Top 10 Most Famous Mexico Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the entire world. With its diverse and beautiful landscape, tropical climate and abundance of activities, it’s a family friendly vacation destination that draws millions of visitors each and every year. The historical legacy of Mexico is perhaps equally responsible for bringing in droves of guests, and visitors by the millions seek out Mayan and Aztec ruin sites, some of the most famous landmarks in Mexico. We’ve put together a list of the ten best of them, along with other important landmarks that keep travelers to the center of the Americans talking long after their travels.
1. Chichen Itza Ruins: Of all of the archeological sites in Mexico, Chichen Itza is the second most visited, located on the Yucatan Peninsula just east of Merida. The grounds boast a monolith that never fails to draw a crowd known as The Kukulkan Pyramid which is also referred to as ‘The Castle,’ or, ‘El Castillo,” a newly named Wonder of the World. Though The Castle is perhaps the most popular spot at Chichen Itza, there are other Mexico landmarks to be found here as well as the site was once a bustling metropolis. For visitors looking for even more Mexico landmarks, Chichen Itza is relatively near Cozumel (about 100 miles) a small island to the east on which can be found another archaeological site, San Gervasio.
2. National Palace: It may come as no surprise that at the spot where the Federal Government of Mexico has existed in some form or another since the era of the Aztecs can be found one of the most visited and recognizable of all Mexico landmarks. The National palace, a working and functioning government office boasts courtyards and fountains that nicely accentuate the building’s impressive, colonial appearance. Since the structure is still used today as it was over seven hundred years ago for important federal purposes, not all rooms are accessible to guests, however guided tours are available and parts of the building can be entered for guests with proper identification.
3. Chapultepec Castle: Situated atop a grand overlook on a former sacred place for Aztecs known as “Grasshopper Hill” can be found this multifunctional building that has served several important roles for the country throughout history and is one of the most recognizable Mexico landmarks. Originally used for military purposes and then as an Imperial residence then Presidential home, the building had grand purpose before becoming a more modest and educational tool. Today the historical building functions as the Museo Nacional de Historia, a fitting function for a structure so steeped in Mexican history.
4. Angel of Independence Mexico City: Situated on a roundabout in the heart of Mexico City can be found a towering, glistening heavenly body that commemorates Mexican Independence. Its history and purpose make it not only one of the most recognizable of all Mexico landmarks, but also the staging or focal point of many political protests and other demonstrations. The entire structure is almost 150 feet tall, with the 24 karat gold covered bronze angel atop reaching 22 feet in height alone.
5. Teotihuacan Pyramids: Guests who travel just a bit north of Mexico City can reach the massive pyramid structures at Teotihuacan. This former city has been compared to ancient Rome and is thought to have been built between 100 B.C. and 300 B.C. There are many Mesoamerican ruins across the country, but these Mexico landmarks are unique for their size and purposes. Some of these city pyramids housed the era equivalent of apartment buildings, housing numerous families. And, the Pyramid of the Sun rarely fails to disappoint visitors as the behemoth is one of the largest ruined buildings in all of Mesoamerica. Interestingly enough, this name came after the abandonment of the city when the former constructing civilization fell, a fate befalling many Mayan turned Aztec pyramids. Prior to the building’s renaming, there was no name recorded for the now third largest pyramid in the world.
6. Tula Toltec Ruins: North of Mexico city lies the State of Hidalgo, home to the Tula Valley and this rather impressive example of early Mesoamerican cities. Notable points of interest found amongst the ruins include the expansive Burnt Palace and Tula Chico. However, one of the most recognizable of all Mexico landmarks can be found here as well, and it’s often the purpose in visiting Tula for many guests. The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, complete with basalt warrior columns, is well worth a visit.
7. Palenque Mayan Ruins: Found in southern Mexico, although significantly smaller than mega archeological sites like Tikal, Palenque is a famous ruin site that brings in thousands of visitors each year alongside other popular Mexico landmarks. The reason this smaller site is rarely overlooked is because it boasts excellent examples of Mayan architecture, sculpture and design from bas-relief carvings to hieroglyphic inscriptions. One square mile of the former city has been uncovered for guests to enjoy, but experts believe this is hardly a tenth of what lies at Palenque, meaning that it’s likely over a thousand ruined structures and Mayan Pyramids may still exist in the surrounding jungle.
8. Xcaret Park: Xcaret is an adventure park that is very popular for guests visiting the resort city of Cancun that are looking to sample the history and culture of the country without traversing across it. Xcaret combines historically accurate information with exciting activity, and guests can enjoy watching a recreation of a live Mayan ball game or traipse along jungle trails with guides without booking an excursion. Snorkeling, diving and swimming in underground rivers is also available here, and when guests are done learning about Mexico landmarks and local culture and history, through activities, they can settle in for a show complete with lights, artists and spectacular sounds to end their day.
9. Hidden Beach Puerto Vallarta: What is that makes the small islands off the coast of Acapulco so alluring? Bombs, lots of bombs. Located a few miles offshore from the resort city that’s west of Guadalajara can be found a small island chain called the Marietas. Here, an amazing abundance of wildlife can be found including humpback whales, dolphins and manta rays. But, while what’s in the water is undoubtedly awe inspiring, the local critters aren’t what make Hidden Beach a gem amongst Mexico landmarks. Holes, caves and other unique formations were created here when the area was used for bomb testing by the Mexican army. As a result, stunning crescents, overhangs, lagoon areas and more were shaped on the Marietas islands, which themselves were created by volcanic activity.
10. Los Cabos: Far to the west and separate from mainland Mexico can be found the municipality of Los Cabos, which encompasses areas like Cabo San Lucas and San Jose. The area is known for its stunning rock formations, Mexico landmarks that have become incredibly popular tourist attractions. There are other unique finds here as well such as diving points like “Land’s End” and a pair of beaches known as “Divorce Beach” and “Lovers Beach,” so named for their conflicting levels of calmness. However, it’s the terra cotta colored arches that draw crowds every year to the Baja Peninsula.