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These Are The 3 Most Popular Destinations Near Cancun This Year

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Tourists are flocking to Cancun and its surrounding towns this year as the post-pandemic travel trend accelerates during the summer and into the busy fall season.

However, there are 3 standout towns in the State of Quintana Roo that are becoming the most popular with tourists based on the overall hotel occupancies in the towns.

aerial view of cancun


Surprising no one, Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in Quintana Roo, with an 80.5% hotel occupancy in the first quarter of 2023.

With beautiful beaches, amazing nightlife, and plenty of sea and sand amenities, Cancun boasts the second most busy airport in the entire country, right behind Mexico City.

Tourists love the abundance of hotel and resort options available in Cancun to conveniently accommodate not only the tastes but also the budget of nearly every visitor to the beach resort destination.

Punta Esmeralda beach in playa del carmen


The resort area just south of the city center of Playa del Carmen came in second with a hotel occupancy of 86.6% for the first quarter of 2023.

Playa del Carmen has really come into its own over the past few years as a rival resort beach destination to its sister to the north, Cancun.

It became a popular destination for digital nomads and remote workers during the pandemic, and the popularity of Playa del Carmen continues to today.

While rapidly growing and definitely not a small town anymore, travelers to Playa del Carmen like the more authentic Mexican feel to the community as opposed to being in a large urban city.

There are a couple of Riu properties, a golf course, and an Iberostar resort that dominate the landscape in Playacar, just south of the Mayan ruins of Playa del Carmen.

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Aerial view of Playa del Carmen with busy beach


Just beating out Playacar is the small town of Akumal, located between Puerto Aventuras and Tulum on the Mayan Riviera.

It had a hotel occupancy of 87.6% for the first three months of this year.

Akumal is a nature lovers’ paradise with warm waters and a coral reef full of marine life. It also boasts white sand beaches and plenty of caves and cenotes for visitors to the area to explore.

Tourists Gathered Around Cenote Cristalino in Riviera Maya, Mexico

It is a popular place for both snorkelers and divers looking for an underwater nature adventure on the Riviera Maya.

It also offers visitors smaller boutique-style resort properties, often at a lower nightly hotel room rate than the larger cities in the area.

Quintana Roo Takes the Title

The State of Quintana Roo, which includes the towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Akumal, was the Mexican state with the most top visited locations in the country.

Tourists Walking Through Cancun International Airport to Get to Departure Gates

The wide variety of resort choices, a large airport, a convenient flight schedule, and the number of amenities available to suit the different needs and wants of travelers made the state a popular destination with visitors.

Other cities that made the list of the top six most visited destinations were Los Cabos, Nuevo Nayarit, and Puerto Vallarta.

Tourists are projected to make a 16.4 billion economic impact in the State of Quintana Roo this year.

What it Means For Tourists

Tourists in Playa del Carmen

The popularity of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Akumal means that tourists should be expected to experience travel and vacation impacts from the influx of travelers.

That impact could include higher rates for hotel rooms, limited last-minute accommodations at resorts, and flights full of tourists, among others.

Visitors to the Cancun area, especially Akumal and Playa del Carmen, should plan to book their flights and resort hotel rooms well in advance of travel and expect higher than usual room rates during peak times.

They should also expect additional crowds at the beaches and other amenities and potential traffic on the roadways, especially when coming and going to the Cancun International Airport.

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

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