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Mexico, a land abundant with natural marvels, hosts a diverse array of ecosystems and protected areas that are a magnet for eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. From jaguar conservation efforts in the lush expanses of Calakmul to the vast desert landscapes of the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, this guide will help you explore Mexico’s most stunning natural settings. Additionally, it’s important to note that if you’re travelling to Mexico, you’ll need to pay a tourism tax called Visitax. You can handle this easily online before your trip here.


The national parks in Mexico are celebrated for their ecological diversity and vastness. One of the largest, Arrecife Alacranes National Park, encompasses over 3,300 square kilometres of the marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico, showcasing spectacular coral reefs and abundant marine life. Another iconic park is the Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua, a network of canyons several times larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States, offering dramatic vistas and thrilling adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, and zip-lining​.

Each park is uniquely positioned to protect different ecosystems:

  • Nevado de Toluca National Park near Mexico City features two breathtaking lagoons at the crater of an extinct volcano.
  • Lagunas de Montebello National Park in Chiapas offers a series of 59 multicoloured lakes in a pine forest at the Guatemala border.
  • Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, in Nuevo León, showcases rugged mountains and deep canyons and is popular for its climbing, hiking trails, and beautiful waterfalls.


Biosphere reserves in Mexico are critical for conservation efforts and sustainable community activities. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Quintana Roo, spans over 5,200 square kilometres. It’s a vital area for thousands of species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic. It offers magnificent tours through its forests, marshes, and a barrier reef that’s part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System—the second-largest coral reef in the world.

Other significant reserves include:

  • Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Campeche is not only a major habitat for the jaguar but also a core zone of the ancient Maya civilization, providing incredible insights into both natural and historical treasures.
  • El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Sonora, distinguished by its dramatic dune landscapes and more than 400 cinder cones, lava flows, and craters that offer a stark beauty unlike any other in the nation.

These areas are not just natural tourist attractions but also vital research sites where scientists and conservationists work to understand and protect ecosystems. For instance, the expansion of protected areas like the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is driven by the need to enhance the habitat connectivity for species like jaguars, demonstrating the effectiveness of Mexico’s conservation strategies​.


When exploring these protected spaces, visitors are encouraged to engage respectfully and responsibly. The management of these parks often integrates eco-friendly practices and promotes educational activities that emphasize the importance of conservation. Tourists can partake in guided tours that educate them about local wildlife and ecological efforts, participate in bird-watching excursions, or even join in reforestation activities.


When planning your visit to these spectacular locations, consider the following tips to enhance your journey:

  • Prepare for the Climate: Mexico’s diverse climate zones mean weather can vary significantly between different parks and reserves.
  • Respect Local Regulations: Adherence to park rules ensures safety and helps in the ongoing efforts to conserve these precious environments.
  • Engage with Local Communities: Many parks and reserves are closely tied to indigenous communities. Engaging respectfully can enrich your experience and provide deeper insights into the area’s cultural heritage.


Mexico’s national parks and reserves are not just areas of immense natural beauty but also vital habitats that require our respect and protection. By visiting these places, you contribute to the local economy and help fund conservation efforts. Whether you’re trekking through verdant forests, exploring ancient ruins, or snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, Mexico’s natural landscapes offer endless opportunities for discovery and adventure.