The 20 most beautiful things to see in Mexico
The 20 most beautiful things to see in Mexico - Mexico has strong, bright colors, poised between contrasting and almost always irresistible emotions: such as the splendor and drama of its millenary history , the ancient one of the Maya peoples or the more recent one of the Spanish conquerors and finally of national independence
The 20 most beautiful things to see in Mexico
Mexico has strong, bright colors, poised between contrasting and almost always irresistible emotions: such as the splendor and drama of its millenary history , the ancient one of the Maya peoples or the more recent one of the Spanish conquerors and finally of national independence. Like the wealth and misery that still coexist today in a framework full of charm , under an indescribable sky and natural beauty around every corner.
What to see in Mexico? Mexico City, Chichén Itza and much more. Discover the best places to see on a Costa cruise!
- Punta Sur Ecological Park
- Mexico City
- Chichén Itza
- Puerto Escondido
- Cobre train
- Yucatan Cenotes
- San Cristobal de las Casas
- Cabo San Lucas
- San Miguel de Allende
- Puerto Vallarta
The largest green and blue island in Mexico is immersed in the Caribbean Sea about twenty kilometers from the coast and the Yucatan peninsula . Most of its population is concentrated in the town of San Miguel , while the rest is dominated by the pristine forest. There are vestiges of the Mayan villages and also the Museum of the Island which testifies to their ancient history. The other big attraction is the Parque Punta Sur , the protected area in the south of the island.
Here too you can visit the remains of pre-Columbian architecture : the Caracol is a stone building built between 1200 and 1400, dedicated to the goddess of birth and good births. Thanks to the particular construction of the walls, a hissing sound came out of a crack in case of strong wind: it was the alarm that warned the population of Cozumel of the imminent arrival of a tropical hurricane.
Another archaeological site is located in San Gervasio , probably home to a holy city dedicated to the goddess Ixchel . There are still the frescoes on the walls of the sanctuaries. Finally in El Cedral , today a Mexican village where the Holy Cross is celebrated in May , once there were idols carved in stone and was a place of worship for the Maya. Today it is still possible to admire some of them along the paths that lead into the forest. Off the coast of Cozumel, diving adventurers find an underwater paradise where the Mesoamerican Reef extends, the largest coral reef on the American continent. Inland, on the other hand, the parks preserve a luxuriant nature. And in the heart of the tropical forest extends the Ceralain Eco Park Lighthouse with its mangrove jungle .
Punta Sur Ecological Park
The largest ecological reserve in Cozumel, in the southernmost part of the island. It is home to a great variety of indigenous species such as some exotic birds and wild flora that cannot be seen anywhere else. Naturally there is no shortage of crocodiles and with them sea turtles in their natural habitat. From the top of the promontory where the lighthouse is located, you can enjoy a truly wonderful panorama . The beaches of Punta Sur have delicate white sand, an excellent setting for a blue sea to be explored in all its richness, or rather for the wonder of the coral reef .
Entrance to the park also includes a visit to the historic lighthouse , where you climb up to get to a privileged vantage point across the island. Also worth visiting is the marine museum , to return to the beach you can use the electric bus. Seeing crocodiles up close is easy thanks to the organized tour that allows you to navigate the lagoon , another beauty that reserves very interesting natural corners.
Arriving by plane at night, its infinite expanse of lights in the dark will make you fall in love at first glance. Immense city , wonderful and full of contradictions. With an almost unparalleled charm. The Centro Historico is obviously the base from which to start, characterized by the elegant colonial buildings rich in history. This is the beating heart of the city. Plaza della Constituciòn in particular, seat of the institutions, is the center of everything. A huge square, without limits, also called El Zòcalo . On the occasion of major events it can hold up to 200 thousand people, so large that it usually always seems a bit empty. The ceremonial center of ancient Tenochtitlàn , the capital of the Aztec empire, once stood here .
It was with the materials obtained from the ruins of the ancient Teocalli , the Mayor temple destroyed and plundered by the Spaniards, that starting from 1573 the Catedral Metropolitana was built which today dominates the north side of the square and which recalls in its structure the Spanish Cathedral of Seville . On the east side of the square is the Palacio Nacional , home of the Mexican executive power. It stands on the ruins of the Montezuma palace , later the residence of the ruthless conqueror Hernàn Cortés .
From a balcony of the building every December, the Mexican president speaks to the nation in the Grito de Dolores , the act that started the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. Inside, mural paintings by artist Diego Rivera are visible . In the center of the square the Mexican tricolor always flutters. In addition to the historic center, the Aztec ruins of the Great Pyramid in the old city of Tenochtitlàn , the ones that made up the Templo Mayor , are worth a visit . The tallest pyramid reaches a height of 60 meters.
A little further from the Zòcalo, there is the Bosque of Chapultepec Castle , a real and immense park at 2325 meters above sea level on an area of 6.7 square kilometers. The castle is home to the National Museum of Mexican History , in the middle of a rich vegetation that hosts a very interesting fauna biodiversity . Not far from here there is also the Museo Nacional de Antropologia .
In the historic center, one of the most impressive buildings is the Torre Latinoamericana skyscraper , 204 meters high and 44 floors. Among the symbols of the city is also the Palacio de Bellas Artes , a UNESCO World Heritage Site , home to the Opera and art exhibitions. The building is adjacent to Alameda Central , one of the most beautiful and popular city parks. The Paseo de la Reforma boulevard that divides the city diagonally extends from the Bellas Artes building , inspired by the great European boulevards. The Angel of Independence is a column that celebrates the conquest of Mexican independence, while Plaza Garibaldiit is famous for the mariachi groups who play in typical costumes.
Finally, a visit to the house Museum where Frida Kahlo lived , in the colorful Coyoacàn district , among markets and mariachi shows and in the middle of places offering churros, tacos and all the dishes of the renowned Mexican cuisine, is a must . Outside the capital, about forty kilometers away, Teotihuacan is home to the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon , along with other buildings from the pre-Columbian era. Towards the south we arrive instead at Xochimilico , the Venice of Mexico in whose canals we sail aboard the trajinera, equivalent to gondolas.
From its central position it dominates the Yucatàn peninsula near the Gulf of Mexico. For the same reason it is also an excellent base for day trips to Unesco archaeological sites and nature reserves that are home to wild animals and villages called Pueblos Magicos (magical cities) such as Valladolid and Izamal . Merida expresses the mix of culture expressed by the ancient civilizations of the Maya dating back to more than two thousand years ago and by the Spanish conquerors starting from 1500. The stones of the ancient city of T'ho were used by the Spaniards to erect the high Catholic churchesand colonial buildings. After 500 years of coexistence, a cultural identity was born that characterizes this city in constant movement.
Obviously one of the main attractions is represented by gastronomy . Local markets, such as the lively Mercado Lucas De Galvéz and Mercado Santiago literally burst with exotic fruits and vegetables . The spicy habanero peppers and also the chayas , similar to spinach, are worth tasting. Or the rambutan , a red nut with a sweet white pulp often sold as a juice of "fresh agua". There is no shortage of Seville oranges , widely used in the preparation of typical dishes, while the huaya is a Yucatan lime that is eaten with a sprinkling of chilli.
The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya offers an overview of older history in the modern context. The Museum of Anthropology and History, housed in a building on Paseo Montejo , exhibits Mayan relics while the Museum of Folk Art displays works from all over Mexico, including typical clothing and ceramics. The Governor's Palace in Plaza Grande features paintings by Fernando Castro Pacheco , the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art houses works by Fernando Garcia Ponce .
An hour and a quarter of travel south, we find the ruined city of the Maya formerly under UNESCO protection, famous for its linear architecture and decorated stone sculptures. But above all for the color of the limestone that characterizes it and that has earned it the reputation of the Pink City . In its heyday, the city of Uxmal was inhabited by 20 thousand people and the decorations of the buildings were rich and very elegant, as if to underline the position of hegemony compared to other cities. Despite a state-of-the-art water system , it was a period of droughtto determine the beginning of its end. The tropical forest regained its ground by covering the ruins, which were only discovered in the 19th century.
The Soothsayer's Pyramid appears very well preserved , according to legend, built in one night by a dwarf . The shape is truly unique, on an elliptical base , with a very steep staircase leading to the entrance where a mask of Chaac awaits visitors with open mouth. A little lower is the Great Pyramid , a building only partially brought to light. And then the Quadrilatero delle Monache , whose name is the result of a mistake by the Spaniards who thought they had found a convent . Instead it was a school, perhaps military. Four elegant buildings, rich in Puuc-style decorations . Also important is the Governor's Palace , about a hundred meters long. Between these last two buildings stands the Pelota playing field , while next to it is the House of the Turtles , represented in a decorated cornice.
Fifty kilometers east of Merida is Chichén Itzà, one of Mexico 's most impactful ruined cities . It is one of the most important centers of the pre-Columbian period and testimony of a very varied architectural style. The city has both Mayan and Toltec elements such as the Pyramid of Kukulkàn , also known as El Castillo . Here, during the equinoxes , the sunlight forms a snake-shaped shadow that appears to crawl along the four stairways of the pyramid. Each of these has 91 steps, in all there are 364 and if we add the last and only step that allows you to enter the temple, the total is 365 or the days of the solar cycle . Here too there is a space dedicated to the Juego de la Pelota, complete with stands on either side.
Legend has it that the captain of the winning team had to give his head to the captain of the defeated team who would then behead him . It seems bizarre, but it seems that the Maya believed that in this way the victors would have direct access to Heaven . At the bottom of this building we find the Tzompantli , the Wall of Skulls . In the Venus Platform , on the other hand, a serpent man with wings is represented, while the Temple of the Warriors is another pyramid with an altar for sacrifices.
A wonderful outlet to the sea for the mountain range that moves like a snake along the state of Oaxaca from the southern Sierra Madre to dive into the Pacific Ocean . Puerto Escondido surrounds an extraordinary bay , embraced by gigantic rock formations. Beauty and a desire for adventure are the springs that move the tourist in these places whose spirit was well represented by the homonymous film by Gabriele Salvatores. A favorite destination for Mexicans and tourists from all over the world, where the history of millenary civilizations merges with colonial architecture and the traditions that have remained alive to this day.
The beaches of Puerto Escondido are full of people, although at many times of the year they empty and show a reassuring and peaceful aspect. A corner of paradise embellished by coastal lagoons and the animal species that inhabit it: exotic birds and many turtles. Due to its conformation it is also a reference point for surfing , paragliding and scuba diving enthusiasts.
In this state, biodiversity is present everywhere, as bird watchers know : 70 percent of Mexico's more than 700 bird species are housed here, particularly in the mountainous area around Hierve el Agua where it is not difficult to observe . some specimens from this region up close. But there are also the two petrified waterfalls to attract attention: they are the result of centuries of fluid springs so rich in calcium that they are today set in stone. Two natural infinity pools have also found space in the rock , overlooking the blue and green of the mountains.
In one of the richest regions of archaeological evidence, Mitla stands out for its carved mosaics that fit together perfectly and send their unknown message to the afterlife. Monte Albàn , a Unesco site, was inhabited for 1500 years by the Zapotec , Mixtec and Olmec peoples and still have intact, in addition to the pyramids, an observatory and the dance field that dominates the valley from the top of 400 meters. Don't miss the Baroque-style Templo de Santo Domingo in a garden. The Cathedral is the jewel of Oaxaca, rebuilt several times since 1535.
Who has never heard of it? Cancun is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world for its dream beaches with luxury hotels and affordable Mexican cuisine. It is located on the Yucatan Peninsula , northeast of the Mexican Caribbean . Built for the launch of tourism in 1970 by the government, it went from being an uninhabited place to a city that each year hosts thousands of visitors mainly from the United States and Canada but also from Europe. It is divided into a central area and another entirely occupied by hotels , where however there are also museums and even some Mayan ruins .
Obviously the main attraction is represented by the beaches . First of all the most famous such as Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol , one more suitable for water sports and the other ideal for relaxation, while Playa Delfines is where dolphin watching tours are organized . Among the most popular for night parties, here is Playa Chac Mool . The offer is endless and it is impossible to get bored in Cancun, day or night, especially in the clubs gathered in the Forum by the Sea area , where by paying the entrance you are entitled to drink as many beers as you want . If, on the other hand, you are interested in the local culture, theMaya Museum collects a lot of material from archaeological sites in the area.
In recent years, tourism in this city south of Cancun has soared. Younger people know it as the city of yoga , rather than the millenary ruins of the Maya. There is an almost New York atmosphere that animates it and makes it vibrate. It is divided into three areas . The one in downtown Tulum , then Beach Road North and Beach Road South . The northern area boasts the best, albeit busiest, beaches, and is also close to ancient ruins . The southern area, on the other hand, expresses a Zen philosophy with its vegan restaurants, yoga gyms and hippie-style clothing stores.
One of the most iconic beaches in Tulum is Playa Paraiso with its deep blue water , white sand and palm trees. But Tulum's calling card is also the large amount of cenotes . These are caves of calcareous origin that were formed over time, were submerged by water and have stalagmites and stalactites . There are open or closed cenotes and diving into their waters is something special. They were considered sacred places by the Maya. But in addition to beaches and other natural beauties (for example the beaches where the turtles go to nest or theSian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve ), Tulum also offers a wide choice of nightlife venues such as the legendary Papaya Playa Project .
The Copper Canyon, called Barranca del Cobre , is a group of about twenty canyons of extraordinary beauty which together form a very large and spectacular region in the Sierra Madre . The cracks are up to 1500 meters deep and here 5 rivers alternate as well as 6 main canyons connected to each other and a total of about 200 minor canyons. It is four times the size of the Arizona Grand Canyon. This whole area is crossed by the Ferrocarril which connects Chihuahua , inland, to Los Mochis on the Pacific Ocean.
One of the most scenic railway lines in the world. Traveling on the Cobre Train means living an extraordinary experience along the walls of the canyon, crossing tunnels and viaducts at the limit of the impossible. The journey takes 13 hours for 655 kilometers with 39 bridges and 86 tunnels . There are tours that allow you to follow the route in stages and over several days.
The colorful houses seem to slide down from the hills with a thousand shades and tones. The fuchsia pink blends with the intense red, the saffron yellow is lost in the lime green. The city is popular for its contrasting image, where nothing has been perfectly restored but where activities continue unabated : it is not an open-air museum. This colonial city was once a place of miners in search of silver . But also of gold and mercury . Many came here from Spain and France ousting the nomadic tribes of the Chichimecas. Then the flooding of the mines put an end to this adventure and the colony of 700 inhabitants became a ghost town of no more than two hundred people.
Today we look to the future: over 50,000 students are enrolled at the university, mainly for art courses: it could not be otherwise in the hometown of Diego Rivera , the Mexican painter also famous for his political commitment. Speaking of culture, visit the Iconographic Museum of Quijote , dedicated to Don Quixote , hero of the novel by Miguel de Cervantes whose statues are present everywhere in Guanajauto.
The word comes from a Mayan term - dz'onot - which means eye in the earth , like the network of these caves flooded with fresh water . In the Yucatan there are about 10 thousand . Limestone caves that collect rainwater in periods of heavy rain, similar to lakes or lagoons , often connected to the ocean with a mixture of salt water. Among the most particular cenotes, there is that of Ik Kil near Chichen Itza . It is a cave that sinks 25 meters and is 60 meters wide. Another cenote that deserves to be visited is Noh-Moson, full of ficus. Or, near Playa del Carmen , do not miss Dos Ojos , divided in two and so called because as a whole it looks like two huge eyes .
San Cristobal de las Casas
To get there you have to face several curves but once you reach your destination you can only be happy for the beauty . The temperature, from the top of its 2100 meters , is ideal during the day and at night. The region is that of Chiapas , the territory considered perhaps poorer than Mexico. Here the Zapatista revolt found solid roots, it was in San Cristobal that the declaration of the rights of the movement headed by Emiliano Zapata was read for the first time . Calle Real de Guadalupe and Plaza 31 de Marzo are the most important and lived-in places in the city, very beautiful to cross and experience. Nearby, we findthe staircase leading to the Iglesia de Guadalupe at the top of the hill overlooking the city, as well as the Cerro de San Cristobal . Also worth visiting is the Templo de Santo Domingo with its Baroque style facade, the Museo de Textile Maya with textile artefacts, the Museo de la Medicina Maya and Na Bolom , a historic home for the protection of native civilizations.
We venture into the maze of Mayan culture , into its mysticism, discovering Palenque and its ceremonial centers that are both majestic and mysterious at the same time. The path that leads to the ancient city, in the Mayan jungle protected by Unesco, is (pleasantly) interrupted by the waterfalls , up to the archaeological area of Toninà . And in a south-easterly direction through the Selva Lacandona , other ruins of absolute value are discovered, such as Bonampak and Yaxchilàn . Thus we find ourselves in the heart of the forest where it is not uncommon to receive the resounding welcome of the howler monkey of Guatemalawith its characteristic call and perhaps looking at the ground you will be able to glimpse a footprint of the legendary jaguar . And taking a swim in the crystal clear waterfalls will be truly exciting.
About 40 kilometers from Mexico City, lies the archaeological site of Teotihuacan with the famous Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon . A symbolic place of pre-Hispanic civilizations , it presupposes a time travel as well as a geographical one. The foundation dates back to the year 100 BC, from the beginning it was a religious center of great importance for all the Mexican highlands.
The Aztecs identified it as the place "where gods are created". The road that leads here from the Mexican capital reveals an ever-changing landscape , from the slums to the majesty of the two wonders of a lost time . The Pyramid of the Sun is the only one on which you can climb to the top. In the avenue leading to the second pyramid, along "the road of death" you can admire the other monuments: the Ciudadela and the temple of the Quetzalcòatl .
Cabo San Lucas
It is not just a matter of sitting comfortably on the beach holding a glass of marguarita , there are many activities to do in Cabo San Lucas, in Baja Paraiso where the Pacific meets the sea of Cortes in the place known as "the end of the world", and where rocks surround one of Mexico's many natural wonders: El Arco . It is a rock arch that “jumps” towards the sea and gives an extraordinary welcome to visitors. Spending a vacation at the Cabo means diving in for snorkeling , whale watching, golfing in awe-inspiring scenery.
San Miguel de Allende
An hour's drive from Guanajuato, the landscape turns greener . The city, at an altitude of 2,000 meters, is full of gardens and surrounded by a majestic nature reserve, the Charco del Ingenio . It seems a timeless place. But the art scene is lively and develops around the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez , a school of Fine Arts, or for galleries such as Fabrica La Aurora . The center of social life is Plaza Allende , known as El Jardin , between colonial buildings and arcades where mariachis perform in the evening. In the background , the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel , symbol of the city with its spectacular facadeneo-Gothic . For the rest, you can get lost in the narrow streets that lead to markets full of sounds and colors such as Plaza de la Soledad , perhaps to drink an aguamiel (fresh agave juice) or a glass of tequila . On the hill you reach the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno in Atotonilco , another Unesco site.
One of the most profoundly striking Mexican cities. There is a high concentration of tourists , in what is called a paradise for party enthusiasts who cross over into the night until after dawn . The most beautiful beaches of all may not be close at hand , but once you find them, you are paid off in full. The Bay of Banderas is sheltered by the Sierra Madre mountain range , a guarantee of an ideal climate. The luxurious Marina showcases high-end yachts and services , while the Cinco de Diciembre districtit stretches from the beach to the hill in a mix of red tiles on the roofs, cobblestones in the streets and purple jacaranda trees.
In the heart of the state of Jalisco , the birthplace of some Mexican symbols such as tequila and mariachi , the second city of Mexico is perhaps the most representative of an entire people. In September, the Mexican Independence Day and the International Mariachi Festival are staged, but any time is suitable: the climate is favorable all year round in the city of eternal spring .
The visit always starts from the historic center , perhaps from Plaza de Armas where the Palacio de Gobierno stands out among the other historic buildings . Or from Plaza Guadalajara where you can admire the unmistakable façade of the two-pointed cathedral , with the characteristic combination of shades of yellow. Outside Plaza Liberacion we find the Degollado Theater with the mosaic representing the nine muses on the sturdy Corinthian columns. The Hospicio Cabanas is Unesco heritage with some murals by José Clemente Orozco and in the area the Mercado San Juan de Dios is worth a look, the largest covered market in all of Latin America. And this is the gateway to the magical world of Mexican culinary specialties .
What's Your Reaction?