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4 Reasons Why This Highly Safe Region Near Cancun Is Breaking Tourism Records

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As the winter high season kicks off, Cancun and the Riviera Maya in Quintana Roo State are set to break tourism records once again, aiming to surpass the impressive 30 million visitors recorded in 2022. 

However, the celebration extends beyond these destinations, as the neighboring state of Yucatan is also achieving remarkable milestones in its tourism sector.

Mérida International Airport has already exceeded last year’s passenger numbers, drawing travelers eager to experience the city’s colonial charm and vibrant cultural scene. 

Valladolid, Yucatan, park with trees and the town's parish in the background

And the tourist boom isn’t confined to Mérida alone – stats reveal that Yucatan has witnessed a 19% increase in visitor arrivals and an 8.6% rise in occupancy rates compared to 2019.

Moreover, the state’s tourism sector is thriving, evidenced by a substantial 55% boost in economic impact and a noteworthy 20% growth in hotel offerings.

While Yucatan may not be as widely recognized as tourist behemoths like Cancun, it’s steadily solidifying its position as a top-tier destination in Mexico.

@zoetastetravel Yucatan in Mexico is definitely a great place for traveling around💙🥰 #mexico #traveltiktok #roundtrip #placestogo #mexicotravel #yucatan ♬ Mentirosa – Ráfaga

So, how did this charming region manage to achieve such a feat, especially as an underdog competing with world-class Mexican Caribbean tourist hotspots? 

Let’s find out.

Yucatan’s Hidden Gems

In the past, Yucatan’s tourism scene was primarily focused on Mérida city and the iconic Chichen Itzá archaeological site. 

Exploration beyond these destinations was reserved for the more adventurous travelers, mainly due to the scarcity of tourism infrastructure.

However, an extraordinary transformation has unfolded in recent years. 

@.araceli7777 Magical town of Izamal, must visit if you go to Merida, Yucatán. #izamal #mexicotravel #pueblosmagicos #mexico #explor #mustseeinmerida ♬ Explore the World – Brainheart & Sis

Emerging destinations, particularly, the state’s ‘Magical Towns,’ have captivated an increasing number of visitors. La Espita, Motul, and Tekax joined the prestigious Magical Town roster earlier this year, expanding the list that already included Valladolid, Sisal, and Maní.

All of these towns carry a rich history and a distinctive cultural legacy, and with the Magical Town designation, they’ve experienced significant development, promotion, and enhancement of their tourist attractions.

Even lesser-known beach destinations like Progreso Beach and El Cuyo are now gaining attention, drawing in travelers seeking a more authentic and relaxed experience compared to the bustling ambiance of their Riviera Maya counterparts.

@nadiarezaz El Cuyo 🤩 #elcuyo #yucatan #beach #beachlover #beachlife #mexico #mexicomagico #travel #visitmexico #mexico🇲🇽 #mexicotravel #elcuyoyucatán #weekend #beachvibes #beachday #beachplease ♬ I Got It – thuy


When travelers visit Mexico, concerns about safety often arise – concerns that are not always unfounded. But while safety levels can vary across regions, few places can rival the overall safety offered by Yucatan.

Mérida is renowned as one of the safest cities in Mexico and Latin America, and homicide rates in the whole Yucatan State are over 90% lower than the average in the country.

Downtown Merida

These remarkable safety levels are largely a result of significant boosts to the safety budget, providing the local police with proper training and equipment, and the lack of gang-related activities in the region.

Diverse Tourism Offerings

Whether you’re looking for exploration and adventure, cultural experiences, or luxury retreats, Yucatan offers all of this and more.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be amazed by the state’s countless natural wonders, including stunning cenotes, underground caves, and even red-colored lagoons – all set against lush jungle landscapes.

Nestled in these jungles, the remnants of the ancient Mayan civilization await exploration –  a collection of 18 archeological zones that include world heritage sites like Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.

Mayan Pyramid in Uxmal, Yucatan

Yucatan’s rich historical legacy extends beyond, as venturing into the state’s Magical Towns offers an opportunity to learn about the region’s fascinating past through old henequen haciendas and charming colonial buildings.

Not to mention the region’s exceptional cuisine, famous for iconic dishes such as cochinita pibil, salbutes, panuchos, and several other culinary delights.

For those seeking luxurious getaways, Yucatan boasts excellent options like the chic Hotel San José Cholul and the prestigious Chablé Yucatán, recently honored on The World’s 50 Best Hotels list.

Tourist Infrastructure Developments

Finally, Yucatán’s tourist boom has much to do with a series of major developments aimed at enhancing tourist infrastructure.

The development of the state’s seven Magical Towns has already attracted a surge of visitors and investors to the region, and with the arrival of the Maya Train on December 15th, the future of Yucatán’s tourism industry appears even more promising.

aerial view of train

The much-anticipated project, which will have five stops at Yucatán, is set to boost connectivity with key destinations like Mérida Airport and Chichén Itzá, all while providing a seamless and exciting travel experience.

Other significant upgrades include expanding Puerto Progreso, a major cruise port, to accommodate larger ships and the recent opening of Parque de la Plancha in Mérida, a massive city park expected to become one of the city’s central attractions.

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