Last Updated on August 2, 2023
Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world, from nature to culture, there’s a lot to discover. Whether you’re looking for stunning beaches, wild nature, rich culture, or a city break, you’ll always find something to fit your needs in Mexico. Read on to discover all the most popular Mexican destinations you can go on vacation to.
Travel tip – Before any international trip, make sure to get good travel insurance.
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Most popular Mexican destinations:
Cancun is the most popular Mexican destination thanks to its stunning beaches. Cancun is the perfect place if you’re looking for an all-inclusive vacation and want to spend your day relaxing at the beach, exploring the nearby islands and beaches aboard a catamaran, going on excursions to visit Mayan ruins, or partaking in adventurous activities like riding an ATV in the jungle.
Cancun is also famous for its party vibe, with some of the best nightclubs in the country.
Around Cancun, you can take day trips to discover the Riviera Maya, visiting Maya ruins and swimming in cenotes (underground natural pools).
Not far from Cancun, Tulum is a great alternative if all-inclusive resorts are not your style. Tulum offers a laid-back village vibe. There, you’ll find many eco-hotels and vegan restaurants. It’s a great base camp to discover the Riviera Maya in a less touristy/crowded atmosphere.
In Tulum, you’ll find beautiful beaches, Maya ruins, several cenotes, and the stunning Sian Ka’an Natural Reserve.
Bacalar is probably the most beautiful Mexican destination. Famous for its seven-colored lagoon, this Pueblo Magico (Magical Town) is a must-visit if you’re planning on traveling to the Riviera Maya. Take a sail-boat ride on the lagoon, bike to a cenote, or relax on a hammock, everything is there to guarantee you’ll leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Merida, the capital of Yucatan, is one of the most popular Mexican destinations for people traveling to the Yucatan Peninsula. The city offers beautiful colonial architecture, tons of cultural activities, and delicious gastronomy.
Merida is also a good base camp to explore the nearby beaches, cenotes, pueblo magicos, and Maya ruins.
Related article – Ultimate itinerary for the Yucatan Peninsula.
Chichen Itza is the most visited Maya site in Mexico and a must-see. Valladolid, the nearby town, is a popular Mexican destination offering a cute colonial center, some of the country’s most beautiful cenotes and two nearby important archaeological sites: Chichen Itza and Ek Balam.
Discover more things to do in Valladolid.
Surrounded by jungle, Palenque is an archaeological site perfect for people who love nature and want to get off-the-beaten-path. Famous among backpackers, Palenque is a must-visit if you’re planning on visiting Chiapas.
San Cristobal de las Casas
Chiapas is one of the most popular Mexican destinations, the tourism there is oriented towards nature and traditional culture. San Cristobal, located in the mountainside, is a great place to discover local culture and the lush Chiapas jungle, trekking to waterfalls and looking for colorful birds.
Oaxaca state is also a popular Mexican destination, the state is full of hidden gems, one of them, its capital, Oaxaca City, offers great opportunities to witness the local traditional culture and sample some of the country’s best gastronomy.
Often skipped by international travelers, Mexico City is a popular Mexican destination among locals. The city is the second place in the world where you’ll find the most museums after London. It’s also a great place to learn more about Mexican culture, its gastronomy, and its history.
There are also a lot of interesting things to do around the capital such as visiting the impressive Teotihuacan ruins and several cute nearby Pueblos Magicos.
Discover the perfect 4-day itinerary for Mexico City.
Queretaro is one of the biggest colonial cities in Mexico. Its historic center is a cultural hub filled with stunning edifices, great museums, and cute cafés. The city also offers a vibrant nightlife with many bars, featuring live bands or salsa classes, and popular nightclubs to shake the night away.
The state of Queretaro offers many day trip opportunities as well, from rappelling down one of the world’s largest megaliths to relaxing in a hot source.
Read more about Queretaro and the best places to visit there.
Morelia is not the most popular Mexican destination but it should be one. This UNESCO city is perfect if you like colonial architecture and want to escape the crowds. The beautiful historic center is filled with museums and historical buildings that will keep you busy for a few days.
Read more about Morelia and things to do while there.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a popular Mexican destination among American expats and tourists. This UNESCO city is the cutest you’ll ever see. San Miguel de Allende has an artsy and bohemia vibe, walking through its paved streets, you’ll see art galleries and vegan cafes at every corner.
The city is a good place to relax, shop for arts, sample some delicious fusion food and gaze at colonial buildings.
Read more about San Miguel de Allende and its best attractions.
Guanajuato is a small hilly city with a rich mining past. Filled with tunnels and small winding streets, Guanajuato is one of the most popular Mexican destination and a paradise if you want to visit colonial towns. Get lost in the city’s paved street gazing at its UNESCO historic center.
Guanajuato is also a popular destination thanks to the Cervantino Festival, a yearly event focused on culture, especially theater.
Read more about Guanajuato.
Patzcuaro is one of the most popular Mexican destinations during the famous Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Each year, this small town hosts one of the biggest and most colorful celebrations. It’s an opportunity to honor the dead, but for many, it also turns into a giant street party.
Read more about Patzcuaro.
Guadalajara is one of Mexico’s most visited cities and one of the most popular Mexican destinations for tourists. The city offers tons of activities and cute places to visit. It’s a good base camp to explore the many Pueblos Magicos (Magic Towns) located in Jalisco State as well as the beautiful natural sights the state offers.
A trip to Central Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Tequila, a Pueblo Magico (Magical Town) where truly, magic happens. From Guadalajara, there’s a special “party” train that takes you to Tequila while you sample some of the country’s iconic alcohol.
Even if day-drinking isn’t your thing, you should still visit a distillery or two to learn how tequila is made.
Puerto Vallarta is a popular beach destination near Guadalajara. The small city offers everything tourists could need from all-inclusive resorts and hidden villas to fancy restaurants and busy bars. Budget travelers will also find their fair share of options, with many hostels and cheap Mexican street food and bars.
Puerto Vallarta is the perfect Mexican destination if you like the beach, partying, and socializing. There, don’t miss the beautiful Marieta Islands, one of the most popular Mexican destinations and tourist spots.
Chihuahua is home to one of the last touristic train lines in Mexico: El Chepe. While most international tourists haven’t heard of it, El Chepe is a popular Mexican attraction among locals. This scenic train ride that can last up to a week (if you make stops along the way) passes through the Chihuahua desert, the stunning Copper Canyon, and beautiful landscape.
Baja California is the perfect place for people who love the sea and are looking to unwind. Known for its beautiful beaches and great surfing spots, the cities of La Paz, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose are perfect base-camps to explore the peninsula.