Places You Didn’t Know Existed in Mexico - Emporio Hotels

Places You Didn’t Know Existed in Mexico


Mexico is a country rich in culture and natural beauty that is home to a wonderful variety of places unknown to many. Hearing about popular destinations like Cancun, Mexico City and Guadalajara is, of course, very common, but there are so many other amazing places worth exploring.

Most every corner of the country is full of history, culture and breathtaking landscapes, leaving no room for boredom. So, the next time you plan a trip, think about exploring these spots that you may not have known existed and that you will surely end up loving.

Guadalupe Canyon – Tijuana

This is an impressive destination situated within the municipality of Ensenada. Its hot climate makes it the ideal setting for luxuriating in its thermal waters, which are famous for their curative and therapeutic properties, as they contain minerals believed to have health benefits.


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The canyon is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and lush vegetation, a setting that lends itself to hiking, bicycle exploration and enjoying nature to the max. Some activities to consider doing are:

  • Rappelling
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Rock climbing
  • Hiking
  • Exploring ancient remains

It is important to know that getting to this canyon involves a rather unusual route that is not always particularly easy for everyone, so taking comfortable shoes is highly recommended.

The two possible routes are:

  1. Crossing the mysterious Laguna Salada (literally, salty lagoon) bed, challenging terrain that puts your abilities and skill at the wheel to the test. For this, you need a vehicle that can overcome any obstacle and a copilot who can get around this complicated land with ease.
  2. Going on dirt roads that will take you through two impressive canyons, each with its own fascinating history. The first, Palmas de Cantú, will greet you with its prehistoric rock paintings, a window into the past that will take you to ancient times filled with mystery and primitive art; and then Tajo Canyon, whose imposing monolith, the largest in the entire region, will leave you agape.

In any event, rewards await at the end of the trek, when you get to the crystal-clear pools or even go to the waterfalls that vary in height and size.

The Xinantécatl Lagoons – Toluca

These lagoons, known as El Sol and La Luna, are a natural treasure found in the crater of a gorgeous volcano:

  • El Sol (the sun), with its crystal-clear water, reflects its namesake’s rays and creates a dazzling landscape.
  • La Luna (the moon), on the other hand, has a mystical and enigmatic beauty, with deeper water and serene surroundings, where you will find rock carvings, artistic representations related with the spiritual world.

Besides being naturally stunning, they also have a cultural meaning, since in the distant past the Xinantécatl volcano rose up as an astronomical marker. In fact, for inhabitants of the zone, it was a guide to celebrating the spring equinox. It is even said to have been closely link with the calendar and seasons of the year.


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Rituals related to a good harvest are still carried out today, and the best season to go is winter, when it is even more scenically beautiful.

Exploring these lagoons is like diving into a world of tranquility and wonder, in which you can do a number of activities, such as:

  • Follow the trails that go around the edge
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the mountain peaks that surround the area
  • Take the plunge, and swim in the fresh, revitalizing waters
  • Relax on the shore, enjoying the peaceful environment
  • Camp out
  • Go rappelling
  • Go cycling

You can get there by car during the week, and on weekends special transportation is available, but you can also do the two- to four-hour hike. For the latter option, though, be sure and get good directions to keep from getting lost.

Norte Beach – Quintana Roo

Being one of the mystical places in Mexico, this beach stands out as one of the loveliest on the Mexican Caribbean. Its crystal-clear waters, smooth sand and wide range of services, including restaurants, bars and water activities, ensure a full and great experience.

Some of the activities to do in this paradise are:

  • Swaying beneath the palm trees in a hammock
  • Going to the bars to sample drinks and appetizers and dance to the music
  • Snorkeling around the nearby coral reefs
  • Waiting for the sunset to see the stunning colors that appear on the canvas of the sky
  • Enjoying a cocktail at one of the places with a superb ocean view

To get to this beach, you have to take a ferry from one of two points, one from the Cancun hotel zone and the other from Puerto Juárez. Both leave passengers at the island terminal, from where you will continue on about 2,300 feet to Norte Beach.

Generally the weather on the island, which has an area of 3,280 feet, tends to be sunny, with an average temperature of 82 degrees. It is good to know that there are several hotels, as well as bars and other places providing a fun party atmosphere.

Sótano de Popocatl – Veracruz

Another of Mexico’s hidden treasures is this deep vertical cavern known as the Sótano de Popocatl, which was created by a geological fault. Visitors today cannot help but be enthralled by this wonder of nature and the amazing waterfall that crashes down some 200 feet into the chasm, creating a lake and a humid breeze in the air.

Visitors here can hike to the mouth of the cavern and rappel down to the bottom to observe the waterfall and the breathtaking beauty of the place from close-up. Because that is the only way to get to the bottom, you need to hire expert guides, which you can do in Córdoba or Orizaba.

Due to the nature of the Sótano de Popocatl, during the descent you will see rainbows and birds flying in and out. We recommend taking precautions and having an experienced guide if you decide to do adventure activities. You can also, however, observe the cave from above.


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To get to the Sótano de Popocatl, take the road from the city of Orizaba heading toward the port city of Veracruz. You will get to your destination after going about 12.5 miles, though you will still have to walk about 15 minutes through the rainforest.

We recommend having your own vehicle, to get there more easily, and wearing stiff-soled footwear to make the whole process easier.

Natural Pools at Cuatro Ciénegas – Coahuila

One of the spectacular and most unusual spots in Mexico, since it is unique in all the world, this zone of pools of crystal-clear water that vary in terms of colors and depths, is considered a natural wonder and offers great diversity of flora and fauna.

 Some activities to do in this paradise are:

  • Hiking on the trails
  • Observing the unique species inhabiting the zone
  • Taking singular photographs of a landscape you won’t see anywhere else on Earth
  • Snorkeling to see the local species

This magical place is the home of species that have adapted to the fairly extreme conditions of the pools and are unique the world over; in other words, they’re found nowhere else on the planet.

Cuatro Ciénegas is in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, and to get to this incredible spot you can set out from the city of Cuatro Ciénegas. Take the road toward Torreón, and after about five and a half miles, you will come upon the entrance to the Fosas Naturales de Cuatro Ciénegas (Cuatro Ciénegas natural pools).

Prismas Basálticos – Huasca de Ocampo

These impressive basalt column formations were created millions of years ago as a result of the gradual cooling of the volcanic lava. Today the phenomenon is considered a natural wonder visible in specific locations in the world.

The most unusual thing about these formations and what differentiates them from other prisms are the falls that form from water that finds its way from a nearby reservoir and bathes them.

One recommendation for your visit is to make it midweek, since weekends tend to be very crowded. It takes about two hours to drive to the Prismas Basálticos from Mexico City, whereas from Pachuca, the state capital of Hidalgo, the trip is around an hour. Because there is no direct public transportation service, the best thing is to arrive by car or with an organized tour.

Visiting hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, although it is always a good idea to reconfirm the schedule before planning your visit and make a reservation in advance for a guided visit. Also, because the Prismas Basálticos are in a protected zone, there is an entrance free.