It’s no secret that the coastal haven of Cancun is one of the best places to visit this summer: with stunning stretches of white-sand beaches, crystal-clear ocean water and some of the best restaurants and bars Mexico has to offer, it’s clear that there is something for everyone here. It is also one of the most accessible Caribbean destinations, just a short flight away from several major cities in America’s south.
But this summer, at least 4 million international tourists are set to visit this alluring city, making it more difficult to enjoy the stunning beaches, archaeological sites, and authentic Mexican cuisine on offer. To beat the crowds, why not visit these three lesser-known destinations for some of the best attractions the Riviera Maya has to offer:
Enjoy a Beach Getaway on Holbox Island
If you’re looking to experience some of the finest beaches in the Mexican-Caribbean that are free from hoards of tourists, look no further than the majestical Holbox Island. This slice of paradise is home to two of the most serene beaches in Quintana Roo – Playa Punta Cocos and Punta Mosquito. There is also the opportunity to see some of the Caribbean’s most exotic wildlife on the island, as flamingo and whale shark sightings are very common. Why not hop on a nature tour or take part in some snorkelling on your visit?
Located just off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the island is accessible by ferry from Chiquila Port in the north of Quintana Roo. The ferry port is just a 2-hour drive away from downtown Cancun, perfect for a day trip or weekend away.
Visit the hidden ruins of Coba’s Mayan City
The Mexican-Caribbean is world-famous for its fantastic collection of Mayan ruins. From the majestic Chichen Itza in Valladolid to Tulum’s expansive archaeological site, families with little ones will love exploring these ancient cities.
Yet so many of these ruins have become increasingly expensive in previous years, due to the influx of tourists visiting in the summertime. To beat the crowds and save on money, visit the hidden ruins of Coba’s Mayan City.
Praised by Forbes as the ‘most impressive destination for off-the-beaten-path travel’, these ruins were once home to one of the Mayan’s largest cities, with over 600 roads and archaeological structures still standing.
There are even three breath-taking cenotes in Coba’s jungle, perfect for cooling off after a long day of walking through the ruins. And the best part? The cenotes and ruins are located just 2 hours away from downtown Cancun by car.
Enjoy some of the best traditional Mexican food and culture in Merida
One of the main reasons visitors travel to Mexico is undoubtedly to sample some of the best cuisines in the Americas. Merida, the state capital of Quintana Roo, provides visitors with a wide array of restaurants hosting food from all over the world, as well as national favourites such as mole poblano.
Ranked by travel site The Lonely Planet as the 8th best place to travel this year, the city is filled to the brim with bustling markets selling art and fresh produce, tonnes of museums and galleries and a vibrant nightlife scene.
Visitors are encouraged to eat and drink the day away at one of the city’s old-school cantinas, which combine the charm of 19th– century Mexico with contemporary ingredients and local beer. To get the full experience, enjoy a meal or a drink in the evening to have the opportunity to listen to some of Mexico’s coolest live music at one of Merida’s many outdoor plazas.
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