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Wonders of Mexico

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. / Jay Galvin, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlueStates of Mexico

Mexico is divided into 31 states and 1 federal district.

Federal district
  • Ciudad de México
  • Aguascalientes
  • Baja California
  • Baja California Sur
  • Campeche
  • Chiapas
  • Chihuahua
  • Coahuila
  • Colima
  • Durango
  • Guanajuato
  • Guerrero
  • Hidalgo
  • Jalisco
  • México
  • Michoacán
  • Morelos
  • Nayarit
  • Nuevo León
  • Oaxaca
  • Puebla
  • Querétaro
  • Quintana Roo
  • San Luis Potosí
  • Sinaloa
  • Sonora
  • Tabasco
  • Tamaulipas
  • Tlaxcala
  • Veracruz
  • Yucatán
  • Zacatecas

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Mexico

Geological wonders

Sistema Zacaton


Unique karst field created by thermal acidic waters heated by volcanic heat. Contains the world’s deepest water-filled sinkhole, the 339 meters deep El Zacatón sinkhole with 319 meters deep lake, and floating islands. Poza Seca is one of the unique travertine-capped sinkholes of Sistema Zacatón – here the formerly open sinkhole has sealed itself with a limestone lid. Most likely it hides unknown life forms, not investigated.

El Zacaton and Nacimiento spring
El Zacaton and Nacimiento spring / Popurrí de Viajes, screenshot from Youtube video
Naica Cave of the Crystals


Cave with giant selenite crystals up to 12 meters long and 55 tons heavy. The air temperature in the cave is up to 58 °C high. Now flooded.

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
Cave of the Crystals / Alexander Van Driessche, Wikimedia Commons / free for use
Sótano de las Golondrinas (Cave of Swallows)

San Luis Potosí

The largest cave shaft in the world – an enormous 49 x 62 meters wide hole, 372 meters deep. Famous due to a group of green parrots who have to fly ascending in circles around the cave until they get out of it.

Swifts in Sótano de las Golondrinas, Mexico
Swifts in Sótano de las Golondrinas Emigdio Hernández, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
El Zacaton sinkhole


World’s deepest water-filled sinkhole, 339 meters deep sinkhole with 319 meters deep lake. Floating islands in the lake.

Poza del Zacatón, Mexico
Poza del Zacatón / Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Cenote Angelita

Quintana Roo

Unique water-filled sinkhole with a ghostly layer of hydrogen sulfate at the depth of some 30 m and seawater below it.

Diving in Cenote Angelita
Diving in Cenote Angelita / AB TV, screenshot from Youtube video


This newly-born volcano appeared in a cornfield in 1943 and grew 336 m tall over one year, finally achieving a height of 424 m in 1952.

Parícutin volcano
Parícutin volcano./ José Luis Melgarejo, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Sistema Huautla


This giant cave is the deepest known in Mexico and the whole Western Hemisphere. The known depth of the cave is 1560 m, length of its passages – is 100,114 m.

Sistema Huautla, descend into abyss
Sistema Huautla, descend into abyss. / Kasia Biernacka, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba)


The most prominent mountain between Colombia and Yukon is this 5,636 m high stratovolcano. The 7th topographically most prominent mountain in the world. Contains permanent snow.

Citlatepetl (Pico de Orizaba)
Citlatepetl (Pico de Orizaba). / Adam Jones, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Hierve el Agua


One of the highest single travertine terraces is formed by thermal springs. This bright white stone “waterfall” is 12 – 30 meters high.

Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua./ Rsamardich, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Biological wonders

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Michoacán, Ciudad de México

Wintering habitats of the monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Some trees are covered with a thick layer of millions of butterflies.

Wintering of monarch butterflies near Angangueo
Wintering of monarch butterflies near Angangueo. / Rafael Saldaña, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Árbol del Tule


One of the stoutest trees on Earth is a Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum). Girth 36.2 m, diameter 11.62 m, height 35.4 m. Discounting the buttresses of the trunk the diameter – is 9.38 m. Volume 750 m³. Age estimated to be 1,400 – 1,600 years. Sacred Zapotec tree.

Árbol del Tule, another aspect of the trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form
Árbol del Tule, another aspect of the trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form / cezzie901, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Archaeological wonders



One of the largest ancient cities in the world with numerous monuments of architecture and art. Established sometime around 200 BC and was abandoned in the 7th – 8th centuries AD. A hugely impressive monument of urban planning is the Avenue of the Dead. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest ancient pyramid in the world. Height – 71,2 m. The Pyramid of the Moon is an older pyramid from 200 – 450 AD, 42 m high.

Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan, Mexico
Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan, Mexico / Dennis Jarvis, / CC BY-SA 2.0


Ruins of a Mayan city that flourished in the 7th century AD. The city is located in the middle of the jungle, on the hill overlooking the coastal plains. Another is the fact that the Palenque contains some of the finest known Mayan architecture and artwork. The most interesting structures are the Palace of Palenque and Temple of the Inscriptions with important records of the history of the city and the sarcophagus of Pakal – ruler of the city.

Palenque, Mexico
Palenque, Mexico / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Chichen Itza


The major urban center of lowland Maya culture with numerous monuments of world importance and fame. Chichen Itza became an important center around 600 AD and remained such a center until its fall around 1000 AD. Some of the best-known monuments are the El Castillo pyramid, the Great Ball Court, Temple de Los Guerreros, the El Caracol observatory, and the Ossario pyramid.

El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza
El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0


One of the largest cities of ancient Maya with remnants of nearly 7000 structures still existing. Largest building – 55 m high pyramid. 117 steles and numerous other important monuments of history and art.

Calakmul./ Pavel Kirillov, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Monte Albán


One of the largest cities of ancient Maya with remnants of nearly 7000 structures still existing. Largest building – 55 m high pyramid. 117 steles and numerous other important monuments of history and art.

Monte Albán, Oaxaca
Monte Albán, Oaxaca. / Öskr Rck, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Great Pyramid of Cholula


World’s largest structure, built in the 3rd century BC – 9th century AD. The base of the pyramid is 450 x 450 m, height – 66 m. The volume of the construction material exceeds the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza nearly two times.

Great Pyramid of Cholula
Great Pyramid of Cholula./ David Cabrera, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0


Remnants of an ancient Maya city that was built sometime around 580 – 800 AD. Contains numerous valuable murals of high artistic value.

Balankanche, painting in the Temple of the Murals
Balankanche, painting in the Temple of the Murals. / Stephen McCluskey, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0


Once an important center of the ancient Maya culture with well-preserved structures. Flourished in 700 – 1100 AD. The architecture of Uxmal is considered to be of very high quality visually and structurally and belongs to the best achievements of the Puuc style.

Uxmal, Adivino Pyramid
Uxmal, Adivino Pyramid. / Dennis Jarvis, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Tula (Mexico)


The largest ancient city in central Mexico in the 9th – 10th centuries AD. It was the capital of Toltecs in 980 AD and was destroyed sometimes in 1168 – 1179. Nowadays preserved complexes of ceremonial buildings in two sites including pyramids, and famous columns in the form of Toltec warriors.

Tula, sculptures of Toltec warriors
Tula, sculptures of Toltec warriors. / Russ Bowling, Flickr / CC BY 2.0


An ancient center of lowland Maya culture, the cultural and political capital of the region in the 1220ies – 1440ies. Remnants of more than 4000 structures, most inside a 9 km long defensive wall. The most impressive structure is the El Castillo pyramid (Kukulcan Temple).

Mayapan./ Richard Weil, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0


Remnants of a fortified city – an important urban center in 700 – 900 AD. Contains large structures entirely covered with sculptural work of exceptional quality. Observatory in a painted and frescoed cave.

Xochicalco, Temple of Feathered Serpent
Xochicalco, Temple of Feathered Serpent. / Rafael Saldaña, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Architecture wonders


Ciudad de México

Unique monument of urban planning inherited from Aztec times. Here has been preserved the network of ancient channels with chinampas – island gardens. Channels are traveled by special boats – trajineras. Channels and islands contain endemic plants and animals including a unique salamander – axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum).

One of the countless canals in Xochimilco. / FABIAN KRONENBERGER, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0


A beautiful colonial city with numerous impressive buildings in the Mexican Baroque style. Many historical streets are under the ground.

Guanajuato./ Jiuguang Wang, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Historical center of México

Ciudad de México

Unique urban monument uniting prehistoric Aztec architecture with lush Spanish colonial architecture. Zocalo in the center of the city is the second-largest urban plaza in the world after Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

Historical center of México
Historical center of México. / Ralf Roletschek (roletschek.at), Wikimedia Commons / ©

WorldYellow Recommended books

This Is Mexico: Tales of Culture and Other Complications

This Is Mexico is a collection of essays on the often magical and mysterious―and sometimes heartrending―workings of everyday life in Mexico, written from the perspective of an American expatriate.

The Rough Guide to Mexico

The Rough Guide to Mexico is the ultimate travel guide to this fascinating nation. With clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best Mexican attractions, this revised, full-color edition features easy to find practical sections, transport details, and detailed color maps. Discover Mexico’s highlights, with stunning photography and information on everything from the shimmering coastline of Baja California and the iconic cactus-strewn deserts of the north to the Mayan villages and gorgeous palm-smothered beaches of the south. Find detailed practical advice on what to see and do in Mexico City, and rely on our up-to-date descriptions of the best hotels, bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants for all budgets.

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