Home to some of the best beaches in the world like Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta, one thinks of soaking in the stunning views, enjoying crystal-clear water, and water activities; but Mexico is more than that. It has lush subtropical jungles, ancient ruins, colorful and historical beach towns, and offbeat villages and landmarks that are almost untouched! In this post, we will share some of the unique places to visit in Mexico for your bucket list!
No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it in Mexico! If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up some sun, Mexico has plenty of options. You can find everything from scuba diving and snorkeling to golfing and hiking.
We recommend flying to a convenient airport, and then heading to your desired travel spot by road, and while keeping it as a base, explore more of the hidden gems and unique spots in Mexico. Throughout the post, we have included practical information like accommodation, the nearest airport, and related tips!
21+ Unique places to visit in Mexico for your bucket list
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Before we get started, we will share a little bit of information about landscapes and towns as they are known in Mexico (or described as in Mexico).
Pueblos Magicos or Puebla
Pueblos Magicos or magic towns are a list of places that are recognized by the Mexican government for their “magical” qualities. These qualities can be – architectural beauty, rich history, or extraordinary legends.
There are about 132 recognized Pueblos Magicos, and places like Tulum, Tequila, Valladolid, Balacar, Sayulita to name a few.
A cenote (or cenotes) is a sinkhole or natural pit with groundwater. The ancient Mayans regarded cenotes to be sacred and still drink or use their water today.
There are many cenotes located in the popular Yucatan peninsula, which is accessible by car, tour, or public transportation from Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
It is recommended that you take a shower before getting into a cenote (and avoid wearing lotions, etc). Expect low light inside the cenote.
The Riviera Maya is a popular touristy area in Mexico that comprises the state of Quintana Roo, located in the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. It was called the Cancun-Tulum Corridor and was renamed, Riviera Maya. This area has one of the most visited historical and touristy sites on the Mexican Coast.
Sierra Gorda, Querétaro
By Isabella from Let’s Travel To Mexico
- Nearest airport: Queretaro or Mexico City
- Perfect for: Explore the ecologically diverse natural site, biodiversity
- Best time to visit: November to March
The Sierra Gorda of Queretaro is one of the most underrated places to visit in Mexico and yet an unmissable spot for nature lovers.
Nestled between Santiago de Queretaro and the state of San Luis Potosí, the Biosphere of the Sierra Gorda is an incredible natural area with many different ecosystems to explore.
Here you can admire majestic waterfalls, hike through canyons and rivers, up to spectacular lookouts, and discover old monasteries hiding in deserted valleys.
Driving through the winding road that takes you through the Sierra Gorda is a trip in itself. However, the best way to enjoy it fully is to get to Pinal de Amole, a pretty town in the heart of the biosphere, and then hire a local guide to take you to the highlights of the Sierra Gorda.
Two days will be enough to see most of it but if you have more time we would also suggest you stay in one of the eco-lodges in the middle of the forest to enjoy the untouched natural environment.
From Pinal de Amole you can continue your itinerary all the way to the famous Xilitla and check out its enchanted garden and then continue to the Huasteca Potosina. That would make an incredible itinerary for adventurous travelers.
Even if you are traveling solo it’s completely safe.
- Recommended tours: Day trip from Queretaro to Sierra Gorda
- Where to stay:
Las Pozas of Edward James, Xilitla, San Luis Potosí
- Nearest airport: Mexico City (8 hour drive to Xilitla), or Querétaro
- Perfect for: Stunning and unique garden structures, natural pools where you can swim
- Best time to visit: Anytime, but avoid weekends and holidays. When it is too crowded some of the attractions maybe closed
Just a few hours’ drive from Mexico City, in the state of San Luis Potosí, you can find a mountain village called Xilitla. This area is home to the Las Pozas of Edward James, which is a series of surrealist concrete structures that were built by British artist Edward James.
The structures are set amidst the jungle – a subtropical forest and are truly a sight to behold. They are located 2000 feet (610 metres) above sea level, and there are more than 80 acres of natural waterfalls and ponds linked by towering Surrealist sculptures in concrete, making it a beautiful area to visit.
The name “Las Pozas” means ‘the pools’, and when you visit you will know why!
- Where to stay: Hotel Camino Surreal Xilitla
Tulum, Quintana Roo
- Nearest airport: Cancun
- Perfect for: Sandy beaches, Instagram spots, ruins, and water activities
- Best time to visit: November and December
Tulum or Tulum Pueblo is a town on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It is one of the best-preserved Maya sites, and it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.
Tulum’s unique position by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the world’s second-longest coral reef system), makes it an excellent holiday destination to soak in turquoise Caribbean seas, white sand beaches, and also indulge in water activities like snorkeling and diving.
The main attraction in Tulum is the ruins of the ancient Maya city, which sits atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The ruins are well-preserved and offer stunning views of the coast.
Historically, Tulum was the last great city built and inhabited by the Mayan people between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The Great Descending God’s image may be seen on some of the temples within the site, which served as a religious center.
It was also an important port for sea trade, especially the obsidian trade. Tribes from all across Mexico and other Central American countries traveled to Tulum to do business.
It’s said that the huge wall surrounding the city was built to keep hostile traders and pirates out.
In addition to the ruins, there are also many beaches in Tulum that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. There are also a number of cenotes (natural freshwater pools) in the area that is perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are many hotels and resorts in Tulum that offer stunning views of the coast and the ruins.
Tulum is approximately 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and 90 minutes south of Cancun by car. No matter what you’re looking for, Tulum is sure to have something for you.
- Recommended tours: Day tour to Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid | Sian Ka’an Biosphere day tour
- Where to stay: Maya Tulum Retreat & Spa
Islas Marietas, Nayarit
By Stacey from The Discovery Nut
- Nearest airport: Puerto Vallarta
- Perfect for: Hidden beach, bird species, biodiversity
- Best time to visit: Anytime (December to May for whale watching)
Located off the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Islas Marietas is one of the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta.
Nicknamed “the Galapagos of Mexico,” Islas Marietas is home to more than 44 species of animals and plants and over 100 species of birds. It is the perfect getaway from the busy city if you are craving some adventure.
Visiting Islas Marietas is one of the best things to do in Mexico for nature lovers, as you get to see an incredible array of wildlife, snorkel, and kayak.
Aside from watching cool animals, one of the most popular things to do in Islas Marietas is visiting Hidden Beach, a strip of sand inside the huge crater.
Although the government has minimized the number of visitors allowed on the beach to reduce the impact on wildlife, it’s still possible to visit on request.
Islas Marietas National Park comprises several uninhabited islands—Isla Larga and Isla Redonda and a couple of islets and marks the entrance to the Bahía of Banderas from the Pacific.
Visiting Islas Marietas is possible only with one of the organized tours which leave daily. Many tours include snorkeling and visiting a beach. It’s also not uncommon to spot whales and dolphins on your tour.
Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit
By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
- Nearest airport: Puerto Vallarta
- Perfect for: Instagrammable location, surfing, seafood
- Best time to visit: December to April
Sayulita may now be known as a pueblo magico, brimming with hip stores and trendy restaurants, but it was originally put on the map for one thing- surfing.
This tiny town, located about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coastline, was found by roving surfers in the late 1960s and became something of a global hub for the sport, due to its consistent wave breaks, affordable prices, and seclusion.
While the town has grown by leaps and bounds since those early days, Sayulita has retained its laidback vibes and affinity for surf culture.
In fact, there are up to 15 different surf breaks in and around Sayulita, providing a wide range of spots regardless if you’re a total newbie or a professional.
The main beach in town, Playa Sayulita, is littered with surf shops, with plenty of spots, like Los Rudos Surf Shop, to rent surfboards for around $20 a day or others, like Patricia’s Surf School, offering up lessons for around $50-$70.
After you spend a day burning up some serious calories while catching waves, there’s plenty of food offerings, from street vendors to uber bougie restaurants, to end your day.
And consider resting your weary head at El Pueblito de Sayulita, a locally-owned boutique hotel with a pool and hot tub and free breakfast.
Plus the hotel has an awesome location, given that it’s tucked away a few blocks from Sayulita’s bustling downtown, but within just a six-minute walk to the beach (and more importantly, its waves!).
- Recommended tours: Day tour to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta | Surfing for beginners
- Where to stay: El Pueblito de Sayulita
By Brodi from Our Offbeat Life
- Nearest airport: Mexico City, or Hermanos Serdán International Airport
- Perfect for: Town that feels like Europe!
- Best time to visit: Winter
Val’Quirico is just a two-hour drive from Mexico City and a 30-minute drive from Puebla city. It’s a perfect day trip from either place.
Val’Quirico is a European-style countryside town complete with trees, medieval architecture, activities, and restaurants.
Val’Quirico is basically a representation of what a small Italian village may look like today. It is a clean town with two-story brick and stone houses as well as pedestrian-only cobbled streets.
Entry to Val’Quirico is free but parking is 50 pesos per vehicle. The town can be toured on foot or by bike.
Since the streets are made of cobblestone, they are pretty uneven. Walking is likely a safer option, especially on weekends when it gets rather crowded.
Val’Quirico is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you want to eat in one of the international cuisine restaurants or simply enjoy ice cream, it’s all possible there.
If you eat at one of its restaurants, you can enjoy seafood, pasta, traditional Mexican food, and desserts.
In addition, there is a bird sanctuary, Venetian carousel, batting cages, and an archery range on-site to enjoy.
If you want to stay in Val’Quirico overnight, the Villa Toscana Loft & Suites are located right inside the medieval town. Despite the town’s theme, the hotel is well appointed for a comfortable stay.
- Recommended tours: Private tour combining Chautla’s Castle and Lavender Farm
- Where to stay: Villa Toscana Loft & Suites
By Stacey from The Discover Nut
- Nearest airport: Palenque International Airport
- Perfect for: Nature, culture, and historical sites
- Best time to visit: November to March
Located in the heart of the lush jungle, Palenque is a stunning Mayan ruins site and one of the most popular day trips from San Cristobal in the state of Chiapas.
Many tourists combine a visit to San Cristobal with a stop at nearby waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol Ha.
Although organized tours are one of the most popular options, it’s great to visit on your own, if you have a car. This way, you will have more time and will be able to enjoy these places without rushing.
One of the most notable features of Palenque is the stucco buildings that give their own character. Take some time wandering around the ruins and admiring the intricate designs of the facades.
Most travelers who visit Palenque either stay in the town of Palenque outside the ruins or head back to San Cristobal De Las Casas. There are plenty of hotels around Palenque for all budgets and tastes, but we specifically recommend Hotel Tulipanes located in the lush jungle.
When you visit the ruins, you will also be able to take a guided tour through the jungle surrounding the ruins, where you can spot various animals. We highly recommend this hike because of its wildlife watching opportunities.
Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, Palenque
By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
- Nearest airport: Palenque International Airport
- Perfect for: Waterfalls and pools
- Best time to visit: Between November and May
Agua Azul waterfalls are among the most beautiful places to visit in Chiapas.
An easy detour from the (very windy) road that connects San Cristobal de las Casas to Palenque, Agua Azul is a series of small waterfalls (ranging from very low to up to 6 meters) that connect the most beautiful natural pools, absolutely perfect for swimming and for a relaxing day.
The best time to visit is by far the dry season, between November and May. Rain brings a lot of mud and will turn the pools from their emerald color into brown – not nearly as visually impressive.
Try to avoid visiting at the weekend, as that’s when they are most crowded – typically with local families enjoying a fun day out.
Agua Azul has a small admission fee – the equivalent of $2.50 and is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
The easiest way to get there is by car, although there are guided tours that go there from San Cristobal or Palenque.
While there are no accommodation options in the immediate surroundings, you will find lots of budget-friendly eateries scattered along with the site, so you won’t have to worry about bringing your own food.
Make sure to wear good walking shoes as the site gets quite muddy and can be slippery.
Not far from Agua Azul, Misol-Ha is an impressive single drop of 35 meters (115 feet) with a large natural pool.
An easy trail leads to the waterfall and goes all the way to a small cave you can visit upon payment of a small fee.
Misol Ha is best reached independently by car. It’s just 22.5 km (14 miles) from Palenque, again an easy detour on your way from San Cristobal to Palenque. It is open every day from 6:45 am to 7:45 pm. Admission is $2.50.
To easily access Agua Azul and Misol Ha, plan to stay in Palenque. Hotel Chablis is an excellent mid-range option with large, comfortable rooms, a pool for guests, a delicious breakfast to start your day, and plenty of on-site parking.
Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca
By Julien from Cultures Traveled
- Nearest airport: Oaxaca City
- Perfect for: Pools
- Best time to visit: Anytime, but mornings are better (open 09:00 am to 05:00 pm everyday)
In the mountains of Oaxaca, over 5,000 feet high (1524 metres), are the infinity pools of Hierve el Agua.
Despite the name, which translates to “boil the water,” the water isn’t hot but rather bubbles up from the ground. The water source is a mineral-rich spring.
As the water flows towards the cliffside, mineral deposits form unique formations on the ground before it slowly trickles down the side of the mountain.
Over thousands of years, these minerals have formed a petrified waterfall – one of only two in the world.
It falls into the valley below, creating a breathtaking scene among the Oaxacan mountains. This stunning site is located just a couple of hours outside of Oaxaca City.
To get there, you can join one of many Hierve el Agua tours that leave from the city and often incorporate other stops along the way. It’s also possible to visit Hierve el Agua on your own, traveling by colectivo.
While there are plenty of things to do in and around Oaxaca, this popular destination is a must. It’s a great way to get out of the city, relax, and cool off.
San Juan Teotihuacan
By Ben from Ticket 4 Two Please
- Nearest airport: Mexico City
- Perfect for: Impressive Mayan ruins
- Best time to visit: Anytime, but mornings are better
Found 40 km (24.8 miles) northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the whole of Latin America, and visiting the famous pyramids certainly represents one of the best things to do in Mexico.
The historical significance of the site, and the remarkable architecture that remains in situ to this day, make Teotihuacan one of the best historical sites to visit in the whole of Mexico.
Teotihuacan is believed to have been the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas and with a population of approximately 125000, Teotihuacan would have been the 6th largest city in the world at the time.
Although there are a number of impressive elements to site at Teotihuacan, the highlights are certainly the two large pyramids – the Pyramid of the Moon (141 feet or 43 m high) and the Pyramid of the Sun (213 feet or 65 m high, making it twice the height of Chichen Itza).
The two imposing structures were granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1987 and when you’re driving into the valley of Teotihuacan it is easy to see why they dominate the skyline for miles and miles around.
Given its close proximity to the capital, Teotihuacan is best visited on a day trip from Mexico City.
An Uber from Mexico City would take around an hour depending on where you are traveling from and is arguably the easiest way to visit Teotihuacan.
Whether you are staying in the city for a weekend or visiting Mexico City for 2 weeks, Teotihuacan is going to be one of the highlights of your Mexican adventure and a trip to the archaeological site is most definitely one of the best things to do in Mexico.
- Recommended tours: Teotihuacan early access tour | Teotihuacan hot air balloon ride with breakfast
- Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City – Centro Historico
Cenote Taak bi ha, Riviera Maya
By Isabella from Mexico Cenotes And Ruins
- Nearest airport: Cancun
- Perfect for: Cenote swim
- Best time to visit: June through October
Cenote Taak bi ha is one of the most spectacular cave cenotes that you can find on the Riviera Maya.
Its turquoise crystal clear water looks unreal and so does the spectacular landscape full of stalactites and stalagmites litten in the perfect way to create a sort of spooky atmosphere.
If you are lucky you can find yourself on your own to enjoy it even more. However, it has become very popular, especially among divers.
If you love snorkeling you can also enjoy the underworld too without having to dive too deep into the caves.
Local guides also offer a snorkeling tour around the cenote. Even if you don’t see it from the platform you can basically swim around its ring shape.
Taak Bi ha cenote is located on the Carretera Federal between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and to get there you must follow the direction to Cenote Dos Ojos, but instead of stopping at the ticket office just continue straight on the dirt road for about 2 km (1.24 miles). You will see the sign.
The entrance fee is 450 MXN which is quite expensive compared to the others but in my opinion worth it. It’s open from 9ish to 4.
- Where to stay: Wyndham Alltra Playa Del Carmen, Adults Only (PDC)
By Megan from Packing up the Pieces
- Nearest airport: Acapulco
- Perfect for: Beaches, surfing, culture
- Best time to visit: January until May and October until December
One of the best rustic beaches in Mexico can be found hidden away in the National Park of Lagunas de Chacahua.
The small village of Chacahua is located along the wild Pacific coastline in Oaxaca State and is a haven for surfers and those looking for authentic beach escape.
Chacahua is unique as it has a fusion of both African and Mexican cultures.
The journey to Chacahua is one of the highlights. Take a scenic boat ride that traverses through mangroves. These lakes are also home to bioluminescent bays and can be explored more in-depth with a guided boat tour at night.
The sleepy beach town has a small lighthouse, which is a special place to watch the sunset.
Make sure to sample the super fresh seafood from one of the few restaurants where you eat with toes in the sand. There are long stretches of coastline to walk or wade in the designated swimming areas.
There are a few bungalows and guesthouses found along the main beach. Since the Wi-Fi is quite spotty, it’s best to just show up and find one to your liking.
Many bungalows offer camping with a nightly fee of around $50 pesos. Oftentimes, it will be waived if you purchase your meals from the guest house. Terra Tipi has excellent food, bungalows, and camping facilities.
Chacahua is a superb place to “get away from it all” and a small piece of paradise in Mexico.
- Where to stay: Bungalows Boutique El Quinto Sol
Copper Canyon, Chihuahua
- Nearest airport: Chihuahua City
- Perfect for: Hiking, epic train ride, camping, landscape
- Best time to visit: September through April
Copper Canyon is a set of vast canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in Mexico’s north. It gets its name from the canyon walls, which are a brilliant copper green color.
It is truly a natural wonder and one of the unique places to visit in Mexico.
The Chepe (Ferrocarril Barrancas del Cobre) train travels between the area via more than 80 tunnels and almost 40 bridges.
You can take the Copper Canyon Train Tour from Chihuahua and visit some of the local off-the-beaten-path villages along the way.
You can also check out the indigenous Tarahumara tribe which creates unique Mexican handicrafts and souvenirs (perfect for souvenirs to bring back home).
There are many things to do there, including hiking, camping, and sightseeing.
As hiking is one of the best things about the Copper Canyon, you will find a lot of trails of varying difficulty levels, so there’s something for everyone. The views from the top of the canyon are simply breathtaking.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even camp overnight at one of the many campsites.
In addition to hiking, the Copper Canyon is also home to some of Mexico’s most unique wildlife. The area is home to many different types of migratory birds, puma, deer, and more!
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just a chance to relax and take in the beauty of nature, the Copper Canyon is sure to please.
- Where to stay: Hotel Mirador
By Kitti from Kitti Around the World
- Nearest airport: Guadalajara, or Puerto Vallarta
- Perfect for: Birthplace of Tequila
- Best time to visit: Late April to early June
A must-do thing when traveling to Mexico is to visit the birthplace of the famous tequila drink.
The appropriately named town of Tequila is located in the state of Jalisco, approximately 60 km (37.2 miles) to the northwest of Guadalajara. You can visit the town as part of a tour but it’s also very easy to reach via public transportation.
All of the tequila in the world is actually made in this region from the blue agave plant that is native to this specific area.
The town and its surrounding area are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are also designated as a Pueblo Magico or Magical Town.
Without a doubt, the number one thing to do in Tequila is to go on a distillery tour where you can learn all about the tequila-making process and also be able to sample the drink.
Many of the major tequila brands have a distillery here, with the most famous being Jose Cuervo’s La Rojena Factory. Once you have a deeper knowledge of how tequila is made, make sure to try some of the cocktails like the famous ‘Cantarito’ in town.
Whilst the town is definitely based around the popular drink, there’s much more to do in and around Tequila than just sampling the spirit. Plan to spend at least one full day itinerary to make the most of your visit.
If you wish to stay for a night in Tequila then you should consider staying at Matices Hotel de Barricas which is a tequila-themed hotel with barrel-shaped suites.
- Recommended tours: Tequila, Jalisco, and Toriles from Puerto Vallarta
- Where to stay: Matices Hotel de Barricas
San Jose del Pacifico, Oaxaca
By Zoe from Zoe Goes Places
- Nearest airport: Oaxaca City, or International Airport Puerto Escondido
- Perfect for: Incredible views, sunsets, mountain and valley setting
- Best time to visit: July to October
High in the Oaxacan mountains – at around 2500 metres above sea level – is the small town of San Jose del Pacifico.
Most people who pass through this town do so without even stopping, on the most direct route between Oaxaca City and the coastal towns of Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, and Zipolite.
Yet, for those who explore this magical town, they are rewarded with incredible views, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and a middle of nowhere feeling, surrounded by nature.
For the best view in San Jose, climb up to the Mirador sign above the town. Although the altitude will make this hard work, you’ll get some of the best views around.
Here, you can watch the clouds roll over the mountains and valleys. One minute you’ll see nothing but the inside of a cloud and the next you can see for miles and miles.
The best place to stay in San Jose is La Cumbre. Translated from Spanish, it means ‘the peak’, and this is located at the top of the hill above the town.
There’s no better place to watch the sunset and enjoy life above the clouds from a hammock than here!
Visiting this town is an absolute must-do when in Oaxaca, Mexico – so add it to your bucket list today!
- Where to stay: La Cumbre
Boca del Cielo, Chiapas
By Alex from Just Go Exploring
- Nearest airport: Aeródromo Puerto Arista
- Perfect for: Disconnect with the rest of the world, unwind and rejuvenate
- Best time to visit: January until May and October until December
Boca del Cielo is a tiny fishing village on the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. It’s beautifully undeveloped, with only a handful of small restaurants and cabañas (simple wooden huts) on the beach.
This is the perfect place to disconnect from the rest of the world.
Kick back in a hammock, read a few books, paddle or snorkel in the warm Pacific ocean, go for long walks on the beach, and enjoy incredible sunsets…
It’s one of the most peaceful, relaxing places we have ever been, and a great alternative to some of the other more popular Mexican beach towns.
The beach at Boca del Cielo is also an important breeding ground for several endangered species of turtle.
Don’t miss a visit to the turtle sanctuary. Here, volunteers work hard to combat the illegal poaching of turtle eggs.
There are nightly beach patrols, and eggs are relocated to within the grounds of the sanctuary, where they are guarded until the hatchlings are able to make their way to the ocean.
The best place to stay in Boca del Cielo is Entremares, where you can rent a comfortable thatched bungalow on stilts, right next to the ocean. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves every night is one of the true highlights of this place.
Boca del Cielo is located 190 kilometres (118 miles) from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital. The journey takes about 3 hours by car.
If using public transport, first you need to catch a bus to Tonalá (approx. 3 hours). From there, you can take a colectivo (they leave from near the central square), or a private taxi, to Boca del Cielo (approx. 30 minutes).
- Where to stay: Entremares
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
- Nearest airport: Queretaro Airport
- Perfect for: Art and culture, architecture
- Best time to visit: November to April
San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful colonial city located in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.
The city is known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture such as the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel, as well as its vibrant arts scene.
There are many things to do in San Miguel de Allende, including exploring the city’s numerous museums and art galleries or taking a leisurely stroll through the winding streets.
The city is also home to a number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on what you are looking to do), it has no coast or sandy beaches.
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, be sure to check out the nearby hot springs such as Escondido Hot Springs, La Gruta Spa, and the Mayan Baths.
San Miguel de Allende is also located close to a number of other interesting cities, such as Guanajuato and Querétaro, so it’s easy to make a day trip or even a weekend getaway.
No matter what you’re looking for, San Miguel de Allende is sure to have something for everyone.
- Recommended tours: Day tour from Mexico City | Tacos and Tequila Tour
- Where to stay: Casa Quebrada Hotel Boutique
Guanajuato City, Oaxaca
By Jessica from Unearth The Voyage
- Nearest airport: Bajío International Airport, or Aeropuerto Internacional de Guanajuato
- Perfect for: History and culture, scenic views
- Best time to visit: January
One of the best places to visit in Mexico is Guanajuato City. Guanajuato City is the capital of the state of Guanajuato in Mexico and is a beautiful city built in the mountains.
The colorful houses and winding streets are what make this town so fun to explore.
There are some pretty amazing things to do in Guanajuato, such as visiting interesting museums, eating delicious food, and walking amongst the gorgeous architecture that is around every corner of this city.
One of our favorite things to do when visiting Guanajuato City is to take the Funicular (which is a mountainside tram ride) to the lookout over the city.
At the lookout, there is a large statue called El Pipila, who is said to be a guy who helped spark the Mexican revolution.
There are also lots of vendors on the lookout where you can get a cold drink or some ice cream!
Another fun way to get to the top is to walk up the winding, colorful streets until you reach the top. Just keep in mind it is very steep and you will definitely get a workout in!
When visiting Guanajuato City we recommend staying at the gorgeous Edelmira Boutique Hotel. The hotel has gorgeous stonework everywhere with an indoor/outdoor pool, a restaurant overlooking the views of the city, and huge comfortable rooms.
- Where to stay: Edelmira Boutique Hotel
Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City
By Sean from Living Out Lau
- Nearest airport: Mexico City
- Perfect for: History, landmark site
- Best time to visit: Anytime, mornings are better
At first glance, the Chapultepec Castle is one of the most unusual attractions in Mexico City, if not all of North America. After all, what is a castle doing in a continent whose history is so modern? And what is it doing in Mexico City?
The Chapultepec Castle was constructed in 1725 by Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez of the Spanish colony. As the commander in chief of the Spanish army, the Chapultepec Castle was his manor house and his main residence.
It didn’t take on its current grandiose form until the Second Mexican Empire, thanks to the emperor Maximilian I, an Austrian prince under the Habsburg Empire.
The Chapultepec Castle served as the residence of the Mexican President until 1939, when it became the home of the famous Museo Nacional de Historia (National History Museum) and a must-see tourist attraction when visiting Mexico City.
Upon arrival, visitors will find a stunning garden that can only belong to some of the best castles in medieval Europe. Before entering the museum, you must check out the expansive views that surround the castle.
Situated inside the Bosque de Chapultepec park, the views of the urban jungle and actual jungle are impressive.
Lastly, the museum inside the Castle is perfect for learning about the modern history of Mexico, but just be aware that you can only buy the entrance ticket with cash.
- Recommended tours: Chapultepec Castle and Anthropology tour
- Where to stay: Hotel deals in Mexico City here
Monte Albán, Oaxaca
By Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey
- Nearest airport: Oaxaca City
- Perfect for: Archeological site
- Best time to visit: Anytime, mornings are better
One of the best things to do in Mexico is to visit Monte Alban, the archaeological site just outside of Oaxaca City. These might not be the most well-known ruins to visit in Mexico, but they are still very impressive. And they are easy to get to, either with a tour or on your own.
Monte Alban has pyramids, plazas, a court for playing the ball game tlachtli, underground passageways, and about 170 tombs. There are also impressive stelae that had inscriptions and carvings.
The most well-known stelae are the Danzantes figures. It is believed that they represent sacrificed individuals, probably captives of war.
There are signs throughout Monte Alban that have information on the history of the various buildings. The signs are in Spanish, English, and an indigenous language.
There is also a small museum on-site that has recovered artifacts. You can easily spend over two hours walking around the ruins.
Monte Alban is about a 25 minute drive southwest of Oaxaca City. It’s best to stay in Oaxaca City’s Centro and travel to Monte Alban from there.
A great hotel option is Casa de Siete Balcones Hotel Boutique. It’s in a great location; close to restaurants, shops, and attractions. They also offer free breakfast.
Bacalar Lagoon, Quintana Roo
- Nearest airport: Chetumal
- Perfect for: Sandy beaches, tropical paradise
- Best time to visit: January to February
Bacalar is located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is situated on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. The lagoon is a popular tourist destination, due to its clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches.
The lagoon is often compared to a tropical aquarium. The settlement and lake are named after it (Bacalar Laguna en español).
There are many activities to enjoy at Bacalar Lagoon, such as swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, and windsurfing. The lagoon is also home to a variety of wildlife, including turtles, fish, birds, and crocodiles.
Although Lake Bacalar may be less popular than other well-known destinations in Mexico, it still has plenty to offer.
Whether you’re traveling alone, with your spouse, or with the whole family, Bacalar is a wonderful destination. In Bacalar, there is something for everyone.
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
- Nearest airport: San Jose Cabo
- Perfect for: Amazing beaches, accommodation, weather, and cuisines of all kinds
- Best time to visit: May to June
Cabo San Lucas is a resort city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.
Cabo San Lucas together with San Jose del Cabo is known as Los Cabos.
Los Cabos is one of the unique destinations that offer water activities, adventure sports, relaxing leisure spots, and gorgeous wedding locations!
The main attractions are the many pristine beaches, world-class sport fishing, golf, scuba diving, and snorkeling sites.
You can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as zip-lining, horseback riding on the beach, bird watching in the nearby Sierra de la Laguna mountains, whale watching, or swimming with dolphins.
Cabo San Lucas is also a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons. The city has numerous resorts that cater to tourists, with all-inclusive packages available.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an action-packed vacation, Cabo San Lucas makes for a great holiday spot in Mexico!
- Recommended tours: City cruise, snorkel and tastings tour | Food tour in downtown Cabo San Lucas
- Where to stay: Solmar Resort
So there you have it. These are some of the hidden vacation spots and unique places to visit in Mexico.
Visit Mexico’s coastline, and relax at their beaches, but do take the time to explore a few of the offbeat places during your trip, for an immersive experience!
Read more about Mexico travel destinations below: