There are quite a few things Mexico is famous for, some are awesome, others are intriguing, and a few of them are well-known landmarks and even a new world wonder. In this article, we will set aside the food, political, cultural, and historical things and want to explore the landmarks – the most famous landmarks in Mexico.
Mexico is a vast and beautiful country with impressive landscapes, including deserts, lakes, coral reefs, rivers, seas, volcanos, and caves. It is also known for its long conturbed history, Pre-Colombian civilizations, and all the monuments and ruins that come with it.
Planning a trip to Mexico? Read the 50 things you need to know before traveling to Mexico!
We invited a few other bloggers to pitch in their favorite landmarks in Mexico and make this post as comprehensive as possible. Mexico has an incredible diversity of human-made and natural landmarks that could supply us with endless monuments and landmarks to explore.
Without further ado, let’s explore the 35+ most famous Mexican Landmarks!
Famous Landmarks in Mexico City
Chapultepec Park and all the attractions inside are easily one of the most famous landmarks in Mexico. With almost 700 hectares, Chapultepec Park is Latin America’s second-largest city park (only Santiago Metropolitan Park in Chile is bigger) and one of the world’s largest and most iconic parks.
Naturally, it is also an extremely popular park receiving more than 15 million visitors per year, standing side by side with New York’s Central Park, the imperial gardens in Tokyo, and Bois de Boulogne in Paris.
However, Chapultepec is more than only a city park; it holds nine museums, an amusement park, several lakes and sculptures, and even a castle.
Located on the top of a sacred hill for the Aztecs, Chapultepec Castle is today the National History Museum. Constructed between 1785 and 1864, it is an impressive building, and it was once the presidential and imperial residence. Another Mexican landmark worth visiting within Chapultepec Park is the Museum of Anthropology.
Considered one of the best museums in the world, it holds pieces and explanations about most of the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico, including the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Olmecs, the Zapotecs, and many more. If you want to learn more about Mexico, the Museum of Anthropology is the place to start.
It is certainly worth going inside, but the best view of the Palacio de Bellas Artes from the outside is across the street in the Sears department store. Head up to the top floor and admire the building from the window, or visit the café on the 8th floor and enjoy a coffee and some cake.
Xochimilco Floating Gardens
By Erin from Pina Travels
The Xochimilco Floating Gardens are part of the Xochimilco district, just outside Mexico City and in the Valley of Mexico. The region was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its canals that stretch more than 100 square miles, connecting an extensive system of lakes. Back in pre-Hispanic times, these canals connected settlements throughout the valley.
The Xochimilco Floating Gardens is also a heritage site because of the “chinampas.” The chinampas agricultural system is a set of artificial floating islands used mostly in southern Mexico. This system made it possible for pre-Hispanic populations to grow produce, despite the harsh environment.
You can take a ride on a brightly colored trajinera, a traditional Mexican boat, to tour the canals and floating islands. Along the way, you’ll pass boats with mariachi bands performing, people selling food and drinks from gondolas, and boats selling flowers. As you float down the canals, there are also opportunities to pull off to the side and explore the gardens on land.
To go on a trajinera ride through the Xochimilco Floating Gardens, you’ll most likely travel to Xochimilco from Mexico City as a day trip. You can take public transport (about 1 hour) or a taxi (40 minutes) from the city. Book a boat at the Embarcadero Belem dock to go cruising through the waterways.
By Soumya from Stories by Soumya
Located in downtown Mexico City, the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest and oldest one on the continent and one of Mexico’s most impressive landmarks. Built over a period of 250 years from 1573 – 1813, the cathedral is also part of the Historic Center of Mexico City and Xochimilco, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is stunningly beautiful and features several architectural styles, such as Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical. It is constructed on the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple called Templo Mayor and apparently with stones from the destroyed temple.
The King’s Altar inside the church is built in an excessively-ornamented Spanish Rococo style called the Churrigueresque. Perhaps the most fascinating bit about the cathedral is the presence of a Black Jesus or Cristos Negros, a common sight in Latin America.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is located right in the center of the Zocalo, Mexico City’s largest public square. It is open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm every day. The easiest way to get to Zocalo is by boarding the blue line metro and getting off at Zocalo station.
When visiting, do not forget to check out other nearby attractions, such as the ruins of Templo Mayor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Diego Rivera murals at the National Palace.
The Palacio de Bellas Artes
By Claire Sturzaker from Tales of a Backpacker
Palacio de Bellas Artes (the Palace of Fine Arts) is a spectacular building and one of the best places to visit in Mexico City. The building is just one of the museums that make up the city’s UNESCO-listed Historical Centre, which was also the capital of the Aztec Empire before becoming the capital of New Spain after the Conquest.
Construction work on the Palacio de Bellas Artes began in 1904 and was supposed to be completed in 6 years. Still, it took 30 years to build, with delays due to problems with the soft ground in the area, and then the Mexican Revolution stopped work completely.
When it was finally completed, the building blended various architectural styles, including Art Nouveau, Neo-Classical, and Art Deco.
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a theatre, museum, and cultural center, and you can buy a ticket to see the Folkloric Ballet or the National Symphonic Orchestra perform here. There are also tours of the museum to visit see the impressive collection of murals from Mexico’s most influential artists, including Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo, as well as several temporary exhibitions.
By Noel from USA Road Trip Now
The famous shrine of our Lady Guadalupe, located in Mexico City, is a must for Catholics visiting this pilgrimage site. Located in the Eastern region of the city, many tours incorporate visiting the site along with the historic cultural pyramids of Teotihuacan. Although the shrine in itself is enough of a site on its own to visit
The complex of Guadalupe is a collection of churches, basilica, gardens, and large plazas that accommodate the pilgrims that visit for the yearly pilgrimage assembly. This happens on the important Catholic calendar that occurs around September through October. The Virgin of Guadalupe also represents the Virgin Mary. You will see here all the many altars and decorations around the holy site, gardens, and churches in the complex.
You can follow the main sites around Guadalupe, from the historic basilica to the many other churches surrounding the central plaza. If you climb the gardens to the top, you’ll get spectacular views of Mexico City from above. This is also a great time to explore late in the afternoon to sunset with great views to enjoy and capture from above.
Even if you are not Catholic, this historical and religious site is worth visiting for the essential and cultural treasures you can see along the way.
Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located 40 km from Mexico City. It used to be one of the largest cities in the pre-Hispanic Americas. It is a huge complex with several pyramids, residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, and vibrant, well-preserved murals. It is classified UNESCO world heritage site.
It isn’t clear who founded Teotihuacan. Historians think that probably the Toltecs or Totonacs. The city was abandoned in 650 A.D., but there is no certainty of why. Later on, the Aztecs discovered it, modified it, and adapted it to their needs.
The main pyramids of Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun, 71 meters high. The Pyramid of the Moon, 43 meters tall, the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, and the Avenue of the Dead connected the pyramids. It is not allowed to climb the pyramids nowadays, which used to be one of the site’s main attractions.
You can reach the Teotihuacan ruins by bus, taking one hour from Mexico City. Try to arrive early because the site can be quite crowded. Plus, it has no shades, so it can become scorching. There are several places to eat around the ruins. And if you want to learn more, two museums about Teotihuacan are included with the ticket.
Mexican Landmarks in Puebla
Cholula Pyramid and Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
Located only about 10 km outside the center, the Pueblo Magico of Cholula holds one of the most famous landmarks in Mexico. Well, it’s actually two landmarks, one on top of the other. We’ll explain.
Although not as famous as many others, the largest pyramid in the world is the Great Pyramid of Cholula. Probably because looking at it, one would think it is just a mountain. However, below the mountain, it is a pyramid that was later abandoned. We must enter the mountain and explore the pyramid to truly appreciate it.
This remarkable Pyramid is “only” 66 meters high, but it has a base of 315×300 meters, making it by far the largest pyramid in the world by volume. Plus, it is even considered by many the largest monument ever built.
Another way of enjoying this double Mexican landmark is by climbing it to visit the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios – a Spanish colonial church built on the top of the pyramid. This lovely chapel is painted with a beautiful yellow hue and serves as a beautiful lookout to the surrounding volcanoes.
This is one of the most unique places to visit in Mexico and the world. Where else can you find a catholic chapel built on the top of a pre-columbian pyramid? Funny enough, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is also known as Tlachihualtepetl, meaning “made-by-hand-mountain,” a fitting and enchanting name.
Capilla del Rosario
By JB from Discover Puebla
There are many beautiful churches in Puebla, but none are quite as spectacular as Capilla del Rosario (Rosary Chapel). Located inside Templo de Santo Domingo, this masterpiece of the Mexican Baroque was once described as the “eighth wonder of the world.”
When you visit the city of Puebla for the first time, what immediately grabs your attention is the Basilica. It’s the focal point of the Historical Center and its most significant and eye-catching attraction. But located just three blocks away, inside the Church of Santo Domingo, is this 17th-century chapel hailed as one of Mexico’s most outstanding artistic-religious achievements.
The Church of Santo Domingo is beautiful in its own right, but its relatively plain exterior belies the architectural marvel waiting for you inside. Fittingly called “The Golden House,” nearly every square inch of the Rosary Chapel’s interior is adorned with reliefs coated in 24k gold stucco.
It’s a breathtaking sight accentuated with onyx stonework, Talavera detailing, and six large paintings on either side of the nave depicting critical moments in the Virgin Mary’s life.
When Pope John Paul II visited Capilla del Rosario in 1979, he declared it “America’s shrine.” It’s part of the Historic Center of Puebla City, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Famous Mexico Landmarks – Oaxaca
Santo Domingo Church
By Julien Casanove from Oaxaca Travel Tips
Located along the walking street, Santo Domingo Church serves as a meeting point for residents and travelers to Oaxaca City. Although it’s not the main cathedral in Oaxaca, Santo Domingo Church is arguably more recognizable.
From the main square in front, you can find people chatting and people-watching throughout the day. And on Saturday afternoons, Santo Domingo is the place to be to catch a wedding parade, one of the best things to do in Oaxaca City.
And if you pass by when it is open, inside the church is a small room on the right whose impressive gold accents are best viewed when the setting sun shines through the windows at the top of the dome.
While Santo Domingo Church is not a UNESCO site, the entire historic center of Oaxaca was declared a World Heritage Site due to its colonial architectural gems.
Located in the city’s center, Santo Domingo Church is a landmark you can’t miss and one you’ll probably find yourself passing by multiple times during your visit.
Hierve el Agua
Located about 70 km from Oaxaca city, Hierve el Agua is one of Mexico’s most famous natural landmarks and an easy one to visit as it is perfectly possible to have a day trip from Oaxaca city, both on tour and independently.
Hierve el Agua is one of the only two petrified waterfalls in the world. The other is Pamukkale, in Turkey, which is arguably even more famous.
This natural wonder is popular among all kinds of visitors, consisting of two rocky cliffs with 50 and 90 meters in height. These unique formations were created by freshwater springs on the top. The water from the springs is saturated with minerals deposited as it drips from the cliff and evaporates, leaving the minerals behind and creating a petrified waterfall.
Moreover, the upper part of the waterfall has natural (and artificial) pools by the cliffs where one can bathe, relax and have fun. One of them is like a natural infinity pool. It is pretty amazing and a really pleasant place to be, despite being usually crowded as it is a trendy destination.
The easiest way to reach Hierve el Agua is by taking a tour from Oaxaca. Some of them even include Mezcal tasting, which is a nice bonus. However, it is also fairly easy and inexpensive to take a shared taxi from Oaxaca city to Mitla and then a shared pick-up truck (called camioneta) to the falls.
Monte Alban is a popular and famous landmark, but it isn’t as popular as the world-famous Chichen Itza or Teohutihacan. However, it is our favorite pre-Columbian ruin in Mexico.
Situated on a hilltop, Monte Alban was the center of the Zapotec civilization and one of the first large cities in Mesoamerica. Founded in about 500 BC, it overlooks the Oaxaca Valley, where Oaxaca City is located.
The ruins of Monte Alban are fantastic to explore and learn about the ways of the people who lived there before the Spanish arrival. You will find everything you are expected in such a location, including several pyramids, plazas, tombs, a ballgame court, and stone carvings.
Despite success for hundreds of years, Monte Alban started to lose prominence between 500 and 750 AD, which was entirely abandoned by 800 AD. Since 1987, it has been a UNESCO heritage site.
The city’s location and the way it’s organized make the visit a fascinating journey and a much better experience than other “similar” ruins.
Visiting Monte Alban is very easy, as there’s a public bus from central Oaxaca to the entrance of the Archaeological site.
Yucatán Peninsulas Landmarks Mexico
Ría Celestun Biosphere Reserve
Ria Celestum Biosphere in Yucatan is home to an extensive mangrove wetland. The reserve is a resting place for many migrating species and resident birds, mainly known for its pink flamingos.
To visit the reserve, you need to take a guided boat tour that is available at the entrance of the park. You can do a private tour or visit the park in a group. But it is well worth it, as the guide explains and shows the various plants, trees, and wildlife.
During your visit to the biosphere, you will have the opportunity to watch flamingos and different kinds of birds of all colors. You will see a cenote, more exactly, an ojo de agua, which is a lagoon with natural spring water emerging from the ground. Cruising the river, Celestum is also a fantastic experience.
We advise you to bring repellant and wear long sleeves and pants if possible. The park is full of mosquitos ready to attack you. After visiting the biosphere, close by in Celestum, you have a beautiful beach to relax and sun bath.
Due to its importance, Ría Celestún and adjacent Los Petenes reserves are classified as a World Heritage Site.
Bacalar Lake is a magical place located in Quintana Roo state in Mexico. It is a lake with a striking blue color, crystal clear water, and with white limestone bottom. The lake is fed by underground rivers and formed by several cenotes that surround and are inside the lake.
The lake is nicknamed the lagoon of 7 colors, as you can see seven shades of blue due to the different cenotes. It really is a fascinating place, with plenty to do.
Besides swimming in the beautiful lagoon, you should do a boat tour, and discover the several cenotes. The most famous cenotes are cenote negro which is 76 m deep, cenote Cocalitos, where you can find the oldest life on the planet, cauliflower-like stromatolites, and cenote Esmeralda.
There is also the Isla de los Pajaros, a natural reserve for hundred birds that you can visit with a guided tour. If that wasn’t enough, you still have the canal de los piratas, a canal created by the Mayas as a commercial route subject to several pirates’ attacks.
The best spot to stay by the lake is in the city of Bacalar, which has many fantastic hotels and places to stay, and restaurants. Besides, it is a beautiful city with a fort, a historic city center, and plenty of character.
Coba Archaeological site
Coba archaeological site is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Mexico. This Mayan city is estimated to have about 50 000 inhabitants at its peak of civilization with an extension ok 80 km2. The site has multiple residential areas, several pyramids, and sacbes (white roads) connecting the main areas.
One of the most pyramids is Nohoch Mul Pyramid, with 42 mt. It used to be permitted to climb the stairs of the pyramids, but nowadays, it is not allowed as in most other ruins in Mexico.
As the site is massive, one of the best ways to explore is by renting a bicycle that is available inside the site or a bike taxi. Guides are also available inside the archaeological site.
Coba is easily accessible from Tulum or Cancun, there are several buses. Be aware you will need a morning or an afternoon to explore the archaeological site as there is much to see.
Tulum Archaeological Zone
Tulum archaeological site is located in Quintana Roo state in Mexico. The site used to be a major port for Coba and an important trading hub, exporting jade and obsidian.
This Pre Columbian Mayan site was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya, abandoned by the end of the 16th century. One of the most impressive things about the archaeological site is its walls situated on the cliffs by the beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Tulum archaeological site is relatively compact to other sites but has dramatic surroundings and views. The place is very photogenic, with beautiful tropical forest scenery and the Caribbean Sea.
That said, it is a very tourist place, and as it is small, it is usually overcrowded. Try to arrive early. It doesn’t have much shade, so it can be very hot.
You can catch a bus from Tulum City to the ruins. After visiting the ruins, you must visit the breathtaking beaches nearby. Playa Santa Fe and Playa Pescadores are one of the best public beaches in Tulum.
Chichen Itza is the most famous landmark in Mexico and one of the most well-known worldwide. After all, it is one of the World’s New Seven Wonders.
Chichen Itza is an important archeological site built by the Mayan civilization located in Yucatán in Mexico. It was one of the largest Maya cities and flourished in the 9th and 10th centuries AD. It was eventually abandoned in the 13th century.
One of the most impressive infrastructures in Chichen Itza is the pyramid El Castillo, with 24 meters high and 365 steps representing the number of days in the solar year. One of its most remarkable features is during spring and autumnal equinoxes, the shades of the sun resemble a snake.
But besides the famous El Castillo pyramid, the archeological sites have many structures to explore. Be aware the site is very touristy. So try to arrive as early as possible and before the tour to avoid crowds. And in certain places, there aren’t shades so it can be very hot and sunny.
By Lucy and Dan from Thoroughly Travel
Dating back over 1300 years, Uxmal is an ancient Mayan city in the west of the Yucatán peninsula. Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an impressive Mexican landmark featuring well-preserved ruins from the classical period. Although not as famous as Chichén Itzá, Uxmal’s ruins boast arguably more intricately carved facades, while the site itself is much quieter.
Uxmal is home to numerous buildings and several pyramids, including the Pyramid of the Magician, the central structure of the complex. There is also a Pok Ta Pok court, where the ancient Mayan ball game of the same name would have been played. Exploring the site takes between 2-3 hours, and local guides can often be hired at the entrance.
Due to its remote location, Uxmal is a little tricky to get to. Hiring a car and driving is easy; the journey only takes an hour from Mérida. Public buses run from the ADO Centro TAME bus station, although the timetable shifts seasonally, so it’s best to double-check the return bus before you arrive.
The easiest way to visit Uxmal is on a day tour, which includes transportation and a local guide and often takes in other attractions, like a hacienda, cenote, or chocolate museum too.
Anillo de Cenotes
Anillo de Cenotes is a protected area in central Yucatán of 180 km in diameter. It is formed by a semicircular of beautiful cenotes.
According to the theory of impact, 65 to 70 million years ago, an asteroid fell in the Yucatan Peninsula. Forming a crater of 180 km. Over time, water from underground rivers filled parts of the crater, creating cenotes.
In this area, you will find plenty of cenotes to explore. The best way to discover the different cenotes is by car or catch a bus to Homun or Cuzamá, near Merida, and rent a motor taxi. Usually, the taxi driver serves also as a guide showing the different cenotes. You will have to pay a fee for each cenote, which has different characteristics.
The most famous cenotes are cenotes Canunchen, cenotes de Chelentún, Cenote Yaxbacaltun, Cenote Santa Bárbara. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong. They are all beautiful, with crystal clear water covered or uncovered, surrounded by tropical forest.
By Alexandra Booze from East coast contessa
If you’re looking for a refreshing place to escape the scorching sun and humidity of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Gran Cenote is the perfect spot. Located just three miles or a 10-minute drive from downtown Tulum, it’s a must-see site during a trip to Tulum or Cancun. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico and one of the most popular – for a good reason!
These natural sinkholes dated back centuries and were important to Mayan culture. Today, you can find thousands of these collapsed limestone caverns throughout Mexico brimming with cool, turquoise water. The Gran Cenote, in particular, is one of the best cenotes for snorkeling and cave exploration. You’ll likely find fish, small turtles, bats, and stunning columns of stalagmites and stalactites all around.
Due to the large number of tourists that visit the cenote, there are plenty of facilities on-site, including bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers, a shop selling drinks and snacks, and picnic tables. Using your government I.D., you can also rent snorkeling equipment if you decide not to bring your own.
The cost to enter Gran Cenote is 500 MXN or the equivalent of $20, and it’s open from 8 am to 4:15 pm.
By Allison Sicking from Viva La Travelista
Located on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the Las Coloradas pink lakes are a series of saltwater lagoons known for their striking pink hue. The lakes’ fame can be attributed to their unique appearance. The vivid pink water contrasting against the white salt flats surrounding them make it a popular spot for social media photos.
However, their significance extends beyond just their aesthetics. The pink lakes are part of a large salt production facility, and the interaction between salt and microorganisms in the highly saline environment causes the water to turn pink. Additionally, the many pink flamingos in reserve get their color from feeding on the algae and shrimp in the water.
The easiest way to visit Las Coloradas is by driving or renting a car, as public transportation options are limited. The lakes are located within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, which is a 3.5-hour drive from Cancun or Playa del Carmen and a 3-hour drive from Merida.
Once you arrive, short guided tours are available, taking visitors for a walk along the lakes and providing detailed information about how the salt is produced and how it affects the pink water. While swimming in the lakes is prohibited, visitors can still enjoy the stunning views from a totally unique natural attraction.
Laguna de Kaan Luum, Tulum
By Mal from Raw Mal Roams
Boasting vibrant turquoise water and an 85 meters deep cenote at its center, Laguna de Kaan Luum is one of the most iconic natural Mexican landmarks near Tulum. In the Mayan language, ‘kaan luum’ signifies yellow mud found at the bottom of the lake. The lagoon is set in a protected park with strict rules that all visitors need to follow, such as a ban on using suncream to protect the water from contamination.
Visiting Laguna de Kaan Luum is one of the best things to do in Tulum for nature enthusiasts. Many animals, such as agoutis, jaguars, and badgers, inhabit the area. Here, you can also spot colorful parrots, woodpeckers, and iguanas. Two wooden jetties provide access to the lagoon and roofed decking, where swimmers can relax in the shade.
The picturesque cenote in the center of the lagoon can be viewed from an observation tower. However, it cannot swim inside the cenote due to its strong currents.
Situated 11 km east of Tulum downtown, Laguna Kaan Luum can be easily reached by car, motorbike, or even bicycle. You can also get here by taxi from Tulum or catch a shared ride called colectivo. The drive takes approximately 10 minutes.
Famous landmarks in Mexico – Chiapas
Cañon del Sumidero
The Sumidero Canyon is one of the most impressive natural landmarks in Mexico. Located in the state of Chiapas, relatively close to San Cristobal de las Casas. This natural deep canyon has vertical walls reaching over 3300 feet (1000 meters), creating a marvelous natural wonder.
With about 13 km in length, the narrow passage has several local attractions, including various waterfalls and wildlife. The best way to enjoy the canyon is by taking one of the boat tours that cross the canyon and allow you to see the famous 1 km high walls, the beautiful waterfalls, and many animals, including monkeys and crocodiles.
Many tours from San Cristobal to the Canyon include a boat trip and a visit to several lookouts on top of the canyon. The views from there are amazing and one of the highlights of Chiapas.
The Sumidero Canyon is partially flooded because of the construction of the Chicoasém Dam, which created a huge artificial reservoir. The area around the canyon is a protected natural area with 21 789 hectares, called Sumidero Canyon National Park.
El Chiflon Waterfalls
El Chiflon Waterfalls in Chiapas is a group of 5 waterfalls with several lagoons of turquoise water over white limestone. The waterfalls are inside a park with trails, bungalows, tables, a bar, toilets, and other facilities.
There is a trail that starts at the entrance of the park and follows the waterfalls with several viewpoints. Be aware that the trails don’t stop at the waterfall Velo de Novia, it still has two waterfalls above. You will need at least 2 hours to make the whole trail.
The highest waterfall in El Chiflon is the Velo de Novia, with 120 meters high. It has a viewpoint, but you will get all wet while admiring it. However, it is well worth it.
You can swim in some lagoons of waterfalls in the dry season. There is even a Zipline in the park that descends alongside the river and the waterfalls. Besides being a beautiful place, spending a day or only an afternoon is very fun.
The waterfalls are relatively close to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas. The best way to get there is by car or tour. But if you have time, you can go by public transport, you need to catch two buses and take a short walk to the park entrance. If you do take a tour, you usually visit the Montebello lakes.
Lagunas de Montebello
The Lagunas de Montebello is a set of beautiful lakes located in the state of Chiapas, close to the border with Guatemala. They have been protected by the Lagunas de Montebello national park since 1959 and were designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
The National park includes 59 lakes with different sizes, characteristics, and colors ranging from emerald to indigo. The lakes are in a beautiful pine forest that reminds us of Europe or the USA/Canada.
As the lakes are spread through a large area, choosing a few to visit is best. It would take weeks to visit them all. There are 15 that are easily accessible by car or on foot. Some of the most popular include Tinted Water Lake, Montebello Lake, Tziscao Lake, and la Cañada Lakes.
Many of these are open for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.
If you don’t have a car, you can take one of the many tours from San Cristobal de la Casas. The tours to Montebello usually also include visiting el Chiflón, another iconic natural landmark of Mexico.
By Carina Klein from bucketlist2life
The Palenque Ruins belong on every Mexico itinerary. The Zona Arqueologica de Palenque is close to Palenque in Chiapas. The Mayan ruins can be easily reached by tour or colectivo from town.
The Palenque ruins date back from 226 BC to 799 AD. Palenque was a Maya city-state. Although the site is smaller than Chichen Itza or Tikal in Guatemala, it is still very much worth a visit. Not only does it contain some of the finest architecture, sculpture, and carvings that the Mayas produced, but it is also unique because of its location in the jungle.
It is overgrown by many trees; you can hear and sometimes spot howler monkeys. A guide will not only teach you about the ruins but also the surrounding nature.
The most important structures include the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Temples of the Cross group, and the Palace. Today, less than 10% of the total area is explored – only 2.5 sq km (1 sq mi), leaving more than a thousand structures still covered by jungle.
When in the region, make sure you visit the Agua Azul waterfall; it is another of the most popular things to do in Palenque.
Mexico Landmarks – Baja California
Mijares Square in San Jose del Cabo
By Sara Rodríguez from Mindful Travel
Mijares Square in San Jose del Cabo is a unique Pueblo Magico and a famous Mexico landmark located in Baja, California Sur.
It is one of the most important squares in San Jose del Cabo and has become a popular meeting point for both locals and tourists alike, and is one of the safest places in Los Cabos.
With its stunning colonial architecture, diverse culture, and many activities, Mijares Square offers something for everyone.
From shopping for souvenirs to dining at local restaurants or simply taking in the sights of San Jose’s historical buildings, such as the Town Hall, the Church of San José, and the Casa de La Cultura, Mijares Square has earned its status as one of Los Cabos’ most beloved attractions.
One of the best things to do at Mijares Square is to visit the gazebo in the center of the square, where various cultural events are held. This iconic San Jose del Cabo landmark provides an excellent vantage point for visitors to take in San José Church’s views and this magical town’s colorful letters.
Another popular activity at Mijares Square is shopping for local handicrafts and colorful paintings by Mexican artists.
Finally, no visit to Mijares Square is complete without stopping in at one of the local restaurants and cafes located around the square. PEZGALLO and Los Tamarindos are some favorites. Plus, many food tours start in this square!
El Arco, Cabo San Lucas
By Daria Bachmann from The Discovery Nut
Located at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is a famous resort that boasts gorgeous gold sand beaches, great restaurants, and wonderful opportunities for recreation like diving, snorkeling, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.
Most Cabo visitors begin their trip to Cabo with a trip to Lands’s End, also known as the Arch or El Arco in Spanish. This iconic rock formation is located at the southwestern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. It separates the Sea of Cortez from the Pacific Ocean on both sides of the Baja California Peninsula.
You can visit El Arco with one of many boat tours that depart from Cabo San Lucas Pier or hire one of many customized boat tours like a romantic sunset cruise or a snorkeling tour which will also bring you to the iconic landmark.
Another popular option is to stop at Lover’s Beach, located on the other side of El Arco. Here you can snorkel and swim or walk toward Divorce Beach, famous for its dramatic views on the other side. While Divorce Beach is great for taking photos, it’s unsafe for swimming because of its strong currents.
Other Mexico Landmarks
Prismas basalticos, Huasca de Ocampo, Hidalgo
By Isabella from Let’s Travel to Mexico
The Prisms Basalticos are spectacular rock formations surrounded by waterfalls and rivers. They create a surreal natural environment to explore.
Located in the pretty town of Huasca de Ocampo, the first magic town to be proclaimed, the Prisma basaltic is definitely one of the most underrated landmarks to visit in Mexico in the state of Hidalgo.
Although you can enjoy the view of these beautiful rock formations in the entire region, the main concentration is inside the park called Prismas Basalticos.
You need to pay a fee of 100 MXN to get in. Then you can walk around the park, along the swinging bridges, and admire the spectacular views. I recommend going early morning and avoiding weekends so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Make sure you walk down at the base of the waterfall, and once you finish your visit, you can walk to the nearby Hacienda Santa Maria, where a guide will show you around the beautiful old hacienda. You will also be able to see another waterfall and look at the Basaltic Prisms from a different perspective.
I would recommend renting a car and traveling at your own pace so that you can explore the spectacular surroundings. However, if you are uncomfortable, daily tours from Mexico City take you there.
Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi
By Isabella from Boundless Roads
The huasteca potosina is a spectacular region located in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.
The limestone soil and the richness of water create a network of rivers and waterfalls of incredible beauty.
You could spend a week in the region and check out all the beautiful parks, take boat trips to a hidden waterfall, swim in the pristine waters, or splurge in luxury hotels by the water.
Budget travelers also find great camping spaces or cute affordable cabañas where to spend the night.
You can get to the city of Ciudad Valles in the heart of the Huasteca Potosina by bus and then move around by taxi as the main attractions are difficult or impossible to reach by public transportation. My best advice is to rent a car in San Luis Potosi and drive from there.
The most famous waterfall is Tamul, where you jump on a boat and raw to the majestic fall in a surreal scenery. You will also swim in a hidden cave and float back to the starting point.
Nearby you will find Puente de Dios, a hidden lake with small waterfalls around.
Farther away, you cannot miss Minas Viejas’ spectacular waterfalls with freezing water where you can swim, jump and rappel.
If you join an organized tour, you can choose the option to rappel down the waterfall, which can be a thrilling experience.
There are tons of adventurous activities that you can do in the Huasteca Potosina, or you can just admire the beautiful landscapes and chill in the water. It’s definitely one of the most popular natural landmarks of Mexico.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is the main church in the city of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. It is an amazing church with a neogothic style in tones of pink. It is breathtaking.
Zeferino Gutierrez built the church in 1890 with a Gotic style of Medieval Europe. Zeferino Gutierres was an indigenous bricklayer and self-thought architect. The story says that he based the design on a postcard of a Belgian Church. But the church isn’t a simple replica, it has its unique style imprinted by the architect.
In front of the church is a big plaza with a garden called Jardin Principal. It is the main stop for people to relax and eat ice creams or elotes sold by several food stalls along the plaza. It is the ideal place to appreciate the church, especially during sunset. The oranges and reds of the church make it even more beautiful.
Beside the church, the city of San Miguel de Allende is well worth exploring. It is a city of artists, and everything is so charming and coherent. It is like a fairytale city with old buildings, cobblestone streets, and warm colors. The old town is classified World heritage site.
Mexico border wall
By Annie from Your Friend the Nomad
The infamous U.S./Mexico border wall runs into the Pacific Ocean in Tijuana, Mexico.
The area is a bi-national park called El Parque de la Amistad, or Friendship Park. Before 2006, there was no border wall. Mexicans and Americans living on both sides of the border would visit with loved ones while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
With the border wall, hugs and kisses have been traded with FaceTime calls and distant waves from behind steel barriers.
You can walk right up to the wall in Tijuana and many other border cities. Despite the stunning beach and cheerful locals, the air has a heaviness.
Usually, when we visit monuments while traveling, we see relics of the past—ancient ruins or natural wonders that have existed for thousands of years. Rarely do we tour sights that will someday be definitive of our history.
The border wall is a striking monument that speaks volumes about the socio-political challenges of the U.S. and Mexico and also of the hundreds of thousands of lives impacted by it. If you’re in Tijuana, it’s undoubtedly something worth witnessing.
To reach it, you can fly into the Tijuana International Airport and stay in the city for a few days or take a day trip from San Diego. Uber or taxi is the best way to get to the park from within Tijuana.
Isla Marietas, Nayarit
By Lora Pope from Explore with Lora
The Marietas Islands are a famous natural landmark off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The islands are famous for being home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, as well as a diverse array of marine life and bird species.
The islands are only reachable by boat from authorized tour operators who follow strict conservation guidelines. From Puerto Vallarta, it takes about an hour and a half. The boat ride along the way is scenic, as you’ll likely see dolphins and humpback whales if you visit from December to March when the whales are migrating through the Bay of Banderas.
You can enjoy various activities on the islands, such as snorkeling, paddle boarding, and bird-watching. There are over 90 species of birds to see there, including blue-footed boobies.
The most famous landmark within the islands is Hidden Beach, known as the Playa del Amor or Lover’s Beach, which is only accessible by swimming through a cave tunnel.
It became so popular that the Mexican government now limits the number of permits each day, so make sure to secure your permit in advance by booking a Hidden Beach tour if you want to visit!
Isla Marietas has been designated as a Biosphere Reserve by the Mexican government. Its protected status and remote location make it a truly unique and special place to visit and a must if you want to experience the unique marine life the Bay of Banderas offers.
El Pipila Monument, Guanajuato
By Sarah from Live, Dream, Discover
El Pípila Monument is a famous landmark that sits high on a hill overlooking the colorful city of Guanajuato, Mexico. The giant pink sandstone statue was made in the image of local hero Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro, known as El Pípila. He was a miner who worked at the Mellado mine in Guanajuato, which was the largest exporter of silver in the world at the end of the 18th century.
El Pípila became famous for his act of heroism during the Mexican War of Independence on September 28, 1810. During the revolutionary uprising against the Spanish occupation, the Spaniards barricaded themselves in the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (a grain warehouse).
El Pípila strapped a long, flat stone to his back as protection and set fire to the wooden door of the Alhóndiga. This allowed the revolutionaries to storm inside and attack the Spanish. The torch he carried is known as “the torch of liberty,” and his statue is holding it high in the air.
Visitors to Guanajuato can take a funicular or climb steep stairs to reach the monument. If you can’t manage the stairs up, try to take them back down to enjoy wandering through the charming alleyways. Once at the top, there is a beautiful view of Guanajuato, which is especially lovely at sunset.
Santa Prisca de Taxco, Guerrero
By Catherine Xu from Nomadicated
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Mexico’s rugged mountainsides and colonial streets, Santa Prisca de Taxco rises up with terracotta-tiled roofs and impressive Renaissance-inspired architecture. It stands tall, overlooking the whole city, an imposing structure that has been attracting visitors for centuries.
Visitors can take a bus from Mexico City or drive through the rugged mountains of Guerrero to get to Santa Prisca de Taxco. The landmark sits in the heart of Taxco de Alarcon, a city boasting cobblestone streets and colorful markets, making it a wonderful place to explore.
The church itself is truly remarkable: its magnificently decorated interiors have made it famous among religious pilgrims for centuries. It is built in a Baroque style that blends Renaissance architectural touches with an intricately painted dome.
Today, it still stands as an exceptional architectural beauty and monument to Mexican heritage. Tourists can marvel at the interior of this grand church or ascend the dizzying stairwells leading up to the bell tower; from there, you can get the best view of all of Taxco!
El Faro Lighthouse in Mazatlan, Sinaloa
By Karen from Forever Karen
El Faro Lighthouse is an iconic landmark at the southern end of Mazatlán, Mexico. Should you make the 2.4 km or 1.5-mile climb to the top of Cerro del Creston, you’ll savor spectacular views of Mazatlan’s coastline.
At 523 feet above sea level, it was once the highest lighthouse worldwide. Today, it’s the tallest operating lighthouse in the Americas. You can hike to the top for free, with the option to walk across a glass floor platform for a fee of USD 1 or 20 pesos.
The original light was static until 1905, when it changed to a revolving one, allowing boats to see it from 30 miles away. Mazatlan still uses El Faro Lighthouse today.
The stair-climber trail opens daily from 6:30 am until 8 pm, but access to the glass floor platform opens at 7:00 am. While the trail starts as a wide pathway, it soon transitions into a narrow route with 336 stairs. To encourage hikers, the stairs have markers letting them know how far they have gone.
To avoid the heat of the midday sun, plan to start the hike early, take water, and use sunscreen. During the walk, you may spot homeless cats who live amongst the indigenous cacti.
Peña de Bernal, Queretaro
By Julien Casanova from cultures traveled
As one of the largest monoliths in the world, Peña de Bernal is also one of the most popular natural landmarks in Mexico.
Rising over 400 meters, this monolith looms large over the pueblo magico of Bernal, Queretaro in central Mexico, also known for wool textiles and regional specialty foods such as pan de queso.
Peña de Bernal was declared a UNESCO site in 2009 as a way to preserve the traditions of Otomí and Chichimeca indigenous communities that consider the site sacred.
A small entrance fee is required to enter the park and hike Peña de Bernal, which you can do on your own about half way up to a flat area with beautiful views. The route is a mostly paved path along a series of steps until the last part, which requires some rock scrambling with the assistance of a rope anchored into the rock surface.
If you want to go all the way to the top, you can hire a guide to take you to the top of Peña de Bernal. The guide will provide the gear and expertise for climbing Peña de Bernal.
Located just 30 minutes from Queretaro, you can easily drive, take a bus, or a taxi to Bernal. From the center of the small town, it’s a short walk to the entrance and the start of the hike up Peña de Bernal.
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