25 reasons to go to Mexico

With fabulous beaches, spectacular ancient ruins, alluring culture, dynamic cities brimming with colonial architecture, and feisty mouthwatering cuisine, Mexico truly is a tropical treasure trove. Here is our choice of 25 reasons to go to Mexico.
Mariachi on the streets of colonial Campeche city, Mexico
Mariachi on the streets of colonial Campeche city, Mexico

1. Mystical Mayan ruins

Some of the remarkable remains of the once-great Maya civilisation 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 civilisation 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.

2. Unreal 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 (Paradise Beach), 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.

3. Out-of-this-world 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. 

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 a 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.

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-luxe 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 travellers looking to explore the rugged side of Mexico.

Popocatepetl volcano. Photo: ShutterstockPopocatepetl volcano, Mexico Photo: Shutterstock

7. Breathtaking marine life

This part of the world plays host to some pretty extraordinary sealife. Gray whales actually migrate to the warm, shallow waters off the Baja coast during the unforgiving Alaskan winter. From December to June, visitors can view 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, 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.

9. The architectural treasures

Some of the world's best architecture is tucked away in Mexico. In the Yucatán Peninsula, ancient stunners are abound, including the incredible structures of Uxmal. Remember those Mayan ruins we mentioned earlier? 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 Taxco, Colonial-Era artwork comes to life inside Santa Prisca y San Sebastián Church – an elaborately designed building that's nothing short of beautiful.

10. The UNESCO sites

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

The historic city San Miguel de Allende is UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. Photo: ShutterstockThe historic city San Miguel de Allende is an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. Photo: 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 Michoacán, for example, hold all-night vigils in cemeteries. Candlelit boat processions to the small island of Janitzio also draw in loyal revelers from all over. The Día de los Muertos takes place on the first two days of November, when people all across Mexico come together to remember cherished relatives who've passed away.

12. The tequila (enough said)

Mexico is pretty much synonymous with tequila, and with good reason – this is where you'll 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.

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 alcohols are really best enjoyed on local soil. Mezcal, for example, is a super-strong, semi-dry local libation that's meant to be sipped slowly (it's that strong) and served neat. Pulque, on the other hand, doesn't have a particularly strong natural flavor, which is why you'll see it commonly 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 bustling, culture-packed locale in all of Mexico. It's the center of the Mexican art scene, home to some of the best restaurants and nightclubs in the country, and full of charming little neighborhoods. Don't leave without hitting up the Centro Histórico (Historic Center), which is where you'll find the Torre Latinoamericana – Mexico's first skyscraper. This area is also home to Zócalo, the second-largest city square in the world. The famous Xochimilco floating gardens and the National Anthropology Museum should also make the list.

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 the market culture is 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, you'll find features a wildly popular show known as La lucha libre. 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 stars.

Mexican wrestling called lucha libre. Photo: ANGELOUX/FlickrMexican wrestling called lucha libre. Photo: ANGELOUX/Flickr

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 archaeological findings and ancient treasures. Of course, we can't discuss Mexican art without mentioning the beloved Frida Kahlo. Thankfully, there's an entire museum dedicated to her thought-provoking, ahead-of-its-time work. Even those who aren't artistic can appreciate this one.

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, as do the native people who call this remote bit of Mexico home. 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.

19. The dazzling Rio Secreto

This eco-adventure gem is literally a secret river. Situated in Riviera Maya, Rio Secreto is an underground river that runs through a spectacular cave system near Playa del Carmen. The geological formations are astounding, making for an unreal eco-friendly excursion you simply can't experience anywhere else. What's more, the folks who operate the tours are all about sustainability and social responsibility.

20. The spectacular national parks

With so much natural beauty in every direction, it isn't all that surprising that Mexico has some of the best national parks on the planet. Parque México in the heart of Roma and Condesa is a wonderland of open-air walkways and enchanting fountains, while Bosque de Chapultepec features over a thousand acres of land. Museums, restaurants, a zoo and an amusement park are all on offer. For something less city park-ish, give the National Park of Palenque a whirl. This area, steeped in Mayan ruins, is bordered by tropical greenery.

Sumidero Canyon. Photo: ShutterstockSumidero Canyon. Photo: 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 archaeological treasures, there's plenty to put on the agenda. Chapultepec Park (mentioned above) also makes for a fantastic family day. The park currently has two giant pandas at the zoo, as well as a variety of monuments, museums, and even a castle.

22. Xcaret Eco Park

On the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico's cultural heritage and natural environment burst to life at Xcaret Eco Park. The park, which was built around a turquoise lagoon, invites guests to swim with dolphins, go snorkeling, and watch traditional Mexican dance shows. When the figurative dinner bell rings, Xcaret has four restaurants on site for grabbing a quick bite of authentic Mexican fare. Travelers can easily spend an entire day here and still not get through the activity list.

23. The archeological wonders

Given the abundant Mayan treasures to be found in Mexico, it only makes sense that this country is also full of too many archeological wonders to count. Chichén Itzá is one of the most celebrated areas. Ancient Mayan relics are at every turn, covering over two square miles of land. For a taste of Aztec culture, visit Teotihuacan, which they nicknamed the "Place of the Gods." Visit Mexico suggests spending a good chunk of time at the National Anthropology Museum to tease out all the details. When all is said and done, Mexico's many archeological sites are worth visiting.

24. The unmatched snorkeling

Is there really a better place to go diving than in the shimmering waters of Mexico? (We didn't think so.) There are tons of great sites here, 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 hundreds of original sculptures mixed in with the reefs; perfect for exploring with a snorkel. They also serve a purpose by drawing people away from the natural reefs. It isn't surprising that the waters of MUSA attract more than 750,000 visitors each year.

25. The top-notch golfing

Mexico is a premier golfing destination. El Camaleon golf course was designed by pro golfer Greg Norman and is a regular stop on the PGA Tour OHL Classic. The Yucatan Country Club and the Diamante Cabo San Lucas are two other top places to hit the green 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 to Mexico for you. To get started, simply get in touch letting us know when you'd like to travel and your ideas for the trip. We will then create a tailor-made itinerary especially for you, 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 personalised to suit your needs.