Welcome to the Places To Visit in Mexico guide.
Header photo Temple of The Inscriptions – Palenque. Credit photo : Olivier Bergeron
Table of contents
- Monte Alban
- Hierve El Agua
- San Cristobal De Las Casas
- Lagos De Montebello
- Waterfall El Chiflon
- Agua Azul
- Chichen Itza
- Playa Del Carmen
- Dolphin watching
- Mexico city
- Going more far
- Reference to Places to Visit In Mexico
- FAQ Places to Visit in Mexico
Teotihuacan is a must in this Places To Visit In Mexico guide. We gone to Teotihuacan on a one day trip from Mexico City. The site is around one hour from Mexico.
Two imposing pyramids dominate the site : The pyramid of the sun and the pyramid of the moon.
Don’t forget to visit the temple of Quetzacoatl with his impressive head of feathered serpents and his heads of the god Tlaloc with 4 eyes and 2 fangs.
The construction of Teotihuacan took place mainly from the first century to the 7th century after Jesus Christ.
several buildings along the causeway have frescoes to explore between 2 pyramid climbs.
If you have the time, there is small archeologic satellite around the main site for the fans like me.
Oaxaca is my favorite city in this Places to Visit In Mexico guide. I go there twice and i burn to come back here again, maybe as digital nomad, why not !!!
The trip from Mexico City by bus took around 6 hours and half. the road in mountain is impressive with deep ravines. During my first trip in 1999, we stop to look at a bus fallen in a ravine !!
Let’s come back to Oaxaca, Oaxaca is a vibrant city, full of life with a colonial style. Many colorful houses dot the town. The zocalo with its arcades is effervescent.
Among the remarkable elements of the city: the cathedral
Do not forget to take a tour of the local markets, variegated and colorful, in particular the typical « Mercado suarez » or « Mercado 20 Noviembre » market which offers various products ranging from chocolate, fruit and vegetables, Moles sauces to flowers etc….
In Oaxaca I like to buy the black and lustrous pottery from San Bartolo Coyotepec , also called barro negro. The surface of the pottery is lustrous with quartz crystals.
Try some mole sauce dish in restaurant during your stay. I remember in my first trip in 1999 to ordered a chicken with Mole Negro sauce. I was surprised in this time to taste a chocolate flavored sauce !
You can drink too some delicious hot milk chocolate.
Don’t miss the « grill » alley, fragrant and smoky, in the « 20 noviembre » market, a paradise for the meat lovers, the hell for the vegans, it’s an opportunity to sit down with the locals!
I have to admit that usually when leaving Oaxaca, my luggage is weighted with a bottle of Mezcal Anejo!!
From Oaxaca, it’s easy to do some day trips like Monte Alban , Hierve El Agua, Mitla, visiting Mezcal distilleries and the Tule Tree.
My favorite stay in Oaxaca :
Hotel las Golondrinas with its lush floral garden.
This archeological site worth the visit in the Oaxaca state. This impressive site is surrounded by arid mountains.
The best is to take an organized trip from Oaxaca , the site is just a few kilometers outside the city.
When I gone there in 1999, we were only 2 or 3 frenchs on the site. Now, it’s a pleasure to see a lot of medium classes mexicans , visiting Monte Alban, eager to discover their own culture.
Tips : The sun can be very harsh on Monte Alban, i advise you to use suncream , otherwise sunburn !!
Hierve El Agua
Around 70 km east of Oaxaca, Hierve El Agua is a really lovely site with nice landscape and made up of beautiful petrified waterfalls.
The rock formations and the blue, green, turquoise ponds sit on a cliff that overlooks the valley below.
We came to Hierve El Agua on a day trip from Oaxaca.
And yes it’s possible to take some baths.
Around 50 km from Oaxaca, Mitla is a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Zapotec culture with some influence of Mixtex culture too.
Despite the site is small, it is famous for the geometric patterns that adorn the structures.
We went to Mitla on a one day trip from Oaxaca.
San Cristobal De Las Casas
San Cristobal is a charming city of Chiapas, with its colorful houses and picturesque markets, a peaceful stopover before Palenque and the Yucatan.
Blue hour is a great time for take photohgraphy inside city of San cristobal with colorful houses.
One of our favorite game in Mexico, is to take photography of beetle inside cities.
From San cristobal , you can make excursions to the El chifflon waterfall and the lagunas Of Montebello.
Lagos De Montebello
Lagos de Montebello is a series of lakes in a remote region of Chiapas near the Guatemalan border.
The region is a bit mountainous and a bit cooler than San Cristobal or Palenque and offers beautiful landscape.
On some lakes it is possible to go rafting. They have beautiful colors : from deep blue to turquoise .
We went to Lagos De Montebello on a one day trip from San Cristobal De Las Casas. We enjoyed the rather wild road and the crossing of small villages. The road is long from San Cristobal and we had a short time to visit the lakes. For a next trip here, renting a car, to take our time and admire the beauty of these lakes is an option that I am considering.
Waterfall El Chiflon
El Chifflon is a serie of waterfalls in the state of Chiapas. The river also forms magnificent basins of turquoise blue water.
We went to El Chiflon on the same day trip than Lagos de Montebello from the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas.
It is possible to take baths in calmer pools, however beware of weather conditions and rainy weather where the current could be stronger
This archeological site is magical, it is so beautiful and so mythical that during my first stay I went back there 2 days in a row.
The descent into the Tomb of Pakal from the Temple of Inscriptions is steep and suffocating, the humidity is oppressive
The atmosphere is so enchanting that during my first stay I sat at the top of the stairs of the Temple of the Cross for more than an hour, just gazing at the lush jungle and its shades of green in the treetops and listening to the howler monkeys.
Archeology Corner : Recently in may 2022, INAH of Mexico just announces the discovery of a stucco head of the young Maize god at Palenque.
If you want to eat cheap and on the go, don’t miss the « polo carbon » gargotes (a french word for cheap and small restaurant), succulent charcoal-grilled chickens scattered in the town of Palanque.
A small anecdot, during my first stay, I was not very used to eating spicy food, seeing some magnificent tacos not very far from my hotel in Palenque, I decided to buy one, it was so spicy that I ran to my hotel room quench my thirst and put out the fire !! I have since learned that a milk product is much more effective against hot pepper fire, hence the famous yogurt lassi in Indian restaurants.
The city of Palenque has nothing sensational in itself, except for its extraordinary archaeological site. Nevertheless, it constitutes a good base to go to Agua Azul, Misol-Ha and their beautiful waterfalls flowing into magnificent turquoise blue basins. It is also possible to make excursions from Palenque to the archaeological sites of Yaxchilan and Bonampak.
The site of Palenque is very very hot, the atmosphere is moist, do not forget to take water and sunscreen even if it will end up dripping
Coming from Palenque, the arrival by boat on the archaeological site of Yaxchilan, surrounded by a verdant jungle and very remote near the guatemala border, was impressive, a good little scent of adventure. As the boat got closer to the pier, my Indiana Jones heart, sleeping inside me, beat faster and faster, the excitement of discovering this new site taking over me , after observing wildlife along the river « Rio Usumacinta »..
On the same day trip from Palenque with the waterfall Misol Ha, Agua azul is serie of nice waterfalls with beautiful turquoise ponds in the state of Chiapas. Agua Azul meanings blue water in spanish language.
The calcium bed of the river « Rio Xanil » is responsible of the turquoise color.
The site is famous and you will find some foods and drinks shops along the river.
Some ponds have more quiets waters and that’s possible to take a bath. Be careful however if weather conditions aren’t good and if the flow of the waters is strong.
Misol Ha is a waterfall in the state of Chiapas, we combined its visit with Agua azul. You can walk behind the waterfall.
We went to Bonampak on the same day trip than Yaxchilan , both in the east of the state of Chiapas near the Guatemala border. Despite the site is small, it is very famous for its magnificent mayan frescoes very colorful and fresh.
The site also has several interesting steles.
One of the most famous archeological site in this Places to Visit In Mexico post, Chichen Itza is situated in the Yucatan peninsula between the cities of Merida and Valladolid.
The name means « At the mouth of the well of the Itza ».
The city was establish by the Mayas around 2 natural cenotes, a source of water around 415-455 AD , abandoned and then reinvested by the Toltecs after their migrations from the Mexican plateau to the south during the 10th century.
Following this conquest , a fusion style emerge, mixing maya ans toltec elements, by exemple with the stellar observatory Caracol.
Tulum is a postcard image. the archaeological site is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking a turquoise blue sea.
To the north of Tulum, it is possible to find beaches for swimming. We went there with bikes rented at our hotel