Waterfalls, national parks and indigenous towns are some of the many tourist places in southern Mexico, a Central American country with a rich variety of attractions to visit.
Let’s get to know in this article 15 of those Mexican charms that are in the southern region of the nation.
1. Palenque, Chiapas
One of the tourist places in southern Mexico is Palenque, in the northwestern region of the state of Chiapas, considered the most important ceremonial center of the Mayan culture developed in Mexican lands.
In addition to its famous ruins that you can visit with or without a tourist tour, you can visit other important buildings such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Cross, the Temple of the Foliated Cross and The Palace, which stands out among all the constructions.
Add to your itinerary a walk through the tomb of King Pakal, former ruler of what is now the archaeological zone of Palenque, which has a beautiful carved sarcophagus.
2. Sumidero Canyon, Chiapas
The Sumidero Canyon is a wonder of nature formed by the receding of the sea 15 million years ago, a process that according to experts has not finished.
In this natural attraction just 5 kilometers from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, you can take a boat ride, visit the Cueva de la Virgen and the “Christmas tree” waterfall. You will probably come across pelicans, spider monkeys, white herons and crocodiles during your walk, which are some of the many animal species of the place.
From the Sumidero Canyon you can also visit other iconic places such as the Múdajar Fountain, the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the spectacular Laca Museum.
3. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
This city of Chiapas has numerous colonial buildings that invite you to discover the history of Mexico.
In the Amber Museum, in the old Merced convent, there are always exhibitions on the method of extracting and processing this fossilized resin.
The city has a good textile industry with striking and bright colors, with handicrafts that you can buy from the artisans themselves.
The Yellow Cathedral of San Cristóbal and the Church of Guadalupe, both with beautiful views of the city, must also be visited.
Also read our guide on the 15 best beaches in Chiapas that you have to visit
4. Agua Azul Waterfalls, Chiapas
Beautiful flora and fauna protection area in the state of Chiapas, 133 kilometers from San Cristóbal de las Casas.
In this natural environment of abundant vegetation and permanent breeze you can go hiking, down the river, practice diving, horseback riding, hiking and camping.
The Agua Azul river runs down a stepped bed of limestone, which gives rise to beautiful and impressive indigo-blue waterfalls, which in some areas form natural pools.
5. San Juan Chamula, Chiapas
This indigenous town is one of the tourist places in southern Mexico from pre-Hispanic times, formed by the Tzotzil community. It is in the state of Chiapas, 10 kilometers from San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Unlike most Mexican towns, authority in San Juan Chamula is exercised based on customs and uses.
The municipality is made up of three neighborhoods: San Juan Bautista, San Pedro and San Sebastián, which form the ceremonial center that is the town, one where religious syncretism occupies a preponderant place.
In the Church of San Juan Bautista, Christian traditions are united with the pre-Hispanic roots of ancestral cultures.
6. Montebello Lagoons, Chiapas
The Lagunas de Montebello National Park is not only one of the tourist places in southern Mexico, but also one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country.
It is believed that the area with both underground and surface water areas has at least 59 lagoons, however, it is not ruled out that there is a greater number of these water bodies.
The entire area is populated with pine forests, oak forests and mixed forests, full of orchids and bromeliads.
The lakes were cenotes that have been united by the progressive corrosion of the limestone rock that formed them.
The color of the water of the different lagoons is one of the details that make the Lagunas de Montebello an ideal place to visit when you are in Chiapas.
7. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
Port city in the state of Oaxaca with at least seven beautiful beaches that are the main attraction for locals and tourists.
In addition to resting in a natural environment, in Puerto Escondido you can dive, skydive and surf. There are also night spots to have fun with family and friends.
Also read our guide on the 28 best beaches in Oaxaca that you must visit
8. Boil the Water, Oaxaca
Extraordinary system of petrified waters between the mountains of the state of Oaxaca.
These are rigid white waterfalls 200 meters high that date back millions of years, when they formed in the upper part of the ravine where they now form pools of turquoise blue waters and warm temperatures.
The best season to visit Hierve el Agua is between June and August, when new waterfalls appear that make the landscape even more beautiful and unforgettable.
All these characteristics invite you to rest in this, one of the most impressive tourist places in southern Mexico.
9. Temple of Santo Domingo, Oaxaca
An example of New Spain baroque architecture and a pilgrimage site during October for the festivities of the Virgen del Rosario.
Pope John Paul II toured it during his pastoral visit to Mexico in 1979. After this event, it was declared a World Heritage Site, along with the entire historic center of Oaxaca.
The temple of Santo Domingo was converted into a stable and military warehouse and was closed to Catholic worship in times of “Jacobin secularism”, resulting from the Wars of the Reformation. During the government of Porfirio Díaz it was returned to the Catholic Church.
The Dominican friars and the brotherhood organize celebrations in October to honor the Virgen del Rosario. Solemn concerts are held inside and processions that run through the streets of the center and nearby areas.
10. Monte Alban, Oaxaca
The ancient capital of the Zapotec Indians, in the state of Oaxaca, has one of the best and largest archaeological sites in Mexico, being the center of political, economic and ideological control over a large area of the valley where it is located.
Monte Albán, declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity, was founded in 500 BC and remained relevant until 750 AD It became one of the first cities created in Mesoamerica.
Some of the buildings you will see are La Gran Plaza, Ball Game, Sistema II, Los Danzantes, El Palacio, South Platform, Sistema 7 Venado and Tomb Nº 7.
11. Mazunte, Oaxaca
Mazunte is one of the Magical Towns declared by the government in the Mexican Pacific coastal area, in the state of Oaxaca. It owes its name to a blue and red crab that in other times was very abundant in the area.
It is one of the tourist places in southern Mexico with fabulous beaches of unique natural beauty, with many sea turtles recovered by the Mexican Turtle Center. You will also be able to see whales, dolphins and manta rays, depending on the season of the year.
In Mazunte there are tourist and cultural festivals such as the International Jazz Festival, the Circus Festival and a nudist festival.
12. Chichen Itza, Yucatan
Perhaps it is one of the most famous tourist places in southern Mexico for being the most visited city in the country and the second most popular archaeological zone in Mexican territory.
Its popularity and historical importance made it be declared a World Heritage Site in 1988.
You will be able to see the temple of Kukulkan, in honor of the God of the same name, a monument declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 2007.
It will be important that you visit the esplanade of the Great Ball Game, one of the 8 places destined for this practice that exist in Chichén Itzá and the most important in Mexico.
The city keeps mysteries such as the distribution of its spaces in perfect symmetry with the constellations in the sky. In addition, it has other curiosities and interesting facts that you will be able to know first-hand when you visit it.
13. Xcaret Park, Quintana Roo
The Xcaret Natural Park, in Playa del Carmen, is one of the tourist places in southern Mexico in the young but thriving state of Quintana Roo.
The area allows you to enjoy the culture of the Aztec people, the wonderful natural landscapes and its attractive underground rivers with three freshwater channels that lead to tunnels, caves and landscapes.
As you walk the trails and paths of the “Xcaret Eco-archaeological” park, you will reach the best beaches of the Riviera Maya.
End the tour by visiting the Coral Reef Aquarium.
14. Bacalar, Quintana Roo
Bacalar is another Magical Town of Mexico. It is in the southeast of the Yucatan peninsula, just 30 minutes from Chetumal, capital of the state of Quintana Roo.
In Bacalar you will find the Laguna de los Siete Colores, a body of water that houses some of the oldest organisms and microorganisms on the planet.
In this heavenly area you can also practice snorkeling, diving, kayaking, jet skiing, wakeboarding and boat rides. You can also visit the Cenote Azul, a site with zip line jumps and where you can taste exquisite Mexican and international dishes.
15. San Miguel Fort, Campeche
One of the tourist places in southern Mexico is this military fort built in the 18th century to offer protection against pirate attacks.
It was used as a place of residence for members of the federal army until the middle of the 20th century and after being abandoned and later recovered, it became the Museum of Mayan Art with pieces such as Calakmul jade masks, jade masks and necklaces, vessels and incense burners, including vessels used by the ancient Maya.
Fort San Miguel has two ramps that lead to the roof of the building, from where you can have unparalleled views of the city and the bay.
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