Michoacan's Billion Monarch Butterfly Migration
Spread across a magnificent range of volcanoes its valleys make up some of the nation's most fertile farmlands; its lakes have provided inspiration and sustenance for millennia. In between, travelers find quaint colonial towns like Patzcuaro and Uruapan, or take up big-city pleasures in Morelia, the beautiful state capital. In the northeast of Michoacan, trek to the groves where millions of monarch butterflies cover tree after tree—it just might change your life. Swim waterfalls on your way to Zirahuen, where you can switch to raft or kayak for an unforgettable day on an unspoiled highland lake.
Lakes Like No Others
Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo, Mexico State - The small jurisdiction surrounding Mexico City, contains big surprises for nature lovers: everything from magnificent volcanoes and archaeological sites to the nation’s most celebrated lakeside: Valle de Bravo. At “Valle,” you harness the winds for a full day at the sails (or on skis) surrounded by brilliant sunlight and beautiful mountains. Or ride horseback to a nearby summit , then hang-glide down to earth. At day’s end it’s back to camp—everything from a wilderness tent to a luxury hotel.
Vertigo and Fantastic Views in Copper Canyon
Discover Chihuahua—one of Mexico's very best kept secrets, far from the tourist track. Beneath the deep purple of the Sierra Madre Occidental, you'll find towns unchanged for centuries, traces of the Mexican Revolution, and a grand tradition of welcoming visitors. After a breathtaking train ride through intense desert landscapes and ghostly indigenous villages, you reach Barrancas del Cobre—a series of canyons deeper and grander than even Arizona's. Hike, bike or horseback 4921 feet, nearly straight down, to camp at Lake Areko after a dip beneath Cusarare Falls. Hardcores do a 66-mile double marathon up and down La Sinforosa, the canyon's “queen of the cliffs”.
16,000 Feet to the Orizaba Peak in Veracruz
Mount Orizaba is for climbers who take it to the very top. With an expert indigenous guide (you’ll need him), you ascend 16,000 ft to the top of Mexico’s highest peak and—after Kilimanjaro—the second most prominent volcano in the world. In the territory below, you kayak rapids or even take the falls at Tomata. Mount Orizaba is for climbers who take it to the very top. With an expert indigenous guide (you’ll need him), you ascend 16,000 ft to the top of Mexico’s highest peak and—after Kilimanjaro—the second most prominent volcano in the world. In the territory below, you kayak rapids or even take the falls at Tomata.
Sotano de las Golondrinas - Cave of the Swallows
San Luis Potosi
San Luis Potosi is a glorious secret for lovers of outdoor adventure. Encompassing territory as diverse as rainforest and high desert, scored by hundreds of majestic mountains, adventure awaits in the state’s every corner. At Sotano de las Golondrinas, you don’t just rappel 1234 ft to the bottom of the cliff—you go deeper, beneath the surface into one of the world’s most spectacular single-chamber caverns. A flurry of birds helps you find your way down. Back at the surface it’s rafting beneath 344-ft Tamul falls. End your day by biking in the mountains around quaint Real de Catorce.
Wild, Wild Life on Holbox Island, Quintana Roo
One of Mexico's wildest and most singular states is Quintana Roo. Its world-famous white sand beaches and dazzling azure waters are home to the planet's second largest coral reef. Less known—but equally as impressive—is the state's incredible animal life. At Holbox island, visitors swim and commune with whale sharks, then frolic with dozens of other sea creatures while they kayak or scuba. On Isla Pajaros, you can actively help scientists preserve the island's flamingo populations. All the while, keep your eyes peeled for tapirs and big cats like jaguars, tigrillos and ocelots.
Cenotes - The Underwater World of the Yucatan
Yucatan State is like no other place on earth. Home to some of the Mayas' most important ancient cities, today that past lives next to incredible nature in the form of verdant jungles and mysterious cenotes, hundreds of explorable caverns, and some of the best bird watching in the world. Put simply, there is nothing to compare to Chichen Itza: the brilliant Maya city's eternal energy moves you to dive the region's underground rivers and flooded caves beneath crystal-clear waters. And at Celestun or Ria Lagartos you can help tag flamingo chicks while you check out other feathered and scaly species in the surrounding swamps and mangroves.
Connecting with Nature in Riviera Maya
Interact with animals, plants and their habitats in Riviera Maya's fantastic nature parks
The Riviera Maya is home to some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in all of Mexico. Besides beaches and jungle, you'll also find freshwater canals, mangroves, lagoons, inlets and cenotes (sinkholes). Nature parks in the Riviera Maya do a super job of showcasing the beauty and diversity of this spectacular Mexico destination.
Xcaret, the largest and most impressive theme park in the Riviera Maya, offers a wide variety of activities and diversions in a spectacular natural setting. Here you can snorkel in an underground river, learn about marine life in a living aquarium, walk through a butterfly pavilion, see jaguars and pumas, swim with dolphins or manatees, and learn about sea turtles.
Deep Maya Green in the Jungles of Quintana Roo
Remote Quintana Roo—closer to Cuba than to Mexico City—contains astounding jungles and breathtaking natural life that are just beginning to be discovered. Within them you find amazing biodiversity, exuberant flowers and trees, and vestiges of the Mayas’ magnificent civilization. Start your adventure with a day on the beach beneath an ancient Maya fortress at Tulum, then hit the jungles in search of manatees, tapirs and the most sublime forest dweller of all: the elusive jaguar. At sea, the state’s coral reefs feature some of the best diving and sport fishing on earth.
Going Deep in the Sea of Cortez
An enormous bay that separates the state of Sonora and the Baja California Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez is one of Mexico's most splendid natural wonders—you could spend a lifetime exploring it, and many have. Home to millions of exotic fish species and a breeding ground for Pacific whales, Sea of Cortez diving—along with every other imaginable water sport—ranks among the finest in the world. Back on shore visitors find everything from abandoned beaches to sophisticated resorts like La Paz and Guaymas.
High Sierra Trails in Queretaro
Queretaro—the historic and natural heart of the ranch and mining region known as the Bajio—is a mountainous gem famed for its thermal springs, mysterious archaeological sites and Huasteca region biosphere reserve. In Sierra Gorda mountains, where visitors blaze ancient highland trails past missions and pre-Hispanic ruins—on foot or bike—to take in panoramas like no others on earth. But whatever you do, don't miss out on Peña de Bernal, a monolith as steep as Gibraltar or Sugarloaf, where you can climb or rappel a 944-foot cliff. This is the Mexico intrepid adventurers love most.
Nuevo Leon - Climbing Higher and Free Fall
Potrero Chico/Matacanes Canyon, Nuevo Leon - With its rugged, ranchero feel and dramatic desert landscapes, Nuevo Leon has become an insider secret for outdoor adventure, where locals welcome the infrequent visitor with some of Mexico's very best hospitality. At gorgeous Potrero Chico, you ascend as high as 2000 ft along sheer limestone cliffs at one of the world's top rock-climbing destinations—it's a guaranteed personal best. Take it all in, then rappel 88 feet to the river at Matacanes—or even push the envelope with a heart-stopping, 43-foot freefall splash-down.
Shooting the Rapids in Chiapas
Chiapas is blessed with a varied climate that ranges from hot, sunny beaches to cool, misty highlands and rainforests, Chiapas features waterfalls and mangrove forests, sheer cliffs and breathtaking lagoons. The plant and animal life is among Mexico's most varied, home to wild orchids and towering ceiba trees, howler monkeys, parrots and even big cats like jaguars and ocelots. Rafting trips down the La Venta River are unforgettable and can include hiking 164-ft deep canyons at the Arco del Tiempo Reserve, wilderness camping or visits to Lacandon villages, where jungle inhabitants share their knowledge and traditions with fascinated visitors.
Sonora's Creatures, Land and Sea
Sonora's deserts, expanding north from the shores of the Sea of Cortez, make for once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Get ready for mind-blowing cactus tableaux, golden sunsets and swirling sand, in and around towns and villages suffused with a self-reliant—yet open and friendly vibe. It's a welcome like few others in Mexico. At Kino Bay, diving isn't just for humans—you share space with the sea lions and other amazing creatures. On shore, trek in search of bighorn sheep and bura deer. If it gets too hot, dive back into fishing or water sports that go from EZ to Xtreme.