Mexico is a country full of contrast, color, and joy. Beauty is everywhere, even in what might seem sad or scary to some. Adventurers and mystery seekers will find a lot to interest them there so will art and culture lovers. That’s why we picked 7 must-see places in Mexico for you to explore, but we thought you might want to learn the facts first :).
1. The Great Pyramid of Cholula
Also known as the largest monument ever built, the Great Pyramid of Cholula went unnoticed for years and years. Thanks to the grass growing on its mud bricks, it was miraculously saved from destruction as Spanish invaders mistook it for a mountain. Just like other pyramids, to walk through the under tunnels, you need to be fit, and you have to put on your comfiest sneakers. If you’re claustrophobic, climbing up the 2000-year-old pyramid will give you a thrill as well (but you still need to wear those comfy sneakers)! When you make it up, you’ll find the view unmatched and the chapel built on top of the pyramid surprisingly exquisite!
2. Joyxee Island
Think plastic bottles are cheap and useless? Think again. Joyxee is a manmade island created from over a 100,000 plastic bottles! The island is solid enough that it carries a three-story house with basic amenities like a washer to luxuries like a Jacuzzi. Such a place is perfect for those seeking a sustainable and self-sufficient life. Imagine growing your own food and using water and heat to generate power?! That would be freedom in its ultimate form! Joyxee welcomes tourists who can get to and from it on a plastic-bottle raft. You don’t have to worry about your safety as Richard Sowa, the British artist who built it, lives there with his wife and dog and they’re all doing just fine.
3. Island of the Dolls
The story behind this bizarre place goes back to over fifty years ago when Don Julian Santana left his wife and child one day and moved to this island. He believed he saw a little girl drowning in the lake, but no one’s sure if it’s true or not. Santana, in honor of the lost soul, embarked on hanging dolls he collected from the trash on trees. To add to the horror, the dolls were in terrible condition, but he thought they were beautiful. Years later, Santana was found dead in the same lake he thought the girl drowned in.
It’s not a surprise that visitors either love this place or hate it. Can you blame them?
4. Mercado de San Juan
This market is a foodie’s heaven, to say the least. It’s where all top chefs buy their staples and where tourists and locals can taste exotic delicacies from around the world. From fresh produce, fried scorpions, meat, and cheeses to edible flowers, you’ll find something if not more to satisfy your palate. Two things you must know before you head there though. Firstly, have extra cash on you as it’s a bit pricier than other markets. Secondly, go there on an empty stomach because you’ll want to try everything.
5. Cave of Swallows
This cave is so deep that it could fit the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower! If you go as early as 7 am, you’ll catch the birds come out of the cave’s pit in circles, flock after the other, to greet the morning light. It’s one of the most beautiful things you can ever see. But to jump into the hole, you have to be there later at any time between 12 and 6 pm. Free- jumping with a parachute lasts 12 seconds while rappelling with a rope lasts an hour. But to climb up the 380-meter deep hole, it’ll take you from 2 to 5 hours (depending on your fitness level), or simply 10 minutes if you use an extraction rope.
Such an adventure is for the fearless only as you might have guessed!
6. Soumaya Museum
One of the flashiest museums around the world is Billionaire Carlos Slim’s (Museo Soumaya). He named the museum after his late wife who passed away in 1999 and whom he had six children with. The museum covers almost 16,000 sq/m and houses 66,000 pieces by great Central American artists like Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, and European ones like Monet and Van Gogh. People are divided when it comes to the building’s architecture. Some say it’s a masterpiece, while others believe Slim could have done a better job with all the money spent on the project! But still, even if it’s not an architectural masterpiece, the value of it lies in what’s inside.
To wind down after all that cave-descending, pyramid-climbing, and weird islands-exploring, you’ll feel like doing the regular touristy stuff; such as getting on the double-decker bus.
7. The Double Decker Turibus
Getting around the capital can be a challenge, but the turibus would be the easiest way to sightsee its most interesting sites in a few hours. The thing is, it gets stuck in traffic just like any other vehicle, so you’ve got to be patient. And if you can choose between the second and lower floors, go for the second as it offers a better view. Beware, though, it’s roofless, which is a big downside, but you can always wear a hat and sunscreen! Although it’s definitely touristy, you’ll appreciate the experience as you see the city from a vantage point and how historical architecture blends with the modern.
Passive tourism isn’t that bad after all!
There’s more to Mexico than is mentioned here, but we thought of choosing a few you may not have heard of. Do you have a favorite?
For accommodation in Mexico, click here.