As I’ve already told you in many other posts, planning your travel itinerary isn’t super easy, especially if the there are too many things to visit once you get to destination. When I was in Mexico (read my Road Trip in Mexico: itinerary from Yucatan to Chiapas) and I had some problems organising my travel itinerary as well. The thing is that, the Yucatan area seems pretty small, but in reality, it covers a considerable amount of square kilometers and, when visited together with the Chiapas, then the points of interests become thousands.
If you’re looking for true information about what to remember before travelling to Mexico, I suggest you to read this my post: 15 Mexico travel tips
The 15 best things to do in Mexico
Cenotes, Caribbean beaches, gorgeous nature and a delicious cuisine are only a few of the many peculiarities Mexico has to offer you.
Let’s have a look at the Mexico must see in this post.
1 – Turtle snorkelinkg in Akumal
How not to mention, as fist thing to do in Mexico, the exciting possibility of encountering turtles whilst swimming in Akumal?
Grab your snorkeling kit and take some time to relax yourself immersed into the sea. If you want some more information about this unmissable experience and on how to hire the necessary equipment, please read my post Akumal in Mexico: snorkeling amongst turtles.
2 – A day on Bacalar Lagoon
Also called “The Lagoon of Seven Colours”, Bacalar Lagoon is truly stunning. In this part of Mexico, located just under Tulum, you can put your feet up and sit in comfortable hammocks surrounded by a spectacular landscape.
The city of Bacalar was, to my surprise, rather ugly and badly looked after compared to other Mexican cities. Without doubts, its main strength is the lagoon. Here you can find many cheap hostels along the coast. Some of them even have small wooden pier on the lake. A day spent here is a must-do.
3 – Sunbathe on Playa Delfines
Yes, Cancun Hotel Zone isn’t the most quiet place in the world.
However, the gorgeous Playa Delfines has been, for me, an amazing things to do in Mexico that you can’t miss. Its blue sea are definitely unmissable, you could even try surfing, why not?!
You might not fully enjoy the chaotic context in which Playa Delfine is located, but, trust me, you won’t regret having paid a visit here. The sandy beach is huge and the beach loungers are many, but most of all, they’re all free! Don’t miss it!
4 – Take a photo of Playa Paraiso’s palm tree
Another great spot where to suntan is Playa Paraiso in Tulum. With its Caribbean sea, white sand and beach lounger hire, is one of the tourists’s favourite destination. This means that it might get overcrowded at the weekend, but not too excessively.
Don’t forget to take a picture of the well-known palm tree. It’s a great computer wallpaper!
5 – Visiting the mayan archaeological sites
In the South of Mexico, both in Yucatan and Chiapas, there are hundreds of Mayan archaeological sites. There are so many of them that it’s impossible to visit them all, unfortunately. The good thing is that their structure is pretty similar to one another, so once you’ve visited four or five of them, then you know what to expect.
Having said that, there are a few unmissable Mayan archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba. I’d also recommend visiting what I believe to be the most impressive ones: Uxmal and Palenque.
I told you better about the various Mayan sites in this article: The top 5 Mayan ruins in Mexico
6 – Visiting a biosphere reserve in the Yucatan peninsula
Another unmissable experience is visiting one of the many Biosphere reserves in the Yucatan peninsula, such as Sian Ka’an (close to Tulum) or Celestun (close to Merida).
An ideal option would be staying and visiting Merida for one night and spoil yourself with an entire day in contact with nature.
Don’t forget to take a photo of the beautiful pink flamingos which you can see both in Celestun and Rio Lagartos Biosphere reserves.
Here you can have a look at the map I’ve drawn to better locate the several Biosphere reserves.
7 – Eating an Arrachera
Before going back home, make sure you eat this delicious Mexican cut of beef steak.
I tried it in a small restaurant in Tulum and I can still remember savouring its incredible taste. Some people eat it wrapped in tortillas and flavoured with different sauces, but I preferred it simply grilled. Super TASTY!
8 – Discover San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas
I personally believe San Cristobal de las Casas to be one of the top must-see in an itinerary in Mexico.
San Cristobal is a small town situated at 2.200m in the mountains of the state of Chiapas.
To reach this gorgeous spot, you have to take what I would describe as a “mental” road. 190km full of wide and interminable corners.
Rich in colourful houses, streets and souvenirs, San Cristobal is home to a poor population where people live in severe poverty, especially if compared to the Mayan Rivera.
Here I have told you extensively: San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico: the soul of Chiapas.
9 – Sumidero canyon and San Juan Chamula
If you’re feeling adventurous, grab your backpacks and rush to the Sumidero Canyon, amongst alligators and steep vertical walls which reach as high as 1.000 meters.
You can depart for the Canyon from San Cristobal. If you wish to, you could even add an excursion to the small village of San Juan Chamula where the entire population is indigenous and still speaks an indigenous language.
The famous aquamarine church of San Juan Chamula is surely the main point of interest of the entire munincipality. However, do not limit yourself to visiting the church, but try to get a feeling of the soul of this indigenous village and its inhabitants by briefly immersing yourself in its everyday life and culture.
If you want more information on the excursion to the Canyon and San Juan Chamula, you can read these two articles: Excursion to the Sumidero Canyon and San Juan Chamula, the mayan village in Chiapas
10 – Enjoying a great sunse in Campeche
One of the must-do things to do in Mexico to add to your Mexico road trip itinerary is watching a breath-taking sunset on the malecon.
I unfortunately missed it because I didn’t manage to get to Campeche on time, so please, take as many photos as you can and post them here…I’d love to see them!
11 – Swimming in the cenotes
The Yucatan peninsula is packed with calcareous caverns which have formed during the centuries. They’re so called cenotes. They can be of different dimensions and some of them are completely underground. So, in order to reach them, you have to walk down steep and slippery stairs. Visiting one of these cenotes is one of the activities to do in Mexico. These underground cenotes are probably the most suggestive thanks to the bright sun light coming in from its holes, which contributes in making these places even more fascinating.
I speak about cenotes in this article: “Cenotes in Mexico: What are they? Which one to se?”
12 – Swimming with the shark in Holbox
Even though I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to do it, I’d definitely recommend swimming with the whale shark in Holbox.
13 – Eating a corn on the road to San Cristobal
As I’ve already told you, the road which takes you to San Cristobal from Palenque, it’s a journey within the journey itself which enables tourists to immerse themselves into the Mexican culture. On this road, little boys and little girls will try to sell you fruits and vegetables for a few pesos. But that’s not all! The road is full of “open-plan kitchens” if I can say so. A sort of Street-Food road, where I decided to stop to experience a bit of these people’s everyday life as well as a delicious corn with salt and lime.
14 – Enjoy the mexican cuisine
It might be because of a gone off ceviche which forced me to bed for a few days. My relationship with the Mexican cuisine was a bit “love and hate”. The Mexican cuisine is characterized by strong and intense tastes. Sometimes a bit “too heavy” for my stomach but certainly not flavourless.
Careful! The real Mexican cuisine is not the one we have been accustomed to thanks to the different popular food-chains in our own nation. Dishes such as chili or burritos are more of a tex-mex kind of food, rather than authentic Mexican.
As I’ve already suggested in another post, don’t miss the arrachera, the cochinita pibil and sopa de lima which can be savoured in Merida.
15 – Swimming at Agua Azul waterfalls
The Agua Azul waterfalls as well as the Misol Ha ones. They’re two of the most impressive landscapes I’ve ever seen. These waterfalls, which can be as high as 6 metres. Its surrounding indigenous village are impossible to forget and are one of the most famous attractions in Mexico.
Needless to say, swimming here is a surely a must-do.
For more information about the Cascades de Agua Azul and Misol Ha, read this post. “The Misol Há and Agua Azul waterfalls in Chiapas”