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!)…
- The abundant street art in San Miguel de Allende
- The awe-inspiring art and handicraft complex of Fabrica la Aurora in San Miguel de Allende
- Horseback riding with Coyote Canyon Adventures
- The “muy rico” enmoladas at Rustica ($$)
- The vibrant colors of Guanajuato city, especially from the lookout at Monumento al Pipila
- Pet-friendly Vallarta Botanical Garden, pink church, and emerald natural swimming pools
- An authentic Mexican cooking class with Miriam’s Culinary Experiences in Puerto Vallarta
- Dancing the night away at the gay bars in Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica
- The incredible ceviche at Lamara ($$) in Puerto Vallarta
- An outing to the town of Tequila, tequila tasting and a tour at Tequila Factory La Cofradia
- Cafes and boutique shopping in picturesque, slightly hippie San Pancho
- The best french toast of my life at at Cafe Floresta ($$) in San Pancho
- Perfect pad thai at Achara ($$$) in Sayulita
Mexico Distrito Federal (CDMX)
- Strolling, people watching, and running laps around beautiful Parque Mexico
- Dancing salsa ruedo (ruedo de casino), a circular type of salsa dancing with rotating partners at Cantina Salon Rios and Mama Rumba (so fun!!)
- Being wonderfully entertained at a Lucha Libre wrestling match at Arena Mexico
- Attending a fútbol game at iconic Estadio Azteca
- Hopping a trajinera (colorful gondola-like boat) in Xochimilco, south of Mexico City
- Visiting the island of Janitzio, famous for its Dia de los Muertos traditions
- All of the charming world heritage city, Morelia
- A dip in the mineral springs at Instagram-worthy Hierve el Agua
- The ancient, fantastically impressive archaeological site of Monte Albán
- The glorious shakshuka and almond croissants at La Boulenc ($$)
- Mole poblano, mole negro, mole colorado, mole blanco… you get the idea. Can’t go wrong in Oaxaca!
- Viewing the dozens of zoo animals on the free, miles-long rio walk in Orizaba (plus murals!)
- The history, colorful facades and unique antiques of Puebla’s Frog’s Alley and other nearby points of interest
- Wine- and cheese-tasting at the numerous vineyards and dairy producers on the queso and vino ruta (route)… salud!
San Luis Potosí
- Viewing (and feeding!) the rescued wild cats at ecolodge Selva Teenek near Ciudad Valles… the tigrillo is the cutest!
- Jumping fearlessly into the cascadas de Micos (some 20 feet tall!)
- 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 winter, 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”
Was the five-week period in San Miguel de Allende? I remember you really liked it there. 🙂 Where was the short one-day stay?
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 😊