Hey there, fellow travelers! My name is Kylie Mohan, and I am a solo travel blogger who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. Today, I am excited to share with you my personal experiences of discovering 15 unique hidden gems in Mexico that you should definitely add to your travel list.
As a seasoned solo traveler, I have always been drawn to the less-visited spots that are rich in history and culture. And let me tell you, Mexico is an absolute goldmine when it comes to hidden gems. From stunning natural wonders to cultural landmarks, Mexico has it all.
During my travels through Mexico, I have been fortunate enough to stumble upon some truly unforgettable places that are not often talked about. Through this blog post, I want to share my personal experiences and insights on the 15 unique hidden gems in Mexico that deserve more attention.
So if you are ready to go beyond the typical tourist spots and discover the lesser-known wonders of Mexico, keep reading!
15 Unique Hidden Gems to Visit in Mexico
Bacalar is a magical town in Quintana Roo, Mexico. It’s most famous for its lagoon of seven colors. It reflects 7 distinct shades of blue and is becoming a popular spot for tourists and locals.
I got to experience Bacalar during my stay in Mexico. From above on the zip-lines or from a kayak, the lagoon looks stunning! Taking a dip in its warm waters was an amazing experience. That’s why Bacalar is so praised.
There are hidden gems in and around Bacalar, like the Mecoacan Ruins and Tres Herrera spring waterfall. It’s like a fairytale, you feel transported to another world!
Bacalar has modern amenities too. Restaurants offer seafood dishes and local artisans have handcrafted Mexican goods. Hotels provide personalized service and breathtaking views of mountains. It’s an ideal spot for those looking for relaxation and nature.
5 Tips For Travelling Around Mexico
- Be aware of your surroundings: While Mexico is a beautiful country to explore, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. It’s always better to travel in groups, and it’s recommended to stick to well-lit and populated areas.
- Learn some Spanish: Although many Mexicans speak English, it’s a good idea to learn some Spanish before traveling around Mexico. Not only will it make communication easier, but it also shows respect for the local culture. You don’t have to be fluent, but knowing some basic phrases can go a long way.
- Take advantage of public transportation: Mexico has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and taxis. These modes of transportation are often cheaper than renting a car, and they give you the opportunity to experience local life. However, make sure to do your research and choose reputable companies.
- Try the street food: Mexico is famous for its delicious street food, and trying it is a must-do while traveling around the country. It’s often affordable and incredibly tasty. However, be cautious of where you’re eating from and stick to vendors with good hygiene practices.
- Respect the culture: Mexico is a country with a rich culture and history, and it’s important to respect it while traveling. Learn about the customs and traditions of the areas you’re visiting, and be respectful when visiting religious sites or cultural landmarks. This not only shows respect for the locals, but it also enhances your travel experience.
Grutas de Tolantongo
Grutas de Tolantongo is a hidden paradise in Mexico City’s north sierras. Waterfalls cascade down and are fed by underground hot springs, creating a magical oasis. Though free to visit, it’s becoming increasingly popular.
Soaking in the hot springs is an amazing experience. I dipped in one of the man-made pools cut into the rock face, beside the waterfalls. I sipped my margarita in natural rock pools formed by the same waterfalls. Views of nearby villages and a desert valley below almost made me feel like I was in an old western movie!
If you’re looking for something different in Mexico, Grutas de Tolantongo is highly recommended. It’s a special place with incredible natural beauty and memories that will last a lifetime. Make sure to bring sunscreen and lots of drinking water; it can get hot during the day!
Huasteca Potosina in San Luis Potosí is a gem of Mexico. It’s like a lost Shangri-La! With milky blue waterfalls like Bali’s and emerald green mountains, rivers, and rainforest, there’s something for everyone.
Activities here refresh and recharge. Hike trails, kayak rapids, bird watch, and seek hidden orchid flowers. Afterward, delicious local restaurants offer inexpensive food.
If you need days away from city life, consider Huasteca Potosina. I personally endorse it – it’ll live up to your expectations!
Tequila is one of Mexico’s hidden gems. It’s a charming town surrounded by blue agave fields. If you want to learn about tequila production, it is the place to be.
You can take a ride on horses in the countryside and visit some renowned tequila distilleries, like Eljurez and Herradura.
At Eljurez, guests can take guided tours. They can even stay overnight in tequila barrels or stone cabins. The barrels were made from oak trees dried for five days after sunset.
You can also customize your own bottle of Eljurez tequila with a special label.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, Tequila should be your top choice. You can learn about Mexican culture, or have fun riding horses and taking photos of the majestic blue agave plants!
- Sun protection: Mexico can be very sunny, so make sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be a problem in some areas of Mexico, so be sure to pack insect repellent to avoid bug bites.
- Comfortable footwear: Mexico has many cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes that can handle lots of walking.
- Mexican pesos: Although many places in Mexico accept US dollars, it’s still a good idea to have some Mexican pesos on hand for smaller purchases and street vendors.
- Portable water bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated while traveling in Mexico, so consider packing a portable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.
- Lightweight clothing: Mexico can be hot and humid, so pack lightweight, breathable clothing to stay cool and comfortable.
- Spanish phrasebook: While many people in tourist areas of Mexico speak English, it’s always a good idea to have a Spanish phrasebook handy to communicate with locals and navigate less touristy areas.
- Travel insurance: In case of any unexpected emergencies or accidents, it’s always wise to have travel insurance to cover medical expenses or trip cancellations.
Las Pozas of Edward James
Las Pozas of Edward James is the perfect escapade for anyone seeking something extraordinary in Mexico! Nestled in the tropical Huasteca region lies a magical 80-acre mountain forest garden. Its twisted concrete sculptures and lookout points have become a sight to behold – even featured on Instagram!
When I first arrived, I knew I had stumbled upon something extraordinary. This creative masterpiece was sculpted by English artist and poet Edward James, who first bought the land as his private retreat. He crafted over 40 pools and grand steps, connected by waterfalls and pathways. Not to mention the 40+ giant surrealistic sculptures made of concrete blooms, columns and pyramids!
It’s the perfect spot for capturing pictures or having a picnic lunch among the artworks and jungle views. If you look closely enough, you may spot some unique bugs and plants. No matter your reasons, Las Pozas is sure to give you an experience unlike any other in Mexico!
Isla de las Munecas
Isla de las Muñecas, or “Island of the Dolls,” is located in Mexico City’s Xochimilco urban nature park. This spooky small island was once home to Don Julian Santana Barrera, who hung hundreds of dolls from trees in an effort to chase away the spirit of a girl who had tragically drowned there years ago.
My visit to this haunting place was unforgettable. A chill ran down my spine as I looked upon the seemingly endless sea of dolls. Many had been disfigured due to age and weathering. Some had their eyes poked out and were missing limbs, adding an extra eerie element.
What surprised me most was how the dolls were arranged – each one carefully hung from a tree or post adjacent to another. It seemed almost as if they were conversing in a silent welcome. Despite its unsettling atmosphere, I still enjoyed my visit and it gave me an unforgettable experience.
My visit to the ancient Mayan city of Calakmul was life-changing! It’s an off-the-beaten-path hidden gem located in the Mexican jungle near the border with Guatemala. Nearly 7,000 ruins make it home, and it’s said to have been the capital of “the snake” kingdom. The pyramid dates back to 400 AD and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
What made Calakmul stand out to me was its size and remoteness. There were no crowds or tour buses around. Exploring ruins without any noise or people felt more authentic and meaningful than other places I’d seen.
The jungles there are lush, making it easy to spot all kinds of wildlife – toucans, macaws, spider monkeys, deer, and even jaguars! After trekking around deciphering hieroglyphs on temples, I’ll never forget how special it was to stand amongst history.
Plus, visiting Calakmul contributes to conservation efforts in this area. It protects over 2+ million hectares as part of a Biosphere Reserve managed by Mexico’s federal government. If you’re looking for an unforgettable hidden gem in Mexico – check out Calakmul!
Hierve el Agua
As a traveler, you’ll be astounded when visiting Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico! It’s a natural spectacle that you shouldn’t miss if you’re keen to explore an authentic Mexican vista. The site boasts petrified waterfalls shaped by calcium carbonate over time, and a mineral spring with natural infinity pools.
On my recent journey to this far-off region of Oaxaca, I was surrounded by grand geological formations and captivated by their beauty. I couldn’t help but wander around the area, marveling at the crystalline water cascading down multiple waterfalls, the incredible cacti thriving in this tough environment, and the snow-capped peaks in the distance.
This was such an amazing experience for me. No wonder it’s renowned as one of Mexico’s unique hidden gems! If you ever find yourself in Oaxaca, add Hierve el Agua to your must-see list!
San Cristóbal de las Casas
My recent trip to Mexico revealed one of its best-kept secrets – San Cristóbal de las Casas. Located in Chiapas, it’s only an hour from the border of Guatemala.
Surrounded by mountains and forest, this town showed me its vibrant culture and traditions. The colourful architecture and markets were captivating upon my arrival. Strolling through cobblestone streets with views of nearby mountains and lush foliage made it even more special.
Close by, there are various destinations for travelers to explore. There are waterfalls, hot springs, rivers for canoeing or tubing, and Mayan ruins in the jungle. All of these are easily accessible by public transport.
If you’re looking for a place to escape, I highly recommend San Cristóbal de las Casas. It has a rich cultural heritage, gorgeous scenery, and genuine hospitality – this is one of my favourite hidden gems in Mexico!
The first time I went to Mexico, I was delighted by the incredible places it had. Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas was one of my faves! It is full of high cliffs and waterfalls spilling into rivers. You can find croaking frogs, whistling birds, howler monkeys and mild crocodiles living there. It was an amazing experience!
Exploring Sumidero Canyon was so much fun. You can glide on a boat watching the kingfishers sparkle in the sun. Or, take a slow walk through the narrow cliffs with playful spider monkeys above. It’s an incredible sensation to be close to nature like this! Whether you go by boat or by foot, this should be on your bucket list!
Xilitla, Mexico is an off-the-beaten-path destination. It’s in the state of San Luis Potosí and is a small mountain town. It offers travelers a unique experience.
The main attraction is the surrealist garden of Edward James. It’s an incredible sight! Structures made from rock, concrete, and glass, with vegetation and wildlife. Plus, towering sculptures, cascading streams, and ponds. It feels like a fairytale.
Then there’s Sótano de las Golondrinas (Cave of Swallows). Thousands of birds fly between its steep walls each year. Take a cable car ride down into the canyon to witness it!
Xilitla is getting more popular. With its distinctive scenery and unique attractions, it’s easy to see why. Don’t miss out on this incredible place!
Bernal should be on the list of must-visit spots when exploring Mexico’s hidden gems. It’s situated in Querétaro and home to an iconic natural wonder – the Peña de Bernal. I was mesmerized by its immense size and gorgeous views of the countryside.
The single-rock formation towers over 300 meters, making it one of the biggest in the world. Looking up at it was breathtaking. You can climb partway up a staircase or just admire its shadow from afar – both are amazing!
The area has plenty more to offer, including churches and old buildings. It’s ideal for outdoorsy folks and culture seekers. If you’re looking for a unique Mexican holiday, this is the place to go! An unforgettable experience awaits!
Is it safe for tourists to visit Mexico?
Mexico is a popular tourist destination, and the question of whether it is safe for tourists to visit is a valid concern. The U.S. State Department has issued advisories warning travelers of the potential for violence and criminal activity in various parts of Mexico, including popular tourist destinations like Quintana Roo.
Despite these warnings, it is generally safe for tourists to travel to Mexico’s major urban centers such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. However, travelers should exercise caution and take certain precautions, especially in areas with higher crime rates.
It is important to research the specific region you plan to visit and be aware of any potential risks or safety concerns. Additionally, travelers should stay alert, avoid walking alone at night and keep valuables secure to minimize the risk of theft or assault.
By being aware of potential risks, taking necessary precautions, and staying vigilant, tourists can safely enjoy all that Mexico has to offer.
Tepoztlán – a magical town in Morelos. It is renowned for its majestic mountain views, lively markets, and the ancient El Tepozteco pyramid. Just 45 minutes from Mexico City, it’s a top spot for tourists and locals alike. I had the pleasure of discovering its hidden gems recently.
The first stop was the remarkable pyramid of El Tepozteco. As I climbed, I was mesmerized by the beauty of Mother Nature – trees, hills, and grand mountain tops!
When I reached downtown, I was surprised to find so many gems – from artisan stalls to secret restaurants! Everywhere I looked there were reminders that I was somewhere special – vibrant murals and old buildings of history.
My trip to Tepoztlán was a magical experience – surrounded by nature, culture, artistry, and history!
Isla Holbox is a secret island in the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s still not very popular and offers stunning beaches, crystal blue waters, and a chill atmosphere. Perfect for a peaceful getaway with no distractions!
To get there, hop on a ferry from Chiqulla. It takes 1.5 hours and costs around $80usd return. Check the ferry schedules when planning your trip.
Accommodation? Hostals, beach bungalows, and luxury resorts. Shopping? Local markets or stores in town.
Plus, there’s whale watching, swimming with whale sharks (June-September), fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, and exploring miles of empty beaches!
Real de Catorce
Real de Catorce is the place for you if you’re searching for a hidden treasure in Mexico. Located in San Luis Potosí, it’s an intact ghost town that will take your breath away. As soon as you arrive, its unique culture is noticeable. There’s a mix of Indigenous and Spanish traditions in the cobbled alleys and plazas of ‘El Pueblo Mágico’.
Although many buildings are deteriorating, it’s still unchanged since 1860 when it was a silver-mining center. The remains include old mines, and forest-covered hills with ancient altars and tunnels. Furthermore, there are old adobe structures along with modern stone ones.
Real de Catorce provides an enigmatic atmosphere. It’s an amazing destination no matter what time of year. Don’t miss out on this unique experience to explore one of the most interesting places in Central Mexico!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some unique attractions to visit in Mexico?
A: Mexico is home to many unique attractions, including ancient Mayan ruins, colorful colonial cities, and stunning beaches. Some of the more unique hidden gems in Mexico include the El Tajin archaeological site in Veracruz, the ancient city of Teotihuacan near Mexico City, and the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas.
Q: What are some of the best beaches in Mexico?
A: Mexico is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, from the white sand beaches of the Caribbean to the rugged Pacific coast. Some of the top beaches to visit include Tulum in the Riviera Maya, Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Playa del Amor in Baja California Sur, and Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres.
Q: What are some of the best places to stay in Mexico?
A: Mexico is filled with great places to stay, from high-end resorts to family-friendly hotels. Some of the best places to stay include the Maroma Resort & Spa in the Riviera Maya, the Quinta Real Zacatecas in Zacatecas, the Hotel Mousai in Puerto Vallarta, and the Posada de Don Rodrigo in San Miguel de Allende.