Mexico offers so much more than the high octane holiday resorts which it has become famous for. Explore a little further afield than the package vacation favourites and you’ll unearth deserted coastlines, remains of ancient and important civilizations and peaceful national parks. Although selecting the the most picturesque places is of course subjective, here are my choices for ten of the most beautiful places to visit in Mexico…
1. Puerto Vallarta
This cosmopolitan resort located on the country’s west coast Puerto Vallarta is a picky vacationers dream. It’s also the perfect choice for those on a limited time frame who want to get a taste for all aspects of Mexican life. The gorgeous stretches of sand along Banderas Bay is one of the biggest draws and so is the pretty old town of Puerto Vallarta which offers traditional architecture, stylish restaurants and plenty of interesting shops.
The Yucatan peninsula sits on the southern tip of Eastern Mexico. A popular area to visit, the peninsula is known for its unique geology, natural beauty, outstanding coastline and ancient Mayan ruins. The state’s national parks shouldn’t be missed nor should the incredible underground lakes otherwise known as the Cenotes.
Covering a part of Mexico’s south coast, this world heritage city offers both natural and man-made beauty. Famous for its indigenous people and ancient cultures as well as a vibrant art and craft scene – the city makes an exceptional travel destination. When visiting, make sure you explore some of the colourful colonial architecture and also the surrounding area which is abundant with deserted stretches of coastline, thick forests and photogenic waterfalls.
A subtropical paradise characterized by rainforest jungles and ancient Mayan ruins, the Chiapas is certainly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mexico. Highlights include the river-carved Canyon of Sumidero, the lakes at Montebello and the ancient ruins at Palenque.
5. The Copper Canyon
This area in the north of Chihuahua is a beautiful environment made up of cliffs and caves. The cliffs join together to make a formation bigger than America’s famous Grand Canyon. Visit for stunning panoramic vistas as well as inspirational canyon walks where the sheer size of nature really helps put life in perspective!
6. The Bufadora
This sea cave in Baja California is a sight not to miss when visiting Mexico. With the cave at sea level, the tidal surges create a massive spouting geyser accompanied by an eerie sound that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Join the other people gathering around the cave and sit back and enjoy the show.
7. Chichen Itza
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichen Itza stands as testament to the might of the Mayan civilisation. Dominated by the imposing El Castillo structure this site of extreme archaeological interest is also one of the most stunning spots in the country and should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Mexico. When planning your trip make sure you allow for a day to visit – the area occupies around a 2.5 square mile radius.
8. Horsetail Falls
The Cola de Caballo (or horse’s tail) waterfalls in Monterrey draws a huge number of visitors. The cascades are a great photogenic attraction and the surrounding area is also popular with outdoor activity and nature enthusiasts. Book a hotel in the nearby resort and choose from hiking, bungee jumping, canyoneering or (rather aptly) horse riding.
9. Isla Mujeres
Just a short boat ride from the package holiday favourite Cancun, Isla Mujeres (otherwise known as the Island of the Women) is a perfect tropical paradise which is a world away from the craziness of the mainland. It’s a small island with not an awful lot going on – but that’s the island’s main selling point. Swim, snorkel or just indulge in the sweet art of not doing very much at all.
10. Cabo San Lucas Arch
The coastal city of Cabo is a tourist hot spot and visitor’s love its sandy beaches, world class diving locations and holiday atmosphere. Although the highlight of Cabo is undoubtedly the beautiful natural rock formations that jut out from the turquoise sea. The Cabo San Lucas Arch sits at the meeting point of two seas and has rightly earned its place in Mexican legend and folklore.
Where to stay – Popular, unique and reasonably priced hotels in Mexico
- CasaMagna Resort&Spa, Puerto Vallarta – Well presented resort hotel overlooking beach from $85pn
- Sunset Plaza Beach Resort&Spa, Puerto Vallarta – Relaxing luxury from $75pn
- Hotel Julamis, Merida, Yucatan – Gorgeous shabby chic budget hotel from $35pn
- Casita de Maya, Cozumel, Yucatan – Traditional and rustic with very good rates from $45pn
- Hotel Casa De Sierra Azul, Oaxaca – Charming and elegant reasonably priced hotel from $75pn
- Tulija Express Hotel & Villas, Chiapas – Good value colonial style hotel from $40pn
- Posada Hotel Chichen Itza – Comfortable and relaxing mid range hotel from $45pn
- Avalon Reef Club Resort, Isla Mujeres– Lower priced hotel located on the beach from $65pn
- Privilege Aluxes Hotel, Isla Mujeres – Beautiful hotel with gorgeous views from $90pn
- Quinta del Sol Hotel, Cabo San Lucas– Great value budget hotel with a pool from $50pn
- Marbella En La Playa Suites, Cabo San Lucas – Stunning mid range hotel from $45pn
- Avalon Baccara, Cancun– A beach-side budget boutique hotel from $65pn.
Ten of the most beautiful places to visit in Mexico was written by travel writer and Mexico fan Anna DeWinter.
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