Mexico Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Mexico: Holidays, events, national customs

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

The holidays in bold are public holidays and are non-working.

Date Holiday
January 1st New Year – Año Nuevo
6th January Epiphany – Día de Los Santos Reyes
January 17 Día de San Antonio
February 5th Constitution Day (Aniversario de la Constitución)
14th of February Valentine’s day
February 24 Mexican Flag Day (Día de la Bandera)
February March carnival
March 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez, national hero, progressive politician and president (1858 to 1872)
April May the Easter holidays are celebrated Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday (Semana Santa).
April, 30 Day of the child
May 1st Labor Day – Primero de Mayo
May 5th Day of the Battle of Puebla (victory over the French in 1862)
May 11 Mother’s Day
15th June Fathers day
16th of July Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen
30th July Anniversary of the death of Father Hidalgo, leader of the War of Independence against the Spaniards
September 1st Nation Day (Informe Presidencial – President’s State of the Union Report)
September 15 Midnight: “El Grito” – Hidalgo’s “Grito de Dolores” (1810) is repeated on the balconies of the town halls in Mexico City by the President.
16th September Independence Anniversary – Día de la Independencia (1810)
October 12th Day of Columbus (Día de la Raza) – Anniversary of the discovery of America in 1492
November 1st All Saints Day
On the night of and on November 2nd Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos
20th November Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution (1910)
12th of December Day of Our Lady or Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico (Aparición de la Virgen de Guadalupe)
25 December Christmas – Navidad
December 31 New Year’s Eve

Source: Countryaah – Mexico Holidays

Cultural events

February 2nd

Maria Candlemas – Fiesta de la Candelaria: dances and processions


Carnival – Carnaval: on different days, especially big celebrated in Veracruz, Mérida, Mazatlán


Holy Week – Semanta Santa: Passion Play, especially lavish in Taxco, Mexico City , San Cristóbal de las Casas

May 3rd

Feast of the Holy Cross – Santa Cruz

August 15th

Assumption Day – Fiesta de la Asunción: pilgrimages, flower carpets, especially in Cholula

November 2nd

All Souls Day – Día de los Muertos, especially impressive at Lake Pátzcuaro

16.-24. December

Christmas – Navidad: Posadas across the country, families visit relatives and commemorate the Holy Family

seeking shelter. Regional patronage celebrations and fiestas

Every place has its patron saint, who is commemorated on the name day (= Día de santo) .

January 17th and 18th

Santa Prisca in Taxco: Blessing of the animals

April 25th

San Marcos – Aguascalientes


Santa Rita – Chihuahua

June 24th

Fiesta San Juan in San Juan Chamula near San Cristóbal de las Casas


Guelaguetza Lunes del Cerro – big folk festival with dances and processions on two Mondays at Cerro del Fortín in Oaxaca

August 13th

La Conquista: On the anniversary of the victory of Hernán Cortés over the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtémoc, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco (Mexico City) becomes the scene of Indian dances

September 29th

Fiesta San Miguel in San Miguel de Allende

In December

Primarily from 16 to 23 December the preparations for Christmas take place, Posada or the Posada de Navidad. Families with friends form a procession through the streets (symbolizing the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem) and then the “piñatas”, which are filled with sweets, are slaughtered.

Sporting events

Bullfights take place all year round , in winter the toreros come from Spain.

Mexico: Sightseeing

Special places


Probably the most popular holiday center of Mexico attracts thousands of tourists to the country every year, especially since the leisure time entertainment is more than assured due to the many sports offers. With the help of bridges, the picturesque island of Cancun Beach is connected to the mainland.


Izamal, the beautiful city on the Yucatán, is also known as the Yellow City or the City of Hills. Probably the oldest city on the peninsula impresses with its tragic history, but also with its fascinating cityscape, from which the imposing Franciscan monastery rises into the sky.


From Puebla you can reach Oaxaca in four hours by bus, a place that particularly attracts with the richly decorated churches. Oaxaca is also an excellent starting point for trips to Mitla, Tule, Teotitlan de Valle and Hierve el Agua.

Playa del Carmen

Playa is the undisputed tourist center of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and spreads out on the Caribbean coast. Playa del Carmen, which is more reminiscent of a typical Mediterranean city, delights with its delightful beach promenade with its countless boutiques, bars and restaurants.


The wonderful city of Puebla is located east of Mexico City. It delights with an impressive cathedral, an art market and many interesting little streets.

Teotitlan de Valle

This is a dyer’s and weaver’s village, where you can certainly watch the production of blankets and carpets. The well-known excavation site Mitla, the former center of the Mixtecs, spreads near the village.


Villahermosa, a town in the lowlands of the Caribbean coast, impresses with the very attractive La Venta Park, which also includes the famous stone monuments and the Olmec heads.

Special buildings

Palacio de Gobierno, Mérida

Dating from the 19th century, the palace occupies the entire front of the Zócalos. Inside and in a room on the first floor, the history of Yucatán is depicted on over twenty paintings by Fernando Castro Pacheco.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City houses the fine arts in an Art Nouveau building made of white Carrara marble: opera, ballet and theater. The construction was started by the Italian architect Adamo Boari according to the specifications of the dictator Porfirio Díaz in 1901, but was not completed until 1934.

Palacio Nacional (National

Palace ), Mexico City The three-story building with numerous halls and a total of 14 courtyards is now the seat of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It was originally built by Cortés on the ruins of a palace in Moctezuma (Montezuma) and served as a residence for the Spanish viceroys from 1562. His wall paintings by Diegro Rivera, in which the history of the country is depicted. Will makes the visit unforgettable.

Palacio del Gobierno, Guadelajara

In this beautiful baroque building, Padre Miguel Hidalgo announced the beginning of the struggle for freedom against the Spaniards in 1810. And from there Benito Júarez shouted in 1858 “The brave do not murder” and thus saved himself from execution. Large wall paintings line the staircase and the Sala del Congreso, both by Orozco, and tell of the events mentioned above.

Teatro Principal

The Teatro Principal was built in Puebla between 1756-69. It is one of the oldest theaters on the continent and has a splendid exterior.

Torre Latinoamericana

This tower is located in Mexico City in the historical center. Large parts of the city can be seen from the 42nd floor of the 171 m high Latin cartoon, built in 1958. Mostly, however, air pollution obstructs the view.


Museo de Arte Moderno/Mexico City

The construction of the Museum of Modern Art was completed in 1964. The museum shows changing exhibitions. At the same time it offers an extraordinary collection of modern Mexican painting. The collection of surrealist works by Remedios Varo is particularly noteworthy.

Museo Nacional de Antropología/Mexico City

Museo Nacional de Arte/Mexico City

Museo Rufino Tamyo/Mexico City

Museo Frida Kahlo/Mexico City

Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes / Mexico City

Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts

Museo Nacional de Arquitectura/Mexico City

National Architecture Museum

Opera and theater

Palacio de Bellas Artes

The Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City is arguably the most important cultural institution in Mexico. Not only is the architecture of the building impressive, its role as a location for theater and opera performances is also outstanding.

Auditorio Nacional

The National Auditorium in Mexico City was opened in 1952 and initially served as an exhibition space. Today it serves as a location for ballet performances, classical music performances, and pop concerts.

Teatro Degollado/Guadalajara

The theater was opened in 1866. The Corinthian columns in front of the entrance area of the theater are striking. Classical and modern plays are performed.

Churches, monasteries and temples

Antigua Basílica de Guadalupe

The basilica was built between 1695 and 1709 in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. According to legend, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to an Indian boy on the site of the church in 1531. Masses of Christians make pilgrimages to the shrine in Mexico City all year round.

Catedral de San Idelfonso

The cathedral of Mérida dates from the second half of the 16th century. Almost all of their precious furnishings were destroyed in the revolution. What is left is the famous Cristo de las Ampollas (Christ of the Blisters). > According to legend, the statue is said to have been carved out of a tree that burned all night and remained unharmed.

Franciscan monastery of Izamal The

main attraction of the delightful city on Yucatán, which is also known as the Yellow City or City of Hills, is the imposing monastery of the Franciscan order. The sacred structure was completed in 1562 and used the stones of the Mayan temples on which it rises today. Friar Juan Mérida distinguished himself for the magnificent building.

Catedral Metropolitana

Almost 250 years (1573 – 1813) passed until the completion of the main aisles, the two side aisles and the 14 side chapels of the Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City, probably the largest church on the American continent. A hundred years later the bell towers were 67 m high and completed with 18 bells. The broad facade, made of basalt and sandstone, corresponds to the Baroque style of the late 17th century, while the bell towers were built in the classical style.

Convento de San Bernardino de Siena

In the former convent of Mexico City from the 16th century there are religious pictures, sculptures and carvings from the colonial times.

Iglesia de Jesus Nazareno

In the church at José Maria Pino Suárez 35 in Mexico City are the remains of the conqueror Hernán Cortés.

Nueva Basílica de Guadalupe

The huge basilica of Mexico City impresses with its round base and was built in 1974. It can hold up to 40,500 people.

Rosary Chapel

In Santo Domingo is the Rosary Chapel, which is so worth seeing because of its lavish gold ornamentation.

Templo de la Sagrada Familia

The Christian temple was completed in 1925. Its architecture combines different styles of the 20th century.

Templo de San Lorenzo Xochimanca

The 16th century temple is one of the oldest in the city. The richly decorated facade is particularly beautiful.

Mexico: Izamal Franciscan Monastery

Cultural monuments of the Aztecs

Pyramid of Santa Cecilia Acátitlan

Templo Mayor

Directly on the Zocaló of Mexico City between the palace and the cathedral is the Templo Mayor, which was excavated in 1978. The beginning of the excavations comes from the discovery of an approx. 8 ton stone disc with the image of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui, the moon goddess. Presumably this stone disk formed the floor of the Huitzilopochtli temple. It was customary at the time to build a new temple over the old one about every 50 years. A total of seven temples were uncovered here.

The Templo Mayor was a double temple because it was dedicated to the two deities Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.

Mayan cultural monuments

The Mayans

The Mayans lived in an area that included Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. Its origins go back to 3000 BC. BC back. In Mexico, the Mayan ruins are spread across the Yucatán Peninsula and adjacent areas. Mayan ruins can be found in the states of Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Some very important and well-developed Mayan ruins are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are:

  • Ruins of Chichen Itza
  • Pre-Columbian city and national park of Palenque
  • Pre-Columbian city of Uxmal
  • Mayan city of Calakmul (Campeche)

Culubá (Yucatán)

YucatánThe Mayan ruins of Culubá are located in the south of the state of Yucatán. The beginning of settlement can be dated to the first century BC. Due to the diverse architectural styles, it is assumed that the city was inhabited continuously until 1100. The facility was rediscovered in the 1940s and has been systematically explored since 1979. In principle, the system can be divided into 3 groups. The buildings can be assigned to the styles of Chenes, Puuc, Mayapan and Chichén Itzá. Mérida and Cancun are suitable starting points for a trip to Culubá.

Kabah (Yucatan)

The Mayan ruins of Kabah are located in the southwest of the state of Yucatán. After Uxmal, Kabah is considered to be the second most important Mayan ruin of the Puuc. Most of the structures were built in the 6th and 9th centuries AD. The complex was rediscovered or described for the first time in 1841. The area on which the ruins are located is cut through by a main road and thus the ruins can be divided into two groups, east and west. For visitors, however, only the eastern group can be visited at the moment. A highlight of the eastern group is the Palace of the Masks (Codz Poop). In this 45 m long building there are many reliefs of masks and figures. The Teocalli and the Segunda Casa are also well worth seeing. In 2011 the remains of a royal “large kitchen” discovered with a length of 40 m and a width of 14 m. The best starting point for a trip to Kabah is certainly Mérida.

Mayapán (Yucatán)

The Mayan ruins of Mayapán are located in the western part of the state of Yucatán, about 40 km south of the city of Mérida. The settlement history of the city covers the period from approx. 1000 to 1400. From 1007 Mayapán was the capital of the Cocomes dynasty. In the 13th century, Mayapán defeated Chichén Itzá, which is much better known today, and devastated the city. The main attraction of the complex is the “Pyramid of Kukulcán”. This 15 m high pyramid is very similar to the pyramid of Kukulcán in Chichén Itzá, but is much smaller. From here you have a good view of the facilities. There are also pillared halls and round temples. Parts of the formerly approx. 9 km long city wall have also been preserved. The best starting point for a trip to Kabah is certainly Mérida.

Ek ‘Balam (Yucatan)

The Mayan ruins of Ek ‘Balam are located in the northeastern part of the state of Yucatán, about 30 km north of the city of Valladolid. The name Ek ‘Balam means something like “Black Jaguar”. The city began to be settled in the period from approx. 100 to 300 BC. The city’s heyday was from 700 to 1000. After the arrival of the Spaniards, a small Spanish settlement was built in Ek ‘Balam, of which a small chapel still testifies today. The system has been systematically exposed since 1997. It is assumed that in earlier times the city was walled over an area of approx. 1.25 km² and extended outside the walls to a further 12 km². The structures to be seen today represent the former city center. Particularly impressive is the Acropolis, which has 72 rooms with a floor area of 160 m by 70 m and 37 m high. The acropolis is decorated with numerous reliefs of masks and figures. There is also an oval palace, a ball playground and numerous other small buildings and steles. The starting point for a trip to Kabah is certainly Valladolid.

Dzibichaltún (Yucatán)

The Mayan ruins of Dzibichaltún are located in the northwestern part of the state of Yucatán, just 15 km north of the city of Mérida. The beginning of settlement can be traced back to the 9th century BC. To date. From the year 250 BC. Development of the city began and in the 9th century AD, up to 40,000 people were believed to have lived here. That is why Dzibichaltún is now one of the largest Mayan ruins with an area of more than 16 km² and around 8,000 buildings. Since a Spanish chapel was also found, it is assumed that Dzibichaltún was inhabited until the colonial era. The center of the former city consists of 4 plazas with the surrounding buildings. The temple of the 7 dolls, which is also known as the sun temple, is particularly interesting. Here the Mayan calendar was calibrated with the help of incident light. The name of the temple is derived from found figures, these can now be seen in the local museum. The starting point for a trip to Kabah is certainly Mérida.

Cobá (Quintana Roo)

The Mayan ruins of Cobá are located in the northern part of the state of Quintana Roo, about 40 km northwest of the city of Tulum. The beginning of settlement can be traced back to the 1st century BC. To date. From approx. 100 BC. The city began to develop and in the 9th century AD, up to 50,000 people probably lived here. Cobá had a unique road system in the Maya world, which covered important trade routes and was also used for military purposes. Contacts to other centers of power such as Tikal, Calakmul or Teotihuacán can be proven. The city was rediscovered in 1893, but the systematic investigation did not begin until 1972. However, so far only 5 of the 20 identified assemblies have been worked on and only a few pyramids have been exposed. Unfortunately, the areas accessible to visitors are widely scattered. For this, the exposed pyramids can be climbed and offer an excellent view. Worth mentioning are the Nohoch Mul group with the largest building, which is 42 m high, and the Cobá group, which is the central group with the main pyramid La Iglesia. Valladolid and Tulum are ideal starting points for a trip to Cobá.

Tulum (Quintana Roo)

The Mayan ruins of Tulum are located in the northern part of the state of Quintana Roo, approx. 4 km north of the city of Tulum directly on the coast to the Caribbean Sea. The former name of the city was probably Zamá, which means “dawn”. Compared to Mayan cities, Tulum was relatively young; the city began in the 11th century AD. date.

In 1544 the city was captured by the Spanish without fighting. The facility was first examined in 1916 and after the city of Cancun was visited by more and more tourists, the tourist interest in Tulum also developed. Although the complex is rather small, it has the third most visited Mayan ruin in Mexico. Due to its beach location, a picture of Tulum can be found in almost every photo book about the Maya. Certainly a mixture of interest in the Mayan ruins and the very beautiful beach leads to the rush of visitors and it should be mentioned that Tulum is literally inundated with tourists during the high season.

Kohunlich (Quintana Roo)

The Mayan ruins of Kohunlich are located in the south of the state of Quintana Roo, about 50 kilometers west of the border town of Chetumal. The beginning of settlement of Kohunlich can be traced back to the year 200 BC. date. The bloom phase reached the city from 250 to 600 and Kohunlich was probably abandoned around the year 1000. The complex was rediscovered in 1912. The most interesting building is certainly the Temple of the Masks. Here there are 5 large stone masks, 4 of which represent the sun god and one a jaguar. The city of Chetumal is a suitable starting point for a trip to Kohunlich.

Hormiguero (Campeche)

The Mayan ruins of Hormiguero are located in the southeast of the state of Campeche, near the ruins of Chalakmul. The facility was rediscovered in 1933 and the facility has been examined at irregular intervals since the 1980s. So much is not yet known about Hormiguero. In principle, Hormiguero can be divided into three groups, north, central and south. The most interesting building is certainly building II in the south group, which was built in the Rio Bec style. The snake mouth entrance is particularly impressive. Building 5 in the central group also has a snake mouth entrance. This is also much better preserved. The cities of Chetumal and Campeche are ideal starting points for a trip to Hormiguero.

Edzná (Campeche)

The Mayan ruins of Edzná are located in the north of the state of Campeche, about 65 km southeast of the city of Campeche. The beginning of the settlement of Edzná can be traced back to the year 500 BC. To date. The flowering phase reached the city from 400 to 1000 and Edzná was probably abandoned between 1450 and 1500. The complex was rediscovered in 1907 and has been systematically exposed since the 1960s. The area of the former city covers an enormous area with approx. 25 km². In Edzná the architectural styles of Puuc, Petén and Chenes mix. There are many structures in Edzná, including several pyramids. The most important buildings are on the Great Acropolis. So also the highlight of the complex, the house with five floors (Edificio de los Cinco Pisos).

Becán (Campeche)

The Maya ruins of Becá are located in the southeast of the state of Campeche, near the ruins of Chalakmul. The name Becán means something like “gorge formed by water”. The beginning of the settlement of Becá can be traced back to the 7th century 500 BC. To date. The city flourished from 600 to 1000 and Becá was probably abandoned around 1250. The complex was rediscovered in 1934. A special feature of Becáns is the moat that encompasses the entire complex, which is unique in the Maya world. Most of the buildings are built in the Rio Bec style. The cities of Chetumal and Campeche are ideal starting points for a trip to Becá.

Xpuhil (Campeche)

The Mayan ruins of Xpuhil are located in the southeast of the state of Campeche, near the ruins of Chalakmul. More details about the history of the city are not yet known. The facility was rediscovered in 1933 and has been systematically exposed since the 1980s. Particularly interesting is the approx. 50 meter wide palace built in the Rio Bec style with its three high towers. There are also mask reliefs typical of the Rio Bec style. The cities of Chetumal and Campeche are ideal starting points for a trip to Xpuhil.

Rio Bec (Campeche)

The Mayan ruins of Rio Bec are located in the southeastern part of the state of Campeche, near the ruins of Chalakmul. The ruins of Rio Bec are more precisely several small ruins that are scattered here in the rain forest area. Research into the facilities is only just beginning, so not much is known about Rio Bec. The individual buildings can be explored on foot, but you need an off-road vehicle to move between the individual areas. The facilities may only be viewed with a guide. The cities of Chetumal and Campeche are ideal starting points for a trip to Rio Bec. The next place to stay can be found in Xpujil.


On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar ended. End-time believers believed that this was the day the world would end. To mark this day with dignity, numerous people gathered below the Kukultán step pyramid – also from the USA and Europe. However, they waited in vain. No spaceship appeared to pick them up either. But the end-time believers also came together in other places to be rescued by aliens with the help of spaceships – for example at the foot of the 1,231 m high Pic de Burgarach in the French region of Languedoc – Roussillon.

Major universities

Mexico has numerous universities. In the following, we will introduce you to the most important and important ones.

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

The National Autonomous University of Mexico was founded in 1551, making it the oldest university in Mexico and one of the oldest universities in America. The university is located in Mexico City. You can find more information about this university above under the heading “UNESCO World Heritage Sites”. Approximately 305,000 students are currently studying at this university, which has the following faculties:

  • architecture
  • chemistry
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • law Sciences
  • medicine
  • Philosophy and literary studies
  • Political and Social Sciences
  • psychology
  • Veterinary medicine

Instituto Politécnico Nacional

The National Polytechnic was founded in Mexico City in 1936. There are currently around 150,000 students studying at this university.

Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo

The university was founded in 1551 in the Renaissance style in Morelia.

Universidad Autónoma Chapingo

The Autonomous University of Chapingo was founded in 1854 in the Mexican city of Texcoco. However, this university did not function as the actual university until 1974.

Universidad de Sonora

The University of Sonora was founded in Hermosillo in 1942. Today it is one of the most important universities in northwest Mexico. The main campus is in Hermosillo, but the university has branches in Caborca, Navojoa, Nogales, and Santa Ana. The universities have the following faculties:

  • biology
  • Humanities and arts
  • Engineering
  • Natural sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Economics

Natural beauties

Agua Azul

Agua Azul or “Yax Há” (Blue Water) is located approx. 60 km south of Palenque in the middle of the tropical rainforest. Cascades and small lakes extend over 7 km, and because of the limestone bed they shine in shades from bright blue to the deepest purple.

Baja California

The approximately 1,300 km long headland or peninsula spreads in the Mexican west. Its starting point is the strongly desert-like landscape near Tijuana, which is characterized by lonely oases.

The Baja has the most beautiful beaches in the world. It borders on the US state of California and belongs to Mexico. The sea here is between 90 and a little more than 200 km wide and separates the Baja from mainland Mexico. It is in the immediate vicinity of the San Andreas Column. Whales, which have traveled widely from the Bering Sea, calve in the incredibly beautiful bays. Unfortunately, wrecked cars and other garbage often “decorate” the landscape.

The Baja is a very sparsely populated area. In terms of biodiversity, the sea cannot be surpassed in the world.

Many tourists travel to the Baja and want to watch dolphins or whales or drive them or to fish swordfish in the sea.

South of the Tropic of Cancer is the town of Cabo San Lucas, with a population of around 100,000 – with hotel castles, knick-knacks, malls, shopping streets and numerous margarita bars. Together with the small town of San José del Cabo, which is connected by a 30 kilometers long coastal road built with expensive hotels, a kind of Mexican Las Vegas is developing here under the common name “Los Cabos”.

Barranco del Cobre (Copper Gorge)

The Barranco del Cobre runs through the Sierra Tarahumara and is located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. With around 30,000 km², it is the largest and most rugged canyon system in North America. With its up to 1,500 m wide and sometimes more than a kilometer vertically sloping rock walls, the Barranco del Cobre is four times larger than the famous Grand Canyon in the USA.

Canon de Sumidero

The Río Grijalva flows through this dramatically beautiful gorge, the rock walls of which are 1,000 m high at one point and flows into a reservoir that supplies large parts of Mexico with energy. A worthwhile excursion through the Canon takes two hours.


Cenotes are the portals to large cave labyrinths underground. They arise when subterranean streams of water hollow out the limestone to such an extent that the earth collapses above them. For the Mayans these cenotes were sacred, the ruler of the cenotes was the Mayan god Chac. The Yucatán Peninsula has a large number of cenotes. One of the largest cave labyrinths is “Dos Ojos” (“two eyes”), which is about an hour away from Playa del Carmen. There you can dive beautifully in caves or snorkel. Another is “Dzitnup”, 7 km west of Valladolid. One descends into a cave provided with stalactites. The almost circular cenote with its crystal clear water is only illuminated through a gap in the ceiling.

Isla Cozumel

This popular holiday island is off the Yucatán peninsula and attracts with its wonderful tropical landscape and beautiful sandy beaches.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is located about km of the Yucatán peninsula

El Rosario The

protected landscape area “El Rosario” extends near the industrial city of Toluca. This is mainly known for the so-called “monarch butterflies” that populate the park every year at the end of November. These dark red moths then fly to an altitude of around 3,500 meters – and millions of that. The lucky visitor to this can then see them hanging from the branches in large, dense clusters and hear the loud sound of crackling paper.

Yucatán Caves

Yucatán is a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean. The northern part belongs to the three Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The south, on the other hand, belongs to Guatemala and Belize. is

The Caves of Yucatan are among the most popular sights of the peninsula. It is really a very special experience to dive past the remote limestone formations and find yourself in the midst of shimmering shoals of fish.

Laguna Bacalar

The lagoon – also called Laguna de siete colores (lagoon of the seven colors) – which has both fresh and salt water, is located in the state of Quintana Roo and takes its name from the water that shimmers in all colors. With a length of 145 km and a width of 1 km, it is the second largest lake in Mexico. Numerous birds and huge fish live here, which can be up to two meters long.


The thirty meter high waterfall pours into a large pool of water in which you can swim safely. A fern-covered path extends around the waterfall, where you can overhear many birds.

Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley in southeastern Mexico is a mixture of cultural and natural heritage. The region is a 5,000 km² biosphere reserve, which is particularly impressive for its variety of cacti. In addition, around 10% of the local plants and animals are only found here – they are endemic.

A total of 2,700 different plant species grow here. People tried to use nature there at an early stage, they mined salt and had shaped Central American agriculture in the region.

The entrance gate to the nature reserve is the small town of Zapotitlán Salinas.

Excavation sites


These are the remains of a settlement that was once one of the largest of the Maya. The ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, surrounded by tropical jungle, extend about 40 km from Tulúm and are bordered by several lakes. Those who visit Cobá have the opportunity to see only a fraction of the 20,000 buildings in an area of approx. The rest has still not been exposed and is hidden under thick jungle.


This place in Mexico’s state of Oaxaca is famous for the fascinating pre-Columbian and Mesoamerican buildings. The oldest finds in the complex go back to the year 200, even if one must assume that Mitla was settled 700 years earlier.

Monte Albán

The former capital of the Zapotecs is located on a flat mountain plateau in the Sierra Madre del Sur in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Central Valley. Today only the former political and religious center remains. Up to 20,000 people are said to have lived there in the past. The oldest characters in Central America to date were discovered in Monte Albán.


The archaeological site is one of the most impressive in all of Central America: In the outskirts of the Selva Lacandona, surrounded by dense rainforest, there are palaces, pyramids and temples of the Maya.

The facility is located about 10 km from the city of the same name.

Ruins of Bonampak

This ruin site, whose name translates as “painted walls”, is located in the Selva Lacandona, the tropical rainforest of Chiapas, about 30 km from Yaxchilán. Bonampak is famous for its beautiful wall paintings, which can be seen on an area of 144 square meters.

Ruins of Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá means translated “at the edge of the fountain of the water magicians” and is one of the most important cities of the Mayan culture in the north of the Yucatáns peninsula. For over 800 years, from around AD 400 to 1250, Chichén Itzá was an economic, political and religious center. This is also where the famous Kulkultán step pyramid of the Mayas is located. Chichén Itzá is of particular importance for archaeologists, as the buildings also bear the stamp of Toltec culture. On July 8, 2007, Chichén Itzá was voted one of the current 7 wonders of the world by means of an internet vote in which around 100 million people took part.

Labna Ruins

Labna is another archaeological site on the Yucatán Island. It is located near Uxmal and has the lavishly decorated Mayan arch as its main attraction.


“The place where one becomes a god” is one of the most impressive sites in the highlands of central Mexico. The place is about 50 km northeast of Mexico City in the state of México.

The Teotihuacán area was the dominant cultural, economic, and military center of Central America between 100 and 650 AD. At the height of its power, the city had a population of up to 200,000, which made it the largest city on the American continent in its day. From 650 AD the influence of the city began to decrease until it was largely abandoned around 750 – for reasons not yet cleared. But until the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the city’s cultural heritage continued to shape central Mexico.

To this day it is not known by whom the city was built, as no records or written legacies have been found.

The archaeological site of Teotihuacán has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

It should be noted that when the Aztecs penetrated the highlands of Mexico, found Teotihuacan as a ruined city, which they considered a mythical place.

In recent years, scientists have found underground chambers and tunnels during excavations – especially under the local “Pyramid of the Sun” and the “Temple of the Feathered Serpent”. Around 50,000 artifacts have been found so far – including statues, gemstones, animal bones and pottery.


Tulum, the “City of Dawn”, is another unique archaeological site in Mexico. It is an estimated 130 kilometers from Cancun and belongs to the state of Quintana Roo. Tulum is truly famous for its unique location on a limestone cliff 12 meters above the Caribbean.


This archaeological site is located on the Yucatán peninsula. The inspiring fortune teller pyramid is one of the many buildings.


The “green place” lies deep in the rainforest of Chiapas, on the Usumacinta River directly on the border with Guatemala and is difficult to access and can only be reached by boat. Yaxchilán used to be an important center in the classical period of Mayan culture. This ancient Mayan city is famous for its large number of stone sculptures, steles and lintels.

Bathing beaches

Viva Mexico!

Viva Mexico – the trend land 2017 Wonderful blue sandy beaches fringed by countless palm trees and green rainforest: You can find all of this in Mexico, which is located south of the USA.

Not only the beaches in Mexico are unique and popular for a lot of European vacationers, but also the culture of the country. Many visitors look at the testimonies of the Mayas, make excursions in the rainforest to the famous pyramids and experience scenic and cultural highlights of the extra class. Usually a bathing stay and a round trip are combined, so you can see a lot of the country and enjoy the flair of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean during a quiet week of bathing

The 6 best beaches in Mexico

Playa Paraiso

One of the most beautiful beaches in the country is located on the Yucatan peninsula in Tulum and is called Playa Paraiso. It is a very quiet beach, if not to say an insider tip in the country, where you can lay your towel in the sand and relax.

There are no great water sports here, but you can relax and snorkel with the turtles that live here on the beach. If that’s not an experience!

Playa Norte

Another beach that is well worth a visit and is also located on the Yucatan Peninsula is Playa Norte with its white powdery sand. The beach is well frequented and has various loungers. Some owners offer their loungers with “all inclusive” drinks.

But that’s not all: the beach has toilets, shower rooms and even a bar where you can find everything your heart desires. Numerous sellers walk along the beach, but they are not pushy.

They sell their goods, such as jewelry, drinks or pareos. Massages are also possible on request. The Yucatan Peninsula has other beautiful sandy beaches, such as Akumal Beach and Playa Delfines.

Playa del Amor

At a completely different end of the country, namely on the Pacific Ocean, there is a breathtaking sandy beach where you can relax, the Playa del Amor. You can only come here by boat or by swimming. But the famous Playa de Divorciados is not far away.

The beach section is quite small, but very popular. It is called “Lovers Beach” in English and is located on the Baja California peninsula, far to the south, near Lands End.

Unfortunately, there are usually very high waves and strong currents here, which make swimming dangerous. So you should be careful, even when snorkeling. Water taxis run regularly to the beach, which is located on two seas.

Nuevo Vallarta Beach

Directly on the Pacific coast is a unique jewel of Mexico – Nuevo Vallarta Beach. It is a very safe beach that is also very suitable for surfing and is a nice place to relax for families with children. You should watch one of the blood red sunsets that are like a fairy tale.

Numerous water sports are offered on the beaches during the day. You can rent small boats or go water skiing. If you want to explore the hinterland, you should rent a horse or a jeep.

The ways to the mangrove forests are very short here and can be chosen as a day trip.

Playa Zicatela

Another beautiful beach is Playa Zicatela in southern Mexico, which is considered a top-class surfer’s paradise. There are numerous beach bars and restaurants along the coast. The huge waves break on the rocky coast.

Unfortunately, the beach is not suitable for swimming because of the heavy waves, but this section in Puerto Escondido is recommended for anyone who likes to watch the surfers or take walks on the beach.

Xcacel Beach

Xcacel Beach on the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula is also beautiful. Here in the east of the country there are wild and romantic beaches like out of a picture book. Early risers in particular should take a walk on this beach.

Because very early in the morning there are numerous animals here that come out of their hiding places.

Mexico: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Brief historical summary

The following World Heritage Sites are closely related to the history of Mexico. In order not to have to repeat the background more or less for every site, here is a brief history that forms the basis of most of the world heritage sites presented here: The Aztecs settled the islands of Lake Texcoco in the 12th century and named their capital Tenochtitlán (today Mexico City).

They suppressed all the other tribes of the indigenous people of that time and were therefore very hated by them. In 1519, Hernán Cortés (1485-1547) came to the country with his men in the name of the Spanish king, and the Aztecs – above all Emperor Moctezuma II – received the whites in awe and peacefully, believing the priestly god Quetzalcóatl had come again.

After realizing their error, the Aztecs and Cortes soldiers fight each other with relentless cruelty. Cortés won the clashes after a long time and then destroyed the Aztec culture. Moctezuma was killed by his own people in 1520. Cortés established the Spanish viceroyalty “Nueva España”, which was the government for almost 300 years.

In 1821 the Spanish viceroy was forced to abdicate and Mexico briefly gained independence. Troubled years followed, such as the border war between the United States from 1845 to 1848. As a result of this war Mexico lost California, parts of New Mexico and Texas. These regions are known to be US states these days.

Old town of Oaxaca and ruins of Monte Alban (1987)

The city of Oaxaca de Juárez is located in the state of the same name in the south at an altitude of 1,500 m. The state is very mountainous, so three large mountain ranges meet here, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Atravesada. Here is the shortest land connection (air route 200 km) from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.

The first settlers were probably the Olmecs, who occupied the fertile plateau in the state around 1500 BC. Inhabited. Around 200 BC The first temples were built, but this time probably by the Zapotecs, who exerted their influence in the entire area.

In the area around Oaxaca there is also a biosphere reserve, in which 200 different reptile, around 500 bird, over 200 mammal and around 100 amphibian species have been counted. Around 2,000 plant species were also registered.

In the 10th century the Zapotecs left Monte Albán, which is about 15 km west of Oaxaca, the Mixtecs occupied it and later in 1458 Mctezuma II occupied Oaxaca. In 1521, Hernán Cortés conquered the area. In 1544 the cathedral was built in Oaxaca City.

The Monte Alban, the white mountain, is located about 15 km west of Oaxaca and is considered the oldest Zapotec center.

The ruins are located on the highest point of the “Jaguar Hill”, it is a plain that has been cleared by humans at an altitude of 1950 m. The entire site has an area of 40 km², with the main square having an area of 6 m². The square is surrounded by temples, palaces and tombs. As in almost all sites, there is also an observatory here. The temple of Danzante is decorated with reliefs of dancers. One of the graves was particularly valuable, it contained many valuable additions made of gold, silver and jade. The buildings have underground passages that connect them to one another.

Around 1300 the site was used as a burial place by the Mixtecs.

The old town and the ruins were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Historic Center of Puebla (1987)

The city of Puebla “Puebla de los Angeles” in the state of Puebla was founded by monks in the 16th century at the foot of the Popocatépetl volcano, which is 5,452 m high. The city is about 2,160 m high and is about 120 km southeast of Mexico City. Particularly worth seeing are the “Plaza de Armas” square, the confectioner’s house, the rosary chapel, which has a dome decorated with gold, the cathedral from 1649, which is decorated inside with marble and onyx, and the library, in which the bishop used to be resided.

The VW Beetle “Vocho” was built here until 2003, which was then replaced by the Jetta and the New Beetle.

The historic center of Puebla was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (1987)

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is located on the Yukatánan peninsula belonging to Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto on the east side of the sea and has an area of approx. 5,250 km². In the protected area there are jungles, wetlands, salt marshes, coastal and sea systems, pre-Columbian ruins and many caves filled with fresh water in the limestone cliffs.

The approx. 20 Maya sites discovered so far are from the 13th to the 16th century. The temple sites are surrounded by a wall. The Xlahpak temple is located on the Chunyaxché lagoon and Maya sites can also be found on the Boca Paila peninsula.

The area includes a lobster farm and a 110 km long coral reef. The flora and fauna are extremely diverse, with around 1,200 species of plants and around 350 species of birds found. About 70 different mammals live here, including jaguars, pumas and tapirs, four species of sea turtles and crocodiles. Only a few Maya still live in the biosphere reserve.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was added to the World Heritage List in 1987.

Pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacan (1987)

The entire Teotihuacán ruins are located near the city of San Juan Teotihuacán in the state of México – 50 km northeast of Mexico City – and have an area of around 500 km², of which the city of Teotihuacán takes up around 20 km². The protected area is limited to the north by extinct volcanoes and to the south by mountains. The area was settled around 1500 BC. However, it is not known which Indian tribes were. Teotihuacán was arguably the largest city on the American continent before the 7th century.

The name Teotihuacán is Aztec. When the Aztecs came to the abandoned city, they believed that Teotihuacán was the birthplace of their gods and that giants built it. The main axis of the city is the “street of the dead”, always interrupted by stairs. There are the moon and the sun pyramids. The sun pyramid has an almost square base and is approx. 65 m high. In 1968, a cave was discovered where objects from Aztec times were found. On the mountain Cerro Gordo stood a temple and the citadel, in which the rulers of the empire probably lived. The residential quarters of the common people such as artisans, farmers and merchants were separated from the quarters of the rich by a wall and had their own temples. Graves that were found had grave goods, from which one concluded that the indigenous people believed in life after death. The walls of the buildings were often painted with scenes from everyday life. It is not known why the city was abandoned around AD 750.

The pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacán was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Pre-Columbian City and National Park of Palenque (1987)

In the national park of Palenque in the state of Chiapas there is a particularly beautiful Maya site in the dense rainforest. It is believed that the place of worship of a Mayan ruling family was here. The ruins of the Mayan site lie on a plateau, which can be reached via artificial terraces built by the Mayas.

In the center of the city of Palenque are the Temple of the “Inscriptions” and the palace with its four-story tower. In the vicinity are many individual buildings that were built on plinths and are richly decorated. In the palace, three coronation scenes of Mayan kings can be admired on panels.

The temple dates from the 7th century AD and you can find the tomb of one of the Maya kings there, which can be proven by the inscriptions found. Further temples were found in the southeast from the “Temple of the Inscriptions”. Inside the facility in a covered room there is a relief that is supposed to represent a world tree. The area has not yet been fully developed and it will be a long time before everything that the Mayas have preserved has been sighted and excavated.

The pre-Columbian city and National Park of Palenque were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Mexico City (historic center) and Xochimilco (1987)

The Xochimilco district in Mexico City was created by the Aztecs, the meaning of the name in German is something like “place of growing flowers”. The floating gardens are artificially created raft islands, which got hold of the underground by planting trees and a branching canal system was created. These islands were very fertile and provided the capital of the Aztecs with vegetables and fruits. The endemic axolotl, a species of salamander or newt, lives on the islands. There are many different types of orchids on the island. The area of the protected area is approx. 48 km² and includes the raft islands and the waterways.

The historic center of Mexico City and Xochimilco was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.

Chichen-Itza Ruins (1988)

The ruins of Chichén Itzá are located on the Yucatán peninsula – approx. 120 km east of Mérida. Chichén Itzá is one of the seven “new” wonders of the world. There was a vote on the introduction of the New Wonders of the World and thus also for Chichén Itzá, but this vote remains very controversial, so UNESCO distances itself from the action. Chichén Itzá was probably founded around 450 AD. Its heyday came around the 9th century.

Around the year 1000, the Maya were fought by the Toltecs and the Toltecs took control. Around 1300 AD the Mayan Empire split into small principalities and the powerful empire fell. The Spanish conquerors found an abandoned city. The Castillo is a pyramid of Kukulkán (god of resurrection and rebirth) with a square base area of 55 m on a side and a height of 24 m.

Entrances lead to a platform via stairs on each side of the pyramid. If you count the levels, there are exactly 365 levels, they indicate the days of the year. Snake heads are designed on a staircase. Snakes had a special meaning. The symbol of the feathered serpent that can fly, the serpent was honored as a wanderer between the underworld Mictlan and the human world.

In the Castillo there is a smaller pyramid, which can be reached through a tunnel, there is a temple in which you can see a Chac-mool figure, which probably comes from the Toltecs. A chac-mool figure is a life-size, seated man whose legs are bent and his head is turned to one side – the figure is holding a bowl in his hands. Astronomy played a major role, so a mystical snake seems to curl around the building when the sun is at the equinox. In the east is the warrior temple with a smaller pyramid inside. Offerings, precious stones and precious metals were found in an earth wall filled with water with a diameter of 60 m. It was probably a place of sacrifice where human sacrifices were made to the gods in times of little rain.

Chichén Itzá also had ball courts, one was surrounded by an 8 m high wall, inside there were stone benches with beautiful decorations. On the sides are temples like the jaguar temple. Murals depicting the course of the games can still be seen on its walls. see also: Pre-Columbian city of El Tajin. There was also an observatory, a nun’s house adorned with chac masks (rain god with a long nose and wide mouth).

The ruins of Chichen-Itza were inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1988.

Guanajuato Historic Center and Mines (1988)

The mining town of Guanajuato is located in the state of the same name in central Mexico at an altitude of approx. 2,000 m – surrounded by very high mountains. The Spanish conquerors got rich here by mining silver. The mines are closed today, but there are still many silver processing companies. The city still has many old colonial buildings that stand in cozy, winding streets. The city is located on the 1,350 km long so-called Independence Road.

The road passes many points in the war that were crucial for Mexico’s independence.

The city hides a street underground (Calle Miguel Hidalgo) – a former, dry river bed – which is over 2 km long. The call of freedom was proclaimed by the church “Dolores Hidalgo”. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is said to have shouted the following words from the pulpit on September 16, 1810: “Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe”, “Muerte al mal gobierno”, “Muerte a los gachupines. In doing so he called on the people to resist the oppressors.

A granary was turned into a fortress, but it was captured by the Spaniards and the leaders, Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Jimenez, were beheaded and their heads displayed in public as a deterrent.

The Pipila monument also commemorates the War of Independence.

Guanajuato’s historic center and mines were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988.

Old Town of Morelia (1991)

The old town of Morelia is located in the state of Michoacán at an altitude of approx. 2,000 m – around 250 km west of Mexiki-City. It was founded in the 16th century. The city, built in the Renaissance style, combines European and American architecture. The city was built on the slopes of a small mountain and you can still see over 200 historical buildings today. However, later architectural styles such as baroque and neoclassical elements can also be recognized under the buildings. Important personalities were born in Morelia – such as the priest José María Morelos, who played an important role in the War of Independence and after whom the city was named, or Felipe Calderón – Mexican president since 2006. The university became the “Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo” Founded in 1551 in Renaissance style.

The old town of Morelia was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991.

Pre-Columbian city of El Tajin (1992)

The city of El Tajín is located southwest of Papantla in the state of Veracruz. The city was founded in the 1st century BC. Presumably founded by the Totonaks and existed until around 1200 AD. The so-called “Piramide de los Nichos” pyramid is 25 m high and has a square base with a side length of 35 m.

The pyramid has almost 365 niches, which were built to symbolize the solar year. The indigenous people of the Toltecs is believed to have founded this pyramid site. In El Tajín, the “ball game” was only played on public holidays. It is believed that the losers of the game were beheaded in honor of the gods. The most famous ball playground is the “Juego de Pelota Sur”, which has a length of 60 m.

There were also daily performances by the flying dancers – a fertility ritual of the Totonaks, the so-called “Danza del Volador”. During this ritual, young men “Voladores” had to choose a 25 m high tree where the dance took place. After the dance, the tree was felled. The young men wore red trousers, a white shirt, a red ribbon around their hips and a feather headdress. Alexander von Humboldt visited the place in 1811. The pre-Columbian city of El Tajin was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992.

Rock carvings in the Sierra de San Francisco (1993)

The Sierra de San Francisco is located in the center of the Baja California peninsula in the El Vizcaino desert. As a result of the desert climate, well-preserved rock carvings dating back to 1100 BC were found in caves. Have been dated to AD 1300. The pictures show people – some with weapons – and life-size animals. The animals include lynxes, pumas, bighorn sheep, eagles, pelicans, turtles and whales. It is believed that the caves served as places of worship. The “Guachimis” Indians lived on Baja California, but it is not known whether this indigenous tribe painted the pictures.

The rock carvings in the Sierra de San Francisco were entered on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993.

Old town of Zacatecas (1993)

The city of Zacatecas is located in the state of the same name in central northern Mexico and was founded in 1546. A rich silver mine had been discovered here. The city is located on steep terrain in a narrow valley and has numerous churches and public buildings. The baroque cathedral, completed in 1760, combines European and indigenous architectural elements. In the embossed area of deserts, the indigenous peoples and Caxcanes Zacatecos lived before the conquest of the Spaniards, among other things

, the old town of Zacatecas was registered in 1993 in the list of World Cultural Heritage Site.

El Vizcaino lagoon (whale sanctuary) (1993)

The area of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve is 25,500 km² and is located on the Baja California peninsula on the side of the Pacific Ocean in the “Ojo de Liebre” and “San Ignacio” lagoons. Numerous species of birds live in the area, including migratory birds that settle here to winter. It is an area where various species of turtles still live and where the turtles bury their eggs in the sand on the beaches. A special experience is the play of gray whales, dolphins and sea lions who visit the waters to give birth to their young.

The El Vizcaino lagoon was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.

16th century monasteries on the slopes of Popocatepetl (1994)

The 14 monasteries are located on the slopes of the 5,452 m high Popocatepetl volcano in central Mexico. They were planned in the 16th century by the Franciscan, Dominican and Augustinian missionaries and then erected to convert the indigenous population to the Christian faith. The monasteries are designed in a similar way – they are square and high above the houses of the population. All are surrounded by walls. Probably the most important and most beautiful monastery is that in Huejotzingo, which is located at an altitude of around 2,000 m. It is more like a fortified castle than a monastery. Its architectural style appears Gothic. Wall paintings, organ and pulpit date from the 17th century.

These monasteries were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994.

Querétaro monument ensemble (1996)

The city of Santiago de Querétaro is located at an altitude of approx. 1,840 m – it is approx. 200 km from Mexico City. In the city you will find numerous monasteries, baroque churches, noble houses, monuments and brightly painted houses. The sixteenth-century Querétaros Cathedral is a masterpiece of structural engineering at the time. The university was founded in 1618. In the 17th century, a water pipe was built that transported the water into the city from about 200 km away. In pre-Columbian times the Otomi Indians lived here and were “pacified” by the Aztecs. Historically, the city is very important because the contract was signed here in 1848, who ended the Mexican-American War and in 1917 adopted the Mexican Constitution, which still exists today, in the Teatro de la República. In 1929 the predecessor party of the PRI was founded here.

The Querétaro monument ensemble was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996.

Pre-Columbian city of Uxmal (1996)

The “Uxmal” site is located in the southwestern part of the Yucatán peninsula, about 400 km from Cancún and about 80 km from Mérida. It was founded by the Mayans in 700 AD and was believed to have been built on what remains of other cities. Finds from different epochs show that Uxmal was probably built over four to five times. The orientation of the buildings of the Mayan development suggest a great understanding of astronomy. The snake symbol was also found here, as in other Maya archaeological sites. This site was also abandoned around the 11th century.

In Uxmal you can find the Pyramid of the Magician and the Temple of the Human Kings. They are supposed to connect the earth with the sky and the underworld. The base of the “Pyramid of the Magician” is egg-shaped and 38 m high. Inside are 5 temples. There are steep staircases on two sides, one is decorated with stone masks of the rain god Chaac. The eternal fire is said to have burned in the so-called nuns’ square. It was guarded by priestesses to be sacrificed to the gods. The giant masks of the rain god Chaak, images of the feathered serpent and rhombus-shaped latticework can also be found in these buildings. The archaeological site also features the ruler’s palace, which stands on an artificial base and is 100 m long with 11 entrances, a ball playground, a house of the turtle,

The pre-Columbian city of Uxmal was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1996.

Cabañas Hospice in Guadalajara (1997)

The Cabañas Hospice in Guadalajara is located in the state of Jalisco about 500 km west of Mexico City. The city was founded in 1532 by the Spanish occupiers (conquistadors). The Hospicio Cabañas was built at the end of the 18th century. It bears the name of Bishop Juan Ruíz de Cabañas y Crespo, the founder. It was used as an orphanage with a school and hospital. The complex is similar to the Paris Invalides and has an area of 2.4 km². The one-storey building has 23 courtyards and two churches, the domes of which are 32.5 m high. The construction of the building was “handicapped accessible”. José Clemente Orozco designed the walls with beautiful paintings. In 1910, during the Mexican Revolution, refugees and soldiers were housed in the hospice. In 1983 the hospice became a cultural center.

The Cabañas Hospice in Guadalajara was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.

Archaeological sites of Paquimé in Casas Grandes (1998)

The protected site of Paquimé is located about 350 km northwest of the capital Chihuahua of the state of Chihuahua near the city of Casas Grandes. The buildings, some of which are fenced off, consist of adobe (an unbaked brick made of clay) and they have T-shaped doors. The houses stood on the banks of the rivers Piedras Verdes, San Pedro and San Miguel and were set deep in the earth. It was also a place for ceremonial events. The beginning of the culture is dated to the time around 700 AD. The indigenous population traded in guacamaya feathers, shells, ceramics, beautiful jugs, pots and processed copper, etc. The place has a large, well-developed irrigation system, a ball playground and some four-story houses – and millstones have even been found.

The archaeological sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998.

Monument area of Tlacotalpan (1998)

The protected city of Tlacotalpan is located on the Río Papaloapan near the lagoon in the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico in wetlands. The city was founded in the middle of the 16th century and the church Parroquía de San Cristóbal, the parks and the old, colonial style and colorful houses with colonnades are remarkable. Tlacotalpan is known for its annual from 31.01. Festival »Virgen de la Candelaria« taking place until February 9th.

The Tlacotalpan Monument Area was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998.

Historic city and fortress of Campeche (1999)

The historic city and fortress of Campeche is located in the Mexican state of Campeche on the northwest coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. This is where the influences of Aztec and Mayan Spanish cultures meet. In 1540, the Spaniards built the city on the remains of a Maya settlement. Campeche got rich and therefore had to protect himself from raids. Fortifications were therefore built, the defensive walls of which are 2 km long and sometimes 8 m high. Through the city gate, which is on the side facing away from the sea, you enter the old city, in which the magnificent baroque buildings reflect the wealth of the Spaniards in bygone times. Worth seeing are the cathedral, Catedral de la Concepción, the restored colonial houses and the city palace. The cathedral was built in 1705 and is the oldest church on the Yucatán Peninsula.

The historic city and fortress of Campeche was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1999.

Xochicalco Archaeological Site (1999)

The archaeological site of Xochicalco is located in the western part of the state of Morelos – about 120 km from Mexico City. The site was probably built as early as 200 BC. Founded. The well-preserved buildings, however, can be assigned to a period from 700 to 1000 AD. In the middle of the site is a hill where the upper class lived. The access to the hill was man-made terraces that were protected by a wall. Large squares surrounded by ceremonial buildings shaped the cityscape. There are also stepped pyramid temples, palaces, two ball courts, sweat baths, circular altars, free-standing ornate steles and expanded caves. One of them was used as an astronomical observatory. Sunlight only falls into the cave on 105 days – from late April to mid-August.

The Temple of the Feathered Serpent was restored in 1910. He has stylized representations of a deity.

The reliefs on the sides of some buildings are worth mentioning, so that it is believed that real artists lived here.

The site was visited by Alexander Humboldt in 1810.

You can visit the site every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The archaeological site of Xochicalco was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1999.

Mayan city of Calakmul (Campeche) (2002)

The city of Calakmul in the state of Campeche about 300 km southeast of the city of Campeche was a center for Mayan ceremonies. The area of the protected area is about 30 km² and is located in the Tierras Bajas a rainforest biosphere. The temples are pyramid-shaped, the stone houses, their graves and the streets show the highly developed Mayan culture. The largest pyramid can be climbed by stairs. Around 5,000 buildings have been discovered so far.

The Maya city of Calakmul was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2002.

Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda in Querétaro (2003)

In the state of Querétaro in the Sierra Gorda, the Franciscan missions were built in the middle of the 18th century. The facades of the churches were designed by missionaries together with Indians and decorated with Christian and Indian motifs.

The Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda in Querétaro were entered in the list of World Heritage Sites in 2003.

Luís Barragán’s house and studio (2004)

Luís Barragán was born on March 9, 1902 in Guadalajara and died on November 22, 1988 in Mexico City. His home and studio were built in 1948 in Mexico City in the Tacubaya Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood. At the age of 78 he received the Pritzker Prize, the highest award for architects. He skillfully combined the Mexican traditional building elements with the European modern. The building has an area of 1,160 m², is two-storey and has a small garden and a terrace that looks surreal. Barragán was awarded the National Prize for Science and Art in 1976. He has remained true to his homeland and has only created his architectural works in Mexico. His most famous works include – as described above – his own house, the towers of Ciudad Satélite in Mexico City,

Luís Barragán’s house and studio were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

Islands and Reserves of the Gulf of California (2005)

The Gulf of California lies between Baja California and mainland Mexico. The entire gulf has a length of a little less than 1,200 km and is approx. 240 km wide. An area of approx. 500 km² is designated as a protected marine area. The Colorado, Yaqui and Fuerte rivers flow into the Gulf of Kalofornia. There are many islands in the Gulf, such as the “Isla Ángel de la Guarda” and the “Isla Tiburón”. The Gulf is particularly rich in species, numerous species of turtles, rays, whales and sharks live there, and the threatened vaquitas, a species of small whales, still have their habitat there. Some endemic (only existing here) animals live on the islands, and there are also endemic plants.

The islands and reserves of the Gulf of California were entered in the list of world natural heritage sites in 2005.

Agave landscape and historical tequila production sites (2006)

Tequila is a type of mezcal – a Mexican spirit with around 40% vol. This special type is only available in the vicinity of the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The mezcal may only be called “tequila” from this region. The spirit is made from the steel blue agave, a special type of agave. When harvested, it is over 50 cm high. The plant is only harvested after 10 to 12 years. The sword-shaped, prickly leaves are removed and a heavy stalk (sometimes 20 kg) remains, which is then further processed into tequila. The blue agave is not only used to make tequila, it is also used to make ropes or to extract medicines from it. The first distillery for tequila was founded in 1600.

The agave landscape and the historic tequila production sites were entered on the list of World Heritage Sites in 2006.

University campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2007)

The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is one of the oldest universities on the American continent.

In 1551, the future King Philip II founded the Real y Pontificia Universidad de México in the name of his father Charles V. In 1865 the university was dissolved by the Mexican Emperor Maximilian.

In 1910 the university was re-established on the orders of Porfirio Díaz, and in 1954 the new “university town” Ciudad Universitaria was moved into.

During demonstrations in 1968, the Tlatelolco massacre took place and several hundred students died. President Luis Echeverría Álvarez therefore had to answer for genocide in court, but the proceedings were closed in the same year due to the statute of limitations.

The university campus (the Ciudad Universitaria) with its buildings, sports facilities and open spaces was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2007.

Fortress of San Miguel de Allende and the pilgrimage church of Jesus de Nazareno in Atotonilco (2008)

The fortress of San Miguel de Allende and the pilgrimage church of Jesus de Nazareno in Atotonilco are located in the state of Guanajuato. The city of San Miguel de Allende was founded by missionaries in 1542. It was an important place on Silberstrasse. The Chichimeken Indian tribes lived nearby. The city is the birthplace of the rebel leaders Juan Aldama and Ignacio José Allende y Unzaga, who were murdered by the Spanish in 1811 with the leader of the independence movement, and José Martínez “El Pípila”, a local freedom fighter who judged himself. Particularly worth seeing are an old washing area decorated with stone basins, the church “La Parroquia”, whose facade was designed by an Indian in Gothic style, a botanical garden in a reserve, where wild animals live and the pilgrimage church “Jesús de Nazareno” in the 15 km distant “Atotonilco”, which was founded in 1740 by a Jesuit priest. The church is built in the Mexican Baroque style and decorated inside with murals and paintings.

Fortress and pilgrimage church in Atotonilco were inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites in 2008.

Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve (2008)

The Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve is about 100 kilometers northwest of Mexico City. Up to a billion monarch butterflies live here in winter. The moth migrates nearly 4,000 km per year, the route leads from the north of the USA to Mexico. The area of the area is approx. 560 km², has a multitude of lakes and beaches, it is volcanic and the wooded mountains reach heights of up to 3,000 m.

The Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve was added to the World Heritage List in 2008.

Prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Oaxaca Valley (2010)

The prehistoric caves were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.

Historical trade route Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – “Silver Route” (2010)

The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro trade route, which is well over 2000 km long, leads from Mexico City to New Mexico USA to the city of Santa Fe and was used as a trade route for the transport of silver from the silver cities of Zacatecas, Guanajuato and from the 16th century to the 19th century San Luis Potosí used. The Silver Way also belongs to the USA, because the path leads to Santa Fe (New Mexico USA). The route leads through rough terrain, steppes, deserts, uphill, downhill, one rested on haciendas and feared raids. This adventurous route has been used by traders, administrators and missionaries for 300 centuries.The historic trade route was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010

El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve (2013)

The El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar biosphere reserve is located in northern Mexico in the Sonara province.

The reserve covers an area of 7,145 km² and was opened on June 10, 1993.

This biosphere reserve was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2013.

Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Mexico (2015)

The aqueduct of Padre Tembleque is one of the most important water supply and distribution systems that were built in what was then the viceroyalty of New Spain – in today’s Mexico.

An aqueduct is generally understood to mean a system for transporting water and, in the narrower sense, a water-bearing bridge system.

The water transport system was created on the initiative and according to the plans of Padre Francisco de Tembleque (1510–1590) – a Franciscan monk from Spain who came to this arid region as a missionary and wanted to improve the situation of the poor population.

The facility was built between 1553 and 1570 under his direction and with the support of local residents.

This local system was used to collect water from the slopes of the 2,366 m high Tecajete volcano and then channel it to the Congregación de Todos los Santos. Another canal led the water to Otompan, 30 km further south. A number of junctions also supplied the villages along the route.

Nowadays, in addition to a number of distribution

basins and ditches, the following aqueducts can be found here: The aqueduct at the Hacienda de Tecajete is over 300 m long and consists of 46 stone arches.

Further south at the former Hacienda de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Arcos San Gabriel Azteka, an aqueduct about 120 m long with 13 arches crosses a smaller reservoir.

The largest aqueduct is the 904 m long Tepeyahualco aqueduct, which crosses a small river and a railway line near the town of the same name. It consists of 67 arches with spans of 17 m each. With a height of 38.75 m above the river, it is one of the highest aqueducts in the world.

The Padre Tembleque aqueduct was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.

Revillagigedo Archipelago (2016)

This group of islands is located about 780 km west of Mexico, about the latitude of Mexico City in the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is part of the Municipio Manzanillo in the Mexican state of Colima and extends over a length of 420 km and consists of the following islands:

– San Benedicto with an area of 590 ha = 5.9 km². The highest point is the Bárcena with a height of 297 m.

– Socorro (Santo Tomás) with an area of 13,210 ha = 132.1 km².

The highest mountain is the Monte Evermann

– Roca Partida with a height of 1,130 m with an area of 0.3 ha = 0.003 km². The highest point has a height of 34 m

– Clarión (Santa Rosa) with an area of 1,980 ha = 19.8 km². The highest point is the Monte Gallegos with a height of 335 m.

The islands are home to unique fauna and flora and are therefore sometimes referred to as the “Little Galapagos” of Mexico. The islands were given special protection by the government as a biosphere reserve on June 4, 1994.

The Revillagigedo Island Marine Reserve is underwater -Schutzgebiet.

the Revillagigedo archipelago was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites on 17 July 2016.

Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley (2018)

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley is a predominantly dry zone and has a very large biodiversity and is also of cultural and historical importance. Archaeological remains of canals, aqueducts and dams are evidence of technological development and the early utilization of cultivated plants.

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley has been a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site since 2018.

About the author