The Ultimate Mexico Bucket List – 30+ Things To Do in Mexico

As the 14th largest country we thought we better do a Mexico Bucket List! There is a lot to love about Mexico, with its open-air markets, outdoor murals, ancient Aztec culture, exuberant cuisine and laid back beaches.

Mexico holds over 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 100 exciting towns that embody traditional Mexico. Together with fellow travel bloggers, we are showcasing all Mexico has to offer with our Ultimate Mexico Bucket List!

Whether you are after low-key beaches, colourful cities, history or wild and adventurous landscapes!

Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam”

Mexico Bucket List: Things to do in Northern Mexico & Baja

Camping Bay of Conceptions

Baja California is still considered the wild west of Mexico. Thus camping along one of it’s most pristine bays along the Sea of Cortez quickly becomes a bucket list item when traveling to Mexico.

While there are many great places to camp in Baja, the Bay of Concepcion offers the most spectacular options all within a 35-mile range of each other. The bay itself is located approximately 20 minutes south of the town of Mulege, or an hour north of Loreto.

Sprinkled within the 35 miles of the bay are numerous beaches, such as Playa Coyote and Playa El Requeson, which offer the opportunity to camp for approximately USD$10 (200 Mx pesos). Here can camp any way you like, whether tent, RV or car – or even sleep beneath the stars.

Depending on your interests, the Bay of Concepcion is perfect for SUP and kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, swimming or simply sitting in the white sand and enjoying a spectacular sunrise or sunset!

By Chris from Called to Wander

Roadtrip Baja

For a truly unique Mexican experience, you absolutely must take a road trip down the Baja Peninsula.  This area of Mexico has a beautiful desert, surrounded by the sea on both sides, and is sparsely populated, so you’ll be sure to find plenty of solitude on your trip.  To get to Baja from the United States is quite easy at the border crossings in Mexicali or Tijuana.

Towns are quite spread out, and although you can find hotels, most people who road trip down Baja prefer to camp, since campgrounds are abundant.  Fish tacos are the most common food you’ll find served here, and they are absolutely delicious.  Since the temperatures can get incredibly hot in the summer, a road trip down the Baja Peninsula is best done during the winter or spring.

By Jessica Averett from Bring The Kids

Try the delicious Mexican Cuisine

Each state in Mexico has it’s own style of cuisine, which makes Mexican food super exciting! Its one of my all time favourite cusiines, there is something about the fresh burst of corrianbder and lime that marriages so perfectly with the heat and spices.  If you can, do a food tour, you will learn lots about the culture and different places where foods originated from.

Don’t miss eating mole in Puebla, tamales in Oaxaca or fish tacos in Baja.

Mexico Bucket List: Things to do in Mexico City and Surrounds

Discover the wonders of Mexico City

Mexico City is Mexico’s vibrant capital and a non-negotiable destination for your Mexico bucket list, at least if you ask me! Plan to spend at least 4 days in Mexico City. Base yourself in the safe and peaceful Condesa neighbourhood where you can experience the city’s cafe culture, admire the Art Deco architecture, and wander through the beautiful, green Chapultepec Park.

But don’t spend your entire stay in Condesa alone. To see the best of the city you’ll need to venture out. Visit the Museo de Templo Mayor, an Aztec ruin in Centro Histórico, float down the canals of Xochimilco, retrace Frida Kahlo’s footsteps through Coyoacán, and experience the nightlife in La Roma. And most importantly: don’t forget to stop for tacos along the way!

By Janine from Janine in the World

Visit Frida Kahlo’s Home

Located in Colonia del Carmen in Mexico City is the most stunning cobalt blue house you will ever see. This was the home to Frida Kahlo (La Casa Azul) and stands today as a museum honoring her life and work. You can easily get to the Blue house by uber, taxi or on the metro line 3 with a bit of a stroll after getting off at the Viveros Coyoacán station. The entry to the Frida Kahlo Museum is approximately $20 and you aren’t allowed to take any big bags, umbrellas or selfies sticks inside. 

As you enter the courtyard, the spacious gardens invite you into an entirely different timeline that carries you through her family home. The rich blue color of the outside paired with the original artwork lining the inside walls of the house and pristinely preserved furniture and personal items is entrancing. It gives you a profound glimpse into the fascinating life of Frida Kahlo.

By Courtney from Cocobetty.com

Celebrate the Day of the Dead

As far as events and festivities go, celebrating Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is at the top of that list.

Day of the Dead is celebrated all over Mexico from October 31st – November 2nd and is an annual holiday that focuses on remembering and honoring your loved ones who’ve passed. This holiday centers around a positive relationship with death and it is believed that, during this brief time, the spirits of your loved ones come back to visit.

The beautiful holiday is marked by the setting up of ofrendas in one’s home dedicated to those who have passed, but also by city-wise parades, dressing up and painting faces, eating pan de muerto, visiting cemeteries, and telling stories of your loved ones. And yes, you can even celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico as a foreigner.

Día de los Muertos is celebrated in the big cities (like Mexico City), but the heart of the holiday is found in the smaller, more intimate villages like Oaxaca, Aguascalientes, and Michoacan.

By Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life

Explore Chichen Itza

Chichén Itzá  is probably Mexico’s most famous archaeological site. It’s a large site located about halfway between Mérida and Cancún on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, making it a popular day trip for visitors to the Riviera Maya coast. Getting to Chichén Itzá  from Cancún or Playa del Carmen takes just over two hours by car.

Chichén Itzá  was built and inhabited by the Maya people between around 600AD until the 13th century. The ruins that you can visit today are concentrated in three main areas; the Great North area, which includes the iconic pyramid and the Great Ball Court; the Osario group, where you can see another pyramid; and the Central group, which includes the Caracol, Chichén Itzá ’s observatory.

Since Chichén Itzá  is Mexico’s most-visited archaeological site, it’s best to get there early to avoid both the crowds and the midday heat. Some smaller tours from the Riviera Maya aim to get you there at opening time, or you can drive yourself. The site is very large, and the signage isn’t particularly good, so it’s a good idea to get a guided tour of the ruins.

Visit Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is a very interesting archaeological site located 50 km north-east of Mexico DF. Teotihuacan is a very easy day trip from the capital, especially for those who love history, archeology and also for those people who cannot make it to the south of the country to visit the Mayan Pyramids.

The bus leaves from the bus station Mexico Central Norte and it takes 1 hour and a half to reach Teotihuacan. The entrance to the site is just in front of the bus stop so it’s impossible to get lost.

The site of Teotihuacan consists of two main pyramids – Pirámide del Sol and Pirámide de la Luna – a royal palace and other secondary pyramids and shrines. There’s also a museum to explain the history of this very interesting site and showcase its main findings (tools, jewels, weapons). Don’t miss the museum as it is an excellent complement to the site. You can visit it during the hottest hours when it’s hard to walk outside.

Climbing the two main pyramids is perhaps the best thing to do in Teotihuacan. The climbing is steep but once you reach the top you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the ensemble. It is then when you realize how impressive Teotihuacan is and how important must have been in the past.

by Elisa from World in Paris

Visit Campeche

Want to experience a beautiful Spanish colonial city without the crowds? Even though it’s registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Campeche remains surprisingly undiscovered by most visitors to Mexico. This means you can stroll peacefully around the historic center and feel like you have stepped back in time, without having the image shattered by hordes of tour groups passing by.

The feature that really sets Campeche apart from other colonial towns in Mexico is its elaborate fortification system, made up of a series of bastions, or “baluartes” in Spanish. And while you should definitely visit one or two of these bastions, the most enjoyable thing about a visit to Campeche is arguably just wandering the streets without any particular destination and soaking up the atmosphere. Its houses are painted in pastel shades of blue, green, pink and yellow, making a stroll down its cobblestone lanes very colorful. Be sure to stop in for lunch at Natura 2000, which serves up delicious vegan and vegetarian Mexican food.

by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

Learn to Salsa

Want to experience a beautiful Spanish colonial city without the crowds? Even though it’s registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Campeche remains surprisingly undiscovered by most visitors to Mexico. This means you can stroll peacefully around the historic center and feel like you have stepped back in time, without having the image shattered by hordes of tour groups passing by.

The feature that really sets Campeche apart from other colonial towns in Mexico is its elaborate fortification system, made up of a series of bastions, or “baluartes” in Spanish. And while you should definitely visit one or two of these bastions, the most enjoyable thing about a visit to Campeche is arguably just wandering the streets without any particular destination and soaking up the atmosphere. Its houses are painted in pastel shades of blue, green, pink and yellow, making a stroll down its cobblestone lanes very colorful. Be sure to stop in for lunch at Natura 2000, which serves up delicious vegan and vegetarian Mexican food.

by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

Mexico Bucket List

Go off the beaten path and visit Tolantongo

Grutas Tolantongo is one of off the beaten path destinations in Mexico. This geothermal river is located about 3 hours from Mexico City. To get there, you need to switch buses, but only once, so it isn’t that big deal. Besides Tolantongo is worth it. You will get a warm river, caves and man-made infinity bools where you can bathe. At the same time, there are very little people, so you can have a river just for your self.

There is no wifi in the area, so if you crave to be online, you will probably need to buy a sim card with data. For the very same reason, you cannot reserve any hotel in Tolantongo, but the capacity is about 250 people, so chances are pretty good.

The entry fee to the park is 120 pesos per day and you need to buy it for each day that you will be there. It is still a pretty low budget area, the hotels cost only 600 pesos for 2 people per day.

by Albi from Ginger Around The Globe

Mexico Bucket List: Things to do in Yucutan Pennisula

Beach Hop in Tulum

Once a quiet fishing village located a couple south of Cancun, Tulum has now become one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. The main draw? Tulum’s stunning picture-perfect beaches, where turquoise water laps up against white sand in the shadow of Mayan ruins.

Because so much of the beachfront in Tulum is controlled by hotels, one excellent way to experience this tropical destination is to go beach-club hopping.
There are many beach clubs to choose from and most will have some kind of minimum spend required in order to use the beach loungers. The exact price will vary from club to club.

My personal favourite beach club in Tulum is Papaya Playa Project because it’s central, gorgeous, and relatively affordable. Plus, they often host fun parties in the evening!

Pro tip: if you are going when it’s less busy or with a larger group, you can often negotiate the minimum spend down if you talk directly to the staff.

by Nate from Travel Lemming

Explore the Tulum Archeological Zone

Tulum is a beautiful little town located in Quintana Roo, along the coastal road connecting Belize to Mexico. It’s often visited alongside a trip to Cancun or Playa del Carmen from the North, and can also be reached in a day from Chetumal and Belize City in the South. One of the highlights of Tulum, and an item sure to make everyone’s Mexico Bucket List, is exploring the Tulum Archeological Zone, or Tulum National Park. While many of Mexico’s Mayan ruins are located deep in the jungle, these ruins are right along the coast, creating a picturesque scene of ruins, jagged cliffs, palm trees, and turquoise blue waters.

The ancient Mayan city of Tulum, which makes up the ruins preserved at the Tulum Archeological Zone, was a trading hub and spiritual center. The most recognizable building here, built right at the top of a cliff, is the Templo Dios Del Viento, the God of Winds Temple. Because of its geography and the walls around the Tulum’s ancient city, it was one of the last places to fall to Spanish invaders.

The best time to visit the Tulum Archeological Zone is at sunrise (entry is 65 pesos or ~$3.50 USD). This way, you’ll avoid the large crowds that arrive in the morning and afternoon. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the site, plus a swimsuit so you can hang out at the beach, inside the Archeological Zone!

by Erika from Erika’s Travelventures

Day Trip to a Cenote

Diving in the cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula is a unique dive experience that belongs on any diver’s bucket list. Driving with dive gear in a jeep to a hole in the jungle floor and diving into a cave filled with some of the cleanest water on the planet is an experience that is hard to match.

Cenotes are freshwater-filled sinkholes that are formed when the roofs of limestone caverns collapse, creating a system of underground  caves and caverns. Rain water filtering through the ground into the cave system results in water with amazing visibility, some days exceeding 50 meters. Stalagmites and stalactites formed over millions of years can be seen diving in some cenotes, making diving here even more spectacular.

To dive up to 60m away from the entrance is seen as a cavern dive and special technical dive qualifications are not required.  Most of the cenotes are located in the jungles surrounding Tulum, but can easily be reached from Cancun. The cost of a full day trip for qualified divers including two dives from Cancun starts at about $200 including dive equipment.

by Campbell and Alya from Stingynomads.com

Snorkel with Turtles in Akumal

If you are traveling to Mexico, you already know that you will spend a lot of time in the water. Mexico has a beautiful Caribbean coastline and also exciting marine life.

And if you are coming to Tulum, there are many spots to check out. However, one of my favorite things to do in Tulum was snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal. Akumal in Mayan means “land of turtles,” and it is a perfect spot for seeing these beautiful creatures.

Akumal is located just a 30 minutes drive from Tulum. If you would like to snorkel with turtles in Akumal, you need to take a guided snorkeling tour as this is a protected area, and you won’t be allowed to snorkel on your own in order to protect marine life. The guide costs $30-40 per person, but it is definitely worth it. We have seen many turtles, tropical fish, and after we enjoyed the rest of the day on the white sand beach of Akumal.

by Gigi from Beach Addicted

 Sunrise SUP on Bacalar Lagoon

If you’re looking for an absolutely stunning spot off-the-beaten-track for your Mexico bucket list, you really can’t go wrong with Bacalar and it’s famous Lagoon of Seven Colors. Located a short 2-hour ADO bus-ride south of Tulum, this small, sleepy town is popular with backpackers and domestic tourists. For a truly unique experience, join a sunrise SUP tour with What SUP Bacalar.

You’ll gather a little before sunrise for a short SUP lesson and then paddle across the lagoon as the sun slowly rises above the horizon.

Stop by one of the few open-air cenotes in Mexico, Cenote Azul, as well as the popular El Canal de Los Piratos for a short swim and to check out the murals. Then, paddle back across the lagoon and be back in time for breakfast! An absolutely magical experience!

by Addie from Addie Aboard

Swim with Whale Sharks

Mexico isn’t exactly known for its wildlife. But the Yucatan Peninsula was the site of the largest gathering of Whale Sharks ever recorded, with more than 400 spotted feeding off the coast of Isla Mujeres in 2011.

Today, thousands of tourists descend on the Riviera Maya each summer, from June through September, in hopes of getting a chance to swim with these gentle giants. The average Whale Shark measures 35 feet long and weighs around 20,000 pounds. So imagine swimming right beside a behemoth about the width of a VW Beetle and the length of a school bus, and it should be obvious why this is widely considered among the best animal encounters in the world.

If you want to go swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico, please do it responsibly:
Touching them is a no-no, and riding them is strictly forbidden. They aren’t remotely aggressive, but they’re incredibly strong (especially their unpredictable tails), so swim beside rather than behind them. Also note that these big beauties move MUCH faster than you might expect: The first one passed me by before I even had a chance to start kicking! But on the third attempt I was fortunate to spend nearly 5 minutes swimming in lazy circles alongside one, with my heart pounding in my chest with excitement the entire time as it gobbled down its tunny (the tiny spawn of a type of tuna) prey.

Suffice it to say that this is an exceptional aquatic adventure that every animal lover should experience at least once in their lifetime.

by Bret from Green Global Travel

Visit Merida 

Merida is a beautiful city not far from the Gulf of Mexico. Its charming markets, colorful architecture, and cobble-stoned roads make it one of my favorite destinations in the country! If you arrive in Cancun, take a dedicated shuttle bus from its international airport to Merida City Center. The ride is 3 hours and costs ~US $40.

After spending 10 days in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, I quickly fell in love with Merida’s laid-back atmosphere. Be it a walk down Paseo de Montejo, or a visit to the Cathedral of Merida, I always felt welcomed by the warmth that seemed to ooze out of this city.

The downtown core is full of buzzing stores and jolly laughter, which is perfect for those that like to shop for local handicrafts. Once you exit the center, take any of the small, colorful alleyways and enjoy the serene escape. Outside the main roads, there isn’t much noise or many people. A few cars may hobble down the street, but if you choose correctly, you may end up strolling down a street tucked away from the tourist chatter.

At night, enjoy a cold beer at one of the many bars. Don’t forget to grab a taco or three! You will not regret it!

by Daisy from Beyond my Boarder

Visit Izamel

A trip to Izamal should be on everyones Mexico bucket list. Izamel is a small town located within Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and it’s truly one of the most unique destinations in the entire country. This off the beaten path attraction is one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos, which is a government program that recognizes locations throughout the country that are renowned for their beauty, history, culture, hospitality, or cuisine. The main reason why Izamal is labeled as a Pueblo Magico is due to the fact that every single building is painted the exact same shade of Yellow. Izamal is also famous for hosting Pope John Paul II back in 1993, something which the town is still proud of to this day.

The easiest way to visit Izamal is to catch a colectivo, which is similar to a shared shuttle, from the nearby city of Merida. Merida is located approximately an hour West of Izamal and it makes a great base for exploring Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Upon arriving to Izamal you can tour the convent in the center of town, which includes a museum dedicated to the Pope’s visit, and then explore some of the small Mayan ruins that are scattered throughout this colorful town.

By Michael from Passport Explored

Mexico Bucket List: Things to do in Southern Mexico

Multi-day Trek in the Sierra Norte Mountains

While there are plenty of things to do in Oaxaca City, one of the most magical and under the radar experiences is just outside the town itself. Perched high in the Sierra Norte Mountains lie 8 autonomous communities that comprise the Pueblos Mancomunados.

With a local guide, you can spend a few days trekking between these villages while learning about the culture and environment. You’ll hike through pine forests that are unlike the Mexicoyou are probably imagining. You’ll eat home-cooked meals, stay in guesthouses run by the community, partake in cultural experiences, and learn about this unique region’s history and self-governing status.

Trekking to these villages in the Sierra Norte Mountains will likely be one of the most unique experiences you’ll have in Mexico. You can book your guided trip through the community-run organization called Expediciones Sierra Norte, which organizes all the guides and accommodation in this region. These communities have a focus on eco-tourism, so by adding this trek to your Mexico itinerary you are not only supporting the environment, but also the communities that call this place home.

By Katie from Two Wandering Soles

Go on a Mezcal Tasting Tour

You don’t have to be an alcoholic, to love this Mexico bucket list experience. I know what you are thinking. You are going to recommend me to go try some authentic Tequila in Mexico. Though Tequila is the most popular liquor in Mexico, it is not the most traditional. The most traditional liquor in Mexico is Mezcal.

If you have never heard of Mezcal before, don’t worry your not the only one! It is like Tequila’s cousin, except it is made quite differently. Similar to Tequila, Mezcal is made using agave, a plant native to the arid and hot regions of the Americas. But unlike Tequila where the agave is steamed in ovens, the agave for Mezcal is roasted in underground pits. The other similarity between Tequila and Mezcal is that you will probably regret drinking too much of either.

Mezcal’s flavour is very smoky due to the roasting process. You will feel as if you just entered a burning house after taking a shot of Mezcal. Don’t let that deter you though, Mezcal tasting is one of the things you must do in Mexico. You will get a sense of age-old traditions and a look into authentic Mexican culture. There are many Mezcal tasting tours you can go on in Oaxaca City, the most famous place for Mezcal in Mexico.

By Sean from LivingOutLau

Discover the Wonderful Hierve el Agua

For thousands of years, a natural spring flowing over the side of a cliff in Oaxaca’s Sierra Madre mountains has slowly deposited minerals down the side of the mountain. In the same way that stalactites form in a cave, the result is a beautiful petrified waterfall that cascades into the valley below.

To attract visitors to Hierve el Agua, the local residents built an infinity pool at the edge of the cliff which captures the spring water as it continues to flow over the edge. Made of rock, the pool feels like a natural addition. It gives visitors a place to relax and absorb the beautiful surrounding mountain landscape.

It’s easy to get to Hierve el Agua without a tour from Oaxaca City. Look for a shared taxi, colectivo, or bus going to the small town of Mitla. From there you can reserve a ride in one of the pickup trucks that travel between Mitla and Hierve el Agua throughout the day. To make the most of your time and avoid the crowds, get started early. It’s definitely a Mexico bucket list destination, but it’s also a popular one!

By Julien from Cultures Traveled

Visit Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful, lively city located on the Pacific Ocean in the state of Jalisco. Most people arrive by air through the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Then it’s a simple bus, cab, or uber ride down to the Malecon.
The Puerto Vallarta Malecon is a one mile long boardwalk perfect for strolling along the water, grabbing a bite to eat, or doing some bargain shopping with one of the many street vendors who’ve set up a temporary shop.

There is a bandshell at the one end. So it’s not uncommon to hear some local musicians playing, or even a magician putting on a magic act for the kids. If you’re lucky you could even catch the Papantla Flying Men performing one of their daring acts. Buskers also make this strip their home and keep the crowd entertained daily. While you’ll be in awe over the magnificent sand sculptures that pop up along the boardwalk.

Be sure to check out the Cheeky Monkey Restaurant where you’ll have gorgeous views of the water, and delicious inexpensive drinks. Plus don’t miss out on taking a taco tour. One of the very best tours is Taco 101 with Memo Lira. Not to be missed!

by Kimberley from Two Travelling Toques

That is our Mexico Bucket List, we hope we have given you some ideas and inspired you to travel to Mexico!

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