Mexico Must-Do: My Favorite and Most Memorable (and Photogenic) Experiences

When people ask me about the coolest things I’ve seen and done during my six months in Mexico, it’s impossible to think of just one or two. I feel like I was constantly seeing beautiful, awe-inspiring, and unique things — some of them big and splashy, some of them small but impactful. Still, I knew I had to put together at least a small list of the places and moments that will stick out in my memory forever… enjoy.

But first, some top-line stats:

  • Days: 180
  • Distance driven: 7,965 kilometers (4,950 miles)
  • Dollars spent (in USD): $13,447 (or $75 per day)
  • Average run/walk per day: 6.3 miles
  • Weight lost/gained: -8 lbs. (totally not on purpose!)
  • States visited: 10 — Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoácan, Mexico Distrito Federal, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí
  • Pueblos mágicos visited: 17 — Ajijic, Atlixco, Bernal, Cholula, Mazamitla, Mineral de Pozos, Orizaba, Pátzcuaro, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Real de Catorce, Tlaquepaque, San Sebastián del Oeste, Santa Clara del Cobre, Sayulita, Tequila, Tequisquiapan, Tzintzuntzan
  • Longest single stretch in one city: 5 weeks
  • Shortest: one day

My top 30 experiences, places, and most memorable meals in Mexico:

Instead of an exhaustive list of everything I did and everywhere I went (which you could probably get to by scrolling back on Instagram), here are some of my absolute favorites. Don’t make this your be-all-end-all — of course, check out the “to-dos” by destination — but discover, from simple to elaborate, my favorites.

(Obviously, this list will only include places I visited on my 2022 road trip. I’ll be visiting more places in Mexico later… leave me a comment with YOUR favorites!!) So, my top sights in Mexico, listed alphabetically by state (and click the hyperlinks for photos and videos of said experience!)…

Guanajuato

  1. The abundant street art in San Miguel de Allende
  2. The awe-inspiring art and handicraft complex of Fabrica la Aurora in San Miguel de Allende
  3. Horseback riding with Coyote Canyon Adventures
  4. The “muy rico” enmoladas at Rustica ($$)
  5. The vibrant colors of Guanajuato city, especially from the lookout at Monumento al Pipila 

Jalisco

  1. Pet-friendly Vallarta Botanical Garden, pink church, and emerald natural swimming pools
  2. An authentic Mexican cooking class with Miriam’s Culinary Experiences in Puerto Vallarta
  3. Dancing the night away at the gay bars in Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica
  4. The incredible ceviche at Lamara ($$) in Puerto Vallarta
  5. An outing to the town of Tequila, tequila tasting and a tour at Tequila Factory La Cofradia

Nayarit

  1. Cafes and boutique shopping in picturesque, slightly hippie San Pancho
  2. The best french toast of my life at at Cafe Floresta ($$) in San Pancho
  3. Perfect pad thai at Achara ($$$) in Sayulita

Mexico Distrito Federal (CDMX)

  1. Strolling, people watching, and running laps around beautiful Parque Mexico
  2. Dancing salsa ruedo (ruedo de casino), a circular type of salsa dancing with rotating partners at Cantina Salon Rios and Mama Rumba (so fun!!)
  3. Being wonderfully entertained at a Lucha Libre wrestling match at Arena Mexico
  4. Attending a fútbol game at iconic Estadio Azteca
  5. Hopping a trajinera (colorful gondola-like boat) in Xochimilco, south of Mexico City

Michoácan

  1. Visiting the island of Janitzio, famous for its Dia de los Muertos traditions 
  2. All of the charming world heritage city, Morelia

Oaxaca

  1. A dip in the mineral springs at Instagram-worthy Hierve el Agua
  2. The ancient, fantastically impressive archaeological site of Monte Albán
  3. The glorious shakshuka and almond croissants at La Boulenc ($$)
  4. Mole poblano, mole negro, mole colorado, mole blanco… you get the idea. Can’t go wrong in Oaxaca!

Veracruz

  1. Viewing the dozens of zoo animals on the free, miles-long rio walk in Orizaba (plus murals!)

Puebla

  1.  The history, colorful facades and unique antiques of Puebla’s Frog’s Alley and other nearby points of interest

Querétaro

  1. Wine- and cheese-tasting at the numerous vineyards and dairy producers on the queso and vino ruta (route)… salud!

San Luis Potosí

  1. Viewing (and feeding!) the rescued wild cats at ecolodge Selva Teenek near Ciudad Valles… the tigrillo is the cutest!
  2. Jumping fearlessly into the cascadas de Micos (some 20 feet tall!)
  3. The pet-friendly waterpark of Tamasopo Falls, complete with waterfalls, pools, and a balance course

And the most common question of all… where would I live?

Well, I hesitate to commit to ANYTHING permanently… but I would definitely stay in CDMX for a very extended period of time — it has everything! I’ve decided I do need a bigger city, with a nightlife and a lot to do, and an airport nearby. So when I get Mexican residency in the fall, that’s where I’m headed first — but I know, the exploring will continue. Mexico and central America have so many beautiful places to see!

2 thoughts on “Mexico Must-Do: My Favorite and Most Memorable (and Photogenic) Experiences

    1. Yes! I spent the most time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, and Puerto Vallarta, in that order. Everywhere else was somewhere in between. Quite a few of my visits to the pueblos mágicos were short day trips, while I stayed in the nearby big city, or on the way while I traveled from one place to the next 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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