10 Must-Visit Places in Mexico (That Aren’t Beaches)

Enjoy the best of both worlds with these unforgettable honeymoon ideas.
by Jennifer Hirshlag
waterfall

We totally get it: After many long months spent planning your wedding, all you and your soon-to-be spouse want from your honeymoon is complete relaxation somewhere along Mexico’s breathtaking coastline. But after a few days in a lounge chair with a tropical drink in your hand, trust us—you might be ready to think beyond the beach. In that case, check out these amazing and adventurous destinations worthy of a side trip

  1. Palenque Archaeological Site in ​Palenque, Chiapas​​

    Palenque archaeological park

    Located in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, the archaeological park of Palenque is miles away from any beaches but it’s just as much of an escape as one. Unlike many of Mexico’s other well-known ancient sites, this former Mayan city is nestled within a lush jungle that feels even more otherworldly when howler monkeys roar from its hazy treetops. Torn between channeling your inner beach babe or your inner Indiana Jones on your honeymoon? Do both. Hop on a flight from Cancun to Palenque and you can be in the surf one day and climbing a temple the next.

  2. Ik Kil Cenote in ​Xcalacoop, Yucatán​​

    Leave the ocean behind and still get some swimming in by visiting a cenote. These natural sinkholes (formed when the roof of a cavern collapses) blanket the Yucatan Peninsula and offer an aquatic experience unlike any you will find in the ocean. Ik Kil, about two hours northwest of Cancun, is often thought to be one of the most stunning cenotes—and for good reason. As you float on your back in its pool, you gaze up at cascading vines, tumbling waterfalls and the bright blue sky above.

  3. San Miguel de Allende Historical District in Guanajuato

    San Miguel de Allende Historical District

    Located in central Mexico, this UNESCO World Heritage Site doesn’t have any beaches, but  its beauty still draws visitors from around the world. The walkable historic center of about 24 blocks contains pristine Colonial and Spanish architecture—and the towering Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel church. Look forward to reserving a table at one of the city’s rooftop bars and toasting to your future together.

  4. Oaxaca’s Mercado de la Merced in Oaxaca City

    Oaxaca

    Looking to spice up your honeymoon? Foodie travelers should check out Oaxaca. The capital city of the state with the same name is known as the land of moles for the seven sauces (some of which include up to 20 ingredients!) that are the building blocks of its traditional regional cuisine. Feast on a different dish every night of your trip, and then drop by the famous Mercado de la Merced food market to feast your eyes on the colorful ingredients that go into making them. Work off any extra calories by wrapping up your trip in Huatulco. The resort region, where you can go horseback riding, scuba diving or snorkeling, is just a 45-minute hop, skip and jump away via plane.

  5. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

    Monarch Butterfly Biosphere

    If you want to be swept off your feet—again—consider making a trip to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve northwest of Mexico City at the México and Michoacán state border, during your honeymoon. Every autumn, the tall trees in the sprawling forest reserve become winter homes to millions of the gorgeous butterflies migrating from North America and Canada. Not traveling during that season? No worries. Between June and August, there’s another bug to enchant you: the firefly, which lights up a reserve in nearby Tlaxcala.

  6. Sumidero Canyon in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas

    Sumidero Canyon

    ​Take to the water by boat with a honeymoon voyage down Sumidero Canyon, within an hour's drive of the colonial city of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Float down the Rio Grijalva that snakes through it, while staring up at cliff walls up to 2,500 high. If that’s not majestic enough, just wait until you reach Arbol de Navidad. The awe-inspiring waterfall pours down moss-blanketed rocks that resemble the boughs of a Christmas tree, hence the name.​

  7. Museo Soumaya in Nuevo Polanco, Mexico City

    Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes?

    ​The Frida Kahlo Museum? Museo Tamayo? Casa Luis Barragán? Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes? Art-loving newlyweds will have their pick of world-class cultural institutions to visit in Mexico City. Our pick for the most striking—inside and out—is Museo Soumaya​. If you're not in love with it when you approach its mirrored exterior by architect Fernando Romero, you definitely will be once you start browsing the 66,000 works inside.​

  8. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park Near Taxco, Guerrero

    Take your relationship to new depths at this park that’s home to the Cacahuamilpa Caverns​, one of the most extensive cave systems in the world. Newbie explorers are more than welcome here—you won’t even need carabiners and a helmet for a day of major spelunking. Just sign up for one of the two-hour guided tours and get ready to enjoy a seriously underground adventure.​​

  9. Mérida in Mérida, Yucatán

    Mérida, Yucatán

    After a few days with your toes in the Yucatán Peninsula sand, think about wrapping up your honeymoon in its capital city. Instagram your trip from historic streets lined with colonial-era homes in vibrant yellow, pink, blue and green, or join the locals strolling through one of its many bustling grand plazas.​

  10. Las Pozas in Xilitla, San Luis Potosí

    ​Have one last dream adventure at Las Pozas​ before returning to reality after your honeymoon. This vast estate is the former home of Edward James, a wealthy patron of the Surrealist art movement who sold his collection to build this rambling rain forest garden high in the mountains. Hiking among the many trails that include eccentric steps, ramps, bridges and massive sculptures, which are up to four stories high will be almost like doing your own private adventure course.​

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