Frozen waterfalls, Mayan ruins, and unexpected adventures. Get ready to experience the best things Mexico has to offer. Mexico is a great destination because visitors have access to a variety of amazing experiences, such as mountains, islands, and more. One of the best ways to explore Mexico is to border hop for an eclectic adventure. You can explore ghost towns, wine routes, and much more. We want you to add a few new places on your next trip!
1. Charge down waterfalls outside of Guadalajara
Jalisco, Mexico is best known for its stunning canyons filled with waterfalls and swimming holes. One of the most popular places to explore all that Jalisco has to offer is San Cristobal de la Barranca. With adventure tour operators like Descender, you can shimmy down 75-foot waterfalls, swim through pools of turquoise waters, hike over large boulders, or rappel down cliff-sides. Once you’ve gotten your fix, rest and recharge at Defranca Alojamiento Boutique hotel and soak in their hot tub that jets out over the edge of the canyon.
2. Sip wines along Baja California Sura
While not exactly a “winery destination,” Mexico has emerged as a serious player in the wine game. And while it may not have the recognition of Napa Valley, Mexico’s wine country offers something different. In some regions, it’s still possible to find family-run wineries that are rustic and rural going deep into the countryside. You’ll be able to see this experience for yourself when you head down Antigua Ruta del Vino, or “Old Wine Route.”
3. Tour Veracruz’s interior by water
In search of a thrill? Head to Veracruz. It’s home to 40 different rivers, and it’s a big draw for white-water rafters and kayakers. While most explore Río Antigua’s five runs with moderate waves (under class IV), Río Pescados shouldn’t be overlooked. It offers intermediate rapids that can get more intense during the rainy season. As for families and beginners, our pick is Río Actopan. It features milder waters, making it perfect for anyone who is looking to whitewater raft year-round!
4. Fly to Janitzio Island and witness the “souls of the dead” fly to the island
There’s no other place that celebrates Día de los Muertos like Janitzio Island. The island floats in Lake Pátzcuaro and is topped with a 40-meter-high statue of Mexican independence hero, Jose Maria Morelos. One Indigenous Purépecha legend talks of underwater spirits swimming around the island and another discusses how it draws the souls of the dead like monarch butterflies. These legends make for wondrous annual celebrations and make sure you get a front row seat for the Midnight Candle Parade of Boats–one of Janitzio’s most famous traditions. When the local fishermen light their boats and butterfly-shaped nets with candles, it looks stunning.
5. You can explore authentic Mayan ruins at the Yaxchilán Archeological Site
The Yaxchilán Archeological Site is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, it thrived between A.D. 500 and 700 and offers visitors irresistible scenes like temples occupying entire mountainsides, labyrinthine passageways, towering staircases, ceremonial columns and astral altars. Though it may sound like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, this setting is the real-life Yaxchilán Archeological Site that’s a bit difficult to visit but worth it for the trip-making experience it offers.
6.Visit Hierve el Agua – coffee and a waterfall tour
Hierve el Agua is a petrified waterfall that can be found just an hour and a half outside of Oaxaca City. Mineral-rich spring water once ran down the cliff but over time it became calcified, creating the geological wonder we know today. There are also areas of Hierve el Agua where you can soak in the natural hot springs with average temperatures of 75 degrees!
7. See the oldest North American cave paintings near Mulegé
7,500 years ago, at a site in the Sierra de Guadalupe mountains of Baja California, there were the oldest cave paintings in North America. Today, thanks to the large and shady overhang that has kept the colors pretty vibrant, you can picture them as they were. Pictographs featured people of all ages, shamans, frogs, coyotes and humans punctured with arrows. Women are also seen breastfeeding babies while communicating life as it was. Be aware: It will take a bumpy drive from Mulegé and then a three-quarters-of-a-mile hike to get to the cave where all this is happening. But you’ll get an experience that no history book could do justice!
8. Ski in the winter and play in the summer at Bosques de Monterreal
Surfing and scuba-diving are probably the only things you can do in Mexico, but there’s more! The four-star Bosques de Monterreal offers all-year-long skiing and snowboarding. It’s not all fake snow either, the resort gets its own dusting of alpine snow every winter, offering a slice of heaven among evergreen forests and cabins. Along with its slopes, Bosques de Monterreal also has a golf course, horseback riding, ATV rentals, restaurants, tobogganing, and a spa—making it one of the best resorts in Mexico!
9. You can visit “ghost towns” from the gold-mining era of Mexico
This small mining town has a rich history. First, you have to get there – it’s three hours north of San Luis Potosí. But it will be worth the drive, for Real de Catorce is home to more than 1,400 residents and plenty of history. You’ll find evidence of its past everywhere from historic stone buildings to cobbled streets surrounded by desert, giving it an ethereal Old West vibe. Spend some time here exploring ruins at Pueblo Fantasma, hiking or horseback riding the surrounding area, and checking out Huichol art along the way.
10. Take a train ride through the Sierra Madre Range
Established by Congress as a national park in 1972, the Copper Canyon is four times the size of the Grand Canyon. As you tour this geological wonder, the best way to experience it is via the Copper Canyon Train. One-way and round-trip options include stops at small towns along the canyon, wine tastings, and tours of Tarahumara and Mennonite villages.
11. One of the many great things to do in Guanajuato is explore the tunnels
Guanajuato is known for its famous tunnels, and they were originally built to divert the Guanajuato River. To this day, people from all over the city use them as a way to get from point A to point B. You’ll usually see spacious, dimly-lit tunnels made of stone with arched ceilings. Ventilation can be a problem, though, which is why you’ll often see garbage fires along the tunnel walls. Keep your eyes peeled for things like pop-ups or events that are occasionally hosted in the tunnels. The tunnels are mostly used as a way to get places around town though, like the Mummy Museum.