectural gems. 

The Pyramid of the Magician is a fine example; a throwback to ancient life in another time. In the magnificent town of Taxco, south of Mexico City, Colonial-era artwork comes to life inside twin-towered Santa Prisca de Taxco church – an elaborately designed building that is nothing short of spectacular.

10. The UNESCO sites

Mexico is a treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs, culture vultures, and nature lovers alike. There are a whopping 27 cultural sites alone, not to mention its six natural sites. 

Ten of its cities are considered World Heritage Cities, including Campeche, Oaxaca, Mexico City and Puebla. The holy city of Teotihuacan, which was built between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, is loaded with sacred sites and ancient relics dating back to some of the earliest civilisations on record.

The historic city San Miguel de Allende is UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. Photo: ShutterstockHistoric San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

11. To live out the Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is an annual celebration that, despite its title, is actually a warm, festive tradition. The Purépecha traditions in the central Mexican state of Michoacán, for example, hold all-night vigils in cemeteries. Candlelit boat processions to the island of Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro also draw in loyal revelers from all over the state. 

The Día de los Muertos takes place each year on the first two days of November, when people all across Mexico come together to remember cherished relatives who have passed away.

12. The tequila (enough said)

Mexico is pretty much synonymous with tequila, and with good reason – this is where you can find the world's best. Tequila is actually a town in Mexico's Central Highlands known for its lush agave plants. The spiky, aqua-hued leaves make up thousands of acres. 

According to Mexican law, more than half (at least 51%) of tequila must be derived from a type of agave called Tequilana weber, which happens to grow exclusively in this part of the Central Highlands. On Mexico's famed Tequila Trail is where you'll find some of the world's top distilleries.

Agave plantation, Tequila, Mexico. Photo: Jesus Cervantes/Shutterstock

13. The other local libations

Tequila certainly doesn't stand alone where Mexican drinks are concerned. While it's easy to find tequila in other parts of the world, Mexico's other cherished agave-based alcoholic drinks are really best enjoyed on local soil. Mescal, for example, is a super-strong, semi-dry local libation that's meant to be sipped slowly and served neat. 

Pulque, on the other hand, doesn't have a particularly strong natural flavour, which is why you will commonly see it mixed with fruit juice. (This type of mixture is called curado.)

14. Mexico City

There's a reason Mexico City is such a popular destination – it's easily the most vibrant, culture-packed locale in all of Mexico. It's the centre of the Mexican art scene, home to some of the best restaurants and nightclubs in the country, and full of charming neighborhoods. 

Don't leave without touring the Centro Histórico (Historic Center), which is where you'll find the Torre Latinoamericana – Mexico's first skyscraper. This area is also home to the zócalo, the second-largest city square in the world. The famous Xochimilco floating gardens and the National Anthropology Museum should also make the list.

Angel of Independence monument, Mexico City. Photo: Joshua Davenport/Shutterstock

Mexico City seems to have it all - over 50 museums, a beautiful historic city center, an extensive city park with a majestic castle, upscale neighborhoods like La Condesa or La Roma, bohemian Coyoacan and mouth-watering cuisine. This trip shows you the best of this mega city.

15. The out-of-this-world markets

Some might say that the best way to get acquainted with Mexico is to visit its markets. This is especially true in Mexico City, where market culture is very much alive and well. Have a penchant for fresh flowers? Mercado Jamaica has pretty much every variety you can think of. 

Meanwhile, Mercado San Juan is a gourmet food paradise, featuring exotic ingredients and rare imported food. Just be warned that this might include crocodile, rabbit, ostrich, and even insects. Outside of Mexico City, markets in Oaxaca have a reputation for showcasing original crafts, handmade wares, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

16. The wrestling culture

You read that right: Mexico is all about wrestling. In the capital city's Arena México, every Tuesday and Friday, a wildly popular show known as La Lucha Libre is hosted. There are typically two sides: the bad guys (los rudos) and the good guys (los técnicos). 

No matter who you're rooting for, beer and snacks flow freely as friends and families come together to get in on the action. Local vendors gather outside to sell masks of all the wrestling superstars.

Mexican wrestling – La Lucha Libre. Photo: Hurst Photo/Shutterstock

17. The must-visit museums

Nowhere else is Mexico's culture more evident than in its national museums. The Contemporary Art Museum (MACO), which is actually located in what was once a colonial mansion, is a standout in Oaxaca City. Over in Mexico City, the Templo Mayor Museum showcases impressive archeological findings and ancient treasures. 

Of course, we can't discuss Mexican art without mentioning the much-loved Frida Kahlo. Thankfully, there's an entire museum dedicated to her thought-provoking, ahead-of-its-time work. 

18. The awe-inspiring Copper Canyon

We know we've already mentioned Mexico's epic mountains and adventure sports, but we think Copper Canyon deserves its own section. Here, breathtaking views and natural splendor await. The natural wonder that is Copper Canyon offers up opportunities to go zip-lining, walk on old-school suspension bridges, and marvel at the great heights and raw beauty all around.

Suspension bridge in Copper Canyon, Mexico. Photo: NataliaST/Shutterstock

19. The dazzling Rio Secreto

Situated on the Riviera Maya, Rio Secreto is an underground river that runs through a spectacular cave system near Playa del Carmen. The geological formations including thousands of stalactites and stalagmites are astounding, making for a truly memorable excursion you simply can't experience anywhere else. 

What's more, the organizers who run the guided tours promote environmental preservation and social responsibility, with a significant percentage of profits made used to help sustain the local flora and fauna, and to fund a range of environmental education programs.

20. The spectacular national parks

As a country blessed with so much natural beauty, it's no surprise that Mexico has some of the best national parks on the planet. 

Parque México in Mexico City's Condesa district is a wonderland of open-air walkways and enchanting fountains, while the vast expanse of the Bosque de Chapultepec encompasses more than 1,500 acres featuring museums, restaurants, a zoo, and an amusement park. 

For a taste of Mexico's breathtaking scenery, head to the Sumidero Canyon National Park in Chiapas. The highlight of this vast protected area is the deep gorge that the Sumidero River runs through, which visitors experience on guided boat trips.

Sumidero Canyon. Photo: ShutterstockSumidero Canyon National Park, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: sunsinger/Shutterstock

21. It's the ideal family travel destination

Traveling with kids doesn't have to be an exhausting affair. Instead of heading to a crowded theme park, consider taking your family trip in Mexico. Between astonishing whale watching, stunning beaches, and archeological treasures, there's plenty to put on the agenda. Chapultepec Park (mentioned above) also makes for a fantastic family within easy reach of the heart of Mexico City.

22. Xcaret Park

On the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico's cultural heritage and natural environment burst to life at Xcaret Park. The waterfront park, which is built around a turquoise lagoon, invites guests to explore caves, go snorkeling, and watch traditional Mexican dance shows. 

When the figurative dinner bell rings, Xcaret has four restaurants in which to savour authentic Mexican fare. Travellers can easily spend an entire day here and still not get through the activity list.

Xcaret Park. Photo: Shutterstock

23. The archeological wonders

Given the abundant Mayan treasures to be found in Mexico, it only makes sense that the country offers a wealth of archeological wonders. Chichén Itzá is one of the most celebrated sites. Ancient Mayan relics are at every turn, covering more than two square miles of land. 

For a taste of Aztec culture, visit the expansive complex at Teotihuacan, which is known as the 'Place of the Gods.' It would certainly be a good idea to tease out all the details at the National Anthropology Museum in the capital before your visit. 

Teotihuacan pyramid, Mexico. Photo: AleSalM/Shutterstock

24. The unmatched snorkeling

Are there really betters places to go snorkeling than in the shimmering waters surrounding Mexico? (We don't think so.) There are countless fantastic sites to view the undersea world, with Cozumel's incredible reef system getting a special shout-out. Cancun is equally impressive. 

This area even has an underwater museum of art (MUSA) that features dozens of original sculptures on the sea bed amongst the reefs, perfect for viewing from above while snorkeling. It isn't surprising that the waters of MUSA are extremely popular, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Mexican coral reef. Photo: Shutterstock

25. The top-notch golfing

Mexico is a premier golfing destination. El Camaleon golf course near Playa del Carmen was designed by pro golfer Greg Norman and hosts the annual Mayakoba Golf Classic (11–17 Nov, 2019) on the PGA Tour. 

The Yucatan Country Club, north of Mérida, and the Diamante Cabo San Lucas are two other top places to hit the greens in Mexico. The sport is so popular here that the World Golf Championships tournament has officially been moved from Miami to Mexico City.

Ready to take a trip to Mexico?

Our local experts can plan incredible trips in Mexico for you. To get started, simply get in touch letting us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. We will then create a personalized itinerary especially, which you can amend until you are completely happy with every detail before booking. You can browse our existing itineraries for inspiration, and keep in mind that all of our pre-planned itineraries can be fully tailored to suit your needs. Our local experts are aware of all coronavirus regulations, so you can travel with total peace of mind. 

Updated 8 December, 2020