We’ve written a lot about Mexico before: we shamelessly professed our love for Tulum, gone on and on about La Paz (time and again), and given tips about Mexico City. But what can we say? There’s something enchanting about this country that keeps calling us back for more. More adventure, more delicious food, more cultural immersion. It’s true that places like Mexico City, Tulum and La Paz top most lists of must-sees in Mexico, and we certainly aren’t arguing with that. But there is an abundance of beautiful places to see from lesser-known tropical beach destinations to ancient ruins, majestic mountain ranges and more.


When booking your trip to Mexico, consider visiting the somewhat lesser known – and some might argue even more beautiful – treasures this country has to offer. To help get you started, here are five places you simply have to visit when in Mexico.

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1. Bacalar

Located in Quintana Roo, Bacalar sits next to the stunning blue water of Lake Bacalar where you can enjoy kayaking or sailing. The nearby Yucatan village is home to the Fortress de San Felipe Balacar, used by the Mayans before they were overrun by the Spanish. Plus, tucked away in the jungle are the mayan ruins Chacchoben, Dzibanché and Kohunlich. The area is largely untouched by tourists – so the sights are yours for the taking.


2. Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon)

Prefer mountains to lake shores? Head to the Sierra Madre Occidental in the southwestern part of Chihuahua to the Barranca del Cobre – a network of six distinct canyons. Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails for stunning views of the canyons and Piedra Volada Falls, the highest waterfall in Mexico. You can also go zip lining, ride the cable cars or enjoy the many hot springs. This area is also home to the largest and most traditional Native American population in all of North America, the Raramuri Indians (Tarahumara in Spanish).


3. Chiapas

Make your way south to the Mexican wonderland of Chiapas, a state full of rivers, lakes, national parks and friendly Mexican pueblos. San Cristobal and Palenque are the major attractions, but give yourself more time to go off the beaten track and visit places like Ocosingo (a bustling market town) and San Juan Chamula (a TsoTsil indigenous village). Also make sure you check out the fascinating Mayan ruins (Palenque, Toniná, Bonampak and Yaxchilán to name a few), and the stunning natural sites, think: waterfalls, canyons, beaches and botanical gardens.


4. Oaxaca

Best known for its indigenous peoples, Oaxaca is home to many interesting archeological sites, native crafts and cultures, and is one of the most biologically diverse states in the country. Soak up the local landmarks while leisurely strolling the downtown streets; enjoy a coffee in a cafe on Zócalo, and tour the many beautiful churches and museums. Don’t miss the Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most impressive ruins in Latin America!

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5. Cabo Pulmo

Cabo Pulmo is located in Baja California, one of Mexico’s youngest states, and is home to the largest living coral reef on the Pacific side of North America – so it’s no wonder that it’s become a surfer’s paradise and snorkelling hotspot. Once you’ve gotten your fill of water actives, head to the surrounding areas to enjoy things like whale watching, kayaking and (you guessed it!) more archaeological sites.

One thing is for sure, whether you’re looking for bustling city adventures, peaceful secluded getaways, or cultural and historical explorations, Mexico has you covered. Are you ready to book your adventure?

Do you know of other must-see places that should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments below.


briana goad Bri is a small-town girl from the Southern U.S. living in big-city Europe. Originally from Athens, Georgia, she planted roots in Berlin in 2011 and lives for travel, good weather, and great food. Whether it’s relaxing on the beaches of Belize, interviewing trendsetters on the streets of Lisbon, or touring the towering city of Tokyo, Bri lives a life on the go and is always up for the next adventure. In between her travels she works as a freelance designer from her home studio. Follow her adventures at home and abroad on Instagram and her blog.