Mexico is an incredibly diverse country and has a lot to offer every kind of traveler, from the intrepid adventurer to the visitor who just wants a relaxed holiday where they lay out by the pool and/or ocean and soak up the sun’s warm rays. There are so many things to do in Mexico that you’ll need to visit more than once.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Besides lakes, rivers, and cenotes, Mexico has tremendous access to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulfs of California (aka the Sea of Cortez) and Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Arguably, the Caribbean offers the best diving, and Cozumel is a world-famous destination for both snorkeling and scuba.
Really, anywhere in Mexico’s Caribbean, also known as the Riviera Maya, is excellent for underwater activities. Those who prefer fewer crowds, however, should consider spending some time in Akumal, where you can swim with sea turtles, and Xcalak.
For the more adventurous diver, check out the cenote diving in the Yucatan (Playa del Carmen and Tulum are popular spots). Some will require cave diving certification, but there are plenty of diving possibilities that don’t require this and you go with an experienced divemaster/instructor to maximize safety.
Whales, Sharks, and Rays
Mexico is an important migration point for gray, blue, and humpback whales. The Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean are prime spots to witness these amazing behemoths up close. Baja California is probably the most popular spot, though.
Another incredible sea creature found in Mexican waters is the largest fish in the world—the whale shark. These gentle giants visit the plankton-rich waters found bordering the Yucatan Peninsula. The season usually begins around May 15 and goes through the middle of September.
They enjoy feeding near the surface, so you can see them from a respectful distance. They’re a marvelous sight.
It’s also possible to spend some time underwater with gorgeous manta rays. They often get pretty close to divers as they’re curious and they seem to like the feeling of our bubbles on their belly.
Mexico has jungle, forests, and deserts, so you can experience a lot of different fun activities. In San Miguel de Allende, a place known for being “eternal spring,” visitors enjoy taking hot air balloon rides.
In the south, Chiapas offers white water rafting and rock climbing. This state is quite possibly Mexico’s adventure travel capital.
However, you can also find great kayaking and rafting in Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, and Oaxaca.
There are many other fun activities like horseback riding, camping, hiking, zip lining, motorbiking, and mountain biking throughout the country.
Day of the Dead
The Mexican culture celebrates many holidays, from indigenous festivities to religious celebrations. There is something being celebrated almost every day in Mexico. They are a people who really know how to enjoy life.
One of the most famous and striking celebrations is for Dia de muertos or Day of the Dead. It’s celebrated in different ways depending on the region, but there are some definite similarities among them all. If you’ll be visiting Mexico at the end of October/beginning of November and are looking for unique things to do in Mexico, add Oaxaca to your itinerary.
The celebrations in Oaxaca are world renowned and are a must-see.
Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world and for good reason. Each region has its own specialties, and many popular Mexican foods have interesting cultural backgrounds.
Oaxaca is home to seven different types of mole, the delicious sauce most popularly known for containing chocolate (although not all the sauces use that as an ingredient).
Jalisco is known for one of my most favorite Mexican dishes—birria. This stew is typically made with goat or lamb, and it’s absolutely delicious. I was addicted from the first taste. Go for the goat. It’s the best.
In the Yucatan, you can sample many popular Mayan dishes. A visit to the central valley and the capital, Mexico City (also known as CDMX and formerly as DF), will please foodie travelers even more. Some Aztec drinks are still popular in the region, although I’m not a fan of the corn-based atole.
If you’re in Mexico in late August and into September, keep a lookout for a dish called chiles en nogada (pictured above). It’s an absolutely delicious meal that celebrates Mexican independence.
Coffee lovers will enjoy brews made from beans from Chiapas, Veracruz, and Jalisco.
Which things to do in Mexico do you plan on doing?