For decades, Cancun was the go-to Mexican Caribbean destination, captivating countless travelers, particularly Americans, with its breathtaking coastlines and luxurious resorts.
But fast-forward to today, and more Mexican Caribbean destinations beyond Cancun, such as Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and Bacalar, are also witnessing a notable uptick in visitors.
The numbers show it all – the state of Quintana Roo experienced a 10% growth in visitor numbers in 2023, as highlighted in a recent session of the Quintana Roo Tourist Promotion Council (CPTQ).
Despite post-pandemic challenges in the travel sector, their data underscores a global standout performance, projecting a 3% growth in 2023 following a substantial 41% increase in American arrivals in 2022.
Furthermore, the overall international traveler rise to Quintana Roo by year-end is expected to be 5%, with an equivalent boost in domestic tourism, and this number is expected to rise up to 7% next year.
@miss.asiaa Things to do in Riviera Maya, Mexico 🇲🇽 1. Explore & dive into some luminescent and dark cenotes/caves 2. ATV through the jungle 3. Swim with green turtles, stingrays, pufferfish & more in Akumal 4. Snuba dive with beautiful creatures in Xel-Ha #thingstodoinmexico #excursions #mexicotravel #traveltiktok #travelblog #vacationtips ♬ Sure Thing (Speed up) – Remix – Dj Micky M
While this remarkable growth has much to do with the success of promotion campaigns by the CPTQ and increased awareness of U.S. travelers, there are a few more factors behind it that are worth exploring.
Enhanced Air Connectivity
Traveling to the Mexican Caribbean has never been easier, and further improvements are on the horizon.
Following the elevation of Mexico’s air safety rating by the U.S. earlier this year, several airlines have expanded their routes and frequency. By year-end, over 500 additional flights from the U.S. to Mexico are slated to commence operations.
Currently, Quintana Roo State boasts 3 international airports – Cancun, Cozumel, and Chetumal – with a fourth, the new Tulum International Airport Felipe Carrillo Puerto, starting operations on December 1st.
As the second busiest airport in Mexico, right behind Mexico City’s Airport, Cancun International Airport is receiving more than 500 daily flights at the moment and is likely to remain the most frequented airport in the Mexican Caribbean in the near future.
However, Tulum’s airport is not lagging behind, as it has already confirmed flights from major carriers such as Aeromexico, Viva Aerobus, American Airlines, Delta, and United, boasting a capacity of about 5.5 million passengers annually.
Moreover, Mérida International Airport, in the neighboring state of Yucatán, is also experiencing its best year ever as travelers flock to witness the region’s countless cultural and natural wonders.
As the Mexican Caribbean keeps enhancing air connectivity, flight prices are also expected to go down, making a Mexican Caribbean getaway more accessible and convenient for travelers.
The Maya Train Project
The increased connectivity in the Mexican Caribbean extends beyond air travel.
The much-anticipated Maya Train, poised to propel tourism in the Mexican Caribbean to unprecedented heights, is slated to begin operations on December 15th this year.
According to Fonatur, (National Fund for Tourism Development), the train’s route will cover more than 1,550 kilometers, traversing the states of Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.
Travelers will have the option to select from three distinct types of trains: ‘Ximbal,’ offering breathtaking panoramic views, ‘Janal,’ providing typical drinks and food, and ‘Pt’al,’ equipped with cabins for long-distance trips.
With a total of 21 main stations and 14 stops, the Maya Train will provide an elegant and convenient way for travelers to reach popular tourist hotspots, magical towns, and archeological sites.
While ticket prices were initially set at 50 pesos for Mexicans and 50 dollars for foreigners, Óscar Lozano Águila, director of the Maya Train, recently announced that the cost will be 2.23 pesos per kilometer for nationals and 4.35 pesos per kilometer for international tourists.
2024 Travel Trends
Travel in a post-pandemic world has shifted towards a preference for luxury, natural, wellness, and cultural experiences – and the Mexican Caribbean checks all of these boxes perfectly.
With its vast collection of 5-star all-inclusives, world-class spas, and international fine-dining restaurants, Cancun has solidified its reputation as Mexico’s leading luxury hotspot, making it a favorite among travelers seeking refined experiences.
Beyond Cancun, destinations such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum also offer travelers a delightful combination of breathtaking natural landscapes, luxury resorts and boutiques, and a bohemian, laid-back atmosphere.
Tulum is emerging as one of the top wellness tourism destinations worldwide, showcasing high-end spas that offer treatments made from local ingredients, ancient Mayan wellness practices, and activities such as yoga and Temazcal retreats.
Finally, Bacalar promises an unparalleled experience for nature and cultural travelers with its iconic seven-color lagoon, cosmopolitan feel, and rich history.
As these trends are not expected to slow down in 2024, the Mexican Caribbean is set to become a hub for travelers seeking exciting and diverse experiences.
Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
↓ Join the community ↓
The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean
Subscribe to our Latest Posts
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.