Mexico’s one-of-a kind destinations
Due to the diverse culture and traditions, there is no wonder why Mexico continues to be one of the most special places in the world to visit.
Most people start a Mexico vacation on beautiful, perfect white sand beaches, to mystical cenotes, and lush waterfalls to hot springs. Then going beyond all that beauty there is another side to see. We are talking about the most strange and unique places to visit during your stay in Mexico.
These incredible travel destinations will steal your heart, especially if you are an adventure lover.
While most people will prefer laying next to the pool, sipping a cold margarita, others will look for some strange, yet special places to visit in Mexico. It’s a pity once coming to Mexico to stay in the room or only in the resort.
This is why we have created a list of 12 most unique places to visit in Mexico for you. Grab your camera, and start an adventure to be remembered. Just be sure you are ready to see some peculiar wonders of this world.
Some places we selected are truly unusual and jaw-dropping. But this is what adds to their charm and it makes for a fun unique experience.
Keep on reading to find everything you need to know about Mexico’s top tourist destinations.
Best Unique Places To Visit In Mexico
Let’s start our journey through these 12 amazing weird and unique destinations in Mexico you must visit during your stay here.
1. Island of the Dolls/ La Isla la Munecas
Maybe one of the most popular tourist attractions, “La Isla de la Munecas”, which is a Spanish name, means the Island of the Dolls. Sounds already scary, isn’t it? Actually, this is a sad island that was never meant to be a tourist destination.
The story of the island full of dolls started when the life of a poor little girl was cut too short.
When it comes to the geographical part, well, the Island of the Dolls sits right in the canals south of Mexico City. As soon as you will start your journey, you will see hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls.
If you are a fan of thriller movies, you will enjoy seeing all those decapitated heads of the dolls, the adorn trees, and all those scary fences.
The dolls in the daylight look like you don’t want to play, but if you visit “La Isla de la Munecas” in the dark, they can be really haunting.
The Story of the Island
As you might expect, the island’s origins lie in a tragic story. Let’s go back in the past and find out the reason why this unique place exists in Mexico. The story starts with the only inhabitant of the island, which was Don Julian Santana.
Somewhere about 50 years ago, this man found the body of a child in the canal. She appeared to have drowned. Since that day, Don Julian Santana was haunted by her death.
But the whole story with the dolls started when this man saw a doll floating by the canal. As soon as he saw that doll, he hung it in a tree in the memory of this girl. This way, he hoped that the tortured soul of the girl would be protected from further evil.
One Doll Was Not Enough
However, he felt like one doll in a tree was not enough to ease the soul of this girl. As such, he felt like he needed to continue fishing for dolls and dolls parts around the island. He carefully took lots of dolls and started hanging them from the trees.
However, there were not enough canal dolls to ease the spirit of that poor little girl.
The Stories Behind Isla de la Munecas
We can continue the stories about this strange island over and over again. Some said Don Julian went crazy and believed all those hung dolls were real children.
But finally, the truth said by his family is that Don Julian always thought that the island was hunted by the spirit of the dead girl.
For this reason and maybe some more, Don Julian himself believed that by hanging all those dolls in the trees, the soul of that girl will be happy and kept away from the evil spirit.
Stories are interesting and spooky, as such, the island is now full of tourists that are looking for an adventure in their visit to Mexico.
Good To Know Before You Come Here
The first thing to know is that this island is 17 miles south of Mexico City. Your way will last only four hours and you will pay around $75. During the ride, we recommend you to keep an eye out for the wildlife.
You might see some cute, exotic creatures, such as egrets, kingfishers, several species of water snakes or pelicans.
2. The Giant Crystal Cave
The Second unique place in Mexico to visit is the Giant Crystal Cave, which is hidden in a cave by the Naica mine in Naica, Chihuahua. This is a true landmark for this location, and a real treasure when it comes to the best attractions to see.
Now, this area is the home for dozens of huge crystals. Some of these crystals can weigh 55 tons. This is huge. Once coming here, you can see the largest Selenite “sword” crystals in the whole world. Even though this location was discovered over 100 years ago, it is still a “wow destination.”
History of this place
To find out more about the Giant Crystal Cave, we should go back in the 18th century. During this period of time, silver was worth a lot of money in Mexico. And along with the first years of the 20th century, mining was also very popular.
In 1911, the Naica mine was finally closed, and that moment followed with the finding of Giant Crystal Cave. Since that first moment, people knew the place is special, and is a spectacular natural discovery.
As such, the locals decided it would be a great idea to protect the environment here, so the cave is now protected by law.
What You Will See Here
However, it wasn’t until the 2000s, when Juan and Pedro Sanchez, who are two researchers. Finally discovered the cave again and they saw it from another perspective.
While searching the Naica cave, they saw something which remains unforgettable for anyone who comes here: over 900 feet underground, with dozens of giant crystals.
The diameter of each crystal is somewhere around 12 feet. This means huge, and also weighs over 55 tons. People say they are over 500,000 years old.
Over the many many years, several natural phenomena started shaping this crystal in a very unique way, so the result is now a natural wonder.
Good To Know When Coming to Giant Crystal Cave
The view is spectacular, safe to say a once-in-a-lifetime image. However, you cannot stay near the crystal if you don’t wear special equipment. The average temperature is 58*C or 160* F, which can cause even death to some.
So it’s impossible to stay for more than 10 minutes. Moreover, the crystals are very difficult to climb, so only specialists will be able to see them closely.
Healing Benefits of the Crystals
Another interesting fact to know about the cave is that people believe the Selenite, which is a gypsum crystal, brings people lots of healing benefits. Only by touching them, people will look younger.
On top of that, Selenite, which is the Greek goddess of the moon, offers emotional stability and prosperity. In a nutshell, the Giant Crystal Cave is a magical place to visit.
3. Museum de El Carmen Mummies
The Museum de El Carmen Mummies is a former monastery school and chapel. The construction of it lasted between 1615 and 1628. The building used to be a monastery school, but today, it stands as a full Colonial religious piece of art.
In the crypt of the former monastery, there are 12 mummified bodies. These bodies are thought to belong to some former parishioners. Without a doubt, the bodies had been abandoned in the crypt.
So after the building was abandoned for good, due to poor conditions, the bodies started dehydrating, so they naturally mummified. The discovery of these bodies was made by members of the Liberation Army of the South.
They succeeded in doing this discovery by looking for monastic treasures, so it was a pure coincidence that they found the bodies.
During the following years, the bodies were again discovered by people who were exploring the building. And finally, in 1929, the mummies were placed in a safer place, which means some velvet-lined wood and glass caskets. These original boxes are still in use.
Before you go to this place, we would recommend you choose the Metro variant. Take the subway 3 to Miguel Angel de Quevedo. After visiting the mummies, take your time to have a walk in the beautiful monastery gardens.
4. La Coloradas (Pink Lake)
One of the most impressive, colorful unique places to visit in Mexico is this place full of color, named La Coloradas, or Pink Lake. Hidden away right on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, this lake is the perfect Instagram place.
The stunning cotton-candy pink lakes are bliss and something you can see once in a lifetime.
Las Coloradas means “the colored” in the Spanish language, so the name is the best description for this destination.
This name is also for the tiny Mexican fishing village here, which has a population of only 1000. Right nearby this village there is a series of beautifully colored pink lakes.
You should also know that this area is part of the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, which is a protected wetland by law. Here you will feel like its part of the kingdom of unique animals.
You can see flamingos, jaguars, sea turtles, crocodiles, as well as all kinds of seabirds. This area extends on 150,000 acres.
How Can a Lake be Pink?
Ok, so far so good, but how is it possible for a lake to be pink? Well, the answer is simple, considering the biodiversity here. First of all, solar salt is the main reason why the lake was formed.
Secondly, the vibrant pink color you see everywhere in the pictures is due to red-colored algae, as well as the brine shrimp, and plankton. All these live happily in a salty environment. Once the water starts evaporating, these organisms are more and more concentrated. So as a result, you will see the glimmering pink all under the beautiful Mexican sunlight.
Pink Flamingos Everywhere
One of the most interesting facts about this lake is the mesmerizing flamingos. And do you know why they are pink?
Well, because they actually eat all the pink creatures we were talking about. Normally, flamingos would be white, but as they are hanging out in the pink lakes, they become cotton-pink as well.
Where to Stay?
As the area does not have so many accommodation units, most of the tourists choose to stay in the nearby town, Rio Lagartos, which is only 30 minutes from Las Coloradas. From here you can take many Flamingo boat tours, which usually stop at the salty lakes as well.
Good To Know
Keep in mind that the pink water is incredibly salty. This means that as soon as you enter it, you might feel weird and have some unpleasant smells. However, this water is not for swimming, but only for taking the best shots.
5. La Casa Azul Frida Kahlo’s Museum
One of the most eccentric, yet interesting characters when it comes to Mexico is Frida Kahlo. It is impossible not to have seen her at least once in a picture. We consider the privilege of getting to know her home and make connections with her work.
La Casa Azul Frida Kahlo’s Museum is a creative universe, also known as the Blue House. Here, Frida used to live, and it is also the place where she died.
During her marriage to Diego Riviera, she traveled all around the country, but always came back to this place, and her family home.
The location of Casa Azul is in the neighborhood Coyoacan, in Mexico City. The Blue House opened as a museum in 1958. Only 4 years after Frida’s death, and as of today the house is the most famous Mexican museum.
What You Will Discover Here
The popularity of Museo Frida Kahlo is due to the many personal objects of Latin America’s most celebrated woman artists. As such, Casa Azul contains also many of the most important works of the Mexican painter.
Here you can admire Frida and the Caesarian Operation (1931), Long Live Life (1954), Caesarian Operation (1931), as well as My Father Wilhelm Kahlo (1952).
6. Isla Marietas Hidden Beach
This island is also called Playa del Amor (so romantic, right?) When it comes to the geographical part, well, you should know that this magical island is 22 nautical miles west of Puerto Vallarta.
Why is Hidden Beach special?
Playa del Amor looks like a fantasy novel, as soon as you reach it.
The picture of this place is absolutely breathtaking. You should know that Marieta Islands is actually a group of islands that are formed under the water.
The process was due to the volcano eruptions. So you will come across natural wonders, that you will only be able get a close view during your visit here.
Of course, there are some other rumors about the formation. There are some rumors that the Hidden Beach was created due to some bombings.
Considering that the Marieta Islands do not have any inhabitants, this place was perfect for military testing. Conspiracy theory?
Good To Know
Before you come here, you should know something about the itinerary. So, the islands are accessible by boat. There are lots of daily excursions you can book from the tour companies.
However, the tickets to Playa del Amor are limited, this is why it would be wise to book your tickets a few days in advance. Now, there are some companies that will ask 1500 pesos each for a day trip.
7. Quetzalcoatl Snake Hotel
If there is one special accommodation in this world, then this one should definitely be Quetzalcoatl Snake Hotel. The hotel is kind of peculiar, and the central character around this place is the mystic figure of god Quetzalcóatl.
He is a mythic figure in Mexico, and people talk about him as the master of wind and air.
The hotel is only 30 minutes from Mexico City. The best part? You can rent one of the special rooms.
About Booking The Rooms
The Quetzalcoatl Snake Hotel is also listed on Airbnb. There are five bedrooms in total, where up to eight people can sleep across. You can even spend the night in the belly of this beast.
One of the best parts is that from each round window you will have a beautiful view of the forest.
What to Do
Once you are here you should not waste the time, but wander around the amazing structure. Go right in the serpent’s mouth or spend your time by the nearby pools.
If you are going with your kids, they will be happy to explore the tunnels, labyrinths, the flower gardens, as well as the natural 5,000-square-meter site. The park hosts lots of caves and caverns.
The design is quite unique, inspired by the modern Aztec buildings.
8. National Museum of Death
Another unique place to visit in Mexico is the National Museum of Death. How about spending your time learning about the history of death. Sounds interesting, right?
Well, the National Museum of Death is located in the city of Aguascalientes and opened to the public in the summer of 2007.
Nowadays, the National Museum of Death hosts a full, permanent collection with hundreds of death-related artifacts. Moreover, you can see some of Octavio Bajonero Gil’s lifetime artwork.
The Aim of the National Museum of Death
With 13 years of operation today, the mission of the Museum of Death has changed during that time. Now, its collection has expanded more so in the direction of death iconography and funeral arts.
Of course, everything is related to Mexican culture. You will admire both contemporary and ancient works, as well as some artifacts that belonged to the personal collection of Daniel Mercurio Lopez Casillas.
Step by step, once entering the Museum, the visitors will be able to admire some proof of the history of death. Starting from the pre-Hispanic era, the exhibits will continue through to the periods of Spanish Conquistadors’ domination.
You will be surprised to find some evidence from the contemporary period, including some from the sugar skull in pop culture as well.
9. Underwater Museum (MUSA)
One of the most spectacular destinations to see in Mexico is the UnderWater Museum. If you are a big fan of water and water diving, then you will find a most favorite place on Earth.
If you have always dreamed of swimming through exotic fauna, and admire some interesting art, this is the place to be.
What is MUSA?
MUSA is also known as “Museo Subacuático de Arte’, and the main purpose of this subaquatic museum is to divert a large group of ocean divers.
Actually, everything started when scientists worried about the disruption of the balance of underwater fauna. The director of the Cancun National Marine Park said they were looking for the best method to preserve the disrupted coral reefs.
Who Created The Underwater Art?
So, once the plan became more concrete, the British Sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor came here with a group of Mexican artists and started anchoring the 500 statues into the ocean. These statues have pH-neutral marine concrete on them.
Nowadays, people who come to the Museum of Submerged Art can see nearly three galleries that showcase different themes. They all reflect the subtle nuances of the fishing world.
The submarine landscape is one of a kind, a balance between nature and mankind. The sculptures themes reflects human solitary.
10. Grutas Tolantongo Hot Pools
Although all-natural, it is safe to say that the Grutas Tolantongo Hot Pools are the most luxurious swimming holes in the world.
Las Grutas Tolantongo, also known as the Tolantongo caves, is a beautiful collection of hot spring pools, which makes them a unique place to visit in Mexico. Built into a cliff in Hidalgo, these pools are the perfect way to relax and enjoy being in the middle of nature.
Bucket List Destination
Don’t worry about distances. Grutas Tolantongo is only four hours from Mexico City. These are amazing natural pools, with perfect warm mineral water. The temperature of the waters is given by the volcanic mountains.
What to Explore?
Once reaching this unique place, you can go to the caves and the tunnel if you are looking for some adventure. Don’t hesitate to swim into the hot spring rivers. If you are coming with the children, they will have so much fun in the kid-friendly pool.
There are also many other magical geothermal areas you can explore here, such as the Hot Springs River, Hot Springs Grotto, or the Hot Springs Tunnel.
11. Suytun Cenote in Valladolid
Cenote Suytun is definitely one of the most photogenic places to be while visiting Mexico. The place is famous for its dazzling light beams, as well as the circular viewing platform.
Cenote Suytun is a beautiful cenote to explore once you are exploring the Mexico Yucatan Peninsula.
What Are Cenotes?
A cenote is pronounced seh-NO-tay, and it is actually a water-filled sinkhole. The process of formation is natural, so cenotes appear when an underground cave collapses in on itself.
What is Cenote Suytun best for?
Once coming here, Standout underground Cenote with a walkway, admire its unique beauty, go take a swim to see the rock formations, visit the resident peacock, and last but not least, capture some amazing photos.
12. Garden Las Pozas en Xilitla
Last but not least, Garden Laz Pozas en Xilitla is the final unique place to visit when coming on a Mexico vacation. This large garden structure is built in the jungle, and looks like a concrete garden of Eden.
The beautiful paths, the amazing shapes embraced by vegetation are a few of the reasons to come here.
The History of Garden Laz Pozas en Xilitla
The garden was firstly the property of Edward Jones, who is also the creator of the art here today. Edward James loved all kinds of animals, housed ocelots and flamingos, as well as exotic plants.
At one point, a 3 days long snowstorm killed all the beautiful plants in his home garden, so then he decided to rebuild the garden, and replace the real flowers with concrete ones.
He dedicates somewhere around 20 years for this masterpiece, so the garden today stretches over 8o acres.
You will also see lots of natural waterfalls and pools here, so make sure you take your time to visit this heaven on Earth.
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Regardless if you prefer to keep it strange or simply see a more than unique place, Mexico has it for you. Check out one or more, but be sure to take pictures on your visit.
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