Yucatan cenotes

5 Best Off-The-Beaten Path Adventures in Mexico

Charli MooreNov 15, 2021

From swimming in hidden cenotes to sampling the best eats in Guadalajara, these off-the-beaten path adventures in Mexico will reignite your sense of wanderlust.

Overflowing with opportunities for adventure, Mexico’s rich landscapes and azure coastlines are consistently ranked as some of the best in the world. Here’s how to find adventure when you visit.

Volunteer With a Marine Conservation Program

Discover the marine biodiversity of the Riviera Maya and get SCUBA certified at the same time, or join sea turtle conservation efforts in Puerto Escondido and learn to surf during your stay. Mexico offers a range of marine conservation programs that provide immersive eco-cultural experiences for those keen to pay it forward when they travel.

Sample the Culinary Delights of Guadalajara

There’s so much more to Mexican cuisine than enchiladas and tacos, especially in the nation’s capital Guadalajara, where you’ll find several dishes that are unique to the city. Hungry travelers should feast on hearty stews like pozole and birria or sample torta ahogada (a pork sandwich covered in a savory broth), especially after a few rounds of tequila.

Travel tip: Safely stow your valuables in a cross body bag or money belt when sightseeing in the city.

Take Part in Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festivities 

Although it may sound like a somber occasion, the Day of the Dead is a vibrant celebration of the continuum of life with revelers reuniting with the souls of their deceased loves during the festival. Celebrations in San Andrés Mixquic—one of the seven founding districts of Mexico City, kick off on November 1 with a mock funeral procession—led by a cardboard coffin, to the cemetery where a candlelight vigil lasts most of the night. 

Learn To Surf in Baja

One of the most iconic things to do in Mexico’s Baja peninsula, seasoned surfers come from far and wide to ride the aptly named “Killers” that break off Baja's Islas de Todos Santos. Newbies should consider lessons with a local surf school and stay close to the beach to begin with, and if you’re brand new to the sport remember that you’re unlikely to make the Olympic team on your first day so consider a week-long surf camp to maximize your potential. 

Explore the Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula

For the ancient Maya people, the cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) of the Riviera Maya had a deep spiritual significance and were believed to be a portal between this world and the underworld. Today, many serve as natural swimming pools and scuba and snorkeling playgrounds for locals and visitors, and with tens of thousands of these emerald pools to explore you’re sure to find one that ignites your imagination.

Travel tip: Keep your swimmers in a packing cube in your daypack in case you happen upon a cenote when out exploring. 

Mexico offers endless adventures to those willing to step off-the-beaten-path, so start with a bucket list of things you want to experience and plan your travel route accordingly. The country is made for adventure and travelers of all ages can find something to enjoy when visiting Mexico.

Get your packing on-point for any outdoorsy trip with this ultimate travel packing checklist

Charli Moore

Charli Moore is an adventure enthusiast who has been location independent since 2011. A freelance writer and editor of the travel blog Wanderlusters, she has a penchant for adrenaline highs and crunchy peanut butter. Follow her on Instagram to feed your wanderlust.