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3 Reasons Why These 2 Destinations South Of Cancun Will Surge In Popularity This Winter

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The tourism industry has been having a historic year in the Mexican Caribbean, not only in tourist hotspots like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen but also in less well-known areas up and down the region. 

Two destinations just south of Cancun that are seeing a recent uptick in tourist activity are Mahahual and Xcalak, with infrastructure and investment bringing a newfound group of visitors looking to see something a little different from the typically known areas. 

Aerial view of Mahahual, Mexico

In the past year alone, nine different tourism infrastructure projects have been presented in the two locations, with investment going into smaller boutique hotels and accommodation, measures to protect their shorelines from the arrival of sargassum, and growing connectivity for visitors via the long-awaited Maya train. 

Both of these small fishing towns are forecasting higher hotel numbers this winter than previously before, both of them offering a more quiet, traditional feel to the hugely developed and very busy tourist areas like Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum.

Here, you will not find busy nightclubs or traffic. Instead, you’ll opt for the peacefulness of uninterrupted coastlines and some spectacular nature and wildlife. 

@_nataliaa10 Mahahual is not just beach, it is a hidden gem for sure! #mahahualmexico #mahahualquintanaroo #hiddengem ♬ BILLIE EILISH. – Armani White

Where Are Mahahual and Xcalak, And How To Get There

Located just on the southeastern tip of Quintana Roo is Mahahual, with Xcalak just south, right on the Belize border.

While these areas were notoriously much less connected for tourists without the help of a rental car, the introduction of the new Maya train will include stops to both of these destinations and is a huge reason why so much investment is happening in the first place, making it far more attractive.

@shemamamaps Travel with me to the land of “No, Gracias” in Costa Maya, Mexico! #traveltiktok #tiktoktravel #travelwithme #comewithme #costamaya #costamayamexico #mahahual #travelwithkids #traveltips ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

The Maya Train is a tourist train that will connect popular sites from across the Yucatán Peninsula, such as the famous beaches of Riviera Maya, the incredible ancient Maya ruins dotted all over, and culturally rich towns and destinations.

It is set to be in operation this December, meaning travelers coming for the winter vacation season will be able to be some of the first passengers to use the incredible feat of engineering when traveling to Mahahual and Xcalak. 

Brunette girl liying on a swing loking to the horizon, surrounded by an paradise beach with white sand and turquoise water, at Mahahual village, in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Investment In Sargassum Prevention

In the recent past, these two locations specifically have suffered at the hands of huge arrivals of sargassum to their picture-perfect shores. 

Only more recently had the areas reported that the smelly seaweed, which has become a growing problem for all of the Mexican Caribbean, had finally decreased, with winter looking to have little to no sargassum on its beaches. 

sunrise on beach at playa del carmen with sargassum

Investment in specific machinery, as well as cleaners and employing the Mexican Navy throughout the region to stop sargassum from being a major problem in the future, are reason enough to guarantee that visitors booking to stay at these stunning landscapes can rest assured that it will not be ruined by the natural phenomenon. 

New Hotel And Accommodation Options 

With both Mahahual and Xcalak being relatively small when compared to its neighboring tourist giant, Cancun, accommodation had been previously very limited, with eco-lodges, small hotels, and some vacation rentals on offer. 

aerial view of Mahahual beach

Now, with the investment of over 350,000,000 pesos in the areas, more and more boutique hotel options are being created in anticipation of more travelers visiting the destinations via the Maya Train. 

These small boutique hotels will be expected to have hotel rooms, lobbies, bars and kitchens, swimming pools, dining rooms, spas, gyms, garden areas, and more!

Having experienced a lull in hotel occupancy throughout Quintana Roo in these past few months, there is an expectation that the state will break all records again this winter. 

mahahual beach at sunset

It is clear that local governments are responding steadfastly and surely to the boom of the tourism sector that it is experiencing and are keen to offer all visitors a far more nuanced and intimate look into the incredible Mexican Caribbean, with investment going into more traditional, and cultural areas as well as the tourism hotspots that everyone knows so well. 

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