Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Mexico is a captivating country that offers a myriad of attractions for travelers seeking a remarkable vacation. From its stunning beaches to ancient ruins, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, Mexico has something to offer to every kind of adventurer. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or food lover, this diverse country will leave you spellbound. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 places to visit in Mexico, showcasing the most alluring destinations that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Mexico, and let’s embark on an unforgettable journey through this incredible country.

Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Cancun

Nestled along Mexico’s breathtaking coastline, Cancun stands as a true gem among the country’s top tourist destinations. Its mesmerizing turquoise seas, pristine white-sand beaches, and vibrant coral reefs make it a dream come true for beach lovers and underwater enthusiasts alike. It’s no wonder that Cancun has secured its place as one of Mexico’s most sought-after resort areas.

Stretching across a 15-mile-long sandbar, Boulevard Kukulkan, affectionately known as the Hotel Zone, is the heart of Cancun’s tourism. Here, a vibrant tapestry of hotels, restaurants, malls, and nightclubs cater to visitors from all walks of life. Families seeking an unforgettable vacation, couples on a romantic getaway, and travelers of all kinds will find an abundance of all-inclusive hotels that offer luxurious amenities and stunning ocean views.

For a taste of local life, venture closer to the city’s downtown area, known as “El Centro.” Here, you’ll discover a more authentic side of Cancun, adorned with bustling markets, traditional restaurants serving delectable Mexican cuisine, as well as high-quality business-class hotels and welcoming hostels.

Cancun’s reputation as a beach paradise is well-deserved. Boasting ten Blue Flag beaches, it remains one of the most popular coastal destinations in Mexico. The majority of hotels in the Hotel Zone have their own private stretches of sand, allowing visitors to relish ocean views right from their balconies. For those seeking a livelier beach experience, head to Playa Gaviota Azul, fondly referred to as Playa Forum by locals. On the southern end of Cancun, Playa Delfines offers moderate to intense waves, making it a favorite among surf enthusiasts. This beach is also home to a renowned photographic spot, offering the perfect backdrop to capture unforgettable moments.

In Cancun, the allure of sun-kissed beaches, vibrant entertainment, and a blend of local and international flavors seamlessly merge, creating an enchanting destination that captivates the hearts of all who visit.

Things to Do in Cancun

Cancun presents a paradise for both nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, offering an abundance of exciting activities to indulge in. Immerse yourself in the mystic cenotes, captivating limestone sinkholes, by diving or snorkeling in their crystal-clear waters. The region’s cenotes provide a unique opportunity to explore the hidden wonders beneath the surface.

For those seeking beachside thrills, Cancun offers an array of water sports options. Jet ski across the sparkling waves or soar high above the coastline while parasailing, embracing the exhilarating sense of freedom and panoramic views. If relaxation is your goal, bask in the warm sun on the pristine beaches or pamper yourself with a rejuvenating spa experience.

Cancun’s allure extends beyond its natural wonders. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in their passion at one of the city’s seven world-class golf courses, where they can perfect their swing while reveling in stunning vistas of the azure waters. To delve into the rich cultural heritage of the region, pay a visit to the Mayan Museum of Cancun. This remarkable institution houses a vast collection of artifacts excavated from prominent archaeological sites on the Yucatan peninsula. Additionally, explore the ancient ruins that dot the surrounding region, including El Meco, El Rey, San Miguelito, Tulum, Cobá, Muyil, and more, and witness the fascinating remnants of Mayan civilization.

For those in the mood for shopping, Cancun offers a diverse retail landscape. Indulge in upscale malls such as Marina Puerto Cancun, Kukulcan Plaza, and La Isla Shopping Village, where you can peruse designer boutiques and find the latest fashion trends. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the local culture by visiting Flea market Coral Negro and Mercado 28, where you’ll discover an array of locally-made souvenirs and authentic Mexican art.

Cancun presents a world of adventure, relaxation, cultural exploration, and retail therapy, making it a destination that caters to every traveler’s desires.

Cancun in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Cancun

Cancun is conveniently accessible by both air and land, providing various transportation options for travelers.

The primary gateway to Cancun is the Cancún International Airport, situated approximately 16 kilometers (9.94 miles) from the Hotel Zone and 20 kilometers (12.42 miles) from the city center. This modern airport boasts four fully equipped terminals, designed with the latest technology to cater to the needs of passengers. It serves as Mexico’s busiest airport for international arrivals, offering direct flights to and from numerous destinations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and select Latin American countries. Additionally, the airport provides extensive domestic connections to and from cities throughout Mexico.

Travelers can also reach Cancun by land, with several options available:

Bus: Buses operate from various locations, including Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Chiquilá, Mahahual, Chetumal, and Bacalar. These buses offer convenient transportation to Cancun and are a popular choice for both local and international travelers.

If arriving from the Yucatan Peninsula, you can take the Federal Highway 180, which connects the state with Cancun. Another option is Highway 184, linking Yucatan with the southern part of the state, including Maya Ka´an and Grand Costa Maya.

For travelers coming from Central America, the gateway to the Mexican Caribbean is through the Chetumal Libramiento-Subteniente López. From there, take the Federal Highway 307, which connects Cancun and Chetumal.

Whether you prefer the convenience of air travel or the scenic journey by land, reaching Cancun is relatively straightforward, allowing you to begin your adventure in this captivating destination with ease.

II. Cozumel in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Isla Cozumel

Nestled off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Cozumel stands as the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean and the third-largest in the entire country. Spanning approximately 30 miles in length and 9 miles in width, this enchanting island, known as the “Island of the Swallows” in Mayan, captivates visitors with its remarkable natural beauty and abundant attractions.

Cozumel has earned a well-deserved reputation as a favorite destination for cruise ships, drawing travelers from around the world. Its strategic location near Playa del Carmen and its unique charm make it an ideal stop for those seeking an unforgettable Caribbean experience.

Divers flock to Cozumel, as it boasts some of the most impressive dive sites globally. The island’s underwater world is a paradise for diving enthusiasts, with its breathtaking reef walls that plunge to incredible depths. The vibrant coral formations and diverse marine life create an awe-inspiring underwater spectacle, ensuring an unforgettable diving adventure for all who explore these crystalline waters.

Beyond its renowned diving opportunities, Cozumel offers a myriad of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage by exploring ancient Mayan ruins or wandering through the charming streets of San Miguel, the island’s main town. Discover local crafts and souvenirs in the bustling markets, savor mouthwatering Mexican cuisine in vibrant restaurants, or simply unwind on the island’s picturesque beaches, basking in the warm sun and enjoying the gentle Caribbean breeze.

Cozumel’s allure lies not only in its natural wonders but also in its authentic charm, offering a perfect blend of relaxation, exploration, and cultural immersion. Whether you’re an avid diver, a history enthusiast, or a seeker of tranquility, Isla Cozumel is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture to its shores.

Things to Do in Cozumel

Cozumel, with its unique charm and natural wonders, offers a wide range of activities for visitors to immerse themselves in during their stay.

Exploring the island’s picturesque landscapes is a must-do. Rent a car and venture through the enchanting natural parks, lush mangroves, and verdant jungle, where you can witness the island’s pristine beauty up close. As you drive along the coastal highway that encircles the island, you’ll encounter stretches of deserted sandy beaches, interrupted only by a few beach restaurants. On the western coast, enjoy the tranquility and serenity, while the eastern side treats you to rugged limestone cliffs and the vast open ocean, creating ideal conditions for surfing.

Cozumel’s reputation as one of the world’s top dive sites stems from the discovery of its remarkable wall of reefs by famed explorer Jacques Cousteau and his team in the 1950s. Dive enthusiasts can explore the 40 different dive zones surrounding the island, featuring limestone tunnels, caves, and a vibrant array of marine life. From turtles and sharks to parrotfish and the endemic Cozumel toadfish, the underwater world teems with captivating creatures. Keep an eye out for eagle rays from December to March and the majestic sea turtles from May to September, adding an extra touch of wonder to your diving experience.

While diving is a major attraction, Cozumel offers ample opportunities to soak up the local culture. Venture deep into the jungle to visit the once-sacred Mayan site of San Gervasio, where you can explore the ancient ruins and learn about the island’s fascinating history. To tantalize your taste buds, take a culinary journey along the main street, Rafael Melgar Avenue, where you’ll discover a melting pot of Mayan cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to sample the delicious lionfish, a species found in the coral reefs surrounding Cozumel. Local restaurants often feature this delicacy on their menus, offering a unique culinary experience.

Cozumel presents a blend of natural wonders, cultural exploration, and culinary delights, ensuring a diverse range of activities to suit every traveler’s interests. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or an immersion into the island’s rich heritage, Cozumel has something extraordinary to offer at every turn.

Cozumel in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Cozumel

Cozumel, being an island located off the Yucatan Peninsula, offers various transportation options for travelers to reach its captivating shores.

The most convenient way to reach Cozumel is by taking a flight to Cozumel International Airport, situated approximately 3 kilometers (2 miles) north of San Miguel de Cozumel. Many airlines in the United States, such as American Airlines, Frontier, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, and United, offer direct flights to Cozumel. International flights are also available through Aeroméxico and Air Canada. After landing, you can arrange airport transfers to your hotel by private taxi vans or shared passenger vans known as colectivos. Shared vans are a more economical option, although departure is dependent on the vehicle being filled. Tickets for shared passenger vans can be purchased from the driver or at the airport’s exit. For the return trip to the airport, taking a city taxi from your hotel is the most cost-effective choice. During the peak tourist season (mid-December through mid-April), it’s advisable to check for discounts on hotels and flights and consult with local experts for the latest deals on flights, tours, and private airport transportation.

For a more scenic arrival, many visitors choose to arrive in Cozumel by cruise ship. Leading cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean offer voyages to Cozumel. The cruise ships dock either in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen, with the latter being a 45-minute ferry ride away. Cozumel has three main cruise piers: Punta Langosta, International Pier, and Puerta Maya, catering to different cruise lines. To book a Cozumel cruise, AAA travel advisors can assist in finding savings and discounts for AAA/CAA members.

If you are already on the mainland, getting to Cozumel requires taking the Cozumel ferry from Playa del Carmen or other nearby locations like Tulum, Cancun, Akumal, Puerto Morelos, or Riviera Maya. Ultramar and Winjet are two passenger ferry companies that provide a 45-minute trip connecting Cozumel with Playa del Carmen. Both companies operate air-conditioned passenger ferries departing approximately every two hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The return trips from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen follow a similar schedule but usually depart and end a bit earlier. It is advisable to check the ferry schedules before planning any excursions on the mainland. The one-way ferry costs are similar for both Ultramar and Winjet, approximately 250 pesos for adults and 200 pesos for children on Ultramar, or $10 for adults and $8 for children on Winjet. The passenger ferry pier in Cozumel is located across from the main plaza in San Miguel de Cozumel. If you plan to visit Playa del Carmen for a day trip, it is recommended to purchase a one-way fare and keep your return time flexible. Please take necessary precautions if you experience seasickness, especially on windy days. In case you need to transport a rental car to the island, certain companies, including Ultramar, offer a car ferry service connecting Playa del Carmen with Cozumel. The car ferries depart from Punta Venado, also known as the Terminal Maritima Calica in Playa del Carmen.

Cozumel provides multiple transportation options, ensuring easy accessibility for travelers seeking to experience its captivating beauty and vibrant culture. Whether you choose to arrive by air, cruise ship, or ferry, the journey to Cozumel sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure.

III. Tulum in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Tulum

Tulum, a hidden gem on Mexico’s east coast, has become a sought-after destination for luxury travelers while still captivating those in search of an authentic and secluded getaway. This coastal paradise offers a blend of breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant nightlife that enchants visitors from all walks of life.

During the day, Tulum’s true allure reveals itself. The city boasts some of the best-preserved Mayan ruins, standing majestically against the backdrop of the cerulean Caribbean Sea. Exploring these ancient ruins is a remarkable experience, allowing you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the history and mystique of the Mayan civilization.

Tulum also boasts extraordinary natural wonders, such as cenotes, which are mesmerizing underground water-filled caverns. These enchanting cenotes offer an otherworldly experience, inviting visitors to swim, snorkel, or dive in their crystal-clear waters. Additionally, Tulum is home to captivating bioreserves that showcase the region’s diverse flora and fauna, allowing you to connect with nature in a profound and immersive way.

Of course, one of Tulum’s greatest attractions is its pristine beaches. With their powdery white sand and shimmering turquoise waters, the beaches of Tulum are a true tropical paradise. Whether you are a beach lover or not, the allure of Tulum’s shorelines is irresistible. Spend your days basking in the sun, listening to the rhythmic waves, and letting the cares of the world melt away.

As the sun sets, Tulum transforms into a vibrant and alluring destination. The city’s mixology scene thrives, offering exquisite cocktails and enticing libations to tantalize your taste buds. Tulum’s nightlife scene is equally captivating, with a myriad of trendy bars, clubs, and lounges where you can dance the night away and create unforgettable memories.

Tulum is an enchanting blend of history, natural wonders, and idyllic beaches that promises a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, cultural exploration, or a lively nightlife, Tulum offers it all. Prepare to be captivated by the magic of this extraordinary destination.

Things to Do in Tulum

Tulum offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to every interest and passion. Whether you seek underwater adventures, thrilling water sports, shopping for unique treasures, birdwatching, fishing, or immersing yourself in nature, Tulum has something special for everyone.

For diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, the vibrant Caribbean Sea surrounding Tulum is a haven for marine life. Explore the coral reefs just off Tulum’s white sand beaches, where you can encounter an array of colorful fish, groupers, small reef sharks, and graceful sea turtles. If you visit during the summer months, you even have the chance to embark on a snorkeling trip and swim with majestic migrating whale sharks. Additionally, diving or snorkeling in the cenotes provides an extraordinary experience, allowing you to navigate the mystical underground cave and river systems that make Tulum unique.

If you’re seeking thrills on the water, try kiteboarding or surfing in Tulum. Expert instructors at offer lessons and equipment rentals, ensuring you have everything you need for an exhilarating kiteboarding experience. The private beach north of the Tulum ruins provides the perfect setting, free from swimmers and boats, allowing you to fully enjoy the Caribbean Sea. For a unique twist, you can even try yoga classes on a stand-up paddleboard, combining the serenity of yoga with the beauty of Tulum’s waters.

Tulum also offers exceptional shopping opportunities, from designer boutiques to local craft shops. Spend a day exploring the collections of local artisans and shop owners, who work with clay, wood, and handmade textiles to create unique treasures that reflect the Mayan heritage. Find the perfect souvenir or gift to commemorate your stay in Tulum. If you’re looking for a more extensive shopping experience, a short 45-minute drive will take you to Playa del Carmen, where well-known shops and brands await.

Nature lovers and birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of opportunities in Tulum. While relaxing on your sun lounger, you can spot pelicans and seabirds gliding above the waves. For a more immersive experience, visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, just minutes away from Tulum. This remarkable reserve offers incredible birdwatching opportunities, and you can embark on guided tours that focus on the diverse bird species that call this area home. If you’re up for a longer journey, the Rio Lagartos Biosphere, a few hours’ drive away, hosts the largest Flamingo breeding ground in the Americas.

Tulum’s coastal location also makes it a haven for fishing enthusiasts. The Mayan Riviera boasts some of the world’s best sport fishing, attracting anglers from all over the globe. Charter a fishing boat for an unforgettable family or group fishing adventure, targeting grouper, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and even marlin. For a more serene fishing experience, try your hand at fly fishing in one of the local estuaries.

For families and nature enthusiasts, Tulum’s nature parks provide an excellent way to spend a day. With various options to choose from, you can float down water canals, explore caves, observe turtles, snakes, monkeys, stingrays, dolphins, and crocodiles up close, snorkel in protected inlets teeming with fish, and witness ancient Mayan dances, rituals, and ball games. Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and let the concierge guide you to the best park that suits your interests.

In Tulum, adventure, relaxation, culture, and natural beauty converge to create an unforgettable experience. Indulge in the diverse range of activities and immerse yourself in the enchanting wonders that await in this remarkable destination.

Tulum in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Tulum

Getting to Tulum and navigating the area is relatively straightforward, with various transportation options available. Here are some ways to reach Tulum and get around the town:

  1. Car Rental: While it is not recommended to rent a car in Cancún or Playa del Carmen due to reported auto crimes, renting a car can provide flexibility and convenience. However, be aware that local residents drive swiftly on the rocky roads, and there have been instances of robberies and police scams. If you choose to drive, your U.S. driver’s license is valid in Mexico, and no international driver’s license is required.
  2. Taxi: Taxis are a popular mode of transportation within Tulum, especially for traveling from hotels to the beach, ruins, or reserves. Taxis can be found near the hotel areas and the bus terminal. The fixed fares are reasonable, typically costing around 100 pesos (about $5) for a ride from popular hotels to the beach or ruins.
  3. Bike Rental: Biking is a fantastic way to explore Tulum while enjoying a bit of exercise and independence. Some hotels offer complimentary bike rentals for their guests, and there are also bike rental companies such as Ola Bike Tulum and iBike Tulum that can deliver bikes directly to your hotel. Some companies even offer guided tours to cenotes and beaches, providing a unique way to experience the area.
  4. Walking: Tulum is a pedestrian-friendly town, and walking can be a viable option for shorter distances. Depending on your location, you can choose to walk from the hotel areas to the beaches, ruins, or Tulum Pueblo. However, keep in mind the heat and exercise caution, especially when walking long distances alone at night. Taxis may be a more comfortable option, considering the weather conditions.

To reach Tulum, it’s important to note that there is no airport within the town itself. The closest airports are the Cancún International Airport (CUN), located approximately 75 miles north, and the Cozumel International Airport (CZM), situated about 50 miles northeast. From Cancún, you can arrange transportation to Tulum via private buses, colectivos (chauffeured white vans), or shuttle services. If you choose to fly into Cozumel, you will need to take a ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and then arrange transportation from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

With these transportation options at your disposal, you can easily access Tulum and explore its beautiful surroundings, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience.

IV. Ixtapa in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Ixtapa

Located along 26 kilometers of picturesque tropical coastline, the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area is a breathtaking destination that captivates visitors with its sandy beaches and enchanting coves. The refreshing sea breezes and a year-round average temperature of 78.8 degrees create an ideal climate, while the sun graces the region with its presence approximately 340 days a year.

Situated in the State of Guerrero, Mexico, on the Pacific Coast, Ixtapa is part of the renowned Mexican Riviera. It is conveniently positioned just a five-minute drive from the charming fishing village of Zihuatanejo, 15 minutes from the unspoiled virgin beaches of Troncones, and around 30 minutes from the magnificent beaches and wildlife preserve lagoons at Barra de Potosi. Accessible by car, taxi, or bus service, these alluring destinations offer a diverse range of experiences. Whether you seek state-of-the-art modern hotels or cozy inns, Ixtapa caters to your preferences.

Ixtapa offers a myriad of activities beyond lounging on its golden sand beaches. Fishing enthusiasts can embark on thrilling fishing excursions, while adventurers can explore the captivating underwater world through scuba diving and snorkeling. The area also presents opportunities for biking, surfing, water-skiing, sailing, horseback riding, and invigorating hikes amidst stunning natural landscapes. For those yearning for tranquility, snoozing under the shade of a palm tree on one of the countless pristine beaches is pure bliss. Indulge in a culinary adventure at a range of dining establishments, from gourmet restaurants nestled within architectural wonders and tropical gardens to charming thatched-roof family-operated eateries right on the beach.

Zihuatanejo, hailed as the dream “getaway” in the film “The Shawshank Redemption,” embodies the essence of paradise. Here, you will find no towering buildings, but instead, incredible beaches nestled within a breathtaking bay. Immerse yourself in the relaxed ambiance and explore the charms of this enchanting coastal town.

With its natural beauty, abundant activities, and diverse dining options, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo stand as a remarkable duo that will captivate and delight visitors seeking an unforgettable Mexican getaway.

Things to Do in Ixtapa

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo combine to offer a perfect blend of a charming fishing village ambiance with beautiful beaches and bustling docks that invite you to explore the surroundings. Known for its renowned sport fishing, vibrant market, cultural customs, and bohemian nights, this destination seamlessly merges tradition with modernity.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting experiences awaiting you in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, a coastal gem that forms part of the coveted “Triangle of the Sun” alongside Taxco and Acapulco.

Swim with Dolphins
Near El Palmar Beach, within the hotel zone, lies the dolphinarium where you can encounter around 10 dolphins. Take the opportunity to swim with these magnificent creatures and capture a memorable moment with a photograph.

La Ropa Beach
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches, La Ropa offers an array of water activities, including windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, water skiing, and banana boat rides. Delight in the pristine surroundings and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.

Las Gatas Beach
At Las Gatas Beach, you’ll discover an abundance of restaurants and the perfect setting for swimming and snorkeling. Though not too deep, the waters offer glimpses of marine life. Consider renting a boat to explore the coastline and enjoy a leisurely ride.

Big Island
Inhabited by deer, Big Island is an intriguing spot. The origins of how a pair of deer arrived on the island remain a mystery, but now approximately 100 deer call this beach their home. Witness this unique wildlife experience as you relax on the island’s shores.

Golf Courses
Ixtapa is renowned for its exceptional golf offerings, boasting two impressive golf clubs: Palma Real Golf Course and Marina Ixtapa Golf Club. Spanning 55 hectares, these courses provide an excellent opportunity for golf enthusiasts to indulge in their passion surrounded by stunning landscapes.

Beach Bikes
Embark on an exciting adventure by hopping on a quad bike and venturing through three distinct ecosystems: pristine beaches, lush jungle, and the Troncones community. This thrilling activity is highly recommended for those seeking an immersive exploration of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

Christ at the Under of the Sea
Discover the awe-inspiring “King of Kings,” a majestic four-meter-high bronze statue resting beneath the sea. To witness this remarkable sight, head to Las Gatas Beach, where you can hire diving or snorkeling services and be captivated by the beauty beneath the waves.

Ixtapa in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Ixtapa

By Plane: Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is easily accessible by air, with year-round flights available from various U.S. gateways. While flight frequency may be slightly reduced during the summer, several airlines offer convenient options. Aeroméxico operates daily flights from Mexico City, and InterJet offers daily flights from Toluca, located approximately an hour away from Mexico City. You can reach out to the following carriers for more information: Aeroméxico (tel. 755/554-2018, -2019), Alaska Airlines (tel. 755/554-8457), Continental (tel. 755/554-4219), InterJet (tel. 01-800/011-2345 toll-free in Mexico), and US Airways (tel. 755/554-8634). Travel agents can assist in arranging charter flights and packages to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

The Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo airport (tel. 755/554-2070; airport code: ZIH) is conveniently located about 11km (6 3/4 miles) south of Zihuatanejo, a mere 15-minute drive away. Taxi fares from the airport to the Ixtapa Hotel Zone typically amount to 350 pesos, while a ride to Zihuatanejo centro costs around 300 pesos. Transporte Terrestre (tel. 755/554-3298) operates colectivos (minivans) that transport travelers to hotels in Ixtapa for 170 pesos and to Zihuatanejo for 120 pesos. Tickets can be purchased just outside the baggage-claim area. If you prefer to rent a car, you’ll find rental-car agencies like Hertz (tel. 800/654-3131 in the U.S., or 755/554-2952) and Budget (tel. 800/527-0700 in the U.S., or 755/553-0397) conveniently located at the airport.

By Car: For those traveling from Mexico City, there are several routes to reach Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. The journey takes approximately 8-9 hours. One option is to take Hwy. 15 to Toluca, then continue on Hwy. 130/134 for the remainder of the trip. Another route is the four-lane Hwy. 95D to Iguala, then taking Hwy. 51 west to Hwy. 134. A new toll road, Hwy. 37 from Morelia to Ixtapa, has reduced travel time by an hour.

Traveling from Acapulco (4 hours) or Manzanillo (9 hours), the coastal Hwy. 200 is the main road. At Tecpan de Galeana, there is a toll of 24 pesos, although the road conditions remain the same with speed bumps along the way. The coastal drive from Manzanillo offers breathtaking ocean views, but be aware of numerous speed bumps and exercise caution while driving at night, as there have been reports of drug-related crime in the state of Michoacán, where military checkpoints are often present.

By Bus: Zihuatanejo has two bus terminals: the Central de Autobuses Estrella Blanca (tel. 755/554-3477) at Paseo Zihuatanejo, and the Estrella de Oro station (tel. 755/554-2175), located nearby. Most bus lines operate from the Central de Autobuses, which offers daily service to and from Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, and other cities.

V. Isla Mujeres in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, a captivating destination that brings your dream vacation to life, has secured its place among the top 10 places to visit in Mexico. Situated a mere eight miles across the Bay of Women (Bahia de Mujeres) from Cancun, Isla Mujeres spans just 5 miles in length and reaches its widest point at half a mile. Its vibrant downtown area, affectionately called ‘Centro,’ encompasses four by six blocks, creating the perfect opportunity for leisurely exploration on foot. Delight in the town square, picturesque homes, and an array of shops and restaurants that enhance its allure. The island boasts an inviting climate with average temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius (74 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit) and 60% humidity, with the hottest months falling between June and September.

Despite its popularity among tourists, Isla Mujeres has managed to preserve its charming and serene ambiance since its humble beginnings as a fishing village centuries ago. As you venture across the island and meander through its streets, you’ll encounter Caribbean-style homes nestled amidst small hotels, shops, and eateries, imparting a small-town atmosphere that contrasts the towering hotels and designer boutiques of Cancun.

The uniqueness of Isla Mujeres lies in its diverse community, comprised of fishermen, artists, musicians, divers, chefs, and expatriates. This blend of individuals from various backgrounds fosters a sense of community unlike any other. With the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean Sea, the rich heritage of the Mayans, and the genuine warmth of its people, Isla Mujeres has evolved into a sanctuary for individuals seeking solace from around the globe.

Things to Do in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres offers an array of activities that cater to all ages, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every visitor. Immerse yourself in the pristine, crystal-clear waters surrounding the island, where you can partake in water sports and rent kayaks and snorkeling gear. Explore the vibrant underwater world through scuba diving and snorkeling adventures in the turquoise depths. For the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experience, swim with dolphins or snorkel alongside majestic whale sharks.

Embark on an exploration of the island itself, an essential part of any visit to Isla Mujeres. Rent a bike, moped, or golf cart and traverse the entirety of the island. Discover enchanting attractions such as the Turtle Farm, where you can marvel at the graceful sea turtles. Take a leisurely stroll through Hacienda Mundaca, venture to Punta Sur for breathtaking vistas, or enjoy the amenities of Garrafon Park. Indulge in relaxation with a soothing massage, participate in a rejuvenating yoga class, and, of course, indulge in a memorable shopping experience.

Finding the perfect place to stay is an integral part of your Isla Mujeres getaway. The island offers a wide range of accommodations, from simple and affordable options to luxurious elegance. Whether you’re a seasoned “Islaholic” or a first-time visitor, you’ll discover accommodations to suit any budget. Choose from cozy studio apartments, five-bedroom villas nestled in tropical gardens, charming traditional Mexican hotels, delightful bed and breakfasts, or even exquisite 5-star resorts.

Isla Mujeres is a culinary paradise, particularly for seafood enthusiasts. Delight in an abundance of fresh seafood options that will satisfy your taste buds. However, if seafood isn’t your preference, fear not, as the island boasts a diverse selection of restaurants. From American to Mediterranean, Italian to French, Asian to authentic Mexican cuisine, there is something to please every palate. Visitors often return to Isla Mujeres not only for its beautiful beaches and friendly people but also for its exceptional culinary offerings.

Take advantage of the island’s proximity to other exciting destinations along the Mayan Riviera. Embark on off-island tours and day trips to enchanting places like Tulum, known for its ancient ruins, or Xel-Ha, Xplor, and Xcaret, renowned for their natural wonders and thrilling activities. Additionally, you can join tours to explore the remarkable Mayan ruins of Chichén-Itzá, Coba, and El Mecco. For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Isla Contoy, a small uninhabited island north of Isla Mujeres, is a must. Designated as a national wildlife reserve, Isla Contoy offers an immersive experience with its abundant wildlife and captivating landscapes, making it one of the most popular day trips for visitors to Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Isla Mujeres

To reach Isla Mujeres, you will first need to make your way to Puerto Juarez, where you can catch a ferry to the island. There are several options for getting to Puerto Juarez from Cancun International Airport, offering convenience and flexibility.

Cancun Airport Transportation: Upon exiting the airport terminal, you will find three primary transportation options. The ADO Airport bus is an economical choice, running every half hour and taking you to downtown Cancun for around $5 USD per person. From the downtown bus station, you can either take a taxi to the ferry (approximately $5 USD total) or catch the “Ruta 13” bus, which will drop you off near the ferry dock at Puerto Juarez. Shared airport transportation is another option, although it may involve waiting until the van is full, and you might be the last to be dropped off unless others in the van are also headed to Isla Mujeres. Private airport taxis are available but can be quite expensive, costing over $70 USD for a one-way trip. Alternatively, pre-booked private transportation offers convenience and is a popular choice, particularly for families and groups, with options for one-way or round-trip tickets available for purchase online.

The Ferry to Isla Mujeres: The Gran Puerto Cancun (Ultramar) ferry dock, located a few minutes from downtown Cancun in Puerto Juarez, is where you can board the ferry to Isla Mujeres. The ferries depart every half hour from 5:00 am until 9:30 pm, and then hourly thereafter. The crossing typically takes about 15 minutes. Porters are available to assist with luggage loading onto the ferries upon arrival.

The facilities at Gran Puerto are comfortable, equipped with clean bathrooms, an Oxxo convenience store, a bar, a small food stall selling quesadillas, and a tourist clothing shop where you can purchase essentials like hats, sunglasses, beach bags, and beachwear. You can buy a one-way ticket for 160 pesos or a round-trip ticket for 300 pesos. While you can carry your own luggage, it is advisable to allow the porters, known as “maleateros,” to handle the loading, especially during crowded times. Don’t forget to tip them for their assistance.

During the ferry ride, which offers stunning views, you can purchase beverages, snacks, and refreshments onboard. If weather permits, it is recommended to sit outside on the top deck for an unforgettable experience.

The first ferry crossing to Isla Mujeres departs at 5:00 am, with departures every half hour until 9:30 pm. After that, departures are hourly until 11:30 pm (at 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, and 11:30 pm). The first ferry from Isla Mujeres back to Cancun departs at 5:30 am, followed by half-hourly departures until 9:30 pm, and then hourly departures until 12:00 am (at 10:00 pm, 11:00 pm, and 12:00 am). During peak times, such as Easter weekend, additional boats may be added to accommodate the higher number of passengers.

Taking a car to Isla Mujeres is generally not recommended due to limited parking on the island. However, if necessary, there is a car ferry service available at Punta Sam, located just 10 minutes north of Puerto Juarez. This option is suitable for those who wish to bring a vehicle to Isla Mujeres. The fare includes one driver, with additional costs for each passenger. It is recommended to purchase tickets before boarding, as lines can sometimes be long. Arriving at least one hour before departure is advisable to ensure a smooth experience.

VI. Isla Holbox in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox, a hidden gem tucked away off the north coast of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, offers a remote and authentic Mexican experience that feels like a step back in time. Its unspoiled beaches, tranquil ambiance, and untouched charm make it a must-visit destination. With its pristine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a genuine pueblo that has yet to be overwhelmed by tourists, Isla Holbox captivates visitors in numerous ways, leaving them longing to return.

This captivating island is a haven of natural beauty, boasting a diverse landscape that showcases the best of Quintana Roo. On one side, lush mangroves flourish over serene lagoons, while on the other, stunning beaches are embraced by breathtaking azure waters. Isla Holbox finds itself nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, resulting in a mesmerizing blend of colors that is simply out of this world. The water that meets the shoreline is a spectacle to behold.

For those seeking tranquility and a genuine connection with nature, Isla Holbox provides the perfect escape. With its quiet beaches, where time seems to stand still, visitors can unwind and immerse themselves in the soothing sounds of the ocean. Laid-back beach bars offer a chance to indulge in a refreshing beverage while admiring the picturesque surroundings. The island’s authentic pueblo exudes an untouched charm, still unspoiled by mass tourism, allowing visitors to experience the true essence of Mexico.

Isla Holbox is a destination that beckons with its untouched beauty and genuine allure. From the captivating beaches to the untouched village, this island captivates the hearts of those who venture here, leaving an indelible mark and a yearning to return.

Things to Do in Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox offers a plethora of exciting activities and opportunities to immerse yourself in its breathtaking natural surroundings. The island is a paradise for water enthusiasts, beckoning visitors to embrace its azure waters and enjoy a range of aquatic adventures. Whether it’s swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, or even kite surfing, Isla Holbox has it all. For those interested in kite surfing, there are reputable schools on the island to learn and perfect this exhilarating sport.

Exploring the island on a bike is a must-do experience. While it can be a bit challenging, the reward is well worth it as you ride along scenic paths and reach stunning beaches. Take a refreshing plunge into the water at any beach you come across, creating unforgettable memories in this idyllic setting.

While the beaches at Punta Cocos and Punta Mosquito are popular choices, Isla Holbox offers a variety of other beaches waiting to be discovered. The beaches stretch wide and long, with captivating turquoise waters that are a sight to behold. One of the unique features of Isla Holbox is that in many areas, you can venture quite far into the water while it remains shallow, creating picturesque scenes that are perfect for relaxation and tranquility.

To further enhance your experience on Isla Holbox, consider taking some of the captivating tours available. The Three Islands Tour allows you to explore smaller neighboring islands, including Isla Parajos and Isla Pasion, immersing yourself in their unique charm. For an enchanting experience, the Bioluminescence Tour takes you to swim in water glowing with vibrant bluish colors. This extraordinary phenomenon is the result of a biochemical reaction occurring in certain micro-organisms present in the water, creating a mesmerizing display.

Isla Holbox invites you to indulge in thrilling water activities, embrace the serenity of its beaches, and embark on captivating tours that showcase the island’s natural wonders. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, Isla Holbox promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

Isla Holbox in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Isla Holbox

Getting to Isla Holbox is an adventure in itself, offering both road and air transportation options. If you prefer a scenic drive, you can take a bus or rent a car for a two-and-a-half-hour journey from Cancun or Playa Del Carmen to Chiquila, located in the municipality of Lazaro Cardenas. Car rental rates in Mexico are often affordable, ranging from $5 to $10 per day. However, third-party liability insurance, which is mandatory, typically costs an additional $30 to $45, depending on the car and rental company. Keep in mind that you’ll need to park your car at one of the lots near the ferry terminal in Chiquila, with an average cost of around $5 per day.

If you opt for the bus, the bus station is conveniently located within a short five-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Bus tickets from Cancun or Playa Del Carmen to Chiquila cost approximately $17 each way. ADO buses, known for their comfort and efficiency, are a popular choice among travelers. Alternatively, there is a small airport on Holbox where you can catch small planes, known as puddle jumpers, from Cancun.

Upon arrival in Chiquila, a bustling town on the mainland, it becomes evident that tourism has had an impact. Taxi cart services, ferry and tour ticket vendors, restaurants, and local services line the path from the bus station to the ferry terminal. Two ferry companies, 9 Hermanos and the Holbox Express, operate between Chiquila and Holbox, ensuring frequent departures every half-hour.

The ferry ride from Chiquila to Holbox takes approximately 30 minutes and offers picturesque views. As you approach Holbox from the south, you’ll be greeted by dense mangroves, part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, lining the island. Upon docking, you’ll notice a sizable marina and a charming ferry terminal that leads to a vibrant main street. Here, you’ll find yellow golf cart taxis ready to whisk you away to your hotel.

If your accommodation is conveniently located near the ferry terminal, you may choose to forgo the taxi ride. As you explore the island, you’ll notice the distinctive oversized tires on the golf carts, designed to handle the island’s unique terrain. In just a couple of hours after checking in and venturing out, you’ll understand why these sturdy carts are a necessity.

Whether you prefer a scenic drive or a relaxing ferry ride, reaching Isla Holbox is an exciting and rewarding journey, setting the stage for an unforgettable island experience.

VII. Sayulita in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Sayulita

Sayulita, the hidden gem of a bohemian beach destination, has captured the hearts of travelers seeking a sun-soaked escape. This picturesque town, always basking in sunshine and boasting temperatures around seventy degrees, offers a respite from the lingering grasp of winter. While it may have once been a sleepy fishing village that rarely appeared on maps, Sayulita has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years.

Stepping foot into Sayulita’s town center, you’ll find yourself momentarily puzzled, as if you had crossed back into Southern California. Taco stands and a margarita cart dot the sidewalks, while stray dogs keep a watchful eye on passing motorcycles. The streets are abuzz with retirees cruising in golf carts, accompanied by their faithful canine companions. Young couples with their babies comfortably nestled against their chests stroll along, their grocery bags swinging gently. Blonde-haired children zip by on bicycles, returning home from school. Salty-haired surfers secure their boards to scooters, making their way uphill to their cozy apartments. Campervans dusted from their journey line the avenue, bearing license plates from Oregon, California, Colorado, and Montana, outnumbering the local ones. English dominates the airwaves, with the exception of the woman serenading in Spanish as she fries churros. It’s a tropical version of Southern California that leaves you wondering, “Is this even Mexico?”

While experiencing a new culture is often a highlight of travel, Sayulita offers a unique blend. Even with its expat-dominated atmosphere, Mexico’s affordability shines through. For a mere $70 per night, you can secure a one-bedroom apartment just minutes away from the beach, complete with a private terrace (such as B. Turquesa on Airbnb). Authentic Mexican restaurants serve up delicious meals for only $5, and perhaps a few dollars more if you indulge in a couple of beers or a refreshing mojito. On the beach, you can lounge all day on a chair under the shade of an umbrella, free of charge, as long as you order a fresh coconut or savor some succulent barbeque shrimp from time to time. Comparatively, a simple inquiry about a beach chair in the Florida Keys can set you back $5, and the thought of a San Diego room with a terrace overlooking the Pacific might induce queasiness when considering the exorbitant price tag. What you would spend on a week-long beach vacation in the States can stretch into a month or more in Sayulita, covering every meal, daily coconuts on the beach, and even indulging in a giant sombrero if that’s your style.

Sayulita offers the perfect blend of affordability, sunshine, and a vibrant atmosphere that seamlessly merges Mexican charm with a touch of bohemian allure. It’s a place where winter’s grip fades away, replaced by the warmth of the sun and the enchantment of a town that feels like a sun-kissed haven in another world.

Things to Do in Sayulita

Once you find yourself in the vibrant town of Sayulita, you’ll quickly get a sense of its compact size, making it easy to navigate on foot. Whether you arrive by taxi or bus, the main square is your starting point, just a short stroll away from everywhere you want to be. Take advantage of this opportunity to indulge in your first street taco experience at Takora, where the flavorful pibil (shredded, seasoned pork) comes highly recommended. Quench your thirst with a refreshing mango agua fresca as you leisurely explore the main avenue, scouting out enticing dinner options.

As you reach the bustling square, take a seat on a park bench and immerse yourself in the lively scene unfolding before your eyes. The streets come alive with a constant flow of people going about their day. Golf carts, motorcycles, Volkswagen Beetles, and bicycles gracefully glide along the cobblestone streets. Families relish ice cream and chocolate-covered churros, while cafes and cantinas buzz with conversations and the occasional solitary reader. Couples lead their adorable miniature Pomeranians, poodles, and chihuahuas for a leisurely stroll. A wine bar’s patio is brimming with patrons joyfully singing along to a Doobie Brothers cover performed by a seasoned band. After just a few minutes, your momentarily bewildered brain reminds you that you are indeed in Mexico, yet the presence of hundreds of Mexican grackles whistling above in the dense canopy serves as a gentle reminder.

Once you’ve settled into your apartment, preferably located on the serene north side of town, make your way to the beach to secure a prime spot for sunset. You can either venture back into the bustling center and join the crowd at the main beach or venture a little further north along Avenida del Palmar, where you’ll discover a stretch of shoreline shared with only a handful of people. Along your path, you’ll encounter enticing eateries such as El Jakal, Pizza Venezia, Tropical House, Chaman Creative Kitchen, and, finally, Le Camion. Each establishment will tempt you to stop and indulge in their culinary offerings and signature cocktails. While it’s entirely understandable if you succumb to temptation, remember that there are also beachside options awaiting you. After all, you’ve eagerly awaited this moment all day—to sink your toes into the warm sand.

Relaxing in your lounge chair with a Pacifico beer in hand, the gentle sea breeze transports you to a place you thought you had forgotten. The rhythmic crashing of the waves lulls you into a state of complete relaxation. Perhaps the only thing that could enhance this idyllic moment is a professional masseuse tending to the knots in your back. As luck would have it, three empty massage tables beckon from beneath a white canopy, inviting you to indulge in a rejuvenating session. For a mere twenty dollars, you can enjoy an hour of bliss. Is it wrong to treat yourself to two massages in a single day? With the soothing scents of essential oils and skilled hands at work, the last rays of sunlight filter through the lush jungle, casting a golden glow upon the sea. In this moment, as you reflect on why you hadn’t embarked on this journey sooner, you realize that this experience is truly a slice of paradise you’ve been yearning for, particularly during the depths of winter.

Top 10 places to visit in Mexico, 2023 1

How to Get to Sayulita

Getting to Sayulita is a breeze, and once you arrive, navigating the town is a straightforward affair. The compact size of Sayulita makes it highly walkable, allowing you to explore its charming streets with ease. However, if you’re keen on venturing beyond the town’s core or prefer alternative transportation options, there are several convenient choices available.

For those looking to explore the outskirts of Sayulita or seeking a more comfortable means of getting around, renting a golf cart is an excellent option. Golf carts can be rented for approximately $40 – $50 USD ($55 – $68 CAD) per day, offering the perfect blend of convenience and mobility. This option is particularly useful for individuals who may have difficulty walking long distances or families traveling with children.

Within the town, taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced, making them a viable transportation choice for shorter journeys. Whether you’re heading to a specific destination or simply want to explore Sayulita without the need for walking, taxis provide a convenient and cost-effective solution.

If you desire more flexibility and the opportunity to venture beyond Sayulita to neighboring towns like San Pancho, Punta de Mita, Bucerias, or La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, renting a car is the most suitable option. Although it is the pricier choice, having a rental car grants you the freedom to explore at your own pace and visit nearby destinations. You can easily access these towns via bus as well, but if time is of the essence and budget is not a concern, a car rental offers an ideal solution.

Whether you choose to walk, rent a golf cart, take a taxi, or opt for a rental car, Sayulita and its surrounding areas are yours to discover and enjoy at your leisure. Embrace the freedom to explore this captivating region at your own pace, and make the most of your Sayulita experience.

VIII. Manzanillo in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Manzanillo

Manzanillo, a vibrant seaport and popular tourist destination, offers a captivating blend of Mexican culture and picturesque palm-fringed beaches. This coastal gem beckons travelers with its abundance of sandy beaches and hidden coves nestled within its twin bays. From thrilling surf spots to tranquil snorkeling havens, Manzanillo caters to every beach lover’s desire. Indulge in delicious fresh seafood at beachside restaurants while savoring refreshing drinks and witnessing breathtaking sunsets. Don’t forget to explore the town’s historical center, where colonial architecture stands as a testament to its Spanish heritage.

Manzanillo wears a dual identity with pride. It serves as Mexico’s busiest commercial seaport, with a trade route dating back to 1531. Simultaneously, it enchants visitors as a paradise for beach enthusiasts, boasting 350 days of sunshine each year and an array of stunning beaches. The town’s commitment to tourism is evident through significant investments, enhancing its overall appeal. Despite these developments, a glimpse of authentic Mexican life awaits those who venture into the town center.

Choose your daily beach adventure from the vast coastline surrounding Manzanillo. For a convenient option, take a leisurely stroll from your hotel room to Playa San Pedrito, where you can spend a day lounging on the beach, observing the locals in their element. Seek out Playa Audiencia for calm waters, perfect for safe swimming, or head to Playa Miramar if you’re a surfer seeking exhilarating waves. For a touch of seclusion, embark on a scenic coastal drive to Oro Beach, where rumors of gold washing up with the tide add an air of intrigue.

Immerse yourself in the charm of Centro Historico, with its captivating colonial architecture and winding streets. The central plaza, Zócalo, serves as a vibrant hub for people-watching and dining. Indulge in mouthwatering seafood dishes like Colima ceviche and fish stew, accompanied by tuba, a local liqueur crafted from palm tree flowers.

Arriving in Manzanillo is convenient through Playa de Oro International Airport, located just a half-hour drive northwest of the town. If you choose accommodations near Santiago Bay, many attractions will be within walking distance, while buses can transport you to the town center. To explore farther afield, consider renting a car or hiring a driver for added convenience.

With its consistently warm weather, Manzanillo welcomes visitors year-round, making it an ideal destination for an unforgettable Mexican beach holiday. Mark your calendar, choose your preferred dates, select your favorite beach, and prepare to indulge in the perfect coastal getaway.

Things to Do in Manzanillo

Manzanillo offers a plethora of exciting activities and experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you seek adventure, wildlife encounters, cultural immersion, or simply relaxation, this coastal paradise has something for you. Here are some of the top things to do in Manzanillo:

  1. Bicycling: Rent a sturdy “beach comber” bike with a basket and explore the nearby beaches of Punta Mona, Punta Uva, Playa Chiquita, Playa Cocles, and Puerto Viejo. The scenic road from Manzanillo to Puerto Viejo offers various terrains, and you can enjoy the slow-paced journey while encountering restaurants and mini-markets along the way. It takes approximately one hour to bike from the center of Manzanillo to Puerto Viejo.
  2. Bird and Wildlife Watching: Delight in sightings of howler and white-faced monkeys, sloths, toucans, iguanas, butterflies, and other wildlife. Explore the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge or Cahuita National Park, where you can spot tropical flora and fauna. In downtown Puerto Viejo, visit Finca La Isla Botanical Garden for exceptional birdwatching and the chance to spot poison dart frogs.
  3. Canopy Tours: Experience the breathtaking scenery of the southern Caribbean by embarking on a canopy tour. Several tour operators in Puerto Viejo offer trips to the region’s two canopy tours. One of these tours is located in Manzanillo, offering a 75-minute adventure-filled experience. Enjoy wildlife sightings and stunning views of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge from multiple platforms.
  4. Chocolate Tours: Indulge your sweet tooth and gain insight into the area’s indigenous culture through educational chocolate tours at local cocoa farms. Visit the Chocolate House or other indigenous chocolate tours to learn about the history and production of local, organic chocolate. Puerto Viejo also offers its own chocolate tour, allowing you to participate in making delicious, fresh chocolate bars.
  5. Cultural Tours: Immerse yourself in the rich indigenous cultures of the southern Caribbean. Take part in tours that showcase the Bribri, Kekoldi, and Cabecar tribes, providing insights into their way of life. Learn about the significance of the cocoa bean on a chocolate tour, discover the secrets of traditional herbal medicine on a medicinal plant tour, or gain a glimpse of modern indigenous life through cultural tours.
  6. Fishing: Arrange fishing trips with artisan fishermen, who use traditional methods with small dugout canoes or wooden pangas and hand-reels. Several hotels and tour agencies can assist in organizing these authentic fishing experiences.
  7. Horseback Riding: Enjoy guided horseback trips through forested trails and along the beach, offered by local tour operators and hotels. In Cahuita, savor the oceanfront horseback rides along Black Beach (Playa Negra) for a beautiful and memorable experience.
  8. Hiking: Explore the natural beauty of Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge through light hikes along their meandering trails. Knowledgeable guides from various tour operators can accompany you, providing informative insights into the parks and the surrounding private reserves.
  9. Kayaking: Rent kayaks from local hotels to embark on excursions through the canals of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. If you prefer a guided experience, numerous tour companies offer kayaking trips to the refuge, ensuring a memorable adventure.
  10. Rafting and Tubing: Experience high-adrenaline rafting on the Pacuare River, organized by tour companies in town. Enjoy a day on class III and IV rapids, with transportation, guides, and meals included. Alternatively, Bocuare Jungle Adventures offers half-day tubing tours in the nearby Estrella Valley. Glide down the Estrella River on inner tubes, passing through the Cabecar Indigenous Reserve while encountering class II and class III rapids.
  11. Turtle Nesting Tours (March-July): Witness the nesting rituals of leatherback turtles, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and loggerhead turtles. Manzanillo is an important nesting site, and during the nesting season, camping, beach fires, and flashlights are prohibited on the beaches. To protect and preserve the turtles and their eggs, guides are required to visit the nesting beaches. Volunteer programs offer extended opportunities to participate in turtle conservation efforts.
  12. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Discover the vibrant underwater world of Costa Rica’s only two living coral reefs, located in Cahuita and Manzanillo. Explore more than 35 species of coral and 400 species of fish. Snorkeling equipment can be rented from hotels and beachfront kiosks, and several tour companies offer snorkeling excursions to the coral reef near Cahuita National Park. Divers can enjoy over twenty dive sites between Cahuita and Manzanillo when the waters are calm. Local dive shops provide diving trips starting from $65 per person.
  13. Swimming: Indulge in the gentle swimming conditions of Manzanillo’s gorgeous beach. However, always pay attention to signs and consult with locals to ensure water safety.
  14. Surfing: Experience the thrill of surfing at Salsa Brava, Puerto Viejo’s renowned surf break, often regarded as the country’s best wave. Playa Cocles, just south of town, offers tall waves, steady surf, and distant breaks. Be cautious when surfing at the eastern end of Manzanillo’s beach due to strong riptides. Surfboard rentals and surfing lessons are readily available at beachfront shops, as well as through surf schools and individuals.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of activities awaiting you in Manzanillo. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, this coastal paradise promises a memorable and diverse vacation.

Top 10 places to visit in Mexico, 2023 2

How to Get to Manzanillo

Manzanillo is conveniently accessible from several major cities and U.S. gateways, making it an easily reachable destination. Here are the different ways to get to Manzanillo:

By Air: Manzanillo has its own international airport, serviced by major airline companies throughout the year or during high season. You can find flights from major cities such as Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Mexico City, as well as direct flights from U.S. gateways like Phoenix, Houston, and Los Angeles. Airlines such as Westjet, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Continental, Delta, Mexicana, AeroMexico, and Magnicharters operate flights to Manzanillo.

By Bus or Rental Car from Guadalajara: Another option is to fly to Guadalajara, a major city in Mexico, and then travel to Manzanillo by either bus or rental car. The distance between Guadalajara and Manzanillo is approximately 290 km, and the journey takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes by road. Buses and rental car services are available for convenient transportation between the two cities.

By Bus or Rental Car from Puerto Vallarta: If you choose to fly into Puerto Vallarta, you can also reach Manzanillo by bus or rental car. The distance between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo is approximately 284 km, and the journey takes around 3 hours and 39 minutes by road. Buses and rental car options provide flexibility and ease of travel between the two destinations.

Whether you opt for a direct flight to Manzanillo or choose to fly to nearby cities and drive, various transportation options ensure convenient access to this coastal paradise. Enjoy a hassle-free journey to Manzanillo and begin your unforgettable vacation in this beautiful destination.


IX. Zihuatanejo in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Zihuatanejo

Nestled along the Mexican Pacific coast, with the majestic Sierra Madre del Sur mountains as its backdrop and the meandering Potosi River running through the state of Guerrero, lies the captivating seaport and tourist haven of Zihuatanejo. Thanks to its appearance in the film “The Shawshank Redemption,” where the character Andy Dufresne finds solace in this paradise, Zihuatanejo (pronounced zeewha-tan-ay-hoe) has gained international recognition and become a must-visit destination.

With a rich history dating back to the 19th century, Zihuatanejo was a favored port for Spanish explorers returning from Asian shipping routes. This charming town was introduced to the coconut palm tree, brought all the way from the Philippines, and became a prominent producer of coconuts in the region for years to come.

While Zihuatanejo remained largely untouched for decades, the Mexican Department of Tourism, known as FONATUR, unveiled a luxurious resort masterpiece just a short distance up the coast in the mid-1970s. Ixtapa, located a mere 10 minutes away, boasts the stunning Playa El Palmar beach, two world-class 18-hole golf courses, and an array of opulent resort hotels and condominiums that cater to year-round residents and visitors seeking a taste of indulgence.

Zihuatanejo seamlessly blends its Mexican heritage with a vibrant modern touch, making it a favorite among both local and international travelers. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, savor the delectable cuisine, explore the charming streets lined with colorful buildings, and indulge in the warm hospitality that this coastal gem offers.

Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches, thrilling water activities, world-class golfing, or a stroll through the town’s vibrant markets and art galleries, Zihuatanejo promises an unforgettable experience. This captivating destination captivates the hearts of all who visit, earning its rightful place among the top 10 places to visit in Mexico.

Things to Do in Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo offers a wealth of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on sun-kissed beaches or thrilling adventures in the water, Zihuatanejo has something for everyone. Here are some top things to do in this coastal paradise:

Playa la Ropa: Hit the Beach
No trip to Zihuatanejo is complete without a day of beach fun. Playa la Ropa is the go-to destination for beach lovers, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Lounge in the sun, take refreshing swims in the crystal-clear waters, or try out various water sports. You can also rent boats for a thrilling offshore excursion, adding an extra element of excitement to your beach day.

Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande: Today Meets Yesterday
Immerse yourself in Mexico’s rich indigenous history at the Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande. This museum showcases the cultural influences of various communities, such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Tarascan, and Mexican civilizations, on the Costa Grande region. Discover ancient artifacts, craftwork, and tools that offer insights into the vibrant past of Zihuatanejo and Mexico as a whole. Take a leisurely stroll along Paseo del Pescador, which runs alongside the water and offers a delightful coastal ambiance.

Isla Ixtapa: Worlds Away
Escape to the enchanting Isla Ixtapa, located just off the coast of Zihuatanejo. A short boat ride will transport you to this island paradise, where a world of adventure awaits. Dive into the crystal-clear waters for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, immersing yourself in a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful marine life. On land, relax on Playa Coral’s sandy shores, take leisurely walks, and savor delicious food and drinks at the island’s restaurants. You’ll wish the day would never end in this idyllic setting.

Playa Las Gatas: Enjoy Some Variety
For a change of pace from the bustling Playa la Ropa, head to the secluded Playa Las Gatas. Accessible either by walking along the cliffside coastline or by boat, this pristine inlet invites you to explore its untouched beauty. Snorkel in the shallow waters, discover hidden coves along the shore, or simply unwind on the soft sands. The beach is dotted with charming seafood restaurants, providing a perfect spot to indulge in delicious meals while soaking up the serene ambiance.

Delfiniti de México: Swim with Dolphins
Fulfill the ultimate tourist dream of swimming with dolphins at Delfiniti de México. These delightful creatures are known for their playfulness and grace, and this experience allows you to interact with them up close. Whether you’re young or old, there are options available for visitors of all ages and abilities. Dive into the water and enjoy moments of pure joy as you swim and frolic alongside these friendly marine beings. Don’t forget to capture memorable photos with your new aquatic friends to cherish forever.

In Zihuatanejo, adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration intertwine to create an unforgettable vacation experience. Embrace the charm of this coastal gem and make the most of your time in this enchanting destination.

Zihuatanejo in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo is easily accessible through various transportation options. Whether you prefer flying, driving, or taking a bus, there are convenient ways to reach this captivating destination:

The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH) is located just eight miles away from Zihuatanejo. Many hotels provide complimentary shuttle services from the airport. Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Zihuatanejo for approximately Mex$35, book private transportation for around Mex$130, or opt for a colectivo, a shared van, for approximately Mex$10.

If you’re driving from Ixtapa to Zihuatanejo, a taxi ride will cost you only Mex$70. For those who prefer driving themselves, you can easily reach Zihuatanejo by following Autopista del Sol or Autopista Siglo 21 if you’re coming from Mexico City.

Colectivos are available from Ixtapa for approximately Mex$8.50, offering a budget-friendly option. Major bus companies like Grupo Estrella Blanca and Estrella de Oro operate services between Zihuatanejo and significant cities such as Acapulco, Morelia, and Mexico City. The bus fare from Mexico City to Zihuatanejo is typically around Mex$370, while the trip from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo costs approximately Mex$300. The bus terminal is located a few miles away from the city center, and you can easily reach your destination by taking a taxi, which usually costs around Mex$30.

No matter which mode of transportation you choose, Zihuatanejo is well-connected and easily accessible, allowing you to embark on a memorable journey to this captivating coastal paradise.

X. Mexico City in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

Overview of Mexico City

Mexico City, known by various names throughout its rich history, including Tenochtitlan, el Distrito Federal, and now la Ciudad de México, stands as the vibrant capital of Mexico. With a population exceeding 21 million residents, this sprawling metropolis offers a multitude of captivating features that make it a top destination for travelers.

Immerse yourself in the heart of the city by exploring downtown, where the Palacio de Bellas Artes displays breathtaking murals, and the bustling Zócalo, the main square, tempts you with delectable street food like elotes. Delve into the world of art and culture by visiting renowned museums such as the Museo Frida Kahlo, the Castillo de Chapultepec, and the Museo Soumaya. And when hunger strikes, indulge in a culinary adventure by sampling diverse Latin American flavors at a food hall in La Roma, savoring mouthwatering tacos al pastor from a local taquería, or savoring a meal in one of the city’s oldest restaurants.

Mexico City offers an abundance of experiences that cater to all interests and schedules, whether you have a day or a week to explore. Wander through downtown or the trendy neighborhood of La Condesa, where bookstores tempt you to run your fingers along the spines of countless books. Take a leisurely stroll through Parque México, churro in hand, while sipping on a comforting cup of hot chocolate.

The city presents a captivating blend of history, art, cuisine, and cultural experiences at every turn. Even if you can’t explore everything in a single visit, Mexico City will eagerly welcome you back, with its museums, attractions, and hidden gems awaiting your return.

Things to Do in Mexico City

Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis pulsating with history and culture, offers a plethora of captivating activities for visitors to indulge in. Whether you’re intrigued by ancient ruins or yearn to explore vibrant neighborhoods, the city has something to cater to every interest.

Begin your journey by visiting the Museo Nacional de Antropología, a world-class museum that houses a vast collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, providing a captivating insight into Mexico’s rich heritage.

Take a leisurely walk through the expansive Chapultepec Park, a verdant urban oasis perfect for relaxation, jogging, or even a visit to the zoo. Immerse yourself in the charm of the Coyoacán neighborhood, where you can explore the renowned Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former residence, along with numerous art galleries and unique shops.

Embark on an unforgettable excursion to the Teotihuacán pyramids, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside the city. Marvel at the awe-inspiring ancient ruins and soak in the profound history they embody.

Stroll along the iconic Paseo de la Reforma, an avenue adorned with lush trees, elegant fountains, and monumental landmarks that offer a glimpse into Mexico City’s grandeur. For an exhilarating experience, immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Lucha Libre, Mexico’s beloved form of wrestling, by attending an electrifying match.

Indulge your taste buds by sampling the diverse local cuisine. Mexico City boasts an array of restaurants serving traditional Mexican delicacies as well as international flavors, ensuring a culinary adventure that satisfies every palate.

Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene by attending a captivating event. From concerts and theatrical performances to festivals and exhibitions, Mexico City offers an abundance of cultural experiences to enrich your visit.

With its pulsating energy, rich history, captivating culture, and delectable cuisine, Mexico City stands as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, beckoning travelers from around the globe to explore its enchanting offerings.

Mexico City in Top 10 Places to Visit in Mexico

How to Get to Mexico City

Mexico City boasts a comprehensive transportation network that allows travelers to navigate the city with ease and convenience.

Trains: The metro system in Mexico City is not only one of the most extensive but also one of the most affordable in the world. To use the metro, you’ll need to purchase a reloadable card for just 15 pesos (around 75 cents). This card can be used across the city’s transit system and can be loaded at ticket booths in the metro or the machines near metrobús stations. Each metro ride costs just five pesos (20 cents). It’s worth noting that there are designated women-only cars on both the metro and metrobús, usually with a separate boarding area.

Buses: In Mexico City’s central neighborhoods where the metro doesn’t reach, the metrobús is an excellent alternative. These buses have their dedicated lanes, making them faster than cars or taxis, and a ride costs only six pesos. The city’s trolebús operates similarly, while the RTP buses (Red de Transporte de Pasajeros or Passenger Transport Network) have fares ranging from two to seven pesos. At bus stops, you may also come across non-city buses or vans. If you’re curious about their destinations, the stops are usually written on the windshield.

Taxis: Spotting a pink-and-white taxi in most parts of the city is quite easy. You can hail one on the street, or for added convenience, download the official “App CDMX” on your iPhone or Android device to order a taxi. The app also enables you to pay with a debit or credit card, although many drivers still prefer cash.

Ride services: Rideshare apps like Uber, Beat, and Cabify are popular options in Mexico City. During rush hour, if Uber’s surge pricing seems high, consider checking Beat or Cabify for potential lower fares. Comparing these services can sometimes lead to better deals.

With a variety of transportation options at your disposal, getting around Mexico City is both efficient and accessible, allowing you to explore this vibrant metropolis with ease.


Mexico offers a tapestry of beauty and diversity in its top 10 places to visit. From the pristine beaches of Tulum and the cultural richness of Oaxaca to the majestic ruins of Chichen Itza and the vibrant energy of Mexico City, this country has something for every traveler. As you embark on your Mexican adventure, remember to immerse yourself in the local culture, sample the delicious cuisine, and explore the hidden gems of each destination. Don’t forget to take advantage of the convenient transportation options available, such as the metro in Mexico City or the buses in various cities. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or an avid explorer, Mexico promises unforgettable experiences. Thank you for joining us on this virtual journey, and we hope you have a remarkable time exploring the wonders of Mexico. ¡Hasta luego!

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