What to see in Mexico: cities and attractions not to be missed

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Mexico is a wonderful country on the Caribbean Sea. IS visited mainly for its archaeological sites, ancient evidence of the Mayan civilization, as well as for its long beaches and for the tourist centers that surround them, full of colors and joy. The most popular region is that of Quintana Roo, where there are a large number of these attractions, together with other naturalistic wonders, such as the cenotes. Moving to the countries further away from the coast, however, is possible appreciate the culture and folklore of this country, often linked to ancient traditions.

Are you thinking of organizing a trip to Mexico? Here what to see absolutely: cities and attractions not to be missed!


  1. Chichen Itza
  2. Biosphere of Sian Ka'an
  3. Cenotes
  4. Palenque
  5. San Cristóbal de las Casas
  6. Archaeological site of Tulum
  7. Bacalar Lagoon
  8. Holbox Island
  9. Uxmal
  10. Mexico City
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited places in Mexico and its archaeological site has been listed among the new seven wonders of the modern world. It is located in the state of Yucatan and it is located about 200 km from Cancun, which is also the closest and best connected airport to reach it and from which several daily tours are organized that include the attraction and its surroundings.
In this regard, do not miss the all inclusive tour of Chichén Itzá, Cenote Ik Kil and Valladolid, with pickup and transport included from Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum.

Its most iconic attraction is undoubtedly the Kukulkan pyramid, also known as El Castillo, which also represents the image of the site in the world. Once, it was possible to climb this great pyramid but today, to preserve the site and the safety of visitors, this activity has been banned. Entrance fee 202,00 pesos (€ 8,00), open every day 8: 00-16: 00 - Get directions

2 - Sian Ka'an Biosphere

The Sian Ka'an Biosphere is a protected area that extends for more than 5.000 sq km in the Yucatan Peninsula. The biosphere, whose name means "gate of heaven", houses more than 300 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, including the puma, and 23 archaeological sites, dating back to the Mayan culture. Part of the biosphere develops on land, while the rest overlooks a large coral reef.

However, this beauty of nature is protected by a dirt road and very difficult to reach independently so, if you want to visit it, it is advisable to rely on guided tours and excursions, also because a maximum number of daily visitors has been established.

3 - Cenotes

The cenotes are another of the must-see attractions located mainly in the Yucatan Peninsula and some also in Chiapas. These are some very ancient limestone formations which, over the millennia, gave rise to caves and underground caverns, each of them connected to the others by means of tunnels.

Today is It is possible to visit these cenotes and carry out various activities within them, such as diving or just swimming. The water is usually very cold, as these cavities are not exposed to the sun and are characterized by the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. On average, the entrance cost is around 20,00 pesos (€ 0,80) and the most famous are Dos Ojos, near Tulum, where you can participate in scuba diving, and Ik Kil, just 2 km away. from Chichen Itza, which can be visited on a one-day tour with Chichén Itzá and Valladolid as well. We recommend that you always go to the cenotes with non-slip shoes.

4 - Palenque

Palenque is one of the other important archaeological sites in Mexico. In particular, this attraction is located in Chiapas and is mainly dedicated to the soothsayer Pakal. The peculiarity of this archaeological site is that only a small part has been brought to light, while 1.500 temples are still covered by the jungle and probably forever guarded by it.

The site of Palenque, in fact, is completely surrounded by the Mexican jungle, characterized by the presence of many species of animals and trees, including that of the cocoa bean. And, in fact, right next to the site there is also the entrance to the itinerary that leads to the discovery of the jungle, but we strongly advise you not to walk it alone, as there are no marked paths and it is not difficult to get lost inside. We therefore recommend the 1 day tour from San Cristóbal, the best starting point to discover this whole area!

The ticket to visit Palenque costs just 62,00 pesos (€ 2,50), the site is open every day from 8:00 to 16:00.

5 - San Cristobal de las Casas

This picturesque town of San Cristobal de las Casas is located in the heart of Chiapas, surrounded by its mountains. IS a very suggestive and unmissable place for those who want to make a complete tour of Mexico since, through its narrow and colorful streets, it is possible to come into contact with the tradition of Mexican culture, made up of religious rites and cordiality.

A very suggestive time to visit the city is in the evening, when the street lights color it red and there is a great buzz around it, also thanks to the lively market. Not to be missed is the city's cathedral, located on the top of Cerro de Guadalupe. Compared to the temperatures of the country, being in a basin, San Cristobal it is getting colder and more humid and in the evening the thermometer can drop even below 15 °.

It is also about a perfect base point to discover the whole Chiapas area! Several tours depart from here to discover the surroundings, such as the tour to discover the Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa de Corzo, the tour of the Chiflon and Montebello waterfalls or the tour to Agua Azul and Palenque.

6 - Tulum Archaeological Site

This beautiful and evocative archaeological site boasts the particularity of overlooking the sea, so that the green of the meadows surrounding the archaeological remains merge with the blue of the sea, especially when it is agitated and the waves seem to break on the tower. There is also a staircase, which leads right to the beach, whose image is the most used to depict the site of Tulum.

This archaeological site (65,00 pesos / € 2,50, every day 8: 00-17: 00), is among the most important in all of Mexico, but also one of the smallest. It tends to get quite crowded, as it is very close to one of the areas most populated by tourist resorts. Several tours also depart from here to discover all the surroundings, such as the one at Cenote Dos Ojos.

7 - Bacalar Lagoon

Bacalar lagoon is a place of enchanting beauty about 300 km from Cancun, also located in the Quintana Roo region. Once arrived, one immediately gets the impression of being in a place populated by pirates, thanks to the clear waters with the typical shades of the Caribbean Sea and the dense vegetation all around.

Because of its colors and its vastness, it will not seem to be in front of a lagoon. On the seabed, there are also very deep cenotes while, in some places, the water is so shallow that you can walk on the sand. The best way to explore the lagoon is to join a boat ride: usually, they last 2 hours, they welcome few tourists and the cost is about € 10,00 per person.

8 - Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox is a 42 km long and 2 km wide strip of land located north of the Yucatan Peninsula, a short distance from Cancun. It belongs to the Yum Balam nature reserve and is home to around 500 varieties of birds, including pink flamingos, pelicans and cormorants.

The peculiarity of this destination is to be a small wild islet free from resorts and other businesses.

Those wishing to spend a few days here will have the opportunity to choose small hotels, with the characteristic thatched roof, and indulge in relaxing activities such as swimming or snorkeling. Being consisting of mostly dirt roads, we recommend visiting Isla Holbox by quad or using a local taxi.

If, on the other hand, you don't have enough time to stop for several days, however, we recommend that you dedicate at least one day to it! There are several tours with organized transfer options!

9 - Uxmal

Uxmal is often quoted in between the most visited attractions in Mexico, especially for lovers of history and archeology. However, among all the other sites just mentioned, it is the one that counts the least number of visitors, perhaps because of its location.

In fact, Uxmal it is not inserted along frequently traveled paths and, due to its distance from the Riviera Maya, the undisputed destination of most tourists, it is not one of the most popular excursions. The site is located in the southeastern part of the Yucatan, towards the Campeche region and is completely immersed in the vegetation, which gives it an atmosphere of absolute peace and relaxation. The cost to enter is 213,00 pesos (€ 8,40) and the archaeological site is open every day 8: 00-17: 00

10 - Mexico City

Although often excluded from the stages of a trip to Mexico, due to its remoteness from the most frequently visited and grouped places, Mexico City is a very varied destination which, even alone, justifies the move. In addition to being the capital of the country, it is also a very coveted cultural center, as it is full of attractions and museums. To explore it to the fullest and to move easily, given its size, we recommend that you use the tourist bus, with stops located at strategic points, close to the main attractions!

Do not miss its historic center with the El Zocalo square, which it represents the largest square in all of Latin America. Then, the Chapultepec castle, which dominates the city from above. And again, the magnificent colors and folkloric traditions that emerge from the lively markets along the streets and in the small museums of the city, such as the one named after Frida Khalo, today an important icon for the feminist world.

    Where it is

    Mexico is a state in Central America overlooking the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. To the south it borders with Guatemala and Beliza, all linked by the ancient spread of Mayan and Aztec cultures, while to the north it borders the United States of America.

    Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

    • Inhabitants: 128.649.565
    • Capital: Mexico City
    • Languages: Spanish
    • Local currency: Mexican peso (MXN) / Exchange rate: € 1,00 = MXN 25,00
    • Weather: tropical, with average temperatures of 28 °. The seasons are reversed compared to Italy. In the period between August and October it can be in the path of hurricanes - find out more
    • Time zone: has 3 time zones. The main area, the most touristic one, is -6 hours from Italy (-5GMT)
    • vaccinations: no vaccination required. We recommend, after consulting a doctor, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, salmonella and measles
    • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least 6 months. Documents attesting to residence and exit from the country (place of stay and return flight ticket) may be required. Visa not required for tourism up to 180 days of stay
    • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

      Tours and excursions in Mexico

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