The Mexican peninsula includes the southernmost North American nation of Mexico (or the United Mexican States, to use its official name).
The United States forms its northern boundary, the Pacific Ocean its southern and western, Guatemala and Belize its southeastern, and the Gulf of Mexico its eastern.
For the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Mexico is first in the Americas and seventh in the world. In terms of natural biodiversity, it is in the top 5 of the world’s 17 “megadiverse” countries.
As the sixth most visited country in the world, with almost 39 million international visits, Mexico is a popular tourist destination thanks to its rich cultural and biological legacy, as well as its varied temperature and topography.
Below are some of the most famous landmarks in Mexico that travelers to this amazing country will not want to miss.
Famous Mexican Landmarks
1. Tulum Archaeological Zone
The Tulum Archaeological Zone is the site of a pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá. The ruins are situated on 12-meter tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
They had this settlement as far back as 300 B.C.Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Maya; it flourished from the 13th through the 15th century as a trading center.
The Spanish arrived in 1518 while it was still occupied, and by 1519 the conquistadors had begun wholesale destruction of Maya civilization. Consequently, Tulum was abandoned by the end of the 16th century due to diseases and epidemics.
The site is considered an archaeological wonder and is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.
2. Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico. The site’s name is a corruption of the Yucatec Maya word “Chilam Balam”, meaning “The mouth of the well of Itzá”.
The name is often mistranslated as “City of Wizards” or “City of the Witches”; actually, it refers to the Itza people, an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of central Yucatán following the decline of the Maya civilization.
The buildings of Chichén Itzá’s most notable feature is the central castillo, the Temple of Kukulkan, a stepped pyramid that is reminiscent of the ziggurats of Mesoamerica.
The temple sits on a square platform with stairs on all four sides. At the top of the pyramid sits a temple with a shrine to Kukulkan.
Today, millions of tourists flood the site annually, and it has become one of Mexico’s major tourist attractions.
3. Museo Nacional de Antropología
The Museo Nacional de Antropología is a national museum of Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Mahatma Gandhi Street within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.
The museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage, such as the Stone of Sun (or the Aztec calendar stone) and the Giant Stone Head of Olmec.
The Museo Nacional de Antropología is one of the largest and most visited museums in Mexico. The museum building was designed by Mexican architect Pedro Ramirez and completed in 1964. Over two million visitors journey to the museum each year.
4. Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a prominent cultural center in Mexico City. It has hosted some of the most notable events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and has held important exhibitions of painting, sculpture, and photography.
The building is located on the west side of the historic center of Mexico City next to Alameda Central park.
After being held up by the Mexican revolution, the building was completed in 1934. However, the initial project was accepted by the government in 1901 after Gonzolo Garita and Adamo Boari presented plans for the expansion and remodeling of the Gran Teatro Nacional.
It is considered a masterpiece of Mexican Art Nouveau and has been called “the jewel of the city”. It houses the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera Company, the Palace Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Museum of Architecture.
5. Zona Arqueológica Palenque
The Palenque ruins are a group of Maya ruins on the northeastern side of Chiapas in southern Mexico. The nearby village is known as San Juan Chamula.
The ruins themselves were first explored by Spanish officer Fray Pedro Lorenzo in 1567. The site was already abandoned after the conquest of Mexico and contains some of the finest architecture and sculptures of the Maya Classic period.
The Great Temple, or Temple of Inscriptions, is the largest and most important structure at the site. It is a step pyramid with five temples on its summit and a sixth temple at its base and was completed in 683 A.D.
The temple is notable for its stucco reliefs and the long hieroglyphic inscription on its stairway. The tomb of Pakal the Great, discovered in 1952, is located within the temple and is considered the most important Mesoamerican tomb.
6. Frida Kahlo Museum
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo’s work is often characterized by its use of bright colors and its depiction of the female experience and form.
The Frida Kahlo Museum is located in the Casa Azul, Kahlo’s former home in Mexico City. The house was designed by her father, an architect, and was where Kahlo lived for most of her life. It is notable for its blue exterior, which Kahlo herself painted. As such, it is also known as the Blue House.
The museum contains a large collection of Kahlo’s artwork, as well as personal belongings, such as her dresses, jewelry, and photos. The museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico City. Kahlo died in 1954 and the museum opened four years later.
7. Two Eyes Cenote
The Cenote Dos Ojos is a large underwater cave system in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area and is known for its clear blue water.
The Cenote Dos Ojos is made up of two connected caves, each with its own cenote, or natural sinkhole. A 400 meter passageway connects them.
It is the deepest known underwater cave system with a length of 61 km. You can rent snorkeling equipment and diving gear at the entrance to the cave.
8. Xcaret Park
Xcaret Park is a theme park and archaeological site in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The park is home to over 50 activities and attractions, as well as a butterfly pavilion, aviary, aquarium, and coral reef.
The park is also near an important archaeological site. It is in the area of the Xcaret site. Visitors can enjoy natural attractions such as a river that runs through a Mayan village.
There is an inlet where people can enjoy water-based activities like snorkeling. Manatees, butterflies, deer, and jaguars are some of the wildlife featured in the area.
In addition to wildlife, there is a replica of a Mayan village, a cemetery, a church, and performances of pre-Hispanic dances. There are plenty of places to eat at 11 restaurants as well as a spa.
9. Reserva de la Biósfera Sian
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is a protected area that covers over 5,000 square kilometers of land and sea.
The reserve is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforest, mangrove forest, savanna, and coral reef. It is also home to over 1,000 species of plants and animals, including many endangered species.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was created in 1986 to protect the area’s natural resources and provide a sustainable development model for the region. The Quintana Roo Research Center began work on the project in 1981 with a series of studies.
Petenes are unique plant formations of trees growing in the shallow swamp that can be found in the reserve. The only other place where you will see such a formation is in Florida and Cuba.
The reserve has the further distinction of being the first tropical protected zone in Mexico.
The Zócalo is the main square in Mexico City. It is the largest city square in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. The square is surrounded by some of the city’s most important buildings, including the Cathedral, the National Palace, and the Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Zócalo has been the main square of Mexico City since the Aztecs founded the city in 1325. It was originally known as the Main Square or the Great Plaza. The current name, Zócalo, comes from the Nahuatl word for “base” or “plinth”.
The square has been the site of many important events in Mexican history, including the declaration of independence from Spain in 1810 and the inauguration of the first president of Mexico in 1821.
In the center of the square is a flagpole with the Mexican flag. There is also a monument to the heroes of the Mexican Revolution. Every September 15, the anniversary of independence, a military parade is held in the Zócalo.
In conclusion, Mexico is home to many amazing landmarks, each with its own unique history and significance. From the world’s largest underwater cave system to a huge nature reserve, there is something for everyone to enjoy.