11 Mexican Destinations I’m Sad I Still Haven’t Visited
I feel like if you know me, personally or digitally, it’s pretty clear I’ve travelled extensively throughout Mexico in my two years of living here.
During my first go at living in Mexico (in Guadalajara to be precise), I was a footloose and fancy-free student, bumming around the Universidad de Guadalajara doing, well, not very much. Naturally, I did a whole heap of travelling, hitting up more cities than I can list and (I think) over half of Mexico’s 32 states (when counting Mexico City as a state in its own right of course, even though it technically isn’t).
My second stab at living here (this time in Mexico City) proved slightly less fruitful when it came to opportunities for unplanned, spontaneous weekend trips. Basically, my hopes to visit all the Mexican states by the end of my time here was rudely thwarted by this thing called life. It’s funny how little you get done when you have to work and, you know, eat.
Even so, I have managed to muscle in a decent bit of travelling, bankrupting myself in the process, and my state count currently stands at a pretty impressive 19 (although it will likely be hovering in the early twenties by the time I get around to publishing this piece, given that I’ve got trips to Puebla and Tlaxcala squeezed into my manic, pre-departure summer schedule).
Despite all the weekend visits, road trips and cross-country flights I’ve tucked under my belt since 2014 though, there are still plenty of places I’m sad, nay, ashamed to not have visited yet; here are just a selection of the unvisited Mexican destinations about which I’m currently the most cut up.
MEXICAN DESTINATIONS I’M SAD I STILL HAVEN’T VISITED
CUATROCIÉNEGAS, COAHUILA | Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila, México
Hear me out with this one, because, as Coahuila is unlikely to be a Mexican state high on anyone’s bucket list, it seems weird that I’d be so sad about not visiting. Well, I’m sad about not having visited this particular Mexican destination mainly because it’s so conveniently close to where my boyfriend lives (which also happens to be a city I travel to often) and we really should have stopped been so lazy and just gone there already. Especially given that we actually planned to visit a ton of times and then just, umm, slept in instead. Also, I like going to marginally obscure places and writing about them afterwards, and that would have 100% been a box checked by Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila.
LOS MOCHIS, CREEL + LA BARRANCA DEL COBRE, SINALOA/ CHIHUAHUA | Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, Creel, Chihuahua, México + La Barranca del Cobre, Chihuahua, México
Entry number two brings together a number of northern destinations that are all places I would have been if I’d ever got around to organising a trip on El Chepe, the train that runs from Sinaloa and into Chihuahua. This is one Mexican travel experience that I’m genuinely really sad I haven’t got round to doing yet and it’s definitely one I’ll go out of my way to do in the future.
TEPOTZOTLÁN, ESTADO DE MÉXICO + TEPOZTLÁN, MORELOS | Tepotzotlán, Estado de México, México + Tepoztlán, Morelos, México
Two distinct places with two annoyingly similar names, Tepotzotlán is located north of Mexico City, in the Estado de México, while it’s almost-tocayo cousin is south of the capital, in Morelos state. However, they’re both quaint pueblos mágicos, they’re both ideal weekend destinations for day trippers from Mexico City and they both have the small-town charm that’s pretty much identical in every petite Mexican pueblo but of which I’m still such a sucker for. SUPER SAD I STILL HAVEN’T BEEN TO EITHER, especially when you factor in just how damn close they are to me.
Related Post: Mexico City Side Trips: A Guide to Day Trips from the Mexican Capital (COMING SOON)
GRUTAS DE TOLANTONGO, HIDALGO | Grutas de Tolantongo, Hidalgo, México
While I went to Hidalgo state for the first time just last year (for a pasty festival nonetheless, could I be more British?), I’ve yet to visit the supposedly magnificent, if artificial, Grutas de Tolantongo. However, I think this one is a bit more forgivable than the aforementioned Mexican magic towns, because they’re juuust slightly too far away to make for a viable day trip and kinda tricksy to get to too.
REAL DE CATORCE, SAN LUIS POTOSÍ | Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, México
Guess what – I don’t just want to go there for the peyote. In fact, I’m on the fence about whether I would take it at all. However, this magical town in the north of San Luis Potosí state is still one that’s firmly on my Mexico bucket list, just for the overwhelming surreal-ness (surreality?) that surrounds it. That, and Matehuala, simply because they have botas picudas and an obscene amount of tribal if hype-making Vice documentaries are anything to go by.
LEÓN, GUANAJUATO | León, Guanajuato, México
I’ve visited Guanajuato state a few times, but never made it to León. Why do I wanna go there? To buy all the damn leather bags and shoes, that’s why. León is the leather capital of Mexico (and not in the kinky way).
Related Post: Street Art Mexico: San Miguel de Allende Edition
LAS ESTACAS, MORELOS | Las Estacas, Morelos, México
Full disclosure: I have been to Las Estacas before, but I don’t think you can count being out of your mind on a tray of marijuana brownies (and sleeping through an EDM festival as a result) a true, representative experiencing of a place. I need to go back. Sober.
VERACRUZ | Veracruz, México
Just, in general, the whole state. I’ve never been.
PARÍCUTIN, MICHOACÁN | Parícutin, Michoacán, México
This is another one of my weird, niche interest places in the state of Michoacán (one which I have visited before). Basically, the town of Parícutin was covered by the explosion of the world’s youngest ever volcano back in the mid-20th century and now all that remains are the spires of the town church sticking out of a sea of solidified lava. Cool, right?
TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA | Tijuana, Baja California, México
It just seems like a really fucking cool place, with a reputation for great food and even better street art, a.k.a. my two true loves.
MEXICO CITY | Ciudad de México, México
Let’s round it off with the city I currently call home, Mexico City. Ahh, Mexico City. So many places, so little time. Well, no, quite a decent amount of time actually, but not quite enough money and far too much Netflix. These are the pitfalls no one tells you about when you move to a new country, city, whatever – it no longer retains the novelty of visiting as an outsider, a constantly shifting tourist with time to kill and (usually) deep(er) pockets than the locals. Consequently, there are plenty of places I’ve still not visited in the Mexican capital.
Take, for example, all the cool art galleries in Roma and San Rafael. Nope, not been to them yet. I’ve never spent a day exploring the Bosque de Chapultepec either. Not properly. Nor have I eaten my way through the many, many gourmet markets that are popping up across the capital, from Mercado Roma to the new opening in Coyoacán and the swanky offering in the upscale San Ángel neighbourhood. And I never went to the famed Basilica, the biggest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. And the nightlife? I am NOT the person to come to for nightlife recommendations, because 1) I never leave my bedroom and 2) I never leave my bedroom. This is what living in a city does to you, people. Nothing is a novelty any more.
…AND THREE I’M REALLY NOT SAD ABOUT
Finally, as an extra bonus, here are three of the places that I haven’t got around to visiting yet, but also, say it quietly, aren’t really that bothered about either.
BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR | Baja California Sur, México
Sure, sure, everyone raves about the place and it’s meant to be artsy and colourful and, most of all, an amazing Mexican destination. (Not to mention one that consistently draws in the custom of the rich and famous, no less.) But…I just don’t have that call to go there. You know the one. The one that spurred all your uni friends into moving to Australia straight after graduation or convinced you to move back to a city you weren’t particularly fond of at first, just because you loved the country (OK, that last one might be me).
Honestly though, I think my aversion to the Baja Peninsula lies in the fact that it seems to be all about the beaches, and the very thought of getting sand all up in my fanny (not talking about my ass btw, Americans) puts me off. Sorry, but BCS is just not up there on my Mexico bucket list.
Related Post: The Most Colourful Towns in Mexico
DURANGO | Durango, México
What even is Durango? Scorpions? The birthplace of Dolores del Río? I literally have no idea and I’m a professional travel writer, specialising in Mexico. Apologies to any potential Duranguenses reading this.
TAMAULIPAS | Tamaulipas, México
Because I don’t want to die an untimely death. (As with Durango though, I probably will endeavour to go one day and fulfil my dream of visiting all 32 Mexican states. Wish me luck.)
Have you been to any of these destinations? Do you want to go to any of them? Tell me in the comments!