10 Exciting Things to Do in Mexicoadmin
Last Updated January 4th, 2019
Mexican Vacation | Things to do in Mexico
Going on a vacation to Mexico can be quite fulfilling because this is one of the most exciting tourist destinations in North America. With the presence of UNESCO world heritage sites, alluring underwater caverns, lively sea life and mysterious stone ruins among other attractions you can be sure to have a mix of adventure and relaxation to complete your Mexican vacation.
That is, whether you are interested in a cruise, strolling past the ancient ruins, playing golf, water sports, shopping, spending time on the beautiful sandy beaches, seeing exotic wildlife or visiting historical sites, there is always something for everyone.
Things to Do in Mexico
Mexico is a boiling point of different cultures and traditions that have blended with its rich history as well as beautiful scenery that will make your vacations thrilling for the millions of visitors that visit every year.
Some of the great places and top exciting things that you must do and experience while on vacation in treasure trove Mexico include the following:
Relax on the sandy Pacific and Caribbean beaches – Enjoy the cool breeze from the sea, swim or simply go surfing.
Notably, Playa Norte beach that is tucked away on Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun that is celebrated for its warm shallow water and white sand is a great way to kick off your vacation will leave you totally satisfied.
Engage in water sports
– With the coastline stretching over 6,000 miles you can be sure to enjoy a range of water sports like snorkeling, diving, sport fishing, sailing as well as surfing.
Moreover, you have the advantage of choosing between the three major water bodies namely unrestrained pacific, the sea of Cortes that is warm and the azure Caribbean.
Learn the Mexican Culture
– Mexico has a rich culture having been the home of many indigenous nations before it was conquered by Spain and you will do well to learn a little about the first natives that make up 10 percent of the Mexican population and have remained to be a defining force.
Day of the Dead in Mexico
The Day of the Dead refers to a Mexican holiday that is observed in Mexico as well as other selected parts of the world. This holiday is dedicated to celebrating and remembering family and friends that are departed. Although the official date of the Day of the Dead is 2nd of November that is also a bank holiday, the celebration lasts for three days beginning October 31 through to November 2. Notably, dead infants and children are honored on November 1, a day before the deceased adults are honored.
Reasons for Celebrating Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is time of joyous celebrations and festivities to show commitment and love to the dead hence people invest a lot of money and time in making this day a success. Preparations for the festivities of this day often begin early. Ironically, there are those that celebrate this day out of fear. This is mainly because of the folk tales that are rampant on what will happen should someone neglect their ancestors on this day.
For instance, when a spirit comes then finds paltry offerings or that an altar was not built for them they feel angry and sad especially when other spirits have bountiful of offerings. In addition, spirits that are neglected may seek revenge on their living folk. This may be through illness or death soon after this holiday.
Origin of the Day of the Dead Celebrations
The day of the dead is believed to have originated from Aztec festival that was dedicated to goddess Mictecacihuatl as well as the indigenous observances that date back to thousands of years ago. It is a blend of Spanish catholic beliefs and pre-Hispanic indigenous beliefs. In fact, this day coincides with All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day in the Catholic calendar.
It is believes that on this day, the deceased usually returns to join their relatives and rejoice with them in their earthly homes. Most importantly, it helps retain connections between the living and the unseen world of the dead where we will all return to someday.
Popular Day of the Dead Traditions
While it is common for this holiday to be celebrated in graveyards and homes, there is no offence in celebrating it in public spaces. This may involve holding street parties, festivals and parades.
There are a number of traditions that are associated with this day that include the following:
• Visiting the graves of the departed. Here, families will spend time cleaning the graves of their departed ones before decorating them with photos, flowers and candles. Others also include drinks and food.
Amazingly, most people observe a night vigil at the graveyard where they tell funny stories about their ancestors and socialize. Musicians are also hired to come and play the deceased’s favorite songs while strolling through the graveyard.
• Building altars in honor of the departed is another common tradition. It is also referred to as ofrendas. Guests may also be allowed to view these altars.
• Honoring the deceased with skulls made from sugar, making their favorite beverages and foods.
In conclusion, the Day of the Dead is a holiday that gives people an opportunity to remember and celebrate their loved ones through various significant activities that are aimed at appeasing them.
Sample the Mexican Cuisine
– one of the unique things about eating the Mexican food is that is lets you blend in with the culture because the traditional cuisine is listed among UNESCO cultural heritage. More specifically, be sure to seek the local specialties.
Discover Mexico’s natural wonders
– Although the Grand Canyon is popular you can be sure to discover some of the natural wonders that are less popular despite being unique and breathtaking.
These include the Copper Canyon, Mount Orizaba that is a volcanic mountain and other small wonders like Hierve el Agua natural rock formations.
– Mexico’s wildlife is a star attraction as the Sea of Cortez boasts of an abundance of abundance of marine life species and represents close to one third of the world’s marine mammals. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is also a spectacle to behold during spring and fall.
Explore Mexico’s natural heritage
– Mexico boasts of 10 historical cities that are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites that you can visit.These include: Morelia, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puebla and Zacatecas among others.
5 Great UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Mexico
Mexico is a country that is rich with ancient history and culture. It is no mystery, then, as to why there are currently 31 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List within Mexico, with a further 31 to be considered as additions. Here are 5 incredible sites that should be on anyone’s bucket list of places to visit.
1. The Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza
Throughout its history of nearly 1000 years, the sacred site of Chichen-Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. The pyramid-like structures are an incredible sight to behold, attracting thousands upon thousands of people every year.
Visitors can marvel at the sheer size and architectural brilliance of the site’s remaining structures, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.
The Chichen-Itza is one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization, and their stone monuments and artistic works reveal their amazing visions of the world and the universe. The Mayans are, after all, famous for their predictions of the future…
2. The Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco
First established in the 16th century (a long time before its namesake beer), the beautiful town of San Miguel acted as a cultural melting pot where Spaniards, Amerindians, and Creoles exchanged influences. The incredible stonework of the Sanctuary is something that visitors would not want to miss.
Rather than an ancient treasure, like many other sites in Mexico, the fortified town was first established in the 16th century. Anyone interested in art and architecture would, no doubt, fall in love with its many beautiful buildings.
Most of its outstanding religious and civic structures were built in the style of the Mexican Baroque, a fine example of which is the ‘Jesuit sanctuary’, located 14km from town. The Jesuit sanctuary consists of a large church and several smaller chapels, all wonderfully decorated by oil paintings ad murals by Spanish artists of the time.
3. The Historic Centre of Puebla
Founded in 1531, the beauty of Puebla can be appreciated both by night, and by day. The historic centre is situated at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano, so it is no wonder the city is erupting with such striking structures.
Fine buildings, such as the old archbishop’s palace and the famous 16th-17-th century cathedral, decorate the site.
Along with a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos), new aesthetic concepts resulting from the combination of American and European influences were adopted locally, and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.
4. The Historic Centre of Oaxaca and Archaeological Site of Monte Alban
The terraces, canals and pyramids of Monte Alban were literally carved out of the mountain by its inhabitants. These features are the symbols of a sacred topography, and reflect a history of 1,500 years of a diverse succession of peoples who called it home. Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs all stake a claim in its ancient occupancy.
Oaxaca, the city nearby, hides architectural treasures. The grid pattern, on which the city is built, shows that that the Spanish colonial town planners had even adapted the buildings to the earthquake-prone region!
5. The Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca
On the northern slopes of the breath-taking Tlacolula valley, in subtropical central Oaxaca, lies a network of caves and complexes. The site preserves amazing rock-art, and shelters that were used by our ancient ancestors.
The site consists of two pre-Hispanic archaeological complexes and a series of pre-historic caves and rock shelters. Anyone with a keen interest in history would thoroughly enjoy a firsthand experience here.
Some shelters show the progress of nomadic hunter-gatherers to incipient farmers. Many fascinating discoveries have been made here, including the earliest known evidence of domesticated plants in the continent.
Few countries compare with the ancient history and beautiful architecture of Mexico’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is so much to offer from a holiday in Mexico.
From the staggering monuments of ancient civilizations, to the exquisite architecture of its wonderfully preserved buildings, Mexico has some of the most remarkable sights the world has to offer.
Visit art galleries
– If you appreciate art then you will enjoy visiting galleries for close views of carvings, paintings as well as murals done by renowned Mexican artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.In particular, San Miguel de Allende offers an eclectic mixture of art aficionados and artists not only Mexico but also other parts of the world. Guadalajara is also not be left out as it is known as a thriving contemporary art scene.
Explore the Street culture
– The streets of Mexico City are always a live with different attractions. Therefore, you will do well to walk through the street markets and buy some souvenirs or simply feel the Mexican appeal.However, you also need to keep in mind the security situation as there have been reports of gun violence being rampart.
Visit the archeological ruins
– You can also enjoy the unbeatable setting of the Yucatan Peninsula that overlooks the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Mexico boasts of the splendor of the Maya and Aztec ruins that gives you a glimpse of the majestic lost cities dating back to thousands of years.
Here are some of the top ten archeological sites in Mexico that you should include on your bucket list as they are exciting, fascinating and intriguing.
Top Ten Archeological Sites in Mexico
Many travelers and holiday makers enjoy visiting Mexico because the experience is always rewarding. This country is dotted with hundreds of attractions that are distributed across the rich landscape.
Notably, Mexico has over 180 archeological sites that are not only breathtaking but also a great way of connecting with and learning about the ancient civilizations and cultures.
From the stone altars to the pyramids, the archeological sites are truly marvelous as they are representative of the beauty and history of Mexico.
- Calixtlahuaca – This was the center of Matlatzinca culture and is tucked away in Toluca Valley in Central Mexican highlands. It is one of the few ancient cities from the Aztec period.Both residential districts and impressive architecture are preserved here. This city was excavated in 1930 where a life-sized stone sculpture of the Aztec god of wind known as Ehecatl was discovered in the largest circular temple at this site.Research has shown that this is the third largest city in central Mexico from the Aztec period.
- Teotihuacan – This is perhaps the most popular archeological site in Mexico and a must see attraction for travelers visiting Mexico.It was the largest ancient city in Mexico with the main attractions being Piramide de la Luna (Pyramid of Moon) and Piramide Del Sol (Pyramid of the sun).It is worth noting that the latter is the world’s third largest pyramid. Teotihuacán is easily accessible as there are always buses going there for a small fee.
- Xochicalco – This is one of the most important archeological sites in Central Mexico and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a cultural, religious and commercial center for Olmec, Toltec, Mixtec, Zapotec and Aztec cultures.This site consists of white stone ruins. However, the most important structure is Piramide de Quetzalcoatl that has intricate stone carvings.The site is breathtaking as it is at the top of a plateau thereby offering spectacular views.
- Tulum – The beauty of Tulum is undisputable as it is perched on a rugged cliff that overlooks crystal clear turquoise water and pure white sands making it the most attractive site.Here you will find a 700 year old El Castillo temple that was the first sign of civilization. This site receives huge crowds so you will do well to visit in the morning and late afternoon.
- Palenque – Originally a Mayan city that flourished within the seventh century AD this site is surrounded by a dense rainforest.It is best to visit in the morning as the ruins are covered in the mist even as howler monkeys enhance the entire setting.You can climb the buildings, go into the ruins and or pitch black rooms where giant spiders climb on the ceiling and bats hang on the ceiling.
- Chinchen Itza – Deemed as being the most visited archeological site, Chinchen Itza is another Mayan city that is located in Yucatan. Major attractions include El Castillo, the main temple that is impressive but revered as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.During late afternoons in Autumn and spring equinoxes, the corner of the temple casts shadows that appear like a wiggling serpent.This effect is created with artificial lighting during nightly shows. Chinchen Itza also has an observatory as well as Great Ball Court.
- Tempo Mayor – This amazing site is the focal point of Tenochtitlan. It is believed that the original beauty of this site was ruined by the Spanish. However, its current beauty is still appealing.
- Uxmal – A significant archeological site having flourished around 600-1000AD. Its significance is in the presence of the Pyramid of the magician that is usually shaped as it included corners and a steep staircase that had several layers.
- Yohualichan – Among the major highlights of this archeological site that is 6 hours from Mexico City is a drive through the hills. Moreover, while here you get some of the amazing views of the coast. There are a number of pyramids that are in varying states of destruction.
- Guachimontones – These ruins that are home to the world’s only circular pyramid are located beside Teuchitlan town. They were discovered in 1970 and is a product of civilization.Today is known as Tradicion Teuchitlan, a society that dates back to 300 to 900 AD.
In summary, archeological sites are not only exciting attractions but also a reminder of the triumphs and struggle that people of Mexico have been through. They are definitely worth stopping by whenever you are in Mexico.
Mexico is a charming destination that will definitely make your vacation memorable for the longest time.
— VR Experts (@VRPExperts) April 10, 2017
Post by Angella Grey, the marketing manager at The Vacation Rentals Experts – an online and offline digital marketing agency that creates marketing solutions for vacation rentals, holiday homes and brands.