The Best Adventure Sports to Try in Mexico

Get a thrill while glacier walking at Pico de Orizaba glacier in Mexico
Get a thrill while glacier walking at Pico de Orizaba glacier in Mexico | © Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lydia Carey
24 September 2020

Think about Mexico and images of sitting by the beach while sipping margaritas tend to come to mind. But however idyllic that might sound, Mexico has so much more to offer. There’s plenty of action for tourists and adrenaline junkies, and though you’ll find adventure wherever you go, here are a few favorite spots to really get your heart pumping.

Freshwater cave diving in the Yucatán Peninsula

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Scuba diver exploring El Eden cenote. Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Playa del Carmen offers plenty of activities, come rain or shine | © Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Cave diving isn’t for the faint-hearted, weak swimmers or anyone who gets claustrophobic. However, if you can get past the idea of being sandwiched between solid rock and water, then you are in for a treat. Freshwater cave diving in Mexico is like no other kind of diving; you enter a vast hidden world. The Yucatán Peninsula is popular for its cenotes (large holes with their own cave systems), crystal-clear water and ancient stalactites.

Skydiving in Ixtapa

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With the ocean below and nothing but sky above, you can have a heart-soaring adventure skydiving off Mexico’s Pacific coast. Skydive Ixtapa has over 25 years of experience in the business, taking you up in a small plane then sending you down with a parachute and a trained diver, leaving you with an incredible story to tell about your latest Mexican adventure. In addition to the beach, there are dozens of locations in Mexico where you can skydive, so take your pick!

Glacier climbing in Pico de Orizaba

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Glaciers may not be one of the first things to cross your mind when thinking of Mexico, however there are around 20 of them on the country’s three tallest mountains: Pico de Orizaba, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. The glacier at Pico de Orizaba sits at 16,000ft (4,877m). This is a climb that will test your resilience and willpower as the cold and danger really might make you consider turning back at every step – but the view from the summit is worth every skipped heartbeat.

Kitesurfing at La Ventana, Baja California Sur

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Mexico, Baja Sur, Young man kiteboarding on race board; Bay of La Ventana
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Known as the kitesurfing destination in Mexico, La Ventana is a simple fishing village. Yet it is its strong, steady thermal winds that make it the perfect spot for kitesurfing. The ambience is mellow, the Sea of Cortez is a stunning blue and the lifestyle is cheap. A lot of kitesurfers spend their winters here, just enjoying the waves, the atmosphere and the laid-back lifestyle. This is the perfect trip for a bit of an adrenaline rush and some downtime, too.

Bungee jumping at Los Cabos

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Another one for the real thrill-seekers – bungee jumping in Los Cabos. The wild landscape of Baja California ranges from forests to deserts and the crystal blue waters of the coast, so what better way to see it than free falling from a height of 350ft (107m)? The bungee jump in Los Cabos is located in the Wild Canyon, meaning you’ll get incredible views of the Sea of Cortez from the glass gondola before you jump (if you can concentrate on anything else, that is).

White-water rafting in Jalcomulco, Veracruz

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Known for its amazing rapids, Jalcomulco, Veracruz is the perfect place for a little rafting. There is an abundance of streams and rapids suitable for all ability levels, making it a great rafting trip for all ages. The rapids range from Class I (easy) to IV (advanced) and certified guides take out groups according to skill level. All the necessary gear is provided and before long you’ll be thundering along the Río Antigua, known locally as the Río Pescados. A guaranteed gut-churningly good time, with some incredible landscapes along the way.

Sport climbing in Potrero Chico

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Climbing, Chico Potrero
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El Potrero Chico draws climbers from across the globe. One for more experienced climbers, it’s home to one of the most popular sport climbing routes in North America, the Sendero Luminoso, which rises over 1,500ft (457m) in a stiff vertical ascent. If you don’t fancy tackling it in the flesh, just watching Alex Honnold’s free solo ascent of the Sendero Luminoso is enough to get your heart pumping.

Extreme urban downhill biking in Taxco

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This is not a nice relaxed bike ride. Downhill biking is for experienced bikers who have a lot of nerve, and the heart-pounding descent through the Mexican colonial town of Taxco means there are narrow alleyways, obstacles and vertical stairwells along with plenty of onlookers.

Additional reporting by Vanessa Gainford

These recommendations were updated on September 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.