In a week and a day, you can plan an action-packed trip to one or even two regions of Mexico. Begin in Mexico City with food, history, and archeology tours before continuing to the cultural hotbed of Oaxaca or the Caribbean beaches and ancient Maya ruins of the Yucatán. Or head northwest for tequila tours around Guadalajara, mountain adventures in Chihuahua, and a bit of relaxation in Puerto Vallarta.

Itinerary #1: Mexico Grand Tour

Discover the artistic spirit and historical legacy of Mexico City over eight culture-packed days that will also take you to Spanish-colonial Cholula and Oaxaca. 

The iconic hilltop neoclassical church in Cholula
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 2 Day Trip to Xochimilco, Coyoacán & San Angel Mexico City
Day 3 Bike Tour of Teotihuacán Mexico City
Day 4 Mexico City to Cholula, Optional Activities Cholula
Day 5 Free Day in Cholula, Transfer to Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 6 Walking Tour of Oaxaca City Oaxaca
Day 7 Day Trip to Mitla & Mezcal Tasting Oaxaca
Day 8 Depart Oaxaca  

This unforgettable trip begins in the nation's capital of Mexico City. Here you'll not only take a gondola ride down the ancient canals at Xochimilco, but you'll also visit Coyoacán and San Angel. In these historic neighborhoods, you'll visit the former residences of two legendary Mexican artists: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. On day three, head just outside the capital to Teotihuacán, the most awe-inspiring archeological site in Mexico. At the height of its power around the year 500, this urban center, home to Mexico's tallest pyramid ruins, was the largest city in the western hemisphere.

The next day head south from Mexico City to Cholula, a district of Puebla. Dating to 200 BCE, this is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. While here, you'll visit highlight landmarks like the 16th-century neoclassical cathedral built atop an ancient pyramid. On day five, transfer to Oaxaca to see more Spanish-colonial landmarks (like its 16th-century Metropolitan Cathedral) while immersing yourself in the indigenous cultures. End the trip at the pre-Hispanic ruins at Mitla, plus a stop at a mezcalería to sample this region's popular agave-based spirit. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Relaxation on the Yucatán Peninsula

If your goal is to relax and recharge your batteries on white-sand beaches while marveling at ancient ruins, this eight-day escape to Mexico's Yucatán is just what the doctor ordered.

Cancun caracol beach sunset in mexico at hotel zone hotelera
Enjoy a sunset beach swim at Cancún's Caracol beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cancún, Transfer to Tulum Tulum
Day 2 Day Trip to Sian Ka'an, Optional Activities in Tulum Tulum
Day 3 Tulum to Nuevo Durango, Explore Cobá Ruins & Punta Laguna Nuevo Durango
Day 4 Nuevo Durango to Valladolid, Culture & Nature in Yalcobá Valladolid
Day 5 Valladolid to Holbox Island, Optional Activities Holbox
Day 6 Free Day on Holbox Island Holbox
Day 7 Holbox to Puerto Morelos, Optional Activities Puerto Morelos
Day 8 Puerto Morelos to Cancun, Departure  

This adventure begins with your arrival in the hotspot of Cancún on the Yucatán Peninsula. From there, hit the road south down the aptly named Riviera Maya, which runs along the Caribbean coast, to the resort town of Tulum. It's an excellent base for exploring nearby nature reserves like Sian Ka'an. This UNESCO World Heritage Site protects forests, coastline, lagoons, and waterways, which you'll enjoy on a boat ride. Back in Tulum, you'll tour its famous fortress ruins (which date to 1200 CE), then visit the nearby ruins of Cobá, home to Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán at 137 feet (41 m).

On day four, travel to the peninsula's interior and Valladolid. This well-preserved Spanish-colonial city is one of Mexico's "magical towns"—a designation bestowed on places of great historical importance by the government. Nearby you'll visit an indigenous community to see their ancient agricultural practices, plus take a dip in a cave cenote (limestone sinkhole lagoon). The trip winds down on northern Holbox Island, known for its laid-back pace, lack of tourists, and wide-open beaches. On day seven, transfer to Puerto Morelos for snorkeling around its barrier reef before heading home. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Mexico City to the Riviera Maya

Embark on an eight-day combined journey to Mexico City and the Riviera Maya, in which you'll visit the capital's historic Spanish-colonial landmarks and the Yucatan's most incredible natural wonders.

San Juan Bautista Church in Coyoacán, Mexico City
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City, Walking Tour Mexico City
Day 2 Visit Xochimilco & Coyoacán Mexico City
Day 3 Bike Tour of Teotihuacán Mexico City
Day 4 Mexico City to Cancún, Transfer to Tulum Tulum
Day 5 Río Secreto Guided Tour Tulum
Day 6 Day Trip to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Tulum
Day 7 Free Day in Tulum, Optional Activities Tulum
Day 8 Tulum to Cancún, Depart  

The action starts in Mexico City with a tour of its Centro Histórico (historic center). Here you'll visit significant landmarks like the Palacio de Bellas Artes concert hall (built-in 1905), the Plaza de la Constitución (also known as Zócalo), the iconic Metropolitan Cathedral (which dates to 1573), and the 16th-century National Palace. You'll even take a stroll through Parque Chapultepec, which at 1,695 acres is one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. The history walk continues down the Spanish-colonial streets of Coyoacán, and on day three, you'll ride a bicycle amid the pyramids at Teotihuacán.

The next day, fly to Cancún, then transfer south to Tulum. Enjoy the town and maybe pick up some souvenirs on Tulum Beach Road, the main street lined with boutiques, shops, and art galleries. You'll not only spend a day floating down the Sian Ka'an reserve's waterways but also go deep underground in the Río Secreto. This is one of the largest underground rivers in the world, and you'll swim in it on a 3.5-hour tour. Spend your last days in Tulum hiking around its fortress ruins, visiting romantic cenotes (like Cenote Dos Ojos), and lazing on the white sands of Playa Ruinas. Learn more

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Itinerary #4: Guadalajara & Puerto Vallarta 

This eight-day excursion takes you to the stars of Mexico's north—Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta—where you'll tour historic landmarks, learn the magic of tequila production, and relax on golden beaches.

Guadalajara's Plaza de Armas and Cathedral
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guadalajara, Optional Activities Guadalajara
Day 2 Walking Tour of Historic Guadalajara & Cacao Tasting Guadalajara
Day 3 Tequila Tour Guadalajara
Day 4 Day Trip to Lake Chapala Guadalajara
Day 5 Day Trip to Teuchitlán-Guachimontones Guadalajara
Day 6 Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, Optional Activities Puerto Vallarta
Day 7 Free day in Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta
Day 8 Depart Puerto Vallarta  

You'll arrive in Guadalajara, the "pearl of the west." The capital of Jalisco state, Guadalajara has a rich Spanish-colonial history (it was founded in 1542), which you'll see on a walking tour. Stroll its expansive plazas and visit iconic buildings like the 16th-century Guadalajara Cathedral, the 19th-century Teatro Degollado (a neoclassical theater), and the Palacio Municipal whose interior is adorned with murals by Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco. On day three, you'll venture to the town of Tequila for—what else?—tours of distilleries to learn the art of making Mexico's most famous spirit.

After a visit to charming villages along Lago Chapala (Mexico's largest lake), spend a day at Los Guachimontones, the largest pre-Columbian archeological site in Jalisco. The Teuchitlán ruins here are around 2,500 years old and are distinct from Aztec and Maya structures in that they're circular rather than pyramidal. On day six, you'll travel to the popular port city of Puerto Vallarta, famous for both its beaches and nightlife. Head off the beaten path to discover nearby fishing villages like Yelapa, stroll its historic center, and dine out on some of the best (and freshest) seafood. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Mexico Culture, Food & Beaches

Bring your appetite on an eight-day foodie adventure that will take you from the markets and taquerías of Mexico City to the beaches and jungles of the Yucatán for underground river tours and snorkeling trips. 

Enjoy the beaches around Playa del Carmen
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 2 Day Trip to Xochimilco & Coyoacán, Traditional Oaxacan Dinner Mexico City
Day 3 Food Tour of Mexico City, Visit Chapultepec Park Mexico City
Day 4 Mexico City to Playa del Carmen, Optional Activities Playa del Carmen
Day 5 Visit Chichén Itzá & Underground Rivers Playa del Carmen
Day 6 Day Trip to Cobá Ruins & Punta Laguna Nature Reserve Playa del Carmen
Day 7 Puerto Morelos Snorkeling Tour Playa del Carmen
Day 8 Playa del Carmen to Cancún, Depart  

The first part of this delicious adventure begins in Mexico City. Bring your appetite because after touring Xochimilco and Coyoacán, you'll sit down to a traditional Oaxacan dinner at one of the city's most famous restaurants. Follow this on day three with a foodie walking tour that will take you to various street-food stalls and the Mercado San Juan, the largest gourmet marketplace in Mexico City. Afterward, you'll head to Chapultepec Park and visit the iconic castle atop its tallest hill. The castle dates to 1785, and today it's the National Museum of History. 

On day four, you'll fly to Cancún and travel halfway down the Riviera Maya to the coastal resort town of Playa del Carmen. Enjoy its white-sand beaches fronting turquoise waters and nearby cenotes, like Jardín Del Eden and Cenote Azul. The next day you'll visit Chichén Itzá, the most famous Maya archeological site in Mexico—its majestic El Castillo pyramid stands an impressive 79 feet (24 m). After hiking up the even taller pyramid at Cobá, you'll visit Puerto Morelos for a snorkeling tour along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. On day eight, you'll head home. Learn more

Itinerary #6: Nature & History Adventure in Mexico's Northwest

See the most rugged side of Mexico on an eight-day exploration of the Chihuahua region's historic cities, mountain towns, and majestic canyons—plus enjoy a river-rafting trip in Sinaloa. 

View from Cerro del Gallego in Copper Canyon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Chihuahua, City Tour Chihuahua
Day 2 Chihuahua to Creel, Outdoor Activities Creel
Day 3 Creel to Cerocahui, Jesuit Mission & Wine Tasting Cerocahui
Day 4 Day Trip to Cerro del Gallego & Urique Canyon Cerocahui
Day 5 Cerocahui to El Fuerte, Walking Tour El Fuerte
Day 6 Rafting on the Fuerte River, Transfer to Barranca del Cobre Barranca del Cobre
Day 7 Parque Aventura & Cooking Class with Tarahumara Family Barranca del Cobre
Day 8 Copper Canyon to Chihuahua, Depart  

You'll arrive in Chihuahua, the capital of the eponymous state in northwestern Mexico. This region is known for its vast deserts and the incredible Copper Canyon, a massive network of river gorges in the Sierra Madre Mountains. First, you'll take a walking tour of Chihuahua to see its neoclassical buildings and learn about the city's rich history dating to the Mexican War of Independence. On day two, head into the Sierra Madres and the town of Creel, the gateway to Copper Canyon. After hiking around mountain lakes and waterfalls, you'll board the famous El Chepe Express train for the ride of a lifetime.

The first stop is in the ranching town of Cerocahui, where you'll visit a 17th-century Jesuit mission and enjoy a wine tasting. Then hike up to Cerro del Gallego, a viewpoint peering 6,562 feet (2,000 m) into Urique Canyon. On day five, head into Sinaloa state and El Fuerte, a city famous for its historical conflicts between the Mayo people and the Spanish conquistadores. After a leisurely ride down the El Fuerte River, return to the canyon and ride a cable car to magnificent viewpoints. You'll also visit the home of a local Tarahumara family, whose people have lived in these mountains for centuries. Learn more

More Great Mexico Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Mexico? Check out these other Mexico itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 8 Days in Mexico - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in Mexico - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas