7 Stunning 'Forza Horizon 5' Locations in Mexico You Can Visit in Real Life

Forza Horizon 5 is an extremely high-octane experience. Your time in the game will largely be spent performing daredevil stunts, competing in breakneck street races, and narrowly avoiding high-speed collisions with other drivers. You would hardly call it "relaxing", unless your idea of winding down is to go slaloming between oncoming traffic at 200 mph.

That being said, part of the appeal of this open world title is that you get to dictate its pace a little. After the tutorial is concluded, Playground Games never forces you to participate in another showcase event and you could just ditch the Horizon Festival altogether (putting your superstar racing career on the backburner), in favour a more laid-back road trip across the country.

It can be the video game equivalent of a Fast and the Furious movie, or it can resemble a carefree Sunday drive. The choice is yours, and either option is a totally valid way to play.

To a certain extent, the game even benefits from you taking things a little slower, as this lets you better appreciate its jaw dropping visuals on a macro level. After all, when you are parked you have an opportunity to scrutinize each individually rendered cacti needle on the screen (which would otherwise just register as indistinct blurs in your rear-view mirror).

Shifting down to a lower gear also gives you the opportunity to admire Forza Horizon 5's ridiculously authentic depiction of Mexico up close. It is not exactly a one-to-one replica of the real thing, as it's inevitably been abridged into a kind of greatest hits of the country. You can go from topographical extremes within minutes, crossing the borders from a humid jungle right into a scorching dessert, through to a dormant volcano and then to a paradisal beach

Yet the fact that the map is so condensed also means that you can do a whistle stop tour of all the real-world landmarks and points of interest that Playground Games have included here. It's easy to get caught up in this virtual sightseeing and to forget all about the main events (like many did with Microsoft Flight Simulator).

You might find that you end up sinking hours upon hours into tracking down all the various tourist attractions on the map. If you're into your photo modes (Forza has a terrific one) and like to take your time setting up perfect shots, then this expedition could balloon into days or even weeks.

We fell into this trap ourselves at Newsweek, and barely got any of the actual campaign done. We did at least get some impressive shots in the process and can therefore recommend some of the highlights from our trip. On that note, here are 7 stunning real-life Forza Horizon 5 locations that are absolutely worth checking out.

Copper Canyon

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Copper Canyon is an expansive biome in its own right, taking up a substantial chunk of Forza Horizon 5's map.

Despite its name not being pluralized, this region is actually made up of several gorges that cover over 25,000 square miles. There is subsequently a lot to see around here (including magnificent waterfalls, towering trees, and gorgeous foliage) but in real life it's quite hard to navigate.

There are technically dirty roads that run through Copper Canyon, but most people only see portions of it during their hikes, bike rides, or as they zoom past on the famous railroad track.

Forza Horizon 5 gives you the option to explore it at a more leisurely pace, as you can pretty much go anywhere and take in the spectacular views.

Guanajuato

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If you would prefer to do some municipal sightseeing, then you simply must take a trip to Guanajuato. The city is one of the more densely packed areas in all of Forza Horizon 5, not to mention its most vibrant.

Every building is painted a different color, papel picado banners are hung above the cobblestone streets, there are eye-catching murals at every turn and, if you look carefully at the rooftops, you can spot even alebrije spirit guides.

It's almost too much to take in, but it does make sense that this environment would be so visually stimulating. After all Guanajuato is the birthplace of famed painter Diego Rivera and has become a renowned venue for art festivals and music concerts.

In addition to this, the city also attracts visitors with its impressive cathedrals and heritage sites that you can drive past in the game.

One of the particular highlights is the macabre Museo de las Momias (literally translating to Museum of the Mummies), which houses over 100 perfectly preserved corpses that were excavated from a local cemetery. You obviously cannot go inside this in Forza, but it's still interesting to pass by while you are soaking up the town's rich history.

Ek' Balam

Ek' Balam in Forza Horizon 5
Ek' Balam is a miraculously well-preserved archelogical site in Mexico (at least compared to many other ruins) that was, for a period of time, the seat of the Mayan kingdom. Playground Games

Ek' Balam is considered to be one of the best-maintained archaeological sites in all of Mexico (even its ancient plasterwork is still intact) and it has a lot to teach us about Mayan culture.

While some of the ruin has been inevitably succumbed to age - as well as the surrounding jungle - the vast majority of it looks as good as new. You can still see its defensive walls, its various altars, and the headline attraction: its elevated Acropolis. Citing nearby glyphs, experts theorize that the latter was the final resting for King Ukit Kan Le'k Tok, which makes it a source of fascination for history buffs.

You can explore the entirety of the settlement to your heart's content in Forza Horizon 5 and, seeing as it's only a digital facsimile, you do not have to worry about treating it with any respect. In fact, you are actively encouraged to use the pyramids as stunt ramps, to crash through the scaffolding, and to go tearing through the excavated tombs.

If you take a shining to Ek' Balam, there is a neighbouring villa you can purchase so that the landmark is always right on your doorstep.

La Gran Caldera

La Gran Caldera in Forza Horizon 5
The eruption that formed La Gran Caldera is thought to be one of the largest in earth’s history. Playground Games

La Gran Caldera is a hollowed-out depression in the earth that was formed by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history.

Reaching its peak can be quite a challenge, as you will need to negotiate awkward terrain, watch out for sharp turns, and arduously scale a long winding road. Yet the reward at the end of this perilous trail is more than worth the effort, as will get to bask in some truly glorious views.

It's particularly awe-inspiring if you can get there before it becomes congested with other drivers (looking to participate in arcade events) as that can spoil the otherworldly atmosphere a little.

Gran Puente

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During the Forza Horizon 5 campaign, a character casually refers to Gran Puente (or the Baluarte Bicentennial as it is officially known) as the highest bridge in the Americas. In case you were wondering, that is not an embellishment or fictionalized detail. In fact - situated 1,322 ft above the valley below – the bridge also happens to be the seventh highest in the entire world.

When compared to everything else on this list, Gran Puente is a relatively new structure, having only been erected in 2012. Yet while it might not have the same legacy as some of the other tourist destinations featured here, it is undeniably a marvel of modern engineering and a breath-taking spectacle.

It's also an ideal place to test drive your new cars and see what they are capable of when you don't have to worry about braking for any pesky turns. You can just step on the gas and gun it down the strip at full velocity. In Forza that is. We don't endorse that course of action in real life.

Tulum

Tulum in Forza Horizon 5
Tulum is another archaeological site, this time positioned in a more scenic coastline location. Playground Games

Tulum is a resort town that is located on the eastern coast of Forza's compressed version of Mexico. Like its real-life counterpart, it can be distinguished by its stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and the ancient Mayan ruins that overlook the seafront.

You can visit the latter by taking a detour along the nearby dirt roads. While the site is not quite as grand or impressive as Ek' Balam, its unique location by the shore does make for a terrific photo opportunity.

El Arco De Cabo San Lucas

El Arco De Cabo San Lucas
Although El Arco De Cabo San Lucas looks as though it has been purposefully designed, the rocks were actually formed by natural erosion. Playground Games

The waters surrounding El Arco De Cabo San Lucas are a popular snorkelling and whale watching spot, but the distinctive rock formation is also a tourist attraction in its own right.

This limestone arch has been fashioned over the centuries by a combination of both wind and water erosion, giving it a peculiar shape that captivates travellers. It almost looks like it has been deliberately sculpted but it is a 100% natural phenomenon.

In Forza Horizon 5 you can really admire El Arco De Cabo San Lucas from every possible angle (in a way that you cannot in real life) and can even use its pillars to hone your drifting skills.