The wondrous country of Mexico is full of culture, fascinating architecture, historic neighborhoods, natural landscapes, and breathtaking views. From ancient Mayan civilizations, to adrenaline-filled whaling excursions, there are no shortage of cultural experiences in Mexico. Explore some of our favorite cultural hotspots with us and consider adding them to your list of travel destinations during your next trip to Mexico!
Historic and Culturally Significant Structures of the Mayan Empire
Ancient Mayan ruins, including Palenque, Chichen Itza, and Uxmal, should top any tourist’s list of culturally significant landmarks in Mexico.
The jungle-clad Palenque site provides visitors with an intimate view of what life was like for the Mayan people. Here, the Temple of the Inscriptions, a vaulted chamber that contains the crypt of the ancient ruler Pacal, is one of the most frequently visited sites in the area.
Equally as brilliant, Chichen Itza dates back to 600 A.D. Located in Yucatan, clusters of pyramids and buildings, including the infamous Temple of the Jaguars, Temple of the Warriors, the Great Ball Court, and the Ossario Pyramid, reign over the site, awing visitors and reminding today’s population of eras past.
With over 25,000 Mayan inhabitants, Uxmal is one of the largest and most important of ancient Mexican towns. Unlike other Mayan cities, Uxmal is not laid out in a geometric manner. Rather, the city’s space is organized in relation to the sun, stars, and planets. Remnants of chiseled representations of the rain god, Chaac, dominate many of the ruins’ facades.
Natural Landscapes and Wildlife in Mexico
Located off the coast of Baja California Sur, the San Ignacio Lagoon hosts a massive number of gray whales during the gray whale migration. With three distinct sections, this lagoon serves as home to the gray whales during the winter breeding season. This lagoon is part of Latin America’s largest wildlife refuge, the Vizcaino Biosphere and tourists are able to attend whaling tours and often come in close contact with the gray whales during the mammals’ annual trip through the lagoon. In addition to the gray whales, other species rely on this ecosystem for survival, including sea turtles, birds, and dolphins.
Just as glorious as the lagoon, Cenote Dos Ojos is considered one of the most extravagant diving, snorkeling, and swimming holes in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is one of the largest underwater cave systems on the earth, and its crystal clear water and adequate lighting allow divers to snorkel throughout the entire caving system, providing a unique experience for those who happen upon it.
Cultural Museums in Mexico
Mexico is well known for its splendid museums and rich cultural history, which attract locals and visitors alike year-round. Specifically, the museums in Mexico City are of world-renowned class.
The National Museum of Anthropology is located in the Polanco district of Mexico City. The world’s largest collection of Mayan artifacts is on display here, among thousands upon thousands of other archeological and ethnographic remnants. Guests leave the museum with a deep understanding of Mayan history.
Mexico City’s very own Museo Nacional de Historia (National Museum of History) is located in the Chapultepec Castle, which was formerly a presidential residence until it was given to the public to hold the country’s national museum. Today, the museum holds collections of clothing, artwork, magnificent staircases, coins, stained glass, furniture and other historical artifacts that tell the story of Mexico’s extravagant history- from the Aztecs all the way through the 20th century.
Photos by Boris G
For a different view of Mexico’s past, pay a visit to the Old Mexico Toy Museum, where dolls, action figures, and trains rule. The Old Mexico Toy Museum holds the title of the largest toy collection in the world. Scattered throughout four floors, this museum includes 6 large exhibition halls that are reminiscent of a child’s toy collection. This toy museum promises to take visitors back to their youthful years and sheds light on the tender memories of childhood.
Photo by Tomas Castelazo
For reminders of other forgotten memories, the Memory and Tolerance Museum is a somber, yet crucial reminder of the heinous acts of which mankind is capable. Since its opening in 2010, this museum has shown a countless number of visitors the consequences that discrimination, hatred, violence and corruption can have on humanity. The memory portion of the museum exhibits the destruction and historic mass genocide of populations, while the second half, tolerance, exhibits issues surrounding human rights, discrimination and diversity.
Another Mayan city, Bonampak, located in Chiapas, Mexico, hosts some of the most culturally significant murals in the world. The Temple of Murals, or more modernly known as Structure 1, serves as home to multiple murals depicting lively imagery of Mayan life. The three rooms in this temple are entirely covered in these images, each showing a different scene, including royalty, country life, battles, and sacrifices.
Photo by Arian Zwegers
For more modern art, head to El Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, or, The Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts. This museum was founded in 1934, and was Mexico’s first art museum. There are 17 permanent mural exhibits from seven international artists in the museum and all were created between the years of 1928 and 1963. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibitions, as well as activities for the general public to participate in. While the interior of the building is the main attraction, the structure itself is elaborate and attracts people from all walks of life.
Whether exploring Mexico's ancient Mayan empires, admiring the murals of Mexico's ancestors or reliving a childhood long forgotten, there are plenty of cultural wonders to broaden one's sense of the world in which we live. Never stop learning about different cultures, histories, and nations and visit Mexico's most cherished locations! Do it in style by reserving your stay with Dwellworks temporary housing today!
Interested in learning more about Mexico? You’re in the right place!
- Destination Profile: Mexico
- No Heat, No A/C, No Big Deal: This is Mexico City
- The Myths & Facts of Safety in Mexico
Come back next week for the third installment in the World of Wonder series: Luxembourg!
If you missed last week's post about Germany, it can be accessed here!Back to Blog Listing