The Mexican Caribbean has been getting a lot of attention this year, and not for the insecurity that the U.S. State Department has warned travelers of, but rather for the huge increase in popularity among foreign tourists. Despite the cries for using extreme caution when traveling to Mexico, places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and other vacation destinations along the Riviera Maya have repeatedly been named some of the top places to visit in the world. Now, readers of the popular travel publication Condé Nast have again named a number of locations in the Mexican Caribbean as being the best of the best.
In the “Top North American Islands” category, Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel all fell within the top five. Holbox was voted first, Isla Mujeres came in second, and Cozumel just made it to the top five, coming in at fifth place. This is according to readers of the popular publication, who voted in the Reader’s Choice Awards.
The Mexican Caribbean has hosted nearly 15 million international tourists between January and September of this year. This represents a more than 16 percent increase in growth compared to the same time period in 2019. And despite the fact that September is on the slower side in regards to tourism, the area is expecting to see millions more foreign tourists by the end of the year.
Each of the three islands that made the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice list has something unique to offer visitors. All of them are a little over two hours or less from Cancun, which means visitors who wish to stay on any of these award-winning islands can fly into Cancun International Airport. The close proximity also makes each place perfect for a day trip from Cancun as well, and we’ll provide a quick rundown of what makes each so special.
One of the most unique things about Holbox is that there are no cars on the island but rather “taxis” in the form of golf carts that take visitors from place to place. Tourists who want to visit the island, which is actually on the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Caribbean, can take one of many forms of public transportation to the town of Chiquila and then take a ferry over to the island. Some of the most popular activities to enjoy in Holbox include relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches, snorkeling with whale sharks in the crystal-clear turquoise water, and checking out the bioluminescent water after dark.
To get to Isla Mujeres, one must drive, take a taxi, or take a bus the 13 miles to the ferry and then take a 15-minute ferry ride to the island. The ferry runs every half hour from 5:00 in the morning until 9:30 at night, which gives plenty of time to spend there on a day trip. Isla Mujeres is known for its charming village, breathtaking Caribbean beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and the one-of-a-kind Underwater Sculpture Museum.
Cozumel takes the longest to get to, about 2 hours, but has a lot to offer, making it worth the trip by car or taxi and the subsequent ferry ride to get to the island. The ferry leaves from Playa del Carmen, which takes a little over an hour to get to, and the ferry ride itself takes about 40 minutes. As with the other islands, Cozumel certainly has beautiful beaches, but some of the best things to experience in Cozumel are on the more undeveloped side of the island, like diving, snorkeling, shopping, and visiting the ecological park.
Cancun has a lot to offer on its own, but by visiting any of these popular islands, you can make even more memories during your Mexican Caribbean vacation.
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