Mexico is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations with over 20 million foreign visitors a year. Famous for its tequila, the Aztecs and the Mayas, Salma Hayek, Day of the Dead, drug wars, Lucha libre, Corona beer and the beach resorts on the Pacific and Caribbean side, Mexico can offer something for every sort of traveler. A list of the most amazing tourist attractions in Mexico:
Monte Alban, or White Mountain, was once the ancient capital of the Zapotec people. Overlooking the Valley of Oaxaca, Monte Alban is one of the top archeological sites in Mexico. In addition to spectacular views over the valley, visitors will be able to see the ruined buildings around a broad, flat hilltop terrace, the Gran Plaza, that runs north to south. Two large pyramid mounds terminate the great plaza at the ends, and the sides of the space are lined with stepped platforms and terraces.
In the Bajio mountains of Central Mexico, there is a small colonial destination known as San Miguel de Allende. The city is bursting with history: It was founded by a San Franciscan Monk, played a big role in the war for Mexican independence from Spain and was a vital spot on the Mexican silver trail. Today, it is best known for its colonial architecture and enchanting cobblestone streets. Historic buildings like the pink Teatro Angela Peralta and the Santuario de Atotonilco, an enormous church complex, are among the top attractions in the city.
The annual Monarch butterfly migration is one of nature’s great spectacles and a top attraction for visitors to Mexico’s central highlands. Each year, millions of Monarch Butterflies make the journey from eastern Canada to the forests of western central Mexico, a journey that spans up to 3,000 miles. The Monarch butterflies spend their winter hibernation clustered in small areas of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacan, before they travel to the north again.
Outside of Puebla is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, an archeological site that is home to the largest pyramid in the world. Also known as Tlachihualtepetl, the Great Pyramid of Cholula was built in four stages, the first of which began 2,300 years ago. Much of the pyramid is now overgrown though and appears to be a natural hill topped by a Catholic church. This is the “Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios” which was built by the Spanish in 1594. Visitors are able to tour more than four miles of underground tunnels that showcase the sheer size and scope of this incredible landmark.
The boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, also known as El Malecon, is a marvellous seaside promenade that border the blue waters of the Pacific. Most of El Malecon is exclusively for pedestrians, making it a safe place to take photos and admire the view. Statues line the boardwalk, there are often elaborate sand displays on the beach, and there are also countless local establishments that cater to visitors. It is possible to stroll along El Malecon and stop for handmade souvenirs, some fresh seafood or a few tropical drinks at a local bar.
The ancient Mayan city of Uxmal is one of the most historically and culturally significant attractions in Mexico. Roughly 55 km (35 miles) south of Merida in Yucatan, the city was constructed primarily in the ninth century. Uxmal was once the capital of the region, and it is a prime example of Puuc architecture. Various stone levels, along with elaborate stonework, gives the pyramid structures a grand appearance. Not to be missed is the Magician’s Pyramid, the tallest of the pyramids at Uxmal.
Along the Pacific Coast in the Oaxaca region is Zipolite, a one-mile beach that retains a progressive, hippie vibe. In decades past, Zipolite was a nude beach, although that is far less common today. Zipolite attracts travelers in search of a counter-culture vibe, and it still retains an authentic Mexican atmosphere despite the tourists from all around the world. While the beach itself is the main attraction, Zipolite is also well known for Av Roca Blanca, a street just off the beach that offers bars, shops and cafes.
The Museo Nacional de Antropologia, or National Museum of Anthropology, is both the largest and most visited museum in all of Mexico. Located in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park, the museum boasts an enormous collection of artifacts and exhibits relating to the pre-Columbian heritage of the country. This includes Mayan and Aztec pieces, such as the famed Stone of the Sun, which is the original Aztec calendar stone.
El Tajín was an important gulf coast city, founded by the Classic Veracruz culture. Most of the buildings at the site were constructed between 600 – 900 AD. Surrounded by the green jungle, these ruins are believed to have been the political and administrative center of the entire civilization. Today, visitors can see more than 150 identified buildings, although just a dozen are restored and open to the public at any given time. Of note is the Pyramid of Niches, the most impressive structure at the site.