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Here’s Why These Gorgeous Destinations South Of Cancun Are Breaking Records This Winter

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Although Cancun is by far the most popular vacation destination for millions of travelers in the Mexican Caribbean, this year, Grand Costa Maya, a region south of the popular resort hotspot, is breaking records. The sunny stretch of coastline has exceeded its previous 2019 arrivals by a considerable margin. So why might Grand Costa Maya be the next big tourism magnet in the Mexican Caribbean?

Colourful tropical views of Bacalar

Costa Grand Maya: Plentiful Sun And Beach

Known for its spectacular white-sand beaches, rich historical legacy, and top-rated resorts, Costa Grand Maya encompasses several sites and towns – including Chetumal, the state capital, and Mauhahal and Bacalar –  in the southern stretches of Quintana Roo. This year, the rising star of the Mexican Caribbean has smashed its previous tourism record from 2019 by a considerable margin, attracting more and more tourists to its beaches and historical ruins. 

A wooden swing in a Bacalar beach with colourful water

The region is mostly known for its stunning beaches, which stretch for miles on end. Travelers interested in some of the best beaches in the area can visit Playa Mahahual, where tourists can enjoy not only some of the finest sands but also dozens of beachside bars and restaurants.

With millions of travelers setting their sights on the Mexican Caribbean following the full removal of COVID-19 measures, tourists are increasingly seeking new destinations far away from Cancun’s packed resorts, and the Grand Costa Maya has everything travelers need for a sun-soaked vacation in paradise.

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People walking along pier to cruise ships in cozumel, mexico

Bacalar: Mayan Legacy And Ancient Ruins In Nature

Although travelers can find beach and sun across much of the Grand Costa Maya, the region is also home to an impressive array of ancient Maya ruins that tell the tales of this once-advanced civilization. Tourists in the area can take advantage of tours that combine a visit to the town’s beautiful colorful lagoons with a trip to sites such as Chacchoben, one of the more extensive historical sites.

Close-up of an ancient Maya site in Mexico

Although visitors have been flocking to the trendy destination throughout the year, the lion’s share of all travelers is expected to occur during the last weeks of the year as millions of tourists head south to escape the cold weather up north. Officials say the period from December 26 until January 2, 2023, is likely to be especially busy.

Panoramic view of Bacalar with coastline and water

Chetumal: City Vibes Where Culture Abounds

After spending a couple of days exploring the Grand Costa Maya’s stunning beaches and historical ruins, travelers can wrap up their vacation by visiting Chetumal, the capital of the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo. Chetumal is best known for its packed downtown area, where travelers can find the Museum of Mayan Culture. Travelers can reach Chetumal from Cancun by bus (see schedules and prices here) or car.

According to Bertha Medina Núnez de Cáceres, the president of Quintana Roo’s Central and Southern Hotel Association, most accommodations in the area will see high occupancy rates in the final weeks of the month. As average occupancy rates rise, so will prices, a phenomenon that is also affecting places like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres. The southern parts of Quintana Roo and the Grand Costa Maya are home to over 200 hotels and resorts and thousands of online rentals. 

inside a beautiful online rental with views to the mountains

Overall, the Mexican Caribbean has had a tremendously successful year for tourism. The region has broken one record after another, firmly consolidating its position as one of the world’s most visited destinations. The trend is likely to continue well into 2023 as new hotels and resorts are built across the area’s most popular destinations. With 26 million travelers projected to travel through Cancun International Airport alone, the Mexican Caribbean is wrapping up the year with good news. 

aerial view of  Bacalar's colourful lagoon

With so many travelers flocking to the south’s highly sought-after beaches and resorts, authorities have been proactive by deploying more troops and law enforcement officers to guarantee visitor safety during the busy winter season – ensuring the region will continue to attract tourists for years to come. 

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