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3 Reasons Why Travelers Are Flocking To This Region South Of Cancun This Spring

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Although Cancun remains by far the top choice for millions of travelers headed to the Mexican Caribbean, a number of smaller destinations south of the busy hotspot are starting to see their occupancy rates skyrocket ahead of the launching of the Maya Train.

aerial view of a popular beach in mahahual

That’s according to new projections by local hotel associations, who have noted a sharp increase in bookings for destinations including Tulum, Chetumal, and Bacalar. 

Home to countless historical wonders, stunning landscapes, and cozy accommodations, travelers are increasingly opting to stay in southern Quintana Roo.

As travel numbers continue their upward trend this spring, here’s a look at why travelers are flocking to these southern destinations.

@andreaboldbodytravels Bacalar is the new Tulum & its more affordable too #bacalar #mexicotravel #bacalarmexico #traveltok #cheaptravel #onthisday ♬ original sound – Andrea BoldBody | Solo Travel

Bookings Up Across Southern Quintana Roo As Maya Train Approaches Launch Date

There has been much talk about Mayan history & culture this year thanks to the inauguration of the Maya Train, which will connect Cancun with the region’s key hotspots, including Tulum & Bacalar. 

With interest in Mayan civilization increasing to an all-time high, travelers have begun exploring destinations outside of Cancun in search of new experiences. 

@amandamoniquebrown save for how to visit this magical lagoon 👇 📍 Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico I’ve been trying to visit Bacalar for a few years, and we finally made it! It’s exceeded all my expectations 💎 Bacalar is DEFINITELY on the rise for tourism, you can see if coming. Mexico is even building a train that will eventually connect Cancun to Bacalar 🚢 So, if you want to visit BEFORE the Cancun crowds arrive, go soon 🚙 the easiest way is to fly into Cancun, and rent a car. Then it’s about a 3.5-4 hour drive, basically a straight shot 🛣️ road is well paved & easy to navigate! Just try to only drive during the day, it’s not well lit at night 🏝️ unless you’re on a tight budget, make sure to stay at a place on the water! There’s tons of reasonable options and it makes accessing the lagoon so much easier Follow for more off the beaten path destinations! #bacalar #bacalarlagoon #bacalamexico #mexicotravel #visitmexico #yucatan #mexicotrip #traveltips #uniquetravel ♬ original sound – Amanda Monique

This spring, the southern region of Quintana Roo is all the rage with travelers, with bookings increasing sharply ahead of the complete launching of the Maya Train.

According to Luis Flores, the head of the region’s tourism authority, bookings have risen by as much as 20% in places like Bacalar and Chetumal.

Rich Mayan History

Among the countless reasons travelers are choosing this growing region is its deep Mayan history & culture.

Home to some of the most significant Mayan sites – including Tulum’s vast Archeological Zone and the Cobá ruins – this portion of the Mexican Caribbean is a haven for history lovers.

@thetropicaltravelers I share my travel videos with you so we can work together to book your vacation. I’m a Travel Agent who educates my clients on the destinations so they can choose the right spot for them. Bacalar is gorgeous and unique and just cool. Ask me about it. 📍 Bacalar Mexico #thetropicaltravelers #travelagent #luxurytravel #tiktoktravelagent #bacalar #lagoonof7colors #honeymoon #wellnessresortmexico #ourhabitasbacalar @HABITAS @Jennifer Byrne | Travel Agent ♬ Fantasy X Feel So Close Carter Walsh Mashup – CarterWalsh

Aside from more well-known ruins, traverles can also explore some more discreet Mayan sites, including Kohunlich, Oxtankah, and Ichkabal, all of which are gearing up for more visitors thanks to the Maya Train railway system.

Meanwhile, Chetumal is an attractive option for travelers seeking cultural experiences.

Home to the region’s first Magical Neighborhood, here visitors can immerse themselves in old city streets, colorful buildings, and local shops.

Nature Activities & Eco-Tourism

While places like Tulum and Mahahual are famous for white-sand beaches & all-inclusive resorts, a growing number of visitors are opting to book nature experiences to take advantage of the region’s unique landscape.

@stylingthebasics Definitely recommend a boat tour through the lagoon at sunset🌅 We booked the 4-7 pm time slot through Aleana Sailing Tours ⛵️ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ #bacalarmexico #mexicotravel #bacalar #bacalarthingstodo #bacalaritinerary #bacalarsailing #bacalarlagoon #lagunabacalar #quehacerenbacalar #sunsettour ♬ Heavy Wave – Motorama

From Bacalar’s Lake of Seven Colors to the massive Xul-Ha lagoon, this area is one of the best choices for exploring the outdoors.

Travelers can explore the region freely or book one of the many guided tours, including this top-rated, 3-hour sailing tour. 

With eco-tourism trending worldwide in 2024, the Mexican Caribbean stands out as one of the top locations for spiritual retreats, with locations like Bacalar and Tulum offering yoga & meditation classes.

@amoytravels #travel #solotravel #bacalar #bacalarmexico #mexico #sailing #lagunadelos7colores ♬ 오리지널 사운드 – ysld

Cozy Boutique Hotels

Although all-inclusives remain king across most of the Mexican Caribbean, boutique hotels and vacation rentals are skyrocketing in popularity in hotspots like Bacalar & Chetumal.

Offering an intimate approach to Mexican hospitality, these smaller accommodations are typically found next to stunning scenery, such as Bacalar’s overwater bungalows. Others, including the modest but top-rated Almaplena Resort are located on secluded beaches.

@celestayyyyy Where to Stay in Bacalar 💙 If you’re a fan of boutique hotels like us, you are going to love this adults-only hotel located near Centro & around the corner from my favorite entrance to the lagoon. The hotel overlooks the lagoon of 7 colors, offers suites with private pools, incredible service, and a diverse menu of food and cocktails at its restaurant. Let me know of you stay here! 📍Bacalari Hotel 📍Riad Restaurant #bacalarmexico #traveltiktok #mexicotravel #beautifuldestinations #bacalar #bacalarquintanaroomexico #hotelugc #ugchotelcontent #travelugc ♬ Los Choukarios – Bellecour

Meanwhile, online vacation rentals, such as those offered via Airbnb, continue to skyrocket in popularity. Travelers wishing to explore local culture can opt for one of Chetumal’s growing number of vacation rentals.

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