Full of stunning natural landscapes, friendly locals, and diverse cultures, Mexico offers incredible experiences that leaves travelers in awe. There are 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the entire country, an expansive, beautiful countryside, and delicious local food. Explorers can go diving in the ocean, learn about Aztec history and explore Mayan ruins, or trek one of the country's many volcanoes.
While Mexico is known for its stunning beaches, it also offers exciting tours inland that many visitors miss out on. No matter what kind of travel you want to experience, there are guided tours in Mexico which can probably meet your desires. Use this guide to help you plan for a well-rounded experience visiting Mexico.
You can find some of the world's best under-the-radar adventure activities in Mexico. During your visit, explore the ocean, volcanoes, mountains, and small villages. Here are some of the best tours to consider:
Mexico offers beautiful hiking trails, from mountain treks to jungle hikes. Join a guide to explore the country's vast greenery, and learn about the region's history and surrounding plant and wildlife.
For a unique thrill, opt to experience Mexico by motorcycle tour. Valle de Bravo, for instance, is a remarkable town surrounded by a picturesque countryside. Within the town are temples and museums, while the outskirts are woven with dirt roads and valleys that stretch for miles.
Don't leave Mexico without exploring its ancient history. The pyramids and Mayan sites are some of the country's most intriguing highlights. Chichén Itzá, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is one of the largest of many Mayan sites in Mexico. The design alone is breathtaking, with intricate carvings, designs, and columns.
Teotihuacan is one of the largest pyramids in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At over 1,800 years old, it is worth exploring extensively. Visitors have the chance to take a hot air balloon over the pyramids and experience them from a brand new perspective. You can also choose to explore the Avenue of the Dead and gaze at one of the many murals throughout the premises. Many of these sites can be experienced by guided tour, or as part of a larger multi-day itinerary.
Cruises & Water-Based Tours
Because of Mexico's clear, warm waters, it is a great country to take cruises, on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides. For underwater enthusiasts, Mexico is a spectacular destination to enjoy marine life and coral reefs. Scuba divers and snorkelers will love the visibility and may spot dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles, to name a few. Head to Riviera Maya and Costa Maya for some of the best dives, and Cancun to visit the underwater museum MUSA: where divers can explore an artificial reef and over 470 statues below the ocean's surface!
Mexico is an ideal location for whale watching. Book a tour and head to a lagoon for the best views. Because of Mexico's massive size and geographic location, bird watching is also a popular activity to do here. From the beginner bird watcher to the seasoned hobbyist, the wide variety of birdlife offers something for everyone.
Planning Your Trip
There are a ton of different housing, transportation, and activity options in Mexico. While it may seem a bit daunting at first to decide where to stay and how to get from city to city, planning your trip in Mexico is actually quite simple.
Best Time to Visit Mexico
January to May is the peak time to travel in Mexico. If you visit in months like December and April, Mexico's shoulder season, you will have a better chance of getting discounted tours, food, activities, and accommodation.
What to Look For In a Tour to Mexico
Look for a reputable tour company that has high safety standards and reviews on sites like Go Overseas. Many tours may have attractive, low prices but may not offer much (meals, accommodations, etc.). Additionally, be sure to check for seasonality: most nature and wildlife tours won't offer refunds if you don't see the animals (it's sort of a Mother Nature clause), so be sure to have realistic expectations.
Typical Tour Costs
Mexico is quite affordable and can offer great value. Tour prices range from as low as $20 for day tours to $3,000 for multi-day tours. The average cost per night will depend on the amenities, duration, equipment needed, and activity.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
Mexico tends to be hot and humid most of the year. During the high season, packing for warm weather will suffice. If you are visiting during the rainy season (May to September), make sure you pack boots and a rain jacket.
Other Tips for Travel in Mexico
- Visas: You do not need a visa to visit Mexico if you are from the USA, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, or the European Schengen area.
- Budgeting & currency: Mexico uses the Mexican Dollar as their currency. If not included in your tour, meals at tourist restaurants can range from $10-20 per meal throughout the country, though street food is often much cheaper (and riskier).
- Transportation: Travelers can travel by plane between major cities in Mexico, though this is usually the most expensive option. While your tour might transport you between destinations, it is useful to know that the primary means of public transit in most towns are buses. They are cheap and run between major cities, but tend to be quite crowded, unreliable, and a common place for pickpocketing. If visiting Mexico City, the metro is an inexpensive and convenient way of getting around in the city. There are also taxis available throughout Mexico.
- Accommodations: There are many resorts and hotels in Mexico, in addition to boutique hotels and hostel options. Rooms at resorts can be as high as a few hundred dollars per night depending on where you stay -- especially if it's an all inclusive resort. Hostels typically range from $9-15 a night.
Health & Safety
No vaccines are required for visiting Mexico; however, travelers are advised to be up to date on their routine vaccinations. Talk to your health care provider to discuss what is best for you.
Do not drink tap water in Mexico. This may mean avoiding ice and anything made with water for sensitive stomachs, and being careful with raw vegetables or ingredients that may have water on them.
Mexico is a relatively safe country to visit, especially in the more populated tourist destinations. Out of 31 states in Mexico, the US Department advises travelers to avoid only four of them. Do stay updated on developing situations, and keep a safe distance from protests, or anywhere you notice drug activity.
Some parts of Mexico are a bit more dangerous than others. Visitors are warned not to walk around alone at night. Visitors should also watch their belongings, just as they would in any country -- especially if you’re traveling on public transportation. Keep your belongings locked in a safe in your room.
If you’re doing an activity with a tour provider, make sure it’s a reputable company with positive reviews. Wear the necessary safety equipment such as a helmet or life jacket, and make sure the sports you plan to do are covered by your health insurance.