Our southern neighbor has drawn millions of tourists each and every year. The food, history, culture, and atmosphere are a huge reason why, but the beautiful coastal cities and resorts are destinations that few would pass up an opportunity to visit.
Sure, visiting so close to the equator during certain times of the year means that you’ll need ways to stay cool in some of those cities, but the experience is almost always worth it.
However, with so many great options in Mexico, how do you decide where to go on your vacation?
Well, that’s why I put together this list of cities and some of their attractions/reasons for visiting. The great thing is, whether you’re looking to relax by the ocean at an all-inclusive resort, absorb some local culture and food, or explore some Mayan history, Mexico has it all and a whole lot more.
If you enjoy great beaches and nightlife, this is the city for you. Cancun is known as the official party capital of Mexico, which means the place gets packed with college students partying hard during spring break. It’s also a hot spot for first-time tourists, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly.
If you’ve always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, you’re in for a treat because you can take a trip over Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities.
The capital of Jalisco, Guadalajara is located in the heart of Mexico’s second-largest urban area, giving you the opportunity to visit nearby cities such as Tequila.
With flights to Guadalajara so affordable these days, you can swing down almost anytime of year to see the 400-year-old Colonial Renaissance cathedral, check out the awe-inspiring Hospicio Cabañas, which is a turn of the 19th-century hospital complex, and the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento that was built between 1897 and 1972 and is a shining example of neo-Gothic architecture.
With sites like the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the Teatro Angela Peralta opera house, you could spend a whole day just in old Mazatlán. However, this is a great place to enjoy some beach time as there’s the Malecón, the gorgeous 13-mile beachfront walkway, Playa las Gaviotas, and, if you want to avoid tourist gridlock, Playa Olas Altas.
4. Playa del Carmen
Here, you’ll enjoy a hip bar culture and an exciting food scene, where you’ll find everything from expertly cooked seafood and fresh sushi to delicious tostadas and tacos for dinner. Additionally, stunning shoreline views and soft sand blanketed beaches are perfect for daytime fun.
5. Puerto Escondido
This destination is known as being the Mexican surfing mecca and is perfect for expert-level surfing. However, it’s actually one of the few places in the world where surfers of all skill levels can catch waves in the same general area.
This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is known for its ornate colonial buildings, colorful homes, busy plazas, and subterranean streets and tunnels, all of which are easily explored by foot and at your own leisure. For the morbidly curious among us, you have to visit Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, aka the Mummies Museum.
Made famous in the fantastic movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” Zihuatanejo is a beach lover’s paradise. Lounge in the sun on those breathtaking beaches, take a boat to Ixtapa Island, see the Ruins at Xihuacan, enjoy unforgettable diving experiences, and so much more. It’s easy to see why Andy and Red made it their new home.
No matter what city you choose, traveling to Mexico can be an unforgettable experience—especially if you’re traveling with friends. However, be sure to pack accordingly. If you’re going to spend the entire time at the beach, you’ve probably got it covered. But if you’re going to be doing lots of walking, shopping, and exploring, make sure to take comfortable shoes, warm-weather clothes, a sunhat, and, of course, sunscreen.