National Parks in Mexico


The National Parks of Mexico are officially designated protected areas, usually by the president, due to the significance and beauty of their ecosystems.

As of July 2016, Mexico had 66 declared national parks, which are managed by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), such as the Iztaccíhuatl Popocatépetl National Park, one of the largest in the country, or the Desierto de los Leones National Park, one of the most important and ancient. These parks cover a total of 1,411,319 hectares, approximately representing 0.73% of the country’s territory. Out of these parks, 15 were part of the National System of Protected Natural Areas (SINAP), as established by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). Another 27 parks are explicitly excluded, and one more is subject to the fulfillment of specific conditions, while the rest have not yet been determined.

Several of the national parks in Mexico have also been recognized as biosphere reserves for being part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Additionally, some parks in Mexico have been designated as Ramsar sites under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

It is important to highlight that UNESCO has declared several of these parks as World Heritage Sites, both for their natural and cultural value. Examples of these include the Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque (1987) and the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (2005, extended in 2007 and 2011).

These parks in Mexico showcase the country’s commitment to conserving its rich biodiversity and natural heritage, contributing to their preservation for present and future generations.

Largest by Protected Area

Within the various Mexican states and entities that make up the country, there is a wide diversity of government-protected areas conserved for future generations. Among these, the Revillagigedo National Park stands out (14,808,780 hectares) in the Mexican Pacific Ocean, comprising 4 islands. Following is the Scorpion Reef National Park (333,768.5 hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pantanos de Centla National Park (302,706.62 hectares) in the state of Tabasco.

Most Visited

While Mexico boasts an extensive number of national parks, some stand out as the best due to their rich history filled with remnants of ancient civilizations, making them the most visited year after year. Among them, we can highlight the Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatépetl National Park, which features one of the oldest protected areas in Mexico, or the Cumbres del Ajusco National Park, known for its volcanic formations, attracting thousands of foreign and local tourists annually. Additionally, the La Malinche National Park in the states of Tlaxcala and Puebla shares a similar origin and offers a wide biodiversity with numerous species of fauna and flora.
Another remarkable protected area, this time of significant marine importance, is the Cabo Pulmo National Park, spanning 7,111.01 hectares, with 7,072.15 hectares of valuable coral formations in its marine area. The Huatulco National Park located in the state of Oaxaca plays a vital role in protecting Mexico’s biodiversity and is recognized by the Ramsar Convention, as is the Sumidero Canyon National Park in Chiapas. This latter park features steep natural slopes towering over 1,000 meters in height, earning it the title of one of the Seven Natural Wonders.

Parks with Archaeological Ruins

One of the most visited due to its proximity to the city and easy access from Tulum is the Tulum National Park. It offers a visit to numerous ruins from the Mayan culture and the opportunity to refresh in one of its many nearby cenotes. This park, Tulum, along with the Chichén Itzá pyramid, are among the most globally recognized vestiges of the Maya civilization. Other examples include the Dzibilchaltún National Park, among others. The diversity of cultural visits and nature trips in Mexico is truly astonishing, allowing the choice of various locations to explore the entire country, always with nearby protected areas of significant natural and cultural interest.

List of Mexico’s National Parks

Reserves and Protected Areas in Mexico

See Also