Mexico Sights & Attractions

Right photo: Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors) at Chichén Itzá - Photo courtesy Keith Pomakis, Wikimedia Commons

Chichén Itzá

Top attractions in Mexico

Discover the must-see attractions of Mexico on a honeymoon holiday or romantic getaway, including:

Chichén Itzá
Stay overnight at the ‘City of the Water Wizards’ to fully explore this UNESCO World Heritage site. Climb the Pyramid of Kukulcan (El Castillo) and be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and surrounding countryside.

Venture inside the pyramid to explore the humid corridors and dark chambers and don’t be surprised if you interrupt an iguana enjoying a nap. Stroll among the columns at the Temple of the Warriors, explore inside El Caracol (the observatory) and discover bas-reliefs and paintings that decorate every square metre of wall of the Nunnery.
  More about Chichén Itzá. . .

Go east of Chichén Itzá to discover sacred Mayan sinkholes where young girls were apparently thrown as sacrifices to the rain god Chaac. At X’Keken, descend a vertical hole down narrow stone steps into a dark underground world of red limestone stalactites hanging above a green pool of water that shimmers in the sunlight from a gap in the cavern roof. Cool off in the ice-cold water.

Stroll along the monumental Calle de los Muertos (Street of the Dead) in the capital of what was probably Mexico’s largest pre-Hispanic empire. Along the way, climb up and explore the former palaces of Teotihuacán’s elite.

Marvel at the huge Pirámides del Sol y de la Luna (pyramids of the Sun and Moon), and within the Citadel, view the striking serpent carvings in the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the carved pillars depicting a hybrid bird-butterfly in the Palace of Quetzalpapálotl. Discover more sights in the Jaguar Palace and the Temple of the Plumed Conch Shells.

Don’t miss Teotihuacán’s most famous mural, the Paradise of Tláloc, found in the Tepantitla Palace.

Sitting on a ledge surrounded by hills covered in lush rainforest lies the hauntingly beautiful Mayan site of Palenque, one of the most picturesque of all the Mayan ruins. Wander through ancient buildings with multiple piers and doorways.

Marvel at the exquisite stucco façades in the Temple of Inscriptions above the crypt of a Maya king. Don’t miss the Multilevel Palace and the Temple of the Count.

Stroll among the elaborate stuccowork and detailed façades in this World Heritage site, one of the best restored and maintained ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. Admire the entwined serpents in the Nun’s Quadrangle, the House of Pigeons and the Ball Court.

Climb the 30m to the top of the Pyramid of the Magician and explore the carvings of serpents, sculptures of the rain god Chaac and astrological symbols in the Governor’s Palace.
  More about Uxmal . . .

In the remains of the largest pre-Hispanic ceremonial pyramid ever built, wander the underground tunnels that honeycomb the original structure and discover ruins of earlier temples and steep ceremonial stairways.

Roam around the former capital of the Toltec empire – the largest city in central Mexico in the 9th and 10th centuries. Gaze up at the 5m tall figures of Quetzalcoatl, dressed as a heavily armed Toltec warrier and carved into columns that originally supported the roof of the sanctuary located on top of the Temple of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (Temple of the Morning Star).

Climb among terraced pyramids, wander around colonnaded buildings and reclining sculptures that may have been avatars of the rain god Tlaloc.

Partially restored and in the heart of the jungle, this enormous ruined city is probably the biggest archaeological area in Mesoamerica, with more stelae and pyramids than any other Maya city.

Wander around the imposing and well-preserved structures and perhaps get an insight into life in an ancient Maya capital. Arrive early to spot local wildlife such as toucans, wild turkeys, peccaries and even jaguars, and listen to the booming of howler monkeys as they thrash around in the nearby forest.

Stroll around the walled fortress of Tulum, an important Maya spiritual and cultural centre. Standing atop a bluff, this outpost of the Maya civilisation offers breathtaking views over the Caribbean.

Wander around the Temple of the Descending God, El Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes. Afterwards, cool off with a swim in the Caribbean from the white-sand beach right in front of the site.
  More about Tulum . . .

Monarch butterfly sanctuary
Watch butterflies turn trees and the entire landscape a rich, velvety orange colour. From November to mid-April, more than 100 million monarch butterflies migrate from the US and Canada to the lush mountains of Michoacán to breed.

The best place to watch is the butterfly sanctuary in the mountains above the village of El Rosario. Go early in the morning when the butterflies are just waking up or later in the day when they coat the ground in a carpet of blazing colour.

Day of the Dead
Celebrated on All Souls Day, the first day of November and into the next day, with intense passion throughout Mexico. Head out to the cemetery to see papier-mâché statues of skeletons and locals enjoying picnics by the graves of their ancestors.

For a truly vibrant spectacle, get yourself to Lago de Pátzcuaro where the indigenous people paddle out to the island of Janitzio in canoes, a single candle alight in each one.

The market in Oaxaca is renowned as offering some of the best shopping in Mexico, and the surrounding villages even more so – here you actually can watch the handicrafts being made. Head to Teotitlán del Valle, the most famous weaving town in Oaxaca: choose from a variety of bold-patterned and brightly coloured rugs and sarapes (woven woollen blankets).

Shopping in Mexico
Good buys can be found almost everywhere in the local markets, including ceramics and pottery – look out for black clay dishes from the Oaxaca region, woven woollen blankets (sarapes), brightly coloured scarves in wool or silk (rebozos) and richly embroidered charro hats. Also look out for hammocks, rugs, baskets, carved wood and embossed leather.

In Mexico City, head to the artisans markets in La Ciudedala and Plaza del Buen Tono for the best bargains. For women’s clothing, check out huipiles (white Mayan dresses embroidered with colourful flowers). For men, look for a guayabera (a fine pleated shirt in cotton voile) or huaraches (traditional sandals).

Gold and silver is also a good buy: Taxco is renowned for its fine silver jewellery and silverware and Oaxaca for its gold. Pick up a hammock, string it from tree to tree and relax like the locals – Mérida, in the Yucatán, is the best place to buy one.

Places to explore in Mexico

Cabo San Lucas
Puerta Vallarta
 Mexico Adventure Guide
Latest update on this honeymoon destination: 20 March, 2016
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