Our 5 Must See Places In Mexico

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Many of us love a beach holiday where we just spend the time unwinding on the sand but if you are looking for somewhere a little more off the beaten track in which to explore different cultures then why not consider Mexico. This need not mean compromising your need for comfort as there are plenty of luxury homes in Mexico where you can choose to stay.

Palancar beach, Cozumel Mexico

By dronepicr – Palancar beach Cozumel Mexico, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45110860

As well as its beautiful beaches, Mexico has a rich cultural and political history and this, together with its warm climate has put it firmly on the Hobbis family travel bucket list.

Mexico is officially the United Mexican States, a federal republic in the south of North America. Bordered to the north by the United States, to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico, it covers almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 sq mi) and is the 13th largest independent state in the world.

Here are just some of our must-see places in Mexico

Chichen Itza

Probably the most famous Mayan ruin, Chichen Itza has been declared one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. It is the site of the imposing El Castillo pyramid where the shadow of the plumed serpent god Kukulcan creeps down the staircase at the spring and autumn equinoxes).

must see places in Mexico - pyramid at Chichen Itza

By Cocojorgefalcon – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6712060

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities referred to in Mesoamerican literature. The city may also have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, which might explain the variety of architectural styles you can find there.

Tulum

Tulum is the site of an ancient Mayan walled city on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, where the ruins are situated on 12-meter high cliffs above a white sandy beach and a turquoise sea. The main building is the large stone structure called El Castillo (the castle).

Must see places in Mexico - Tulum beach

The port city was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and today is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan sites.

Near the ruins is the Parque Nacional Tulum, a coastal area with mangroves and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes).

If you’re a nature lover, from May to October sees the arrival of the turtle nesting season along the Tulum coastline.

At sunset, the mother turtles slowly make their way up the beach to lay their eggs, before carefully returning back to the sea.  You can also snorkel with the turtles at nearby Akumal.

Calakmul – The Lost City Of The Yucatan

Not as well known as the ancient Mayan cities of Tulum or Chichen Itza, Calakmul lies deep in the jungles of Campeche near the base of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Here you’ll find lots of snake glyphs in the limestone, giving the place its other name of Snake Kingdom.  Calakmul is also the site of the tallest known Mayan pyramid – Estructura II.

By User:PhilippN, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3000471

The city played a key role in the history of this region for more than twelve centuries and has many well-preserved structures which give a vivid picture of life in an ancient Maya capital. Calakmul also also falls within the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot, the third largest in the world, encompassing all subtropical and tropical ecosystems from central Mexico to the Panama Canal.

Excavations at Calakmul have discovered stucco friezes and mural paintings in some of the massive temple pyramids and palaces, as well as burials of kings and nobles.  Their tombs were found to contain such artefacts as body ornaments, elaborate jade masks and pottery.

Xochimilco
Next on our list of must see places in Mexico is Xochimilco.  This is the site of the last remains of the canals and floating gardens of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec city described as the Venice of the New World by the Spanish conquistadors.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, Xochimilco is set in the middle of a colossal city where colour is everywhere. You can walk down market aisles full of iris flowers or float along the walled canals lined with gardens and trees on brightly painted traditional flat bottomed boats called trajineras. There are  small artificial islands, called chinampas, which flowers, vegetables and ornamental plants are grown.

There is also somewhere I don’t think I’d want to visit – “The Island of Dolls“!  After a two-hour canal trip you arrive at a clearing deep in the woods where thousands of mutilated dolls hang from the trees and hide among the dense branches.

Creepy doll hanging from tree in Island of the Dolls, Mexico

By Eneas De Troya – http://flickr.com/photos/eneas/2753058456/sizes/o/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29745522

They were put there by a reclusive Mexican man who believed they would appease the troubled ghost of a small girl who died there over 50 years ago – and still haunts the woods today.

Mexico City

Mexico City is ringed by mountains and is one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas.  The city is known for its 13th century Aztec temple, Templo Mayor, the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors and the Palacio Nacional, where you can find historic murals by Diego Rivera. These landmarks are all situated in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo.

The grand facade of Palacio de Bellas Artes

The grand facade of Palacio de Bellas Artes

We’d love to go there in November because on the 1-2 of that month it is Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) where families honour their departed loved ones by building altars and adorning them with marigolds, candles, sugar skulls and tequila.

Are any of our must-see places in Mexico on your list?
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linda

Marketing professional turned family lifestyle blogger. I live in Cardiff with hubby Mat, Caitlin (10) and Ieuan (8).

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26 Comments

  1. 13 December, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Such a wide range of places to visit, but I’m not sure I fancy the doll island either – sounds a bit creepy.

  2. 13 December, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    I’ve never really thought about visiting Mexico before but it sounds like you could spend weeks discovering it all!

  3. 13 December, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    Okay the island of dolls looks pretty creepy but everything else looks amazing x

  4. 13 December, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    I often hear Mexico described as being like the Caribbean. It does like a stunning place to visit!

  5. 13 December, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Mexico is on my too do list would love to see Chichen Itza up close

  6. 13 December, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Chichen Itza and Spring Break in Cancun (not on the same trip mind) but I’ve never really known much else about Mexico so this was a great post to read. I’d love to go to Calakmul now, I’m always intrigued by lost cities

  7. 14 December, 2017 / 2:27 am

    Tulum looks absolutely stunning, I would love to visit at some point. The island of dolls…I’m not sure how I’m supposed to go to sleep after seeing this! it sounds like something out of a horror film, I most certainly would not want to go when it’s dark out!

  8. 14 December, 2017 / 9:56 am

    I would love to go Mexico to see all these sights. For me it has to be the Chichen Itza and how exciting one of the seven wonders of the world too 🙂 x

  9. 14 December, 2017 / 11:23 am

    I visited Mexico as a child but would love to return as there is so much more to see

  10. 14 December, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    I still haven’t been to Mexico but it’s definitely on my travel list. The photos are so beautiful!

  11. 14 December, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit Mexico, mainly to see Chichen Itza. I have to admit I don’t know a huge amount about other sites in the country however. Thanks for the pointers! The Island of Dolls sounds like one of my worst nightmares (coming in just behind an Island of Clowns!). Might give that one a miss if I ever visit, although I bet it’s quite a sight to see. The beaches look lovely in Mexico….sigh, a beach holiday would be lovely right about now 🙂

  12. melissa major
    14 December, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I just love mexico city but its been many years since I visited. Its a wonderful play and Chichen Itza is so surreal

  13. 14 December, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    Ooh I would love to go to mexico, it looks amazing! I can see why these are your top five, one day I’ll get there!

  14. 14 December, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    Mexico looks like such a fascinating country, Tulum looks so interesting especially. I would love to visit one day

  15. 15 December, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Mexico is such a lovely place. There are so many fantastic and beautiful places there that you can visit and the people are really lovely.

  16. 16 December, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Do you know I never thought of Mexico as a place to go on a luxurious holiday but these pictures are amazing! I am considering it now x x

  17. 17 December, 2017 / 10:59 am

    I have wanted to visit Chichen Itza for as long as I can remember! I have even dreamt about being there. I didn’t know of Calakmul so now I need to add that to my list too!

  18. Dannii
    17 December, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    I loved Tulum, although it was so busy. Mexico City is somewhere I would love to go.

  19. Hannah
    18 December, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    I would love to visit one day, it’s on my bucket list x

  20. 19 December, 2017 / 7:26 am

    Mexico looks like such a beautiful place to visit! However, what’s the story behind the baby doll in a tree? lol

    • linda
      Author
      19 December, 2017 / 11:22 am

      A lone Mexican chap does it to appease to ghost of a child who wanders through the forest.

  21. Jess
    20 December, 2017 / 11:18 am

    They thought the ghost girl would LIKE the dolls?? It probably only made her more terrified of her surroundings – if ghosts are real anyway. Mexico is 100% on my list. I’m more familiar with the resorts in Cancun, which aren’t my cup of tea, but it’s interesting to see what else is out there.

  22. 6 January, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    Coba is also a great Mayan place to visit! Currently you can still climb the pyramid too! I love Mexico! Hopefully going again at Christmas so I’m planning to revisit Tulum and Coba, as well as see much more! Can’t wait!

  23. Louise Reeks
    27 February, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Great place so want to go there but hate long haul flights

  24. MARIA ROGERS
    16 August, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    Mexico is my fav place to visit! I have been lucky enough to visit Chichen Itza during the autumn equinox an see the snake climb down the temple, I have to say that place took my breath away, it is truly a moving experience, so been twice now. I love Tulum, but hated Cancun, so false, even the grass and the fake plastic wood effect benches are false, if you like Disney style America you will like Cancun, but it is not Mexican at all!

  25. Carolyn E
    14 September, 2018 / 7:43 am

    I have just booked a trip to Mexico and was wondering what I should see. Thanks for these tips. I will try and fit as many in as possible!

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