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Mexico is known for its rich culture, ancient ruins, dazzling beaches, and incredible cuisine. Tour Mayan temple ruins by day and indulge in fantastic food while listening to the rhythms of live music by night. Lounge on tropical beaches and explore the vibrant corals and marine life of the underwater world.

From culinary experiences to outdoor exploits, there’s no shortage of thrilling things to do. Discover what Mexico is famous for as you uncover all of the amazing things this exciting country has to offer.


What is Mexico known for - beaches

Playa Mia, Cozumel

With Mexico’s diverse beaches and endless coastline, there’s a stretch of sand for everyone.

On the Caribbean coast, dip your toes in the calm, turquoise waters of Cozumel’s best beaches, like Palancar Beach on the southwestern edge of the island. Relax on the soft white sands and cool off in the water, where there’s superb snorkeling over the coral gardens of the offshore reef, teeming with shoals of fish.

Discover the golden sands and rocky bays around Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, whether you’re looking for the buzz of urban beaches like Playa de los Muertos or the soft sand and crystal clear waters of pretty Majahuitas Cove.

Read: Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta


Colorful bottles of tequila on a table


Mexico is known for tequila, one of the country’s most famous exports. First made in the 16th century, tequila is created from the blue agave plant and can actually only be considered authentic if it’s made in Mexico.

Whether you prefer to sip it neat, or enjoy it in a delicious margarita, tequila is something you’ll come across on every cocktail menu in Mexico.

Tequila in Mexico


Dive into the educational side of tequila in Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s west coast. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the process of making tequila with a visit to Hacienda Dona Engracia. Afterward, you’ll have the chance to taste a variety of six different tequila grades, including flavors like peach, and chocolate.

On the east coast, Cozumel offers a similar learning and tasting combination experience, where you can enjoy a private tasting of “silver,” fruit, and aged tequilas.

Whales & Whale Sharks

What is Mexico known for - whales

Humpback whale, Banderas Bay

Mexico is famed for its marine life, with whales being one of the star attractions on the Pacific Coast. Humpback, blue, and gray whales can be spotted from various destinations along this western shoreline as they make their annual migrations.

Whether you choose to go whale watching in Mexico from land or venture out on a wildlife-spotting cruise, witnessing these majestic mammals is one of the things that Mexico is known for.

Hop aboard a sailboat in Puerto Vallarta as you glide through the waters to Banderas Bay, where you’ll have the chance to look for humpback whales in their winter habitat. The months from December to March are the optimal whale-watching season. Get your camera ready to capture these graceful creatures and even some playful dolphins on your thrilling journey.

Person swimming with a whale shark

Whale shark

If you’re in Cozumel between May and September, you’re in luck, as this is when giant whale sharks can be spotted.

Whale sharks are fish, not mammals like whales; in fact, they’re the biggest fish in the sea. They feed on plankton and are completely harmless but are a majestic sight. Being in the water with whale sharks is a humbling experience.

Mayan Ruins

What is Mexico known for - Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

One of the best things to do in Mexico is to learn about the rich history of the Maya people, a Mesoamerican civilization dating back to 2600 BC. Mexico is famed for the atmospheric archaeological sites that are the legacy of the ancient Maya.

Chichen Itza, possibly the most iconic site, is located in the Yucatan state a few hours from Cozumel, Cancun, and Tulum. Featuring a total of 26 separate ruins, the ancient city is a marvel to behold.

It’s easy to see why the site was deemed one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Filled with intriguing structures, cenotes, and caves, the four-square-mile grounds are a treat to explore. You’ll recognize El Castillo, the famous pyramid-shaped structure with 91 steps on each of its four sides.

If you’re lucky enough to view El Castillo during either the spring or autumn equinoxes, you’ll have the opportunity to see the appearance of a mysterious snake-like shape, created by shadows from the sun.

Massive pyramid of Ixmoja in Coba

Coba Mayan Ruins, Yucatan

Another incredible set of Mayan antiquities to explore during your time in Mexico is Coba, near Tulum. Wander the stone roads here in the midst of the lush jungle for an otherworldly experience.

A guided tour will teach you about the history of the Maya, their way of life, and the purpose of each structure. Admire the Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions, and the view from the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the tallest on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Historic Mayan ruins in San Gervasio, Cozumel

San Gervasio, Cozumel

On Cozumel, visit the impressive archeological site of San Gervasio, a sacred place for ancient Mayan pilgrimages where it’s believed that Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, was worshiped. San Gervasio was also an administrative center for the Maya, the various temples linked by white stone roads called sacbés. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Read: Best Mayan Ruins Near Cozumel 


Chocolates from Mayan Cacao Company

Mayan Cacao Company, Cozumel

Mexico is the birthplace of chocolate, one of the finest gourmet foods that the country is known for. Ancient Mesoamerica was where the first cacao plants were discovered by the Olmec and Mayan civilizations.

First used in beverage form, a fermented drink was created using cacao, corn, honey, and chili. During Aztec times, chocolate was so popular that it was even used as currency, as well as for health benefits. Today, it’s used in cooking, both sweet and savory dishes, and is still a hot beverage staple in the classic cinnamon hot chocolate found throughout Mexico.

What is Mexico known for - Chocolate

Mayan Cacao Company, Cozumel

One of the most irresistible ways to learn about the country’s history and use of chocolate throughout the years is with a chocolate tour.

Cozumel is a place where you’ll find exciting, hands-on chocolate tours; you’ll even get the chance to make your own chocolate bar and leave with a taste of Mexican culinary history

Natural Wonders

What is Mexico known for - natural wonders

Gran Cenote, near Tulum

Mexico is packed with natural wonders. From cenotes, which are natural limestone sinkholes, to massive rock formations in the sea, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring scenes.

The landscape of Quintana Roo is in places riddled with cenotes, which form natural swimming holes, surrounded by limestone rock in a rainforest setting. Take a dip in these cave-like pools in impossibly clear water, where you’ll feel like a true underground explorer.

Some of the best cenotes to explore in eastern Mexico are Gran Cenote, near Tulum; Ik Kil, near Chichen Itza; and Sac Actun, in the Riviera Maya.

Clear waters of Cenote Azul, near Cozumel

Cenote Azul, near Cozumel

If you’re traveling with kids, try Cenote Azul, accessible as a day trip from Cozumel. This cenote is open, rather than accessed by a cave, and you can stand in the cool, clear water, listening to the sounds of the rainforest, or even have a go at cliff jumping into the deeper areas.

What is Mexico known for - natural wonders

Bacalar Lagoon, near Costa Maya

Lose yourself in the bliss of Bacalar Lagoon, a little over an hour from Costa Maya, on the Yucatan Peninsula. The lake is famous for its seven vibrant shades of blues and greens, and clear, shallow waters, and is a true oasis in the tropical heat. Swim or kayak and admire the dazzling colors beneath you.

Read: Best Things to Do in Costa Maya, Mexico 


Mariachi band in Mexico


One cultural aspect Mexico is most known for is mariachi. This traditional music genre is synonymous with Mexican culture. Mariachi bands typically have four players in charro suit costumes, with violin, guitar, guitarron, and a vihuela creating the iconic tunes.

These folk storytelling songs are a fixture at big events such as weddings and birthday celebrations. But you’ll also see bands playing in the streets and near open-air restaurants, which just adds to the happy vibe of your Mexican feast.

Read: Mexico Travel Tips: What to Know Before You Go


Chilaquiles on a plate


Mexico is a destination for gourmands. From tacos to enchiladas and everything in between, one thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry here. Be sure to try the popular breakfast or brunch fare of chilaquiles, a melt-in-the-mouth combination of fried corn tortilla chips with chicken, red or green salsa, cotija cheese, and a fried egg.

Or choose tacos al pastor, a combination of pork, pineapple, and onions in a fresh corn tortilla.  Flautas are rolled up, fried tortillas with chicken, beef or cheese, topped with sour cream and guacamole. Popular street food options include gorditas, a type of sandwich; tacos of all kinds; elote (Mexican street corn); and churros, the delectable dessert we all know and love.

Man making guacamole in Mexico

Cooking class in Mexico

One of the best things to do in Cozumel is to join a cooking class to dive into the culinary culture of Mexico. You’ll learn how to make authentically spicy red and green salsas, as well as traditional guacamole to accompany tacos or cheese quesadillas.

Historic Colonial Cities

View of Zona Romantica, Puerto Vallarta

Zona Romantica, Puerto Vallarta

Spanish colonial cities in Mexico date back to the 16th century, with attractive architecture, impressive cathedrals, intricate fountains, and historical monuments. You’ll find more than 120 of these enchanting “pueblos magicos”, or  “magic towns”.

In Puerto Vallarta, make time to visit the Zona Romantica, the old, cobblestoned section of the city, abuzz with cool boutiques and restaurants, many of the lovely old colonial-era buildings still standing. You’ll find houses in brilliant shades of pink, turquoise, and ochre, as well as the iconic Los Arcos stone-built arches, a photogenic feature of the Malecon promenade.

People climbing the Coba Mayan Ruins, Yucatan

Coba Mayan Ruins, Yucatan

From pristine beaches to rich cuisine, arts, and culture, Mexico is a destination with much to experience. A cruise to Mexico is a fantastic way to uncover all of the amazing things that Mexico is known for. Browse itineraries on our website and book your Mexican getaway today.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services