The Least-Visited States in Mexico and What to Do There

Table runners in Mexican market
Table runners in Mexican market | © annca / Flickr
Stephen Woodman

There’s a lot more to Mexico than the beach resorts of Cancún and Puerto Vallarta. While there’s no denying that these are spectacular destinations, visitors looking to veer from the beaten track will find plenty of options if they’re prepared to do some research. Visiting lesser-known and less-crowded places can be far more rewarding, not to mention cheaper. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of five of the least-visited states in Mexico.

1. Zacatecas

The central Mexican state of Zacatecas was once famed for its silver mines and was of great strategic importance during the Mexican Revolution. The state currently boasts no less than six Pueblo Mágicos, or Magic Towns—destinations that are highlighted by the Mexican government as important cultural landmarks. Eight hours from Mexico City, Zacatecas City is still the easiest destination to reach. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, the historic city center is blessed with stunning architecture and is a fantastic place to take a stroll. The nearby mountain, El Cerro de la Bufa, offers spectacular views of the valley.

El Cerro de la Bufa, Zacatecas, Mexico

Avenida Hidalgo, Zacatecas | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr

2. Aguascalientes


Mexican skeleton mask
© Esparta Palma / Flickr
Bordering Zacatecas, Aguascalientes is another state that is inexplicably ignored by travelers. The state capital, which shares the name Aguascalientes, is far cleaner and less polluted than Mexico City or Guadalajara. Boasting similar architecture to Zacatecas, the historic center of Aguascalientes has a charming, laid-back atmosphere. The National Museum of Death is one of Mexico’s most unusual attractions. The museum showcases artwork and photos that explore the country’s unique national obsession. Inaugurated in 2007, the museum offers unusual depictions of death (whether in Saint Death statues or sugar skulls) and also provides background on some of the country’s unique death rites.


The joke in Mexico is that Tlaxcala doesn’t exist, but is actually a fantastic realm like Middle Earth or Westeros. Nevertheless, visitors to the tiny, much-overlooked state will find that it does in fact exist, and is also home to some of the most beautiful towns in the country. The small colonial city of Huamantla is perhaps the jewel in the crown. Every year, the town pays homage to an image of the Virgin Mary with a fascinating month-long festival. During “The Night When No One Sleeps,” on August 14, residents prepare a decorative six-kilometer carpet made from sawdust, flowers and fabric.

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán, Tlaxcala


The coastal state of Nayarit still receives far fewer visitors than the adjacent state of Jalisco. Yet the state is blessed with beautiful beaches and three stunning Magic Towns. The highlight is the man-made island-city of Mexcaltitán de Uribe. Mexican historians have been debating for decades whether Mexcaltitán is the location of Aztlan, the original city of the Aztecs, which they abandoned in 1091. Known as “The Mexican Venice,” Mexcaltitán is almost perfectly-round and its streets are arranged in a unique cross-shaped pattern.

Mexcaltitán de Uribe, Nayarit

3. Tabasco

The southern state of Tabasco receives very little in the way of tourism. Yet the Magic Town of Tapijulapa is well worth a visit. Embedded in lush, densely-forested mountains, the town boasts an elegant 17th-century church surrounded by picturesque white houses with red-tiled roofs. The nearby ecological park of Kolem Jaá is a great place for zip-lining, mountain-biking, and horse-riding.

Kolem Jaá, Gregorio Méndez Magaña, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, +52 993 314 3192

Tapijulapa, Tabasco | © Alfonsobouchot / Wikicommons

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article