Durango broadwalk with colorful flags and people passing by, Mexico

Things to do in  Mexico

A country that lives in color

Home to soaring peaks, dramatic canyons, dense rainforests, and stark deserts, Mexico is a land of contrasts. But with thousands of miles of shoreline offering both Pacific Coast surf and Caribbean coral, some of the best things to do in Mexico are water-based. Resorts like Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta offer diving, snorkeling, beach clubs, boat parties, dinner cruises, and more. Ziplines, ATV adventures, cenotes, and Mayan ruins—including Chichen Itza—lure travelers to the Yucatan jungle, while tequila flows at fiestas like the Day of the Dead.

Top 15 attractions in Mexico

Rio Secreto Nature Reserve

Rio Secreto, or the “Secret River,” is a series of caves carved out by the flow of an ancient underground river in Mexico. While the reserve is most famous for its large half-sunken cavern—a popular diving spot—you can also explore eerie passageways, swim in the river, and admire dripping stalactites, stalagmites, and colorful mineral formations.More

Chichen Itza

One of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is among Mexico's most visited and iconic archaeological sites. Known for its main central pyramid, this impressive Maya site—once the ceremonial center of the Yucatán—also features temples, ball courts, and a cenote (freshwater sinkhole).More

Arch of Cabo San Lucas (El Arco)

A signature landmark of Los Cabos, El Arco de Cabo San Lucas—known locally as simply “El Arco” or “the Arch”—is a limestone arch carved by time, tide, and wind. The natural attraction runs down to the water’s edge at Land’s End, the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas (which itself is at the southern end of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula) and into the Sea of Cortez. From a distance, the rock formation looks like a dragon; up close, the arch frames sky, sea, and sand for prime photos.More


Known as the City of the Gods, Teotihuacán was the metropolis of a mysterious Mesoamerican civilization that reached its zenith around AD 100. Once the largest city in the region but abandoned centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs, Teotihuacán boasts towering pyramids and stone temples with detailed statues and intricate murals.More


Tulum, the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city and a port for Coba, is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan cities in the Yucatan, in tandem with Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. Highlights of this archaeological site include the Temple of the Frescoes, which has spectacular figurines of the 'diving god.'More

Mr. Sancho's Beach Club Cozumel

Set on a private stretch of white sand, Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club Cozumel allows you to avoid the island’s beachfront crowds and offers amenities for a relaxing seaside experience. Here you can swim in the Caribbean ocean, sample all you can eat from the restaurant and bar, float in the infinity pool, and relax in shaded cabanas.More

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (the “Island of Women”) is known for its rich marine life and pristine beaches. Here you can snorkel at Manchones Reef, scuba dive in the Cave of Sleeping Sharks, or stretch out on the white sands of North Beach (Playa Norte). On land you’ll find bustling nightlife, with oceanside bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood.More

Frida Kahlo Museum (Museo Frida Kahlo)

Known as the Blue House (La Casa Azul) for its bold blue façade, the Frida Kahlo Museum (Museo Frida Kahlo) was the birthplace and childhood home of the well-known Mexican artist. Inside, the fascinating collection of personal items, furnishings, sketches, and paintings offer insight into both the life and art of Frida Kahlo.More

La Bufadora

With its thunderous crash and sky-high jet of water, La Bufadora blowhole—a grey whale turned to stone, according to local legend—is one of the world’s largest marine geysers and an easy trip from nearby Ensenada. Prepare to get drenched as you watch from the surrounding viewpoints as the saltwater squirts up to 100 feet (30 meters) into the air.More

Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas)

The small, uninhabited Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) are located in the Bay of Banderas off Mexico's Pacific coast. Making up a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, the islands are famous for their abundance of flora and fauna. It's a great place to visit if you want to trade the crowds of the beach resort scene for some natural delights.More

Banderas Bay (Bahia de Banderas)

Located near Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas) is famous for its 42-mile (68-kilometer) stretch of picturesque coast. Jungle, sandy beaches, and rich aquatic life define this area, which is ideal for watersports and land adventures alike.More


Akumal is a small beach town located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Meaning “land of the turtles” in the Mayan language, Akumal is famous for its plentiful sea turtle population. Its secluded white-sand beaches and peaceful bays are also ideal for those seeking a more private experience.More

Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park

With its unspoiled beaches, lush nature trails, and abundance of marine life, Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park is among the highlights of Cozumel, set along the island’s west coast in the area’s National Marine Park. The Chankanaab name comes from the Mayan language and means "little sea," referring to the park’s natural lagoon. The access to the warm, turquoise sea is a top draw, as are the provided lounge chairs and hammocks prime for relaxing on the beautiful beach.More


With its brightly painted flat-bottomed boats called trajineras, traditional chinampas (floating gardens), and network of flower-perfumed canals, Xochimilco—the "Flower Garden"—is the kind of place that will have you reaching for your camera at every turn.More

Los Arcos National Marine Park

At Los Arcos National Marine Park in Puerto Vallarta there are islands to visit, reefs to dive, tunnels to swim through, and caves to explore, providing plenty of the arches that give Los Arcos (the Arches) its name. This protected area is famous for its abundant wildlife, both above and below the ocean’s surface, and is a popular snorkeling spot.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Mexico

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Teotihuacan, from Mexico City
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Luxury Catamaran Whale Watching Cabo San Lucas
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Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel. Lunch & Open Bar Onboard and Visit to Isla Mujeres
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Los Cabos Luxury Sailing, Snorkel and Lunch Cruise
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ATV Adventure, Interactive Bridges, Ziplines, Cenote & Free Lunch
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Luxury Sailing Yacht and Chef Dinner
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Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
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Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs

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Alma, by Rhythms of the night
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All about Mexico

When to visit

It’s a big country with marked contrasts in climate and geography, so planning when to go depends largely on where you’re headed and what’s on your list of things to do in Mexico. Typically, December to April tends to be the most popular time for international tourists, since that’s when you’ll find the least amount of rainfall. It’s also whale-watching season in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo.

If you’re hoping to swim with whale sharks in Isla Holbox or Isla Mujeres, along the Riviera Maya, then plan on coming in July or August.

Getting around

For short trips, or for getting around big, bustling urban centers like Mexico City or Guadalajara, taxis and rideshares are affordable and ubiquitous. If you’re headed further afield, more adventurous travelers will find plenty of long-distance bus routes. The country is also home to around 100 airports, and domestic flights tend to be a comfortable and fairly budget-friendly option, especially if you book far in advance.

Traveler tips

When planning a trip here, don’t just head to the coasts. Oceanside destinations like Cancún, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas are indeed lovely, but Mexico has a lot more to offer than just great beaches. Taste the local street food specialities in the Chiapas mountain town of San Cristóbal de Las Casas or in yummy Oaxaca—nicknamed Mexico’s "culinary capital." Art and architecture lovers should plan to spend time in effortlessly cool Mexico City or Puebla and Guadalajara, both major hubs for ceramics.

Local Currency
Mexican Peso (MX$)
Time Zone
CST (UTC -6)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Mexico famous for?

The enormous country is famous for many things, not least its ancient landmarks, mountainous landscape, sprawling coastline, and vibrant cities. In addition, a rich cultural heritage, world-famous cuisine, and modern infrastructure make this diverse nation one of North America’s top destinations for travelers from around the world.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Mexico?

UNESCO World Heritage Site Chichén Itzá is among its most popular attractions, with its Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo) frequently cited as one of the world’s greatest wonders. Other pre-Columbian sites, such as the Tulum and Teotihuacán ruins, are visited by millions of people every year and top the list of things to do in Mexico.

What places do people visit in Mexico?

People visit Mexico’s pre-Columbian landmarks, such as Chichén Itzá, Tulum, and Teotihuacán. Natural reserves, including Rio Secreto, Moxviqui, and Kantun Chi, are also among the country’s most popular attractions. Closer to the capital, cultural hotspots such as Xochimilco and the Frida Kahlo Museum also draw several thousand visitors each year.

What should you not miss in Mexico?

It depends on where you are. Mexico is huge, so unless you’re backpacking across the country, focus on what’s nearby. Visitors to Mexico City shouldn’t miss the Xochimilco canals or Teotihuacán ruins, while travelers on the Yucatán Peninsula should visit Chichén Itzá, Tulum, and the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve.

How can I travel around Mexico?

Public transportation and domestic flights are the easiest ways to get around Mexico. If you’ve made a base in one city, look for day tours that include private transfers to save time and hassle. Otherwise, buses are ideal for shorter distances, while cross-state journeys are best done by plane.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

Yes, as long as you take reasonable precautions. Crime can happen, so carefully plan your route beforehand and always choose the safest travel options. Check travel advice for each state and travel in a group where possible. Nonetheless, most visits to Mexico are trouble-free, especially in and between tourist destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions