Top 11 things to do in Mexico | Complete Guide


From ancient ruins to hidden beaches, from spectacular mountains to stunning coastline, from waterfalls splashing turquoise waters to cenotes offering amazing diving experiences, Mexico has so much to offer. The country is packed with so much to do, that i don’t think it is possible to cover it call in a single trip. I have still tried to make a list of the most unmissable things to do which was very difficult in this case.


1. Swim in a cenote

  • Cenote is basically natural sinkhole in the ground which exposes the groundwater underneath making it a natural pool. Cenotes are home to freshwater along with varied marine life which makes them an amazing diving spot.
  • Mexico is home to numerous cenotes. The most popular ones include Cenote Ik Kil, Cenote X’Canche, Cenote Dos Ojos and many more.
Top view of Cenote Ik Kil in Mexico
© javarman/

2. Rocks which look like waterfalls: Hierve el Agua

  • Hierve el Agua is a set of natural rock formations which literally looks like a waterfall when seen from a distance. These rocks rise from the valley below them. The reason for the waterfall effect is the mineral deposits on these rocks over thousand of years which gives them a shaded white color. The steep stricture of the rocks is such that this shaded color resembles a cascade of water when seen from a distance.
  • Not only you can soak in spectacular panoramas of these rocks, you can also climb on top of them. The top of highest rock offers a slightly flattish surface with multiple artificial and natural pools. As these pools face the valley right below, all these pool naturally becomes infinity pools with breathtaking views. You can take a dip here in these pools while enjoying the gorgeous views.
  • The best way to reach here is via a drive from the city of Oaxaca.
Hierve el Agua, Small 'waterfall' - white rock formations which look like waterfalls and rock shelf with natural pool, Oaxaca, Mexico
© Marina Marr/ Adobe Stock

3. Chase spectacular waterfalls

Mexico is home to some breathtaking waterfalls boasting turquoise waters, steep falls and beautiful scenery. Here is the list of most unmissable waterfalls in mexico:
  • Tamul Waterfall: This waterfall is hidden in narrow and high walled canyon.
  • El Chiflon: This is a chain of 5 waterfalls located deep inside the the jungles of Chiapas. The most famous is the steepest one of the five. These waterfalls offer some the brightest turquoise waters i have ever seen in my life. The combination of these waters with the surrounding deep green forests is just spectacular.
Women sitting on a rock surrounded with turquoise waters and looking at Tamul waterfall
© Nailotl/ Adobe Stock

4. Maya Riviera

  • Mayan riviera is the best beach destination in Mexico. It is a resort district of Cancun which runs along the coastline till the town of Tulum. It also includes the island of Cozumel.
  • This riviera is famous for stunning beaches, turquoise waters and all luxurious all inclusive resorts. This area offers many things to do like scuba and snorkeling, world’s largest underwater museum, famous ancient ruins like Chichén Itzá and many more.
  • The best way to reach is here is flying to Cancun.
Aerial view of Maya Riviera in Mexico
Photo by Eduardo Cano Photo Co. on Unsplash

5. World’s largest underwater museum

  • Ever imagined the idea of an underwater museum? Wouldn’t that be unique? Well, there are a few of those around the world, and Mexico is home to the biggest one.
  • Underwater museum of art, located in Cancun, contains 500 submerged sculptures. These are plunged 3 to 6 meters into deep ocean of the Cancun National Marine Park.
Underwater statues in Underwater Museum of art in Mexico
© javarman/

6. Explore ancient ruins

Mexico is home to many fascinating ancient ruins. Below are the most important and famous one’s:
  • Chicken Itza: This is an ancient city built by the Mayan people. It dates back to more than 1300 years. This is a part of the new 7 wonders of the world list, and thus the most famous ruin in Mexico.
  • Teotihuacan: This is also an ancient city very near to the Mexico city. It is most famous for being home to many mesoamerican pyramids which are very architecturally significant.
  • Palenque: This ancient mayan site is tucked away in the jungle, away from the crowds in the lap of nature. It is a little hard to get to, but worth it.
Panorama of El Castillo in Chichen Itza
Photo by Christina Warner on Unsplash

7. Mariachi band

Mariachi is genre of regional Mexican Spanish music which mostly includes stringed instruments. This soothing musical form is heard best when performed by a live band. You will be able to spot these bands performing at various lively places like city centers, some boat trips and many more.
Mariachi band performing in Mexico

8. Eat tacos

What better place to have a taco than the place it originated! You will find it everywhere from street vendors to restaurants. There is a wide variety from various meat options to vegan options. If you like meat, you got to try tacos al pastor (pork and pineapple) and fish tacos.
Photo of tacos at a restaurant in Mexico city
Photo by Xavier crook on Unsplash

9. Try mezcal and tequila

  • Fun fact: Not only both of these world famous alcoholic beverages originated in Mexico, there is a town named Tequila in Mexico from where the drink got its name. Needless to say, your Mexican vacation is incomplete without trying these drinks.
  • Tequila is actually a kind of a mezcal. The only difference is, the latter can be made from any type of agave while the former can only be made from blue agave. Instead of having these drinks at a bar, i would recommend doing a tequila/mezcal tour. These tours take you to a agave farm and show you the making process. They also include beverage tasting along with appetizers.
Tequila shot with lime and salt
Photo by Francisco Galarza on Unsplash

10. Tequila express

  • You may or may not like tequila, but how about a train ride that offers to get you drunk by offering unlimited tequila while you enjoy Mexican countryside? This train, known as the Jose Cuervo express, runs to and from between Guadalajara and the magical town of Tequila.
  • This train offers vintage interiors, luxury seating and a lot of tequila. The ticket includes one way journey to/from from the town of Tequila, numerous (almost unlimited) tequila drinks, a visit to one of their distilleries and agave farms with harvesting demonstration, games and music show and many more things.
  • This train runs only on weekends. The train has 3 pricing options based on how luxurious the wagon and the corresponding services are. The basic wagon, Express, starts from 100 USD per person. For booking and additional details, please visit the Jose Cuervo express website.
Interior of Jose Cuervo Express in mexico
© Jose Cuervo Express

11. Hidden beach at Marietas Island

  • Marietas islands are a group of small uninhabited islands a few miles away from the coast of the famous resort town of Puerto Valarta. These beautiful islands are home to numerous species of flora and fauna, wildlife and birds.
  • These islands are also home to many caves. One of these islands contains a hidden beach encased within the island cavern. To access the beach, you will have to snorkel through a small opening of the cave. The beach is open to the sky via a big hole in the roof of the cave which makes this beach very picturesque. Surrounded with blue waters, this beach is one of its kind and its definitely one of the most unmissable things to do in Mexico.
  • Remember, you should have good snorkeling skills to reach this as it is around 30 meters inside the cave. If you question your swimming skills, don’t even think about doing this as the tides are very inside the cave.
  • The best and the safest way of visiting the hidden beach is to take a guided boat tour. I did it through Vallarta Adventures, whom i would highly recommend. They charged me 149 USD per seat.
Panorama of hidden beach at Marietas Island in Mexico
© Gabriel O./ Adobe Stock

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