For the past seven years, we’ve been on an incredible journey around the world, spending over three years exploring the hidden gems of Mexico. This country has captivated us with its dynamic culture, stunning landscapes, and the genuine warmth of its people. Our adventures have taken us through lively urban centers, charming mountain villages, and serene coastal retreats, each with its unique magic.
Mexico Offers So Much
Mexico offers a kaleidoscope of experiences beyond the well-trodden paths of Cancun.
The country’s destinations beckon with their rich culture, history, cuisine, and natural beauty. They invite travelers to immerse themselves in experiences that are not just vacations but transformative journeys.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil beach getaway, Mexico’s lesser-known spots offer something for everyone. You’ll discover places where memories are made, horizons are broadened, and the essence of vibrant Mexico is unveiled.
10 Recommended Destinations in Mexico Besides Cancun
While many travelers flock to Cancun, so much more to Mexico is waiting to be discovered. We want to show you that there’s a whole world beyond the famous tourist spots. We’ve put together this special list of 10 must-visit Mexican Destinations. It’s perfect for those eager to step off the beaten path and dive deep into Mexico’s rich and diverse experiences.
Sayulita, a hidden gem on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is much more than a surf town. It’s a
cultural haven where the ocean’s rhythms blend seamlessly with the vibrancy of Mexican traditions. Unlike the bustling resorts of Cancun, Sayulita offers an intimate experience with its cobblestone streets, vividly painted buildings, and an atmosphere that’s laid-back and buzzing with energy.
Things to Do in Sayulita
In Sayulita, life revolves around the beach. The main beach is a surfer’s paradise, ideal for beginners and seasoned surfers. Beyond the surf, the town’s heart pulses with an eclectic mix of art and culture. Stroll through the town center to discover local art galleries showcasing indigenous crafts and contemporary works.
As evening falls, the town comes alive with street musicians and bustling taco stands, offering a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine. You can venture beyond the city to find hidden trails leading to secluded beaches, perfect for a quiet escape. Here, you can also join guided tours to witness the incredible humpback whale migration – an unforgettable experience. Sayulita isn’t just a destination; it’s a sensory journey that captivates your soul.
Oaxaca is a cultural tapestry, rich in history and tradition, offering a profoundly authentic
Mexican experience. This city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of colonial
architecture, indigenous markets, and some of the most tantalizing cuisine in Mexico.
Oaxaca stands out for its deep-rooted cultural heritage, visible in its vibrant festivals, artisan
crafts, and the warmth of its people.
Things to Do in Oaxaca
Stroll through the historic Zócalo, absorbing the lively atmosphere and colonial beauty. Visit the Santo Domingo Temple, a marvel of baroque architecture. Art lovers will enjoy the diverse museums and galleries. The culinary scene is a highlight, with markets like Mercado Benito Juárez offering a taste of local flavors. Take a cooking class to delve into traditional Oaxacan dishes.
Explore the ancient ruins of Monte Albán and wander through surrounding villages to see
artisans crafting alebrijes and textiles. Each village specializes in a unique craft, providing
insight into the region’s artistic heritage.
Oaxaca is a vivid expression of Mexico’s rich history and cultural depth, promising an
unforgettable journey for every traveler.
Guanajuato is a breathtaking city where history, art, and lively culture converge in a
kaleidoscope of colors and sounds. This UNESCO World Heritage site, nestled in a valley
surrounded by the Sierra de Guanajuato mountains, is a visual feast with its brightly colored buildings and winding, narrow streets.
Guanajuato’s unique charm lies in its rich history as a silver mining town, vibrant festivals, and romantic, old-world ambiance.
Things to Do in Guanajuato
Wander through the Jardin Union, a charming plaza at the city’s heart, and admire the impressive architecture of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato. Don’t miss the romantic Callejón del Beso and the panoramic views from the El Pipila monument.
Delve into the arts at the Diego Rivera Museum and the Mummy Museum to glimpse the city’s unique past. Experience the local culture in the evenings with a callejoneada, a lively street parade featuring music and storytelling.
Guanajuato’s culinary scene offers a delightful mix of traditional flavors and modern cuisine, perfect for an evening of exploration and indulgence. This city is not just a travel destination but a vibrant, living canvas of Mexican history and culture.
4. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, nestled on the Pacific Coast, blends traditional Mexican charm and
a modern beach resort. It’s known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a thriving arts scene. The city’s friendly atmosphere and beautiful natural setting, where the mountains meet the sea, make it a favorite among travelers seeking relaxation and adventure.
Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Malecón, Puerto Vallarta’s scenic oceanfront boardwalk lined with unique sculptures and lively street artists. In the Historic Center, marvel at the beauty of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and explore charming streets.
Experience the city’s artistic soul in the Zona Romántica, home to numerous art galleries and a bustling dining scene featuring fresh seafood and Mexican specialties. Adventure lovers can partake in snorkeling, diving, or whale watching in the Bay of Banderas.
End your day by experiencing Puerto Vallarta’s dynamic nightlife, from casual beach bars to sophisticated rooftop lounges.
In Puerto Vallarta, every traveler finds their own rhythm, whether in the tranquil waves or the lively pulse of the city streets.
5. San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque town with old-world charm and artistic flair. Known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, vibrant art scene, and cultural festivals, San Miguel de Allende is a haven for creatives and history buffs alike. The town’s cobblestone streets, baroque Spanish architecture, and flourishing gardens offer a peaceful yet stimulating retreat.
Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende
Begin exploring the town’s heart, the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, known for its stunning pink Gothic façade. Wander through the historic center, where every street corner reveals a blend of colonial history and contemporary art.
The Fabrica La Aurora, a former textile factory now housing art galleries and studios, is a
must-visit for art lovers. Explore local markets like the Mercado de Artesanías for unique
handicrafts and traditional Mexican textiles.
To taste local life, visit the El Jardín, the main square bustling with cafes and musicians. Experience the local cuisine in charming restaurants and rooftop terraces offering spectacular town views. San Miguel de Allende is not just a town but an experience, a place where the past and present merge beautifully, creating a tranquil and vibrant atmosphere.
6. Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido, located on Mexico’s Oaxacan coast, is a hidden gem known for its stunning beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and excellent surf spots. This destination is perfect for those looking to escape the more tourist-heavy areas and immerse themselves in an authentic seaside experience.
With its serene beaches and vibrant nightlife, Puerto Escondido caters to various tastes, from surf enthusiasts to those seeking relaxation under the sun. Puerto Escondido is also a cheap place to live in Mexico on the beach and a blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion.
Things to Do in Puerto Escondido
Surfing is a major draw, with the famous Playa Zicatela hosting international surfing
competitions. This beach is renowned for its powerful waves, making it a paradise for
experienced surfers. For a more relaxed beach experience, visit Playa Carrizalillo, a secluded
bay with calm waters ideal for swimming and beginner surf lessons.
Take a boat tour to see dolphins and turtles, or during the right season, witness the
awe-inspiring sight of humpback whales. For a unique experience, visit the bioluminescent
Laguna de Manialtepec, where you can swim in glowing waters at night.
The town offers a glimpse into local life with its bustling markets and lively beachfront restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional Oaxacan dishes. As night falls, the beach bars and clubs come alive, offering a chance to enjoy the local music and dance scene.
Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage City, is a captivating blend of colonial charm, rich cultural heritage, and gastronomic delights. Nestled in the shadow of the Popocatépetl and I ztaccíhuatl volcanoes, this city is renowned for its stunning architecture adorned with Talavera tiles, deep historical roots, and its claim to some of Mexico’s most iconic dishes, like the mole poblano.
Things to Do in Puebla
Puebla is a city where history, art, and culinary delights intertwine, creating a vibrant and unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in Puebla’s vibrant atmosphere at the Zócalo, surrounded by historic landmarks, including the magnificent Puebla Cathedral. Wander the Callejón de los Sapos for antique finds and a lively market ambiance.
Culinary exploration is necessary, with local dishes such as chiles en nogada and cemitas
showcasing the city’s rich flavors. Visit the Mercado de Sabores Poblanos for a diverse taste of Puebla’s cuisine.
Discover Puebla’s artistic heritage at the Amparo Museum and delve into literary history at the Biblioteca Palafoxiana. Nearby, the Great Pyramid of Cholula offers an ancient backdrop to the charming, laid-back town of Cholula.
Tulum, located on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Caribbean coastline, is a unique blend of pristine beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and a thriving eco-conscious community. Famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes), Tulum offers a serene yet vibrant atmosphere, appealing to history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and beachgoers alike.
Things to Do in Tulum
Visit the Tulum Ruins, perched atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, to marvel at the
remnants of an ancient Mayan port city. Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can experience diverse ecosystems, from mangroves to tropical forests, and encounter various wildlife.
For a truly magical experience, swim in the cenotes scattered around Tulum, such as the Gran Cenote or Cenote Dos Ojos, known for their crystal-clear waters and stunning cave formations. Stroll along the beachfront and enjoy Tulum’s laid-back vibe, with boutique hotels, beach clubs, and restaurants offering fresh, locally sourced cuisine. The town, a short distance from the beach, provides a more authentic glimpse into local life with its markets, cafes, and vibrant art scene.
Tulum is not just a destination; it’s a journey into a world where ancient history, natural beauty, and a modern, eco-friendly lifestyle converge in perfect harmony.
Chiapas, a region rich in natural beauty and cultural history, is one of Mexico’s most diverse and intriguing destinations. It’s a land of lush rainforests, soaring mountains, and deep-rooted indigenous cultures. Chiapas is home to some of the most spectacular Mayan archaeological sites, vibrant traditional communities, and breathtaking natural landscapes, making it a paradise for adventurers and culture enthusiasts.
Remember that wi-Fi in Mexico can be inconsistent in areas, including Chiapas’ surrounding towns. However, don’t let that deter you; there are practical solutions to stay connected.
Things to Do in Chiapas
Discover the ancient Mayan city of Palenque, nestled in the jungle, where you can explore
well-preserved temples and palaces that tell tales of a bygone civilization. The ruins, set against the backdrop of rainforest, offer a mystical experience.
Visit the stunning Sumidero Canyon, where you can take a boat trip along the Grijalva River, marveling at the towering canyon walls and diverse wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys, and birds.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, a charming town with cobblestone streets and colorful markets, is a cultural hub where you can experience the rich traditions of the local indigenous communities. You can find handcrafted textiles, jewelry, and other artisanal goods here.
For a unique natural experience, venture to the Cascadas de Agua Azul, a series of cascading
waterfalls known for their vibrant turquoise waters, surrounded by lush greenery. Chiapas is more than a destination; it explores ancient history, natural wonders, and living traditions that offer a profound and enriching experience.
10. Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas, situated at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, is famed for its stunning desert landscapes, striking blue waters, and vibrant nightlife. It’s a premier
destination for those seeking a mix of relaxation, adventure, and luxury.
Known for its iconic El Arco rock formation, world-class resorts, and excellent deep-sea fishing, Cabo San Lucas offers a unique blend of natural beauty and upscale amenities. Cabo San Lucas is not just a vacation spot; it’s a haven where the desert meets the sea, offering endless opportunities for exploration, luxury, and unforgettable experiences.
Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas
Take a boat trip to El Arco, the area’s most famous landmark, where the Pacific Ocean meets
the Sea of Cortez. This natural rock arch offers a spectacular setting for photos and is a
gateway to Lover’s Beach, a secluded strip of sand accessible only by water. Enjoy world-class deep-sea fishing, with opportunities to catch marlin, tuna, and other big-game fish. For those who love the underwater world, snorkeling and scuba diving in Cabo Pulmo National Park, a protected marine sanctuary, reveal vibrant coral reefs and a rich array of sea life.
Experience the lively atmosphere of Cabo’s downtown, where luxury boutiques, gourmet
restaurants, and bustling nightclubs line the streets. To taste local culture, explore the San José del Cabo Art District, which hosts a weekly Art Walk featuring local and international artists.
For outdoor enthusiasts, adventure awaits in activities like desert ATV tours, zip-lining, and
camel safaris, offering unique ways to experience the stunning landscapes of the Baja
Huatulco Mexico: 10 of the Best Things to Do In This Lesser-Known Gem
Sunny, warm year-round weather, gorgeous Pacific Coast beaches, a national park, luxury resorts, no crowds, outstanding food, and an authentic cultural experience can all be found in one place: Huatulco, Mexico.
This fantastic coastal destination in the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico is known for beautiful nature, crystal clear waters for snorkeling and diving, whale watching in winter, delicious Oaxacan food, surfing, and welcoming, friendly people. So, while you might have to take a connecting flight to this off-the-beaten-path location, you’ll be rewarded.
A Local Shares 10 Mistakes Cancun Tourists Often Make
Thirty million people flock to this tropical beach destination yearly to soak up the sun and unwind at fantastic resorts. But like any other popular tourist spot, there are potential pitfalls. With guidance from this resident, you’ll dodge vacation mistakes others fall for and have the getaway you’re planning for.
The Mexico Resort and Golf Course So Superb It Was LIV Golf’s Season Opening Tournament Spot
Mayakoba, Mexico, a 620-acre luxury oceanfront resort and residential eco-destination in Riviera Maya and its acclaimed golf course, El Camaleón, was the first stop of LIV Golf’s second season. It’s the league’s first-ever tournament in Latin America.
Located 45 minutes south of Cancun and minutes from Playa del Carmen, it is one of the best resort communities in Mexico. Mayakoba consists of four luxury hotels: Andaz Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Fairmont Mayakoba, and Rosewood Mayakoba, as well as three collections of private residences, including Rosewood Residences Mayakoba, Fairmont Heritage Place Mayakoba, and The Reserve.