If you love historical sites, lush jungle scenery, pristine beaches, and mouthwatering food, you’ll adore Mexico. See the best of this colorful country with these unmissable Mexico bucket list experiences, including the most impressive Mayan ruins, thrilling adventures, and dazzling nature spots.
The North American country boasts a rich heritage and vibrant culture with over 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 5,797 miles (9,330 kilometers) of coastline, almost 100 islands, and tons of traditional towns. So let’s get into the ultimate Mexico bucket list below!
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See The Mayan Ruins Of Chichén Itza
One of the best things about visiting Mexico is seeing the ancient Mayan Archeological Sites, which are a prominent part of Mexico’s history. The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant Indigenous societies before the 16th-century Spanish conquest.
The Mayans are most known for their ceremonial architecture, such as pyramids and palaces, impressively built without metal tools. There are over 200 Mayan ruins sites in Mexico, but the most famous is Chichén Itza in Yucatan.
Chichén Itza is the ruins of a vast Maya city that thrived from 600 A.D. to the 1200s. Here you will find iconic architecture like the colossal step pyramid known as El Castillo.
There are also many graphic stone carvings throughout the site, revealing the ancient city’s history. Another highlight of visiting Chichén Itza is the famous light show, which takes place every evening.
During this 30-minute show, colorful light projects onto the pyramid, accompanied by music. Chichen Itza is two hours from Merida, but many tours run from the most popular tourist cities like Tulum and Cancun.
Swim In A Cenote In Tulum
The small but famous town of Tulum in Quintana Roo is known for its fascinating underwater limestone caves known as cenotes.
In the Mayan culture, cenotes were seen as the gateway to communicating with the gods. However, today they are one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions.
Some cenotes are fully open, making excellent natural swimming pools surrounded by beautiful nature. Others that are semi-open or closed are ideal for diving, especially those entirely underground, which you can only access by a tunnel.
There are several incredible cenotes in Tulum, including Gran Cenote, which you can snorkel or scuba dive. Also, Cenote Calavera is fab for swimming and has three holes where you can jump into.
Furthermore, check out Dos Ojos, a pair of unique cenotes connected by a 1,312-foot-long (400 meters). You can swim underground from one to the other and see impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Taste The Street Food In Mexico City
Every Mexico bucket list should include a trip to Mexico City, the largest city in the country and one of the cheapest. The capital city has some excellent attractions, such as the Frida Kahlo Museum, the house where the artist lived and died.
You’ll also find stunning architecture like Palacio de Bellas Artes. This cultural center hosts music, dance, theatre, and opera events.
However, one of the best things to do in Mexico City is eating, as street food stalls serving authentic Mexican cuisine are abundant all over town. Therefore, you can try all of the country’s best dishes and the best tacos you’ve ever tasted!
Some iconic street food dishes to look out for are Tlacoyos, a blue corn dough pastry filled with beans and other ingredients, and Tamales, a masa and corn dough steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.
You can find food carts on every corner, but for the ultimate foodie experience, head to one of the open-air markets like Mercado de la Merced, one of the largest and oldest markets in Mexico City.
Take An Air Balloon Flight Over The Teotihuacan Pyramids
Aside from Chichén Itza, one archaeological complex that should be on anyone’s Mexico bucket list is Teotihuacan, mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. The ancient pyramids were built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D and were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Teotihuacan covers 8 square miles, containing around 2,000 single-story apartment compounds, pyramids, plazas, temples, and palaces. The Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Ciudadela (“Citadel”), and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl are the largest and most prominent structures here.
Aside from the ruins, the setting of Teotihuacan is spectacular, so the best way to explore this archaeological site is from above. It is just a one-hour drive from Mexico City, and you’ll find several hot air balloon companies running flights over Teotihuacan Valley.
Go Snorkeling In Cozumel
Cozumel is a largely undeveloped island close to Playa del Carmen. The island is surrounded by 67,133 acres of vibrant Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the world’s second-largest barrier reef system), boasting crystal clear waters.
As a result, this underwater wonderland is one of the best snorkeling spots in Mexico.
One of the best places to snorkel here is El Cielo, which has crystal clear water that reflects the sky like a mirror. As it’s a sandbar, the water is shallow, and there is a soft, sandy base, making it ideal for beginners.
You can also check out the diverse marine life at Palancar Reef, which spans 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers). As well as having the most extensive range of tropical fish, Palancar Reef also has a maze of canyons and tunnels that you can snorkel through.
See (Or Swim) With Whale Sharks In Isla Holbox
Isla Holbox is a small island in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve. It is a car-free island and almost off-grid; thus, it boasts beautiful untouched scenery.
Aside from the laidback vacation vibe, the island is full of exotic wildlife, including whale sharks. You can go swimming and snorkeling with whale sharks from mid-May to mid-September and experience close encounters with dolphins, turtles, and manta rays.
If you don’t want to stay on the peaceful island overnight, you can take a full-day or half-day snorkeling trip from Playa del Carmen or Cancun. But if you have the time, I recommend checking out the laid-back Holbox Village and pristine Punta Coco Beach before leaving the island.
Cruise Along The “Seven Colored Lake” In Bacalar
Another must-see natural wonder in Mexico is the “Seven Colored Lake,” also known as Laguna Bacalar, located in Bacalar, Quintana Roo. The lagoon gets its nickname due to the different shades of blue the crystalline water gives because of the different depths.
Laguna Bacalar is one of the largest lakes in the country, approximately 26 mi (42 km) long, and the beautiful crystal clear water here is often compared to that of the Maldives.
Many boat cruises go to Laguna Bacalar, allowing you to experience this paradise for yourself. By going on a boat cruise here, you’ll see stunning views of the seven shades, and you’ll also get to swim and snorkel in the transparent waters.
Marvel At The Pink Lakes Of Las Colorados
Las Colorados in Yucatán is home to one of Mexico’s most unique and jaw-dropping natural wonders; a pink lagoon. The pink lakes are man-made salt lakes that contain a specific type of algae that causes the iconic candy cotton color.
Unfortunately, you cannot swim in the water here. However, it’s still worth visiting to witness the picture-perfect combination of pastel blue skies, baby pink water, and soft white sand.
The hundreds of pink flamingos that live in the waters here make it even more idyllic!
Visit Xcaret Park
Xcaret Park is an eco-archeological park in Playa del Carmen with over 50 natural and cultural attractions, including Mayan ruins, underground rivers, and Yucatán flora and fauna. Here you can experience some of the best natural beauty in Mexico, snorkeling around the coral reefs, swimming in the rivers, and skylining through the jungle.
You’ll find endless activities to do here, such as canoeing, rafting, and jet boating. You can also discover Mexico’s tropical wildlife at the Coral Reef Aquarium, Marine Turtles Area, and Butterfly Pavilion.
Then at night, you can partake in various cultural activities and watch dance performances and Maya rituals in the elaborate Xcaret México Espectacular show.
Party In Cancun
If you want to experience some epic nightlife, add a weekend in Cancun to your Mexico bucket list. Famed for its outrageous Spring Break parties, Cancun has some of the best nightclubs in North America and an all-year-round party scene.
One of the most famous establishments in Cancun is The City, an enormous 3-story club with a capacity of over 5,000 people. The nightclub has hosted performances from numerous internationally known artists, such as Ludacris, Akon, Flo Rida, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dogg.
Cancun’s other most famous nightclub is Coco Bongo. This vibrant joint puts on various live performances every night, ranging from acrobats to Michael Jackson impersonators.
Final Thoughts On Mexico Bucket List Experiences
Mexico is an intriguing, fun, and picturesque destination, thanks to its mix of lush nature, historical sites, and cultural activities.
This diverse list of Mexico bucket list experiences will guarantee your Mexican vacation to be a one-of-a-kind adventure, making it hard to leave!
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