Welcome to the vibrant and colorful Mexico! This land of tacos, enchiladas, and tamales is teeming with life’s pleasures. A heady mix of art and culture (this is the home of Frida Kahlo) and stunning nature, Mexico is all about bustling cities graced with street art, sweltering jungles, dormant volcanoes, snowy mountains, cactus-fringed deserts— and a collection of Caribbean paradise-beaches with powdery white sand.
Close to major US airports, Mexico has become a popular exotic travel destination for those seeking a culturally rich experience. But if you are a solo traveler, safety is your primary concern— without compromising all that Mexico can offer. So, where in Mexico can you travel solo?
Here are the top 5 destinations in Mexico for solo travelers!
Home to one of the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches, make sure you include Cancun in your Mexico solo travel itinerary. Cancun offers a deeply rewarding experience to the solo traveler. Sitting on the Caribbean Sea, Cancun not only offers dreamy beaches, but it also boasts an electrifying nightlife, which includes the infamous Coco Bongo.
If you’re taking the taxi to get from one club to another, it is recommended that you first agree with the driver on the price— even before getting in. Why? Cancun cabs do not have meters.
While in Cancun, experience some mystical ancient vibes by visiting the Mayan ruins. The most famous is Chichen Itza, which is home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World— the El Castillio pyramid.
If you prefer cooling yourself in pristine waters, head on to Cancun’s underground rivers, such as the Xcaret Eco Park. The park has three underground rivers, jungle trails, a Mayan village, and rare opportunities to get up close and personal with a host of animals.
While at Xcaret, do not miss Xcaret at Night: Xcaret México Espectacular, where the stage of Gran Tlacho comes alive with 300 artists entertaining you with an extravagant show on history and folklore!
2. Mexico City
Steeped in rich history, from the Aztec period to the Mexican revolutions, to the Spanish conquest, the city offers the solo traveler limitless cultural experience.
Visit the low-key neighborhood of Juarez if you want a quaint area swarming with charming boutiques and restaurants that offer a variety of scrumptious cuisine (including Mexican-Indian). They a lovely park (Plaza Washington), too, plus the famous La Rifa Chocolateria, where you can get artisanal chocolates.
If you want some art, head on to Palacio Nacional to see Diego Rivera’s famous mural titled The History of Mexico. You can see this masterpiece absolutely for free.
Then after Diego’s life-changing mural, you can head on to his wife’s abode, the Museo Frida Kahlo, or also known as Caza Azul. Within the cobalt-blue structure, it was where Frida, one of the greatest artists in history, lived until her death. It’s an intimate experience of Frida’s colorful life as you get to see her paintings, wardrobe, and other personal effects.
For your shopping fix, head to the iconic Mercado Coyoacan. You can literally find anything under the sun in this market. From produce to textile, it’s a dream place for tourists looking for local products— or novelty items perfect for souvenirs.
Just 200km from Mexico City, the old city of Querétaro, located in Central Mexico, is characterized by twisty alleys and impressive colonial architecture.
As you pave your way through geometric streets, you will be rewarded with sites of Baroque monuments that date back to the 17th and 18th century.
Awarded as one of the top 15 historic destinations of the world by National Geographic, Queretaro's historic center was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apart from stunning Golden-Era monuments (there are over a thousand of them), Queretaro also has a smattering of museums, churches, and fountains.
After walking on foot, delight in the gastronomical adventure the city has to offer. Depending on your budget, you can crunch on a tasty taco at a corner street, or enjoy a luxurious lunch in one of the many patio restaurants.
If you’re a wine connoisseur, the Queretaro Wine Region is another perfect destination. Check out the region’s most popular winery, the Finca Sala Vivé by Freixenet México. You can take a guided tour through the vineyard, get an intimate view of the winemaking process, and— for a small fee— you can indulge in wine tasting, too!
4. The Yucatán Peninsula
Welcome to paradise island! If you want to witness nature at its finest, make a beeline to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This expansive coastal region overflows with natural wonders, from turquoise beaches to steamy forests, colonial architecture, and Mayan ruins and villages.
If you want to experience magic, then trek to the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and explore the Pink Lakes. Yes, pink-colored lakes, courtesy of high levels of salt content combined with a rich red and pink marine life.
Found in the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, this 150,000-acres of wetlands also offer views of exotic wildlife. So grab that camera and snap photos of blush-pink waters, flamingos, and even jaguars!
If you’re into photography, you’ll gasp with delight in Izamal— The Yellow Town. Still within the Yucatan Peninsula, the city of Izalam is a dazzling yellow town. Yes, almost every structure in this town is golden yellow. You’ll also find it fascinating that the majority of the townsfolk still speak in the Mayan language.
You can either tour by foot or hire a horse-drawn carriage and explore Izamal, which sits on a string of hills that used to be lined with Mayan pyramids.
5. Riviera Maya
Wonderfully diverse, the Riviera Maya is a treasure trove of experience for the adventurous traveler. If you’re into swimming, check out Cenote Azul, which boasts shallow waters for traipsing, plus an open swimming hole.
You can escape in the eclectic beach town of Tulum, a vibrant area brimming with hip restaurants, charming stores, plus a plethora of health and wellness centers.
Ten kilometers south of Tulum, at the tip of the Riviera Maya, is the Si’an Kaan Biosphere Reserve, where you can weep with joy with its array of wildlife. And within this UNESCO World Heritage Site reserve also lies the secluded Muyil Mayan ruins, mangrove swamps, tranquil beaches, and some exotic wildlife.
Traveling solo in Mexico - Final Tips
To maximize your experience of solo travel Mexico, it would be great to learn some basic Spanish. Locals love it if you are making an effort to assimilate yourself.
Also, a practical advice: take care of your valuables. You don’t have to bring your passport and your entire pocket money— just the essentials.
Lastly, indulge in Mexican street food. Pick the busy stalls, as people queuing is already a recommendation!