There’s no end to backpacking Mexico. It is too large with too many places to explore and too many things to get involved in. Therefore, before you visit Mexico what you need is a list of the top things to see and do. Look no further, for this article will tell you all you need to know.
Check Out The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos)
If you don’t already know about the Day of the Dead then you may have already seen it in the James Bond film, Spectre. If not, maybe you saw it in Pixar’s recent film Coco?
Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is an absolute must if you visit Mexico in November. November 2nd to be precise, this is the date each year in which you can go to Oaxaca City and celebrate the dead with locals. lrt of this festival is for families to visit the gravestones of their dead ancestors to clean and decorate them. Don’t be shocked to see people spending the night by the gravestones and having a fiesta.
You can go celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico City or Oaxaca. Fellow travelers tend to recommend the festival in Oaxaca. The festival is simply one of the best things to do in Mexico.
Explore Mexico City
Visiting Mexico City is nothing but vibrant, spectacular and memorable! The country’s capital has so much to offer to anyone who wishes to visit Mexico. The city has the most museums than any other city on the planet. So, whatever you are interested in you should be able to find a museum to your liking. If not, then hit the tequila museum, because everyone comes out of that one happy. If you like architecture, do not miss the jaw-dropping Metropolitan Cathedral in the city’s central square (Zócalo). It’s the oldest and largest (and most impressive) cathedral in Latin America.
Whilst visiting Mexico City, you will notice the city really comes to life at night when the drink and food flow freely. As you may well know the Mexican cuisine is one of the best in the world and how better to sample the cuisine than street food? When backpacking Mexico, you must eat street food!
Here’s some advice, eat where it’s busy with locals and always start with just a little bit of poquito (salsa) because it tends to be fiery! When looking for things to do in Mexico don’t forget that eating is one of the best experiences you will have.
Travel Through Copper Canyon Hike
If you’re backpacking Mexico, you must bring along your hiking boots. Mexico is home to some of the most amazing hikes on the planet. Before you visit Mexico, you may see that many travel websites recommend this hike and for good reason! The Copper Canyon hike is one of the best things to do in Mexico. It’s a challenge but a very rewarding one. You will get a chance to explore a side of untouched rural Mexico.
The canyon spreads over 10,000 square miles and is 5500 ft deep! That’s deeper than the Grand Canyon in Nevada by the way. If you feel slightly intimidated by the idea of this canyon you can get a guided hike. Those looking for some adventure on their Mexico trip should head here. Fairly fit hikers should be able to find their own way despite the poor markings.
Have An Adventure In Puerto Vallarta
When traveling to Mexico, people often opt for Yucatan when looking for a beach. You won’t find many Mexico travel guides mentioning this place. We say, head to Puerto Vallarta! Not only are the beaches stunning, but there is also a huge amount of activities to enjoy here. The best beaches to visit are Playa Los Muertos and Playa Las Gemelas.
For those wanting to add some adventure to their Mexico trip, you can skydive, bungee jump or paraglide. Those who prefer to sit by the beach and enjoy a drink are also in luck. Puerto Vallarta is home to some of the best cocktail bars in Mexico and even has two craft breweries for beer drinkers.
If you are after some good nightlife then Puerto Vallarta city is perfect, it has many bars and clubs to enjoy plus loads of tasty street food vendors and restaurants. It’s also surprisingly affordable here compared to other Mexican cities. Of the many things to do in Mexico, make sure Puerto Vallarta is on your itinerary.
Eat Tacos In Mexico City
Amongst the huge array of delicious foods on offer in Mexico, tacos are by far the most popular and tasty. If you don’t know, a taco is pretty much anything you put in between a crunchy tortilla. This is usually a mix of meat, beans, and rice topped with salsa, guac and/or jalapenos. You will find the best tacos when visiting Mexico City.
When you visit Mexico, it’s worth knowing a bit about eating tacos. A good taco will cost you around $6-$12 if they are any cheaper than that they probably aren’t good tacos. The best places for tacos are usually restaurant-style places, rather than the street vendors. Choose a place that is busy with locals, this is always a good sign of quality food no matter where you are in the world.
Some of the top tacos to look out for are the ‘Pastor’ (pork), ‘Suadero’ (beef brisket), ‘Bistec’ (steak) or ‘Gringer’ (Meat and melted cheese). Don’t forget to add salsa, lime and chili sauce (only if you can handle it!). Always leave a tip!
Spend A Day In Guadalajara
Guadalajara is Mexico’s 2nd biggest city and whilst it may not be as big or as happening as Mexico City it’s still well worth the visit. Guadalajara is the home of both tequila and mariachi. For those that don’t know, mariachi is a small Mexican music ensemble in which the members of the ensemble play mostly stringed instruments. You will no doubt have seen them in movies or on TV adverts. When backpacking Mexico, be sure not to miss them!
Once famed for its conservativism, Guadalajara is now a cosmopolitan and progressive city. It’s famed for its gay scene, weekend markets, and free street concerts. The city comes alive at night with a plethora of bars and restaurants to hang out in and meet people. The whole city has a friendly and hospitable vibe.
If you want to do some shopping, look no further than Tlaquepaque, this neighborhood is still quintessentially small-town Mexico. You will find tons of amazing souvenirs, leather goods, pottery, and even painted skulls. If you’re done with the city, head out to the outskirts of Guadalajara and take one of the many hikes available at Barranca de Huentitán canyon and hike down to the Santiago River.
Dive Into Cozumel
Visit Mexico’s paradise island, Cozumel. Apart from swimming in stunning turquoise waters and lying on white-sand beaches, the best activity here is diving. There is a myriad of marine wildlife to discover here amongst the crystal clear waters. If you have ever dreamt of seeing sea turtles or giant rays then this is an opportunity not to miss!
If you aren’t certified to dive then this is a great place to do it. It’s professional and cheap here. Once certified there are many different areas to go diving in, each offering a unique experience.
If diving isn’t your thing then don’t worry, the island is of pure natural beauty throughout. You cannot get bored here! Explore the pristine beaches, rock pool, discover caves, visit the ecological reservation or just sit on the beach with a cocktail.
Ask most people for their itineraries for backpacking Mexico and you can bet Monterrey won’t be on there. Why? It’s considered to be an industrial city and not much of a hot spot. However, people are misinformed and Monterrey is very rewarding for those who visit.
There are many high-income individuals in Monterrey so you have a great nightlife and urban hipster scene. Think craft beer, twists on traditional Mexican food and uber-cool cafes to hang out in or do some work.
If you fancy a bit of adventure whilst backpacking Mexico you can visit the epic mountains which surround the city and go hiking, mountain climbing or mountain biking.
Watch Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre is one of Mexico’s most popular cultural events. These wrestling matches where luchadores dress up in masks and tight pants are not to be missed when backpacking through Mexico. These guys put on an amazing show at the Arena Mexico in Mexico City. Matches are held every Tuesday and Friday night. Expect a good mix of locals and travelers enjoying the raucous event.
Lucha Libre is very important in Mexican culture and should not be missed!
Surf a Mexican Wave
With a coastline that stretches over 7,000 km, it’s not surprising surfers from all over the world visit Mexico in search of a good wave. No matter your level of skill you will find a place to get out on the waves on your Mexico trip and for a small price too.
The most popular spot is Ensenada, Baja California. It’s near the border of the US due to all California surfers coming across the border.
However, there are a number of other great spots where you can enjoy the waves whether it’s your first time or you’re a pro. You may want to check out Mazatlán, Sayulita, Cuyutlán or La Ticla.
No matter where you end up along the coast of Mexico you will be sure to find places to hit the waves.