Por Expedia Team, el August 30, 2016

13 mejores ciudades para explorar la cultura mexicana

It is clear to think that Mexican culture is in all its territory, but it would also be fair to know in which of its cities we find the heart of its history, which cities offer us more and better options to soak in it.

For your comfort and best idea, to plan your next trip to know the best places to explore the culture of Mexico, go to the bowels and relive its ancient times, we prepare a list with the perfect points, which without margin of error will allow you learn more about this vast and beautiful culture.

Read, meet, pack your bags and get ready for a unique, extraordinary and magical adventure, exploring the best places to learn about Mexican history and culture.

  1. Merida Yucatan

It is called the white city, a magical place that is distinguished by the joy of its people, culture and a warm embrace that infects anyone. It is also named the American Capital of Culture, thanks to the fact that it offers cultural activities 365 days a year and for this reason it has received this appointment for the second time for 2017 (the only destination in the world with this distinction) and for the Mayan legacy that is still alive.


Cultural recommendations

  • During your visit, visit the Market in the Santa Ana neighborhood, a space to learn about food, sweets, typical producers of the area, crafts and the classic atmosphere of a Mexican market.
  • If you visit it in January you will witness the great Mérida Fest , a celebration that lasts for weeks and offers the best of this place by celebrating the city’s anniversary with food, music, dances, even involving other ancient cultures.
  • Of course, once you are there you must walk along Paseo Montejo, visit the archaeological zones, cenotes, beaches, enjoy its amazing and varied gastronomy; Museums such as the  Great Museum of the Mayan World and its Cathedral “San idelfonso”, which is the 2nd oldest in Latin America .. You can also find interesting cheap hotels in Merida  within all categories and pockets.

 2. Zamora de Hidalgo, Michoacán

Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, Michoacán.
Zamora Cathedral, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Michoacán. Photo by: Flickr .

Beautiful city with a great cultural heritage, but it will be necessary to start with one of its best panoramic views, a unique spectacle that takes place in the Historic Center of Zamora, since at night its classic and old buildings are illuminated in an incredible way.

Cultural recommendations

  • You must see from below (without getting dizzy), the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the religious precinct with the tallest towers in Mexico with a height of 107.5 meters, inaugurated in 1898. You can also visit the Cathedral of Zamora, Temple of San Juan Diego, Temple of San Francisco, the Sanctuary of the Lord of Health, among others.
  • One of the richest desserts in Mexico is the “Chongo Zamorano”, which of course is prepared in this place, and which also has its own festival during the month of December. In it you can try the best exponents, this delicious delicacy based on milk, egg and cinnamon.
  • The Michoacán Regional Arts Center, in addition to offering great cultural spaces that will allow you to learn more about this beautiful point of Mexico, also serves as an education center where classes of the different artistic disciplines are taught at a high level.
  • A place of great mystery that you must know is El Opeño, located in the municipality of Jacona. In underground volcanic tuff there are tombs, making this place a real space to explore. There you can also witness a peculiar cemetery that dates back to 1200 BC.

3. Xochimilco, Mexico City

EMX - Xochimilco Trajineras

It is a beautiful point in the Valley of Mexico where the calm waters invite you to stroll through one of its five channels. It is also a delegation with more than 122 km, in which in addition to its refreshing lakes, you find typical food in the streets of the city, as well as high quality restaurants. Classic crafts, highlighting going to its lakes, and touring them in trajineras, as a couple, with friends or with the whole family.

Cultural recommendations

  • A place for children and adults in which to ride a trajinera is the adventure of the day. Enjoying the surrounding landscapes, including the inhabitants of the area who offer their products, such as snacks and handicrafts. You can rent one, two or even more, link them and upload all your friends to celebrate your freedom, or any occasion. You will sail in calm waters, at a point where there are more than 50 festivals. Take a colorful souvenir, since with flowers they can place your name in the traditional trajineras.
  • Once there, visit the Dolores Olmedo Museum , where you will find exhibitions of photographs of great people who marked the history of Mexico, such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera or Angelina Beloff. Cultural art, shops that sell crafts inspired by these characters.

4. Xalapa, Veracruz

Xalapa Anthropology Museum, Veracruz.
Xalapa Anthropology Museum, Veracruz. Photo by: Flickr.

Surrounded by mountains, it is a city that smiles and has its own light thanks to its colonial architecture and a beautiful climate. For its modern, contemporary and pre-Hispanic art, it is called the “Athens of Veracruz”. We know that once touring the city, hunger will not wait, so you can look for a chileatole, chiles rellenos, of course a fish a la veracruzana, a corn cake.

 Cultural recommendations

  • With so much tradition and history, Xalapa can be known with a cultural tour, visiting spaces such as El Agora de la Ciudad, Museum of Anthropology, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Carlos Fuentes Library or the Garden of Sculptures, just to mention some specific points that they promote the art of the place.
  • Being a coastal area, the joyous festivals are a fundamental part of the place. Jazz Festivals, Coffee Fair, Day of the Dead celebration One of the most important is the mysterious Mictlan Festival. The Veracruz carnival is a celebration that dates back to the time of the Emperor Maximilian, thus becoming one of the most important in Mexico. The color, the bright costumes, the traditional acts and the party seem to never end.
  • As part of this beautiful area of ​​the country you will also find yourself very close to Xico, a magical town full of color and a permanent party atmosphere. Mountain landscapes, colonial houses, coffee plantations, and you do not have to go very far, it is only 19 km from Xalapa. Flower temples and traditional activities such as donkeys selling milk are still preserved.
  • A special place is the Dress Museum in the Parish of Santa María Magdalena. Here you can enjoy delicious bread, and during the patron saint festivities in June, dresses are donated to dress Santa María Magdalena, it is a religious town of great tradition.

5. Guanajuato, Guanajuato

Day of the Dead celebration in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Day of the Dead celebration in Guanajuato, Mexico.

The possibilities here are endless, as much of Mexico’s history is concentrated. It is a colonial place, with buildings of the time, rich gastronomy, parties. Walking the streets of this city is simply magical. You can still find many of them cobbled, European architecture, the cathedral, alleys, colorful houses and much more. You can not miss a “back street”, in which the musicians walk the streets, sing people, interacting and living together. And of course the traditional serenades are part of the folklore.

Cultural recommendations

 The alley of the kiss, is one of the most emblematic corridors, since it tells the tradition that a couple of lovers used to go out at night to kiss, from balcony to balcony. By far the Cervantino Festival is one of the most important in the world, there is an artistic and cultural meeting with great exponents. These show works of traditional contemporary art and the music department has been the scene of world-class artists.

  • The Guanajuato Mummies museum is one of the most famous in all of Mexico. With more than 150 years of history, more than 200 mummified bodies are displayed there, attracting tourists from all over the world.
  • If possible, visit San Miguel de Allende. In due course you can enjoy the San Miguel de Allende International Music Festival . In the month of June, it is a Festival of Madmen , masks and costumes as part of this folklore. A simply phenomenal event is the Day of the Dead, where there are people dressed as catrinas, walk of the awakening of souls, the walk of the nuns, among other attractions.

6. Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca

EMX - Oaxaca Guelaguetza
Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo by: Flickr.

A city endowed with nature, architectural beauty, culture, art and a spectacular history. It is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Beaches, colonial city, archaeological zones and exquisite gastronomy.

Cultural recommendations

  • The most traditional and important festival is the Guelaguetza and dates from the pre-Hispanic era, there rituals, dances that served to attract good fortune and improve harvests, at that time a maiden was sacrificed to venerate their gods.
  • The architecture in Oaxaca is magical. Built with green quarry, you have to know the cathedral, the old church of the Compañía de Jesús, the former convent of Santo Domingo and its Cultural Center. The Benito Juárez Market, November 20 and the Alcalá market, await you with the best of their products and crafts. Even better visit the best museums, such as the Huajuapan Regional, the Zaachilla archaeological zone.
  • One of the oldest towns is Teotitlan del Valle, where the Zapotec dialect is mostly spoken and in the hands of its craftsmen they work textiles in a magical way. Making creations such as zarapes, overcoats, rugs, curtains and endless garments, dyed with natural colors taken from the fruit.

7. Tulum, Quintana Roo

Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Photo by: Shutterstock.

This was built right in front of the Caribbean Sea and is one of the most visited Mayan cities, with landscapes that you will only see in your dreams, it is a unique archaeological zone on the planet. Of course, it is surrounded by white sand, blue water that give life to one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

Cultural recommendations

  • Once in this paradise, discover Cobá, one of the archaeological zones that was once the most inhabited Mayan city. With more than 6,500 buildings and great mysteries to discover. Right there you can see the tallest Mayan pyramid, Nohuch Mul, 130 feet high and 120 steps. All this only 30 km from Tulum.

8. Mina, Nuevo Leon

Boca de Potrerillos, Nuevo León
Boca de Potrerillos, Nuevo León. Photo by: Flickr.

It is a beautiful town located in the northwest of the state. With architecture of more than 400 years, it is a tourist and cultural tract. Of desert vegetation and it is said to keep something of mystery, based on legends told by the inhabitants of the area. Only 60 kilometers away is Monterrey.

Cultural recommendations

  • Boca de Potrillos: it is located between two mountain ranges and forms a kind of canyon, there you will see the petroglyphs, engraved on stones that define the history of this place. There are more than 10,000 stones and most of these engravings are directed towards the sunrise.
  • Museo Bernabe de Casas has a collection of pieces that speak of the culture of the place. Here is shown the study of paleontology in the area, that is, fossils from prehistoric times.
  • Santa Lucia International Festival, which aims to boost local talent, as well as show the beauty of the area in terms of traditional costumes, dance, food and culture. International artists also appear, making during the fall in October a perfect pretext to learn more about the culture of this area of ​​the country.

9. Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala

Cacaxtla, Mexico.
Cacaxtla, Mexico. Photo by: Flickr .

It is the smallest town in the country, but it has a huge colonial culture. Magical town decorated with murals and a dream archeology. Volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls, lagoons and also some desert. These virtues make it a special place to visit and learn about its culture.

Cultural recommendations

  • Very close to Tlaxcala, there is one of the best archaeological areas, Cacaxtla, where there are vestiges of the Olmeca-Xicalanca culture, there you will be able to appreciate beautiful paintings of birds, stories of battles, of the sea, stars, snakes painted with pigments kaolin.
  • Tlaxcala Regional Museum is another important point to soak up the culture of the area. Here you will appreciate a collection of easel, ceramic and lithic paintings, which belonged to the pre-Hispanic and New Spanish times. The first convent was built here after the arrival of the Spanish.
  • The Tlaxcala Art Museum houses the art collections of this place. You can see in this museum the first works of Frida Kahlo, made between 1923 and 1927.
  • Although if you go with little time, try to be at the time of the Tlaxcala Fair in the month of October. One of the most colorful and nourished in the entire country. Known for its diversity and environment. Village theater, palenque, games, typical food, exquisite bread, and the concentration of works of art and crafts from Tlaxcala.

10. Campeche, Campeche

Campeche, Mexico.
Campeche, Mexico. Photo by: Flickr.

In Mexico there is no other like it, it is a walled city, the most impressive of this land. It served as a commercial exchange point and is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Culture, art, gastronomy, and beautiful beaches adorn this paradise.

Cultural recommendations

  • You must visit its bastions, which witness the passage of time and thousands of stories. Baluarte de San Juan, la Soledad, Santiago Santa Rosa, are just some of the names of these powerful buildings.
  • Anthropology Museum: you can see everything about the culture of this piece of Mexico. It is of military architecture and was part of the great battles of Campeche. Now Mayan pieces are exhibited, highlighting those of Calakmul.
  • Archeology is really a vital part of this state, and just an hour from there there are several options to admire the Mayan culture. We recommend Edzná, this pre-Hispanic city was inhabited around 1000 years BC There are 200 buildings, between platforms, foundations and an area to play the old ball game.
  • The hands of its inhabitants are responsible for maintaining traditions and crafts in Campeche. With ceramics and wood they make true works of art. Hammocks and beautiful dresses are woven using the cross stitch technique. Among all, Palma de Jipi stands out, and it is that in this place it is the only one in Mexico where this material is worked.

 11.  Puebla, Puebla

Puebla Cathedral
Puebla Cathedral, Mexico. Photo by: Wikipedia.

One of the oldest in Mexico, its culture is old and of great importance in the country. A colonial city with seven magical towns, volcanoes, historical places, architectural jewels, gastronomy and a modern touch that make it special. Forests, rivers, lagoons, springs, and returning to food, nothing equals its maximum and representative dish, the mole poblano. And of course the great selection of places to stay in Puebla .

Cultural recommendations

  • Los Sapos, a neighborhood to stock up on an immense amount of typical Puebla crafts. It is located in the historic center of the city and has a large number of shops with antiques, curios, and furniture.
  • The food of this place is to forget the diet and give free rein to the palate with its world-famous mole poblano, chiles en nogada covered with the rich sauce and pomegranate, cemitas, chalupas, rajas poblano, Arab tacos and many more dishes.
  • Cholula: a fascinating place with dreamy streets. It is the house of the largest pyramid in Mesoamerica. Religious buildings in the historic center, picturesque neighborhoods and colonial architecture, each with its temple dedicated to a saint.

12. Durango, Durango

Minor Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Durango.
Minor Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Durango. Photo by: Flickr.

The land of the scorpion, which has one of the richest historical centers in the country. Canyons, lakes, rivers, desert, vineyards and orchards are some of the virtues of this place. Thanks to its semi-desert landscapes, it has been used as a setting for movies. Abundant fauna with up to 250 species of birds, cave paintings and architectural jewels.

Cultural recommendations

  • Durango is practically a living museum since 21 architectural gems are concentrated in its historic center and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. One of its wonders is the Cathedral that contains pieces of sacred cut inside. The Baroque-style palace of the Count of the Valley, the Ricardo Castro Theater.
  • The must see is the Gómez Palacios Market, with wide corridors to walk around and get to know the typical food, crafts, sweets, garments embroidered by the inhabitants, and if you like scorpions, here they sell objects adorned with these arachnids, including a stall where they have them alive.

13. Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco

Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco.
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. Photo by: Flickr.

This place keeps simplicity, calm and peace. It was founded by 73 Spanish families, and has stately buildings. A point of art, folklore, ancient Tlaxcala dances, dozens of haciendas, which you can enjoy on board the calendars. Festivals such as Los Arcos, San Hermión, and of course the Annual Lagos Festival in July.

Cultural recommendations

  • Its most important activities are the charreadas, in which brave charros on horseback, make incredible luck that will leave you enchanted.
  • Visit the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, Museum of Sacred Art, Plaza San Felipe or the Temple of Refuge.
  • Do not miss the Ruta Cristera, which allows you to get to know one of the regions with the highest temperament in Mexico.

After this cultural tour, you will return full of the best of Mexico in terms of culture and art. Make a good plan and prepare to soak up the deepest and most hidden parts of the country, visiting some or all of these beautiful places full of history.

Pack your bags, although it is better to go with the basics, since these places require energy and an open mind to perceive and feel the history of this great country.