Mexico boasts more than 5000 miles of coastline, along with 67 national parks and 41 biosphere reserves. As you can imagine, the country definitely does not have a shortage of scenic areas, but if you want to visit some of the most spectacular, here are the prettiest spots in Mexico to head to.
Sumidero Canyon National Park, Chiapas
Located just north of Chiapa de Corzo, the Sumidero Canyon National Park is, as you can guess from its name, home to the Sumidero Canyon.
Never heard of the Sumidero Canyon before?
Its formation began around the same time as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, caused by the Earth’s crust cracking.
Many of its walls are up to 1000 meters high, with the canyon running for just over eight miles. The Grijalva River flows right down the center of the canyon, making 90 degree turns in some areas because of how narrow the canyon passage is.
Boat tours along the river are the best way to explore the canyon. Not only will you be able to see the steep canyon walls themselves, but you will also be rewarded with sights of waterfalls, beaches, caves, diverse vegetation, and plenty of wildlife, from crocodiles to monkeys.
What about the rest of the national park?
This stretches out for just under 54,000 acres, with the majority of the park consisting of tropical rainforest. The park was officially established in 1972, as a way to protect the land around the canyon, and was later enlarged in 1980.
You are probably wondering what else there is to do in the Sumidero Canyon National Park, apart from visiting the canyon, of course…
Well, this park is actually known for being a prime spot for extreme sports.
If you enjoy a good adrenaline rush, here are some of the activities you would be able to try out at the park:
- Mountain biking
- Base jumping
Enjoy sports but don’t want to risk your life?
Head to the park’s dam area, where you will find some fantastic fishing spots, along with an annual tournament. Swimming is also popular here, with a number of areas that are perfect for this.
The Marieta Islands, Nayarit
Just a short boat ride from Puerto Vallarta will have you at the Marieta Islands, a small archipelago of uninhabited islands in the Banderas Bay.
For those who love nature and wildlife, a visit to the Marieta Islands is a must. These rugged islands are filled with an abundance of biodiversity, which is why many refer to them as the Mexican Galapagos.
The incredible diversity of coral here means that the waters surrounding the island are home to so many different fish varieties, along with dolphins, whales, octopus and more. All of these creatures have been allowed to thrive due to the fact that the Mexican government is protecting the islands.
However, this also means that the number of tourists visiting the islands each year have increased significantly, resulting in destruction of the precious coral and many other natural features.
For this reason, tourist numbers are now limited on the island. The best way to ensure a visit would be to book a tour, rather than trying to head over there privately.
One more thing that you should know about the Marieta Islands is…
This is where you will find La Playa del Amor, also known as Lover’s Beach, as well as the Hidden Beach.
What’s so great about that beach?
The fact that you can only access it by swimming through a fifty foot tunnel. There is only about six feet of space between the surface of the water and the rocks above, meaning that this isn’t an activity for those who are prone to claustrophobia!
Horsetail Falls, Monterrey
Lying just 50 miles south of Monterrey, Horsetail Falls are waterfalls that cascade down from 25 meters high. The way in which the different streams of water combine together almost look like a large white horse tail, which is what gave the falls its name.
The falls are actually set within the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, meaning that cannot drive right up to the falls. However, there is an easy walking trail to take you there, along with several other hiking trails if you would like to further explore the surrounding area.
While the Horsetail Falls themselves are a popular attraction due to their immense beauty, there is another reason why many people visit this area of Mexico…
Located just nearby to the Horsetail Falls is the Horse Tail Bungee – the highest bungee jumping platform in all of Mexico. This platform gives you the opportunity to jump from an impressive 70 meters high, with some truly spectacular views to be enjoyed on your way down.
Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula
Just eight miles from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula lies Isla Mujeres, a paradisical island that used to be a Mayan sanctuary to the goddess Ixchel.
The island itself measures just five miles long and a third of a mile wide, but is filled with some of the most incredible natural beauty that you will ever see.
Here are just a few of the things that you can do on Isla Mujeres:
- Spend some time on Playa Norte – this is one of the best beaches in the world, with water that is stunningly clear and very shallow for at least 100 meters. There are several restaurants and bars dotted along the beach too, making this somewhere that you could easily spend the entire day
- Visit Punta Sur – this is a spot on the southern point of the island with some once-in-a-lifetime views. You will also find a sculpture park here, with the artwork having been inspired by the Mayan Civilization
- Get in the water – the water that surrounds Isla Mujeres is so clean and clear, making it perfect for watersports. Whether you want to swim with sharks or dolphins, snorkel with the bright fish, or even visit an underwater art museum, the water plays a huge role in daily life on the island
- Do some shopping – there are several local stalls and shops located around the island, and these are great spots for picking up some unique souvenirs to take back home
Sound like your kinda place?
Well, while many choose to visit Isla Mujeres as a day trip from Cancun, it would be well worth booking yourself in for a one or two night stay on the island, or even longer if you prefer! Many of the island’s hotels and resorts are located on the beach itself, giving you some extraordinary views from your room.
La Bufadora, Baja California
Located on the Punta Banda Peninsula, La Bufadora is a marine geyser, otherwise known as a blowhole.
Why is it worth a visit?
Because this is the second largest marine geyser in the world, with the biggest being found in Oahu, Hawaii.
La Bufadora is quite the natural phenomenon.
What actually causes the spurt of water to rise out?
It’s all down to air that has been trapped in a sea cave. When the waves crash into the cave, it forces the air upwards, sending water along with it. Not only is the majestic spout a sight to behold, but the thunderous noise that the geyser emits is also pretty impressive. The water itself shoots up about 30 meters in the air every minute or so, providing quite the view.
How do you get there?
It is an easy drive, and the journey is one that will reward you with gorgeous vistas of Ensenada Bay, as well as Todos Santos Island.
The road just before La Bufadora is lined with market stalls and vendors, selling all sorts of crafts and souvenirs. Although they are geared towards tourists, this is actually quite a good spot for picking up some bargains to take home with you.
Cabo San Lucas Arch, Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is known for being a tourist hot spot, but this part of Mexico is still home to some unique natural beauty.
One of these features is the Cabo San Lucas Arch.
What is it?
A beautiful rock formation that straddles the point at which the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California.
The arch was naturally carved thousands of years ago, by the same strong winds and tides that make swimming off the nearby beach a no-no.
So, if you can’t swim to the arch, how can you see it close up?
By taking a water taxi, of course! You can either go from one side of the arch to the other, before spending some time there and taking another taxi back, or you could simply do a taxi tour out to the arch and back.
Planning on visiting the Cabo San Lucas Arch between December and April?
This is when the whales migrate, and end up staying in the warm waters of Cabo for a few months. There are only 11 species of whales in the world, and an impressive eight of them can be spotted here during the migration season. The entire trip takes the whales six months, making it the longest annual trip that any animal in the world takes.
If you want to do some whale watching, the same water taxi that takes you to the Arch will also likely be able to take you on a whale watching excursion.
Copper Canyon, Chihuahua
Consisting of six magnificent canyons that were formed by six rivers, Copper Canyon is known for being home to some of Mexico’s most beautiful landscapes. The canyon takes over the majority of the south of the state of Chihuahua, and is actually larger, as well as deeper, than the world-famous Grand Canyon.
The best way to explore Copper Canyon?
By taking a ride on El Chepe, otherwise known as the Copper Canyon Train.
The journey begins in Chihuahua, and the train not only passes through several quaint towns along the way, but also some truly dramatic scenery. From mountain tunnels to picturesque waterfalls to dense forests, the landscape around you will feature all of this and so much more.
Keep in mind that the entire train journey, there and back, is a 16 hour trip. However, you can break this up into shorter segments, choosing to spend a night at one of the local towns.
Agua Azul Waterfalls, Chiapas
Southern Mexico is known for its biodiversity, and the state of Chiapas is home to so many natural wonders.
Many of the most stunning natural features in this area are waterfalls, and the best ones to visit are the Agua Azul Waterfalls.
Because the water that cascades down from these falls is such a bright blue in color. This is due to the high concentration of minerals within the water, while the limestone deposits provide the waterfall with such a unique shape.
Want a closer view?
There is a man-made path that runs up the side of the falls, giving you the opportunity to really see how the smaller streams of water combine into the majestic falls. Taking this path also leads you away from the crowds of tourists, enabling you to appreciate the tranquillity of this natural wonder.
Planning to visit the Agua Azul Waterfalls?
Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit!
Swimming is allowed at the entrance to the falls, where the water gently pools up. There are other designated swimming spots around and higher up on the falls too, but make sure that you read all of the signs, as some parts of the water have strong rip currents beneath.
Mexico is full of natural beauty, and you will be able to experience this no matter where in the country you visit. However, if you want to see some of Mexico’s most spectacular sights, the ones on this list are, without a doubt, definitely worth adding to your itinerary.
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