The Best Walking Tours in Mexico

With its color and vibrancy, Oaxaca is an excellent place for a walking tour
With its color and vibrancy, Oaxaca is an excellent place for a walking tour | © iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus
Photo of Lauren Cocking
Northern England Writer21 September 2020

Mexico is such a vast and diverse country that it’s nearly impossible to explore it all in one visit. However, once you have decided on which area you wish to travel to, it makes sense to make the most of it. One authentic way to take in the sights, smells and sounds is by taking part in a walking tour; here are some of the best in Mexico, from the capital to the coast and most places in between.

Free Tour Guadalajara, Guadalajara

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Guadalajara, Mexico. Main Cathedral
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If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option in Guadalajara – Mexico City’s little brother and the country’s second-biggest city – the Free Tour Guadalajara is a great option. Despite its size and sprawling metropolitan zone, most of the coolest and best attractions in the city can be enjoyed on foot and in the center. By taking part in this excursion, you will unlock one of the easiest and best ways to soak in the city’s culture and vibrant atmosphere.

Street Art Chilango, Mexico City

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Street-art fans will be blown away by the urban murals on display in Mexico City. However, for those who find it a bit overwhelming to hunt down these enormous works of art alone, there is the option of partaking in the Street Art Chilango walking tour. It will take you around some of the city’s most famed pieces of art, allowing you to take in Mexico’s capital, too.

Go Running Tours, Mexico City

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This walking tour option in Mexico City adds an unusual twist – running. One for the fitness fanatics or those who don’t mind breaking a sweat in the heat, Go Running Tours has experienced guides who will take you on a brisk jog around many of the city’s main sights. However, don’t forget to acclimatize before signing up for this running tour, as Mexico City sits a cool 7,382ft (2,250m) above sea level. Be sure to bring a backpack filled with sweat towels and plenty of water.

Tours de Jour, Puerto Vallarta

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Morning beach and ocean in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
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The resort town of Puerto Vallarta has beaches, nightlife, cobblestone streets, boutique shops, a range of restaurants and bars, and beautiful architecture, such as the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. If you’re looking for a great walking tour of this tourist favorite, then make a beeline for Tours de Jour, recommended highly by those who’ve participated. These walking excursions aren’t free, but they will help you power walk your way around the hidden gems available in the well-trodden, uber-typical downtown area and beyond.

Vallarta Eats Food Tours, Puerto Vallarta

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Mexico is home to numerous well-curated and delicious street-food tours, from vegan versions in Mexico City to those focused on traditional treats in Puebla. However, coastal Vallarta is also home to one of the country’s best food-taco tours: Vallarta Eats Food Tours. Headed by local, bilingual guides, these tasty journeys are worth every penny, and all that walking might help you burn off what you eat.

Tijuana Walking Tour, Tijuana

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The Boardwalk and the beach, Tijuana, Mexico
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Another city, another food tour – this time in Tijuana. While some people still associate this northern border town with crime, those in the know realize that Tijuana is a great place for typical Mexican cuisine with a touch of Tex-Mex influence. One of the best ways to get acquainted with it is by taking a Tijuana Walking Tour, which allows you to discover little authentic eateries and experience the local cuisine.

Gallery District Art Walk, San José del Cabo

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San José del Cabo’s Gallery District Art Walk provides insight into this popular Baja California destination’s artsy side. It will introduce you to sculptures, fine art and some of the city’s best restaurants every Thursday night between November and June. The galleries and installations are forever changing, making this a perfectly perennial option to discover the fast pace and eclectic side of Mexico.

Puebla de Ensueño, Puebla

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If your destination is the colonial city of Puebla, just south of Mexico City, make sure to book a tour through Puebla de Ensueño. It offers all sorts of walking options, from those that delve deep into the city’s pre-Hispanic past to those that dabble in mole making and modernity, and the tour guide also has several years of experience and professional accreditation. The city is known for its culinary history, art, pottery and architecture, making it a beautiful place rich in history and culture.

Journeys Beyond the Surface, Oaxaca

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Oaxaca, Mexico - A painting in the city's Xochimilco neighborhood.
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Consistently ranked one of the best walking tours in Oaxaca, Journeys Beyond the Surface is a small tour company offering insight into a few locations (it also runs walking tours in Iran and Mexico City). In Oaxaca, you can either be shepherded to nearby villages, take a stroll through the city center or even cook some authentic cuisine. As the city has a lot to offer, it’s important not to overlook its many hidden gems, and this tour allows you to uncover them.

Teotihuacán pyramids from Mexico City

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No trip to Mexico would be complete without at least one visit to a Unesco World Heritage site, and this small-group walking tour of the Teotihuacán pyramids is one you won’t forget. Departing from Mexico City by bus, you’ll arrive at Teotihuacán and walk through one of Mesoamerica’s most significant pre-Hispanic cities. The walking tour is affordable, and the guide’s knowledge is exceptional. Another great thing about the excursion is that it allows you to avoid taking public transport solo in an unfamiliar area, especially if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch.

Free Coyoacán Tour

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Coyoacán, described as the bohemian side of Mexico City, is a colorful neighborhood with a unique charm that has captivated artistic and creative types over the years. A visit here is sure to captivate you, too. This Free Coyoacán Tour allows you to walk around the quaint and peaceful town filled with tradition and old-world charm. The tour proves that Mexico has always had a rich history, and while it has had its share of tragedies, it has managed to remain colorful, artistic and endearing.

Additional reporting by Vanessa Gainford.

These recommendations were updated on September 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.