When planning any trip to Mexico, you’ll want to know what is the most excellent part to visit. There is something for everyone in this beautifully complex country. Between 2018 and 2021, Mexico rose from the fifth most visited tourist destination to the second. Only France ranks higher in tourist arrivals. Many people know that Mexico is full of opportunities to visit gorgeous coastline resorts and culturally rich cities but need advice on picking out the most excellent options for the next vacation.
Table of Contents
- What are the nicest parts of Mexico to visit?
- What Is The Nicest Part Of Mexico To Visit
What are the nicest parts of Mexico to visit?
Depending on whether you’re looking for romance, a family getaway, adventure, food, or a relaxing beach vacation, the nicest parts to visit in Mexico are:
- Tulum (Quintana Roo)
- San Pancho (Nayarit)
- Guadalajara (Jalisco)
- Oaxaca (Oaxaca)
- Sayulita (Nayrit)
- San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato)
- Holbox (Quintana Roo)
- Punta Mita (Nayarit)
Mexico is impressive in the way it can accommodate any type of traveler and vacation experience, and not just in a mediocre way. It has world-class outdoor adventures, some of the most pristine coastline, and an unmatched culinary tradition anywhere on earth.
Because Mexico offers a diverse set of experiences, we have created a list below for some of the nicest parts of Mexico to visit for adventure, families, and romantic getaways, just to name a few.
The research has been difficult; many margaritas were had in between, and to be honest, we’d like to go back and keep researching. We checked out many of the below destinations ourselves and also sourced information from travelers’ forums and tourism boards to bring the very best of Mexico to the list below.
What Is The Nicest Part Of Mexico To Visit
Before we set out on a journey across Mexico searching for the nicest parts, you should know about Pueblo Magicos. We have listed many of our favorite parts of Mexico below; however, if you want to expand your bucket list of must-see places in Mexico, Pueblo Magicos are great additions to any list.
What is a Pueblo Magico?
The Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) designation has been given to cities or towns in Mexico by the Secretariat of Tourism. They are given this notability due to their “magical” qualities in the forms of natural beauty, cultural richness, traditions, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, art crafts, and great hospitality.
There are currently 132 places with this designation in Mexico. These places are often full of festivals and heightened representations of culture and heritage.
Therefore, when we want a recommendation of where to go next, we always check this list first—many of the below destinations of Pueblo Magicos.
Tulum was formally a walled-in Mayan city, and many of the remnants of this era remain today. This ancient history has also led to being assigned as one of the 132 “Pueblo Magico” cities in Mexico.
In modern times Tulum has become one of the chicest yet most intimate beach getaways in all of Mexico.
Located on the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean side of Mexico, Tulum is best known for its long immaculate white beaches and artisan accommodations. Tulum is “Honeymoon Goals“ defined in that it includes all the perfect ingredients. You’ll find no shortage of romantic Mayan Ruins, translucent blue cenotes, and private stretches of beach to explore.
For activities, you can either stay very busy in Tulum or completely unwind. Or, do a little of both. There are abundant options for cacao ceremonies on the beach as well as free diving in the cenotes.
Recommended Eats: The food scene here is on another level. If you are a wellness nut, you will salivate over farm-to-table breakfasts, acai bowls for lunch, and all the kombucha cocktails your heart desires. If you have dumped your diet for the occasion, Tulum is renowned for its innovative seafood dishes and mezcal laced drinks. Try The Real Coconut at Sanara for the former and Gitanos for the latter.
Recommended Accommodation: Be Tulum is probably the most well-known luxury stay in this beachside town. It manages to be opulent but carbon-neutral at the same time and is definitely worth the splurge for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.
San Pancho (also known as San Francisco) is a chill beachside destination located in the Mexican state of Nayarit on the central Pacific coast, about 30 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. It is known as the Rivieras Cultural Capitol due to the numerous initiatives to promote Mexican culture and education.
This also means it has been deemed a “Pueblo Magico.” Its quaint village vibe implies that the community here is also very close, making for a super safe environment.
San Pancho is a fantastic getaway for families. Groups with small children will appreciate the quiet streets to push their strollers through, and older kids will love the seaside activities such as year-round surfing that this sleepy destination provides.
There is great artisan shopping on every sidestreet and a golf course up the road for adults as well.
Recommended Eats: When it comes time to feed the family, options are abundant, including beachside dining on the sand- with the added bonus that you won’t have to worry about getting your crew into respectable shape before entering a fine dining establishment. You also can’t go wrong just up the street at Bistro Cielo Rojo. This gem features sustainably sourced local eats with the best seasonal ingredients.
Recommended Accommodation: There are some great Airbnb options in this area. We love an Airbnb set up for family vacations because it’s just easier all around, making for a better stay. They often come with built-in kitchens, laundry facilities, and fewer surrounding fellow guests. If you know, you know!
Tucked in the middle of the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara might not have the seaside landscapes of some of the other beautiful locations in Mexico, but it certainly makes up for it in every other way.
Guadalajara and its surrounding areas are widely known to be the birthplace of mariachi and tequila, of which we argue there was never a more symbiotic pair of creations. However, it’s also quickly gaining traction for its adventure tourism opportunities. There are plentiful opportunities to enjoy the mountainous landscape and surrounding forests, rivers, and even the “Grand Canyon of Mexico”, Copper Canyon.
Potential activities include everything from horseback riding, rappelling, canyoning, mountain biking, ziplining, and even kitesurfing. It is truly the outdoors gem of Mexico.
Recommended Eats: The culinary scene in Guadalajara is incredibly rich in tradition. This city has some of the most authentic tortas ahogados, elotes (street corn in a cup), and chilaquiles (breakfast nachos) that Mexico has to offer. One of our best experiences has all of the above plus artisan margaritas and guacamole made tableside which is called La Casa de Los Platos. Prepare to have your tastebuds burst. It’s also an exceptionally beautiful space.
Recommended Accommodation: There are plenty of traditional hotel setups and a flourishing Airbnb scene in Guadalajara, but we recommend one of the classic Hacienda styles stays for an authentic experience. Check out Hacienda La Magdalena, a bit outside of the city center but worth the lush Mexican setting it provides.
Oaxaca sits in the center of Southwest Mexico. It is widely heralded as the gastronomic capital of Mexico, and for a good reason, its topography makes it a very fertile area to grow just about everything, including agave, the mother of Mezcal. Mezcal is a savory and smokier version of Tequila.
If you have written a top Mexican Foodie Desitinaton list and have not included Oaxaca…you did not write a top “Mexican Foodie Destination” list.
Known for its own variety of “Oaxaca Cheese” (think stretchier than a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza kind of cheese), artisan molés, and empanadas that will have you rethinking life, Oaxaca as a city is Mexican food personified.
Besides taking a top position beloved food destination ists in Mexico, this city is also deeply rich in culture and history. Oaxaca has been a designated UNESCO Heritage Site since 1987 and a short wander around the city will tell you why.
Recommended Eats: Restuarante Casa Oaxaca is a classic demonstration of everything this city does well represented on a plate. This place celebrities traditional Oaxacan delights in the best way.
Recommended Accommodation: Los Amantes (“The Lovers”) is considered to be not just a well-located place to stay but also a work of art in itself. It sits in the heart of the city’s historic center, which makes eating your way through all the great restaurants in Oaxaca all the easier, and you’ll return home every night to this boutique hotel’s magical charm.
For a Recharge
Sayulita is a magical little surf town located on the border of the Nayarit jungle on the backside and the beach at the front. It is about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, making for a great side trip from there.
The earthy organic feel of this Pueblo Magico town makes for a perfect place to take a break and join an organized wellness retreat or to just go with the flow for the week, soaking in the chill vibes. Sayulita has warm temperatures and sunshine every day of the year making it a popular place to recharge.
There are an exceptional amount of yoga retreats here as well as surfing, kayaking, and pilates as well. The colorful boutiques are great for window shopping, and you can’t walk more than a few feet without finding a trendy cafe on the cobblestone streets.
Recommended Eats: Almost too many to mention, Sayulita is full of food choices. You’ll find everything from smoothies to octopus tacos and everything in between. A favorite among travelers and locals alike is El Itacate.
While not necessarily Michelin Start quality in the atmosphere, it certainly makes up for it in its generous trays of grilled onions, salsas and beans brought out with every dish. El Itacate is also famous for its burrito wrapped in fried cheese which is as decadent as it sounds.
Recommended Accommodation: There are accommodations for every style and budget of traveler from beach bungalows to more expensive than a house payment luxury abodes. The downtown area is known for its vibrant nightlife, so for that reason, if you are here for relaxation we recommend staying just outside of town at El Pueblita de Sayulita. This tranquil oasis is just 250 meters from the beach and still within walking distance of town.
For History & Architecture
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a bright colonial city steeped in historical meaning for the country of Mexico. Located in the state of Guanajuato, it is named after its two founders: a monk and a general. Based on its historical and cultural influence during the War of Independence, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, as well as being a “Pueblo Magico” city of Mexico.
This city certainly is magical. Widely cited as Mexico’s “cradle of independence,” there is a fascinating collision of architectural history, both Baroque and Neo-Classical, happening throughout the city. A great example of San Miguel de Allende’s dramatic architecture is the “pink church”. The incredible Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel is easily identified as you drive into the city by its dramatic pink pinnacles which also host many holiday ceremonies throughout the year.
One of our favorite unique spots in San Miguel de Allende is the Fabrica La Aurora, an old textile factory dating back to 1902 that now houses dozens of rooms full of art and antiques. Each room is a dedicated gallery featuring both local and visiting artists, with a cafe and kids’ play area also on site.
Recommendations on Eats: There are a plethora of options for food, especially fine dining, in San Miguel de Allende. However, we’d consider it a straight travesty if we didn’t implore you to pick one with a view. This city is meant to be dined in from a rooftop as the panoramic views are spectacular, and most any view will have you looking at an amazing church.
Antonia Bistro SMA is a fantastic choice both for food prepared by an up-and-coming chef (Alejandro Cuatepotzo) and a view of the exquisite colonial landscape.
Recommendations on Accommodation: This is one city where enchanting accommodations abound. The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende will not disappoint with wood-beamed ceilings, a personal terrace, and a fireplace in each room. It is also appointed with a spa and rooftop restaurant with a wrap-around city view.
For A Peaceful Getaway
Holbox (pronounced “holbosh”) is located in Quintana Roo, not far from the popular destinations of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. However, Holbox is the peaceful relief to the latter’s tourist dese beaches and noisy nightlife. This beautiful island was actually declared a protected Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2004.
You can reach this island treasure by heading to the port town of Chiquila and taking a less than two-hour ferry ride or flying from the Cancun airport. The latter of which will get you there in about 45 minutes.
An oasis of tranquility and beauty, Holbox is a rustic iland with no cars and no worries. If being one of the nicest parts of Mexico means plentiful beach bars, no crowds, and au natural beaches, Holbox has you covered. If you are maxed out on all the prime relaxing this island has to offer, you can grab a snorkel and swim with the whale sharks or take a leisurely cruise around the sandy paths by beach cruiser bike.
Recommended Eats: Milpa is a family-owned restaurant committed to serving only locally sourced ingredients. It seems that many travelers agree that this is one of the best spots on Holbox as it was given a Traveler’s Choice award by Tripadvisor, making it among the top 10% most popular restaurants in the world.
Recommended Accommodation: Villas Margarita Holbox is a palapas style getaway with beautifully appointed rooms giving as much of a “beachy Mexican” vibe as there ever was. Think hammocks in colorful rooms with views of the crystal blue sea.
On The Ocean
Punta Mita is the postcard of your dreams and most definitely one of the nicest parts of Mexico to visit. Located in the state of Nayarit, Marie Claire magazine has implored Cabo San Lucas o “move over” and has crowned Punta Mita as Mexico’s hottest new under-the-radar destination.
Punta Mita is located just north of Puerto Vallarta and sits at the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands. It’s no wonder that it enjoys year-round heavenly weather and 345 days of sunshine annually. It is a spear-shaped peninsula that is surrounded on three sides by perfect sandy white beaches.
Besides sunbathing as your life depends on it, other great activity options are strolling around the enchanting marina, surfing, golfing, and whale watching. The nearby Marietas Islands are also a popular day trip from Punta Mita. These UNESCO-protected islands are an uninhabited National Park that features the picturesque Hidden Beach” accessible only when the tide is low. This natural wonder is a sort of cave with a hole opening to the sky with a bed of white sand beneath. The waters surrounding this park are protected, meaning they are teeming with sea life and make for great snorkeling opportunities.
Recommended Eats: La Rustica Mita is perfect for catching the ideal Punta Mita vibe. It is an open-air palapa structure overlooking a surf point in Banderas Bay. It is perfect for a sundown cocktail that will easily transition into a pescatarian paradise for dinner.
Recommended Accommodation: If you are waiting to splurge on accommodation for just the right spot, the time is now. Four Seasons Punta Mita is a decadent way to stay in this sunshine paradise. Of course, the rooms are luxurious and not short on space, but you can also enjoy a lotion station by the pool, cocoon day beds, and 4-star food service all while taking in one of the best views in Mexico.