The best places to visit in Mexico

Updated 22nd April 2019
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(CNN) — Do you want to add Mexico to your travel list but don't know where to start? We can help with this list of the best destinations.

Best beaches

isla holbox
Isla Holbox: This island off the Yucatan peninsula is known for its gorgeous beaches.
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Puerto Vallarta: This is one of the safest cities in Mexico. Find out why the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton loved it here and what it offers today.
Cancun: There's more to Mexico's Caribbean capital than wet T-shirts and shooters. Discover another side to this beautiful destination.
Isla Mujeres: Just a short ferry ride away from Cancun, this island has Mayan ruins, an ecological park and even an underwater museum you can visit over the course of a weekend.
Riviera Maya: For a mix of gorgeous beaches and world-class food and drink, head to the Riviera Maya on the country's east coast.
Isla Holbox: This little-known island is about to become the next big thing, so you should visit this casual, carefree place while you can.
Puerto Escondido: Learn to surf and embrace the laid-back way of life in this coastal community.

History and culture

Puebla Mexico
Puebla: This central Mexican state was where mole was invented.
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Puebla: The fourth-largest city in Mexico is home to some of the country's most unique food and drink offerings as well as a brand-new International Museum of the Baroque and a burgeoning luxury hotel scene.
Palenque: The ancient Mayan city of Palenque, in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas, is the country's most fascinating historical site you haven't heard of yet.
Mérida: In the capital of Yucatan state, explore Maya heritage, design hotels and a unique food culture.
Chichen Itza: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a can't-miss, but you'll get more bang for your buck at other, less packed Mayan ruins throughout Yucatan state.
Agua Azul waterfalls: These stunning waterfalls, whose name literally translate to "Blue Water," are a natural formation where you can learn about history and make all your friends jealous on Instagram at the same time.
Coahuila: This Northern Mexican state is home to the oldest winery in the Americas, but unlike Napa you can have the place to yourself.

Cities and towns

Mexico City: Mexico's high-altitude capital is one of the world's most interesting cities. Its award-winning architecture, groundbreaking and innovative food scene and top-notch museums make it a city you'll want to keep coming back to.
Guadalajara: The second city of Mexico is beloved for being the home of two iconic Mexican traditions -- tequila and mariachi.
Oaxaca City: In Oaxaca's capital in southern Mexico, you can shop in open-air food markets, hike breathtaking mountains and even learn about history through a textile museum.
San Miguel de Allende: See where history and present mix in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town known as SMA, which is now home to Mexico's most interesting tequila company.
The best small towns: Don't miss an opportunity to visit some of Mexico's most beautiful and magical small towns, such as the famous all-silver Taxco in Guerrero state or sunny Bacalar, home to the "Lake of Seven Colors."