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The 10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico (Our Favorites in 2024)

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico (Our Favorites in 2024)

With so many awesome cities and towns, deciding where to travel in Mexico can be overwhelming. But don’t worry — Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit (I’ve been 4 times in the last 3 months), so I know a thing or two about this tropical paradise. Below, I’ll show you what I consider to be the best places to visit in Mexico.

Places in Mexico You Have to See in 2024

Our trips to Mexico over the years have shown us how incredibly magnetic this country is. There are so many places to see! Sun-soaked beaches where the party never stops, ancient ruins telling long-forgotten stories, and modern cities paying homage to the country’s history should all be on your list.

The best places to visit in Mexico will immerse you in the country’s vibrant spirit and give you a new appreciation for the soul and depth of Mexico’s landscapes, people, culture, and — of course — delicious food. 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing trip that consists entirely of margs on the beach and island excursions or a more authentic journey into the country’s oldest cities and villages, this list of the best places to visit in Mexico is for you. 

1. Cancun

Cancun, one of the best places to visit in Mexico

Frederick Millett/Shutterstock

With an earned reputation as a party and beach town, Cancun is the premier destination if you’re hoping to let your hair down and enjoy pristine, white sand beaches, an amazing array of beachfront restaurants and bars, and a huge variety of hotels for every budget. 

Cancun’s L-shaped hotel zone hugs the coastline and offers a range of places to stay right on the water, from action-packed spots and all-inclusive resorts to hotels offering a bubble of calm with private beaches. El Centro, the downtown area, offers a better glimpse of the true Mexico. 

Whether your ideal vacation day looks like lounging on the sand, restaurant-hopping to taste Mexico’s bright flavors, casting a line to catch big fish, or partying from sun up to sun down, Cancun offers it all. 

While Cancun attracts a lot of tourists, it’s also where you’ll find endless excursion opportunities, water sports, cool shops and street markets, and delicious food around every corner. You’ll never have trouble finding a spot to grab a cocktail or down a few shots of tequila! 

Take the ferry over to Isla Mujeres (20-30 minutes) if you’re looking for a less touristy dynamic in a gorgeous setting. Take a day trip to nearby Chichen Itza, Tulum, Uxmal, or Valladolid if you’re up for exploring Mayan ruins and swimming in subterranean cenotes. 

Read Next: Is Cancun Safe to Visit in 2024?

2. Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, one of the best places to visit in Mexico

Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

The Riviera Maya sits south of Cancun and covers a long, beautiful stretch of the Caribbean coastline, encompassing colorful beach towns and Mayan ruins in places like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Puerto Morelos.

Less crowded than Cancun, the Riviera Maya offers a more laid-back getaway option that still boasts plenty of tourist amenities and attractions. It’s the ideal spot if you’re hoping to see a little more of Mexico’s natural beauty and explore ancient ruins. 

Explore the underwater world by diving at the National Reef Park Of Puerto Morelos, swim in enchanted cenotes as old as time, walk among still-standing Mayan ruins, zip-line or ride ATVs through the Mayan jungle, and relax on Playa del Carmen’s beautiful beaches. 

You’ll find incredible Mayan ruins to explore 45 minutes to an hour and a half away (Tulum and Coba, respectively) if you’re up for an adventure in the jungle. The best way to enjoy the Riviera Maya is by renting a car and taking short trips to the nearby towns and sites. 

Playa del Carmen is packed with all-inclusive resorts that make vacationing here so convenient — drinks, meals, excursions, and entertainment included! You’ll find plenty of other options throughout the Riviera if you’d rather hotel-hop or eat most of your meals off resort grounds during your trip. 

3. Baja California

Gorgeous Baja California sur, one of the best places to visit in Mexico


Baja California is a Mexican state in northwestern Mexico, just beyond the U.S. border in California. Popular for trips from San Diego (about 20 minutes away), it’s home to cities like Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, and Tecate. Beaches, deserts, and a unique, alternative culture make it one of the best places to visit in Mexico. 

Baja California is a region to explore in full, setting up “base camp” at a great hotel and day tripping your way to the towns further south or packing up and hotel-hopping during your trip to see and experience it all.

Lounge on quiet beaches in Rosarito or San Felipe, eat and drink your weight in fish tacos and margaritas in buzzing Tijuana (the birthplace of the salt-rimmed cocktail), and explore the hills and bucolic serenity of Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s burgeoning wine country. 

The culture is lively and vibrant in this part of Mexico, bringing creativity, art, music, and imaginative takes on classic Mexican flavors to the region. Art galleries, eateries, boho shops, and bustling street markets wrap you in the visuals, sounds, tastes, and aromas of Baja California. 

While the region isn’t the most-visited in Mexico anymore (violence and drug wars have cast a shadow over it in recent years), it still offers an incredible look at Mexico’s diversity and beauty. And in the areas popular with tourists, you aren’t likely to see any hint of the region’s underbelly.

Read Next: Is Baja California Safe to Visit in 2024?

4. Mexico City

Palacio De Bellas Artes in Mexico City, one of the best places to visit in Mexico

Ramiro Reyna Jr/Shutterstock

A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its bustling capital, Mexico City. Located on the Central Mexican plateau, this city is a haven for flavorful food, monuments and skyscrapers, high-end to bohemian neighborhoods, and an endless array of shops and museums to explore. 

Bosque de Chapultepec is a park that spans thousands of acres around the rocky Chapultepec Hill. It’s topped by a castle that overlooks the park and is a fantastic spot to spend a sunny afternoon. Stroll or bike along Paseo de la Reforma on a Sunday morning when cars are blocked from entering. 

You owe yourself a visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo in the gorgeous, cobblestoned Coyoacan district, the expansive Museo Nacional de Antropologia, and cool architecture at landmarks like Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe.

Stay in the charming, tree-lined neighborhoods of Polanco, Condesa, or Roma to experience a small-town vibe in the buzzing Mexico City. You’ll find safe, walkable streets with shops, cafes, parks, nightlife, and galleries to entertain you on your trip, all not far from the historic city center.

These neighborhoods are home to many of the city’s best restaurants (fine dining in Polanco, trendy and laid-back eateries in Condesa and Roma). You’ll also be tempted by street food offerings like tacos stuffed with spicy meats and seafood as you wander through the city. 

Read Next: Is Mexico City Safe to Visit in 2024?

5. San Juan Teotihuacan

San Juan Teotihuacan pyramids is 5 on our list of must-see places in Mexico

Birol Bali/Shutterstock

Sitting just 30 miles from Mexico City, San Juan Teotihuacan is an ancient pre-Columbian city with roots stretching back to as early as 400 B.C. It’s known for its impressive pyramids that are still standing today, remarkably preserved to reveal pieces of Maya, Zapotec, and Mixtec cultural stories. 

The ancient city is dotted with large structures in interesting geometric designs, like the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and the slanted Avenue of the Dead that connects the sites.

Teotihuacan is still shrouded in mystery with undeciphered hieroglyphs and a distinct lack of palaces and graves, leading historians and anthropologists to dead ends in unraveling the history and mysteries of the city. That’s one of the most intriguing things about visiting this sacred and holy place. 

Today, you can visit the Museo de la Cultura Teotihuacana onsite to see pottery, remains, and ancient artifacts recovered from the site. There’s a sculpture garden in the ancient city to wander through, as well as spots where you can have a picnic among the ruins and shop for trinkets to remind you of your visit. 

The convenient location to Mexico City makes visiting San Juan Teotihuacan a popular day trip from the city, easily grabbing your interest for a few hours when you’re ready for a break from the buzz and hustle of the metropolis. 

6. Mayan Ruins

The Mayan Ruins, one of the best places to Visit in Mexico

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If stories of long-lost civilizations that performed shocking human sacrifices, centered their ancient cities around sacred cenotes and cave systems, and built amazing structures from stone that are still standing today interest you, you can’t go to Mexico without visiting the Mayan ruins. 

Ancient Mayan ruins can be found all over Mexico, especially concentrated on the Yucatán Peninsula and its 3 states: Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche. While some sites are more famous than others (ahem, Chichen Itza), they’re all incredibly interesting to visit. 

From huge pyramids and temples to structures that once served as royal palaces and sporting arenas, there are endless things to explore when you venture out to the pre-Columbian settlements of the Maya. 

Some of our favorite Mayan ruins to visit in Mexico are:

  • Chichen Itza, Yucatan
  • Coba, Quintana Roo
  • Tulum, Quintana Roo
  • Uxmal, Yucatan
  • Edzna, Campeche
  • Kohunlich, Quintana Roo
  • Yaxchilan, Chiapas

You’ll be able to wander through ancient structures and, with a guide, learn about the extensive history — sometimes violent, but always interesting — of the Maya people and their daily life, beliefs, and ceremonies. 

If you want to avoid big crowds, you can stick to visiting less-popular sites that are just as intriguing but seldom see large groups of visitors at one time. Yaxchilan and Edzna are perfect for a less busy visit if you want to experience the ruins in peace. 

The best part about planning to visit some of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico? Many of them are close together, making it easy to reach multiple sites in just a few days. For example, Chichen Itza is just an hour and 20 minutes from Coba and Coba is under an hour from Tulum.

7. The Magical Towns (Pueblos Magicos)

Pueblos Magicos, some of the coolest places to visit in Mexico


Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, or magic towns, are special towns designated as top destinations for tourists who want to immerse themselves in the true spirit of the country, its culture, and history. Often colorful and worthy of a 1-2 day stay, Pueblos Mágicos could be your favorite part of a trip to Mexico.

These magic towns boast some of the best food, coolest architecture, historic ruins, local art, and top notch hospitality that make them excellent places to visit in Mexico. The Mexican government began promoting these towns back in 2001, when the first 3 were named: 

  • Huasca de Ocampo, Hidalgo
  • Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi
  • Tepoztlan, Morelos

There are now 132 (and the list continues to grow) of these magical towns in Mexico, each one offering a unique but similar charm linked to the storied history of the country and the strength, creativity, and beliefs of its people.

Larger-than-life legends and myths, extensive history, ancient ruins, colorful architecture, booming industry and local trades, and natural beauty are all reasons a town could be named on the Pueblos Mágicos list. 

But with so many towns on the list, how can you narrow it down to a few that are worthy of spending a few precious days of your Mexico trip? Here are some of our favorite magic towns to explore:

  • Tequila, Jalisco: Birthplace of tequila with volcanoes and agave fields
  • Taxco, Guerrero: Silver jewelry shops and Spanish Colonial architecture 
  • Tepoztlán, Morelos: Legend as birthplace of Quezalcoatl with Aztec Tepozteco pyramid
  • San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas: Colonial architecture, museums, and markets
  • Bacalar, Quintana Roo: Beautiful Lake Bacalar, Fuerte de San Felipe, churches, underwater caves

All of the towns are, as a rule for inclusion on the list, close to larger cities and easy to reach for day trips and weekend excursions. That means that no matter where you’re visiting in Mexico, you’ll be able to find a magic town to explore nearby! 

8. San Miguel De Allende

Beautiful streets in San Miguel De Allende, one of the best places to see in Mexico

Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock

Want to experience the old Mexico with as much authenticity as possible? Head to San Miguel de Allende for a taste of the real Mexico in its food, old cobblestone streets, historic Baroque architecture, and sacred churches in beautiful designs. 

The main plaza, El Jardín, is the hub of the town, lined with amazing architectural examples of Baroque buildings and structures with centuries of history.

The art scene is very much alive here, with cultural festivals and galleries that give you a peek at the driving creative forces behind this long-standing town. 

While you’re here, you can sightsee around the main square to admire the rose-colored towers of the impressive Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel (Neo-Gothic) and the Templo de San Francisco church, with lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops to pop into. You’ll find a number of small hotels and inns scattered around the historic town center if you plan on spending a night or two here! 

This fortified town was established in the 16th century by a monk named Juan de San Miguel, who brought advanced agricultural methods and textile weaving techniques to the natives in the area.

Before you leave, visit the old 18th century Jesuit sanctuary just outside of town to see an incredible Mexican Baroque church, chapels, and historic murals and oil paintings.

9. Oaxaca

Thermal springs in Oaxaca, one of the best places to visit in Mexico

Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock

Oaxaca de Juárez, referred to as Oaxaca or Oaxaca City, is the capital of the Mexican Oaxaca state and one of the most fantastic places to visit in the country. Travelers who come here end up wishing they’d booked a longer stay and make plans to come back soon.

Once you arrive, you’ll quickly start feeling like a local because the city is small, walkable, and easy to navigate. Fall into a rhythm of venturing out to the Zocalo, the public plaza, where you’ll take your pick from a huge array of restaurants, street food vendors, and cool historic architecture. 

Oaxaca’s art scene is phenomenal, and you’ll find a host of small galleries and museums to explore while you walk through the city. Learn about the city, state, and indigenous cultures at the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, and Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México. 

There are plenty of tours to take in the city, but we’re partial to a mezcal tour (absolutely a huge deal here) that brings you to some of Oaxaca’s best mezcal bars for tastings as you learn about the production process and different types. 

And the food. The food! Oaxaca is known for some of the tastiest Mexican cuisine in the country.

This is where melty, mild Oaxaca cheese hails from, and you’ll taste some of the best tacos, enfrijoladas (corn tortillas covered in bean sauce), and tlayudas (like a Oaxacan pizza made with meat, veggies, and chiles topping a large, substantial corn tortilla) while you’re here. 

Read Next: Is Oaxaca Safe to Visit in 2024?

10. Puerto Vallarta

Sunset on one of the best places to visit in Mexico, Puerta Vallarta

Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

Explore coastal Puerto Vallarta in Mexico’s Jalisco state if you’re looking for lively beaches, nightlife, and a vibrant surfing scene that gives the town a uniquely laid-back feel. Active lifestyles here contrast with the historic architecture and winding cobblestone streets in the city’s center. 

Sightseeing is rewarding in Puerto Vallarta, with Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (an intricately designed church in the center), the famous Boy on the Seahorse sculpture, and the El Malecon boardwalk creating lots of areas to stroll and see what makes the city great. 

You’ll enjoy poking around for an hour or two at the downtown Cuale River Flea Market, where a range of vendors set up with delicious food, drinks, crafts, and artwork.

Head down to the beach to find an impressive array of bars, clubs, and restaurants on the water where live music is always playing and good times continually roll. Settle on your spot in the sand to watch surfers tackle big swells (or head just north to see even bigger waves). 

Some of the best views in Puerto Vallarta can be found at the top of Cerro de la Cruz at the overlook. Let your eyes fall across the sparkling Banderas Bay and downtown streets as people wander in and out of the shops and restaurants that bring the area to life. 

Read Next: Is Puerta Vallarta Safe to Visit in 2024?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get a better read on what you can expect when you head to the best places to visit in Mexico by checking out the most frequently asked questions below! 

What is the nicest part of Mexico to visit?

Oaxaca is considered the nicest part of Mexico to visit if you’re looking for a place that has it all. Oaxaca state and its capital, Oaxaca, boast everything from some of the country’s top beaches and views to incredible regional cuisine and a thriving local art, market, and entertainment scene.

Out of all the states in Mexico, travelers tend to report Oaxaca as being their favorite to visit and one that lures them back again and again. From Oaxaca’s buzzing Zocalo plaza with markets and food to Puerto Escondido’s beaches and amazing ruins at Monte Alban, Yagul, and Mitla, there are so many things to do and see in Oaxaca.

What part of Mexico is the most beautiful?

Many people consider Baja California Sur, the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula in western Mexico, to be one of the most beautiful parts of Mexico. It’s got scenic coastline, beautiful natural landscapes, luxury homes and resorts, and secluded, peaceful villages that seem forgotten by time.

With gorgeous beaches known for luxury resorts, like Cabo San Lucas, charming farming villages with cool adobe homes, offshore islands, and amazing rock formations that protrude from the water in interesting arch and keyhole forms, the dramatic landscapes and variations of Baja California Sur make it a truly picturesque part of Mexico to visit.

What is the safest part of Mexico to visit?

Mexico’s cities and towns that are popular with tourists are generally the safest parts of the country to visit due to increased police presence and enhanced developments that don’t intersect with any “dangerous” parts of town.

Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Oaxaca, Mayan ruin sites, Puerto Vallarta, and more are all considered safe parts of Mexico to visit with lower than average crime rates.

Where should I go for my first time in Mexico?

The best place to go for your first time in Mexico depends on your goals for the trip (and your budget). We think beach destinations, like Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta, are great options for first-timers, but there are some more well-rounded choices, like Oaxaca, that can offer beaches, ruins, excellent food, and ample places to stay with a more authentic feel.

Study up on your basic Spanish before your first trip to feel more at ease during your travels and follow the usual precautions (not going out alone at night, sticking to well-traveled areas, keeping your phone charged at all times, etc.) to fully enjoy your visit.

What month is best to go to Mexico?

The best month to go to Mexico is generally April, when you’ll get the double benefit of dry, warm weather as well as smaller crowds (and potentially better prices on your hotel and attractions).

The month of April sees highs around the upper 70s to mid 90s (warmer further south) and very little rain in Mexico, making it ideal for beaches, sightseeing, hiking, visiting ruins, and exploring Mexico’s cities.

So, What Are the Best Places to Visit in Mexico?

The best places to visit in Mexico show you just how varied, diverse, and epic this North American country really is. From famous beach destinations and bustling metropolises to ancient ruins and towns with thousands of years of history, Mexico is such a gem for adventurous travelers. 

Our favorite spots to visit in Mexico are sure to give you a close-up appreciation of the country’s flavors, culture, customs, and long-spanning history through different civilizations.

Most of all, you’ll get to join in Mexico’s unbridled sense of adventure and knack for enjoying life to the fullest — you’ll leave with a “Barriga llena, corazón contento” (full belly, happy heart)!