Things To Do In Mexico Before And After Your Hike

Updated: April 6, 2023

If you think Mexico is all about beaches, sombreros, and tequila, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Mexico delivers wide open spaces, natural wonders, rich heritage and bustling cities across all corners of the country.

Hikers will rejoice at the variety of trails Mexico offers. It would be a waste not to take in some of Mexico's best sightseeing before and after your hike.

Here are our top recommendations for getting the most out of your Mexican vacation.

frida kahlo things to do in mexico

Cool Things to Do and See In Mexico

Get The Full Mexico City Experience

Mexico City is one of the most culturally rich capitals in the world. Add on a few days to your hiking trip in Mexico to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this vibrant city.

Museum hopping is a great way to get a crash course on Mexico’s history and culture. Most popular are the National Museum of Anthropology and the Frida Kahlo Museum. Take a shot during a visit to the Tequila and Mezcal Museum.

We recommend foodies take a cooking class in the city. Your chef will take you to browse local markets for fresh ingredients before learning to prepare some of Mexico's favorite dishes like tacos and guacamole.

Get wrapped up in the drama at a Lucha Libre match. These wrestling matches are a mix of well-rehearsed choreography and comedy. You will soon be cheering on your favorite hero (or villain) alongside the locals.

things to do in mexico before and after your hike

Rent A Yacht In Cabo San Lucas

On the tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is a paradise for ocean lovers. Kick off your hiking boots and treat yourself to some R&R onboard a private yacht.

Waters here are ideal for watersports. Many Cabo San Lucas yacht rentals come kitted with all the gear you need for snorkeling and paddleboarding

Take a sunset cruise to El Arco. The iconic stone arch was carved by thousands of years of wave and wind action. You can usually find sea lions dozing on the limestone outcrops. Whales are also frequent visitors to these waters.

After hiking remote areas, you might feel deprived of social interaction. Go bar-hopping at Playa El Médano. Cabo’s main beach is famous for its nightlife.

chitzen itza

Ancient ruins at Chichen Itza, Yucatán

Visit Ancient Ruins

Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula was a great Mayan Metropolis between 600-1200AD. Chichen is one of the New 7 Wonders of The World. The impressive Pyramid of Kukulkan and Temple of Jaguars are well worth the trip. Get there early to avoid the crowds.

The Uxmal ruins are just a little distance from Chichen Itza. There are fewer tourists here and you have the rare opportunity to explore right into the temples.

If your hiking trip is taking you to the deep south of Mexico, visit the Palenque ruins deep in the jungles in the Savannah of Chiapas. The Temple of Inscriptions and surrounding structures are arguably Mexico's most beautiful ruins.

If you are looking for something close to Mexico City, visit the Aztec temple, Templo Mayor, or balloon over the Teotihuacan Pyramids.

A temazcal or traditional Mexican steam lodge

Rejuvenate At a Temazcal

A temazcal (teh-mas-kal) is a traditional Mexican steam lodge used to improve physical and spiritual wellbeing. You will find them across most of the country in local villages and resorts.

If you are open-minded, this is a great way to boost your mental and physical state. Center your thoughts before hitting the trails or relax stiff muscles after a challenging climb.

Participants enter and take a seat in a dome stone or mud hut. A shaman pours herb-infused water on seething hot rocks to create fragrant steam. Most practices use herbal smudge sticks as gentle brushes across the skin.

While sweating out toxins, a shaman leads the group in chants and movements to cleanse the mind and soul. Temazcal sessions last between 20 minutes and an hour.

Temazcal is not for everyone. If you suffer from claustrophobia, steer clear of these small, dark and steamy rooms.

whale shark mexico

Swim With Whale Sharks

Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is one of the few places on the planet where you can swim with whale sharks. These gentle giants reach over 40 feet and are filter feeders. They are the largest fish on the planet.

The best time to find whale sharks is between October and February. There are a few places offering tours to swim with whale sharks. Your choice depends on which area is closest to your hike.

  • On the West Coast; your options are La Paz and Cabo San on the Baja peninsula.
  • On the East Coast, the best whale shark sightings are around the Quintana Roo islands.

Mexico has strict laws regulating whale shark tourism. Limited people can swim with a shark at a time and you may not touch the animals.

puerta vallarta art

Sculpture of Poseidon on the Malecon, Puerta Vallarta

Admire Art in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s destination city for art appreciators. There are dozens of galleries housing a mix of Mexican and international artworks, from weavings to oil paintings.

A stroll along the Malecon to see the sculptures is a favorite activity in Puerto Vallarta. You will also find street performers, souvenir stands, sand art, and restaurants along this oceanfront pathway.

Around the city, you will come across art installations like the mosaic park, Parque Lázaro Cárdenas. Take a guided tour to fully appreciate the city’s muralist movement that is gaining world recognition.

In Winter (October - May) you can join free art walks and meet local artists and sculptors at the galleries. This is the perfect way to end a hiking trip in the cooler months. You might even discover a hidden talent during a painting class.

cenotes mexico

Take A Dip in the Yucatán Cenotes

Cenotes are sinkholes formed by collapsing underground caverns. Some still have most of their roofs but others are open and river-like. The holes fill up with ground and rainwater to create clear water pools.

You will find thousands of cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes were considered sacred by the Mayans. Today, these pools are a popular spot to escape the heat of a Mexican Summer or cool off after a hike.

Some Tulum’s most spectacular underground pools are at Cenote de Ojos or Cenote Calavera in Tulum. The spectacular Yaxmuul Cenotes are off the mainstream tourist track. If you want to dive, consider visiting El Pit Cenote.

Cancun offers adventurous cenote tours. You can jump off a platform into the green waters of Cenote Verde Lucero or zipline over this impressive pool. Nearby, swing from ropes into Cenote La Noria.

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See our detailed guide to stunning mountain ranges in South America. Or check out our country hiking guides below.

About the author 

Mila Whitman

Mila has been to 5 continents, visited over 40 countries and hiked across some of the most famous mountain ranges including the Andes and the Atlas Mountains. As an AMS sufferer she learned a few techniques to reduce the symptoms and the effects on her hiking adventures.

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