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Why These 2 Areas Near Cancun Are Soaring In Popularity 

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Cancun has proven its popularity over and over again by receiving multiple prestigious awards every year, constantly increasing tourism numbers, and continuing to be the chosen destination for well-known hotel brands.   

Cancun might be the most popular destination in the Mexican Caribbean, though, but not the only one, and two areas very close to Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, have become more popular than ever, even reaching hotel occupancy rates close to Cancun’s.   

Let’s dig into why these two areas near Cancun are soaring in popularity and why you might want to visit them.   

Tourists and Boats in the Water at a Beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Close Proximity To Cancun  

Cancun is better connected to airports around the world, especially the United States where travelers can fly nonstop from 41 airports in the country, than it ever has been before.   

Puerto Morelos is about 20-30 minutes from Cancun Airport and Isla Mujeres is about 30 minutes to the ferry dock from the airport and then a 15-minute ferry ride to the island.   

The close proximity to Cancun Airport essentially means that these two areas have great connectivity too.   

@nicolestraveldiary 📍Puerto Morelos Escape from the hotel zones and immerse yourself into a small fisherman town near Cancun, Quintana Roo. 🐠 🪸Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world! I recommend booking an excusion in the town center for snorkling to experience all of the beauty up close. This city has many restaurants with fresh locally caught seafood. As well as relaxing beaches, with a beautiful and clear ocean! Find many AI resorts in this area, we stayed at El Cid. Send this to someone you want to plan your next trip to Mexico with! 🇲🇽 #puertomorelos #quintanaroo #allinclusiveresort #cancun #tulum #holboxmexico #bestbeaches #worldtraveler #mexicovacation #travelideas #nontouristyplaces ♬ original sound – LOUD LUXURY

Fewer Crowds 

Cancun’s huge popularity can be both a blessing and a curse for travelers.   

While on the one hand, it means more travel options due to its popularity, it also means more people want to visit the destination too.   

This equates to Cancun having bigger crowds than what you’ll find in either Puerto Morelos or Isla Mujeres.   

@montanadarby Add this Mexican island to your bucket list! 📍Isla Mujeres, just 20 mins from Cancun in Mexico! #mexico #islamujeres #travel #backpacking #travelitinerary #islandlife ♬ Bad Habit – Steve Lacy

More Cultural Experiences 

Both Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos have histories as small fishing villages and have maintained some of the charm from those days.   

You’ll find friendly locals, locally owned seafood and Mexican restaurants, and small, laid-back cantinas in both places.   

Each has its own cultural personality that’s hard to find in the more well-known and touristy Mexican Caribbean vacation destinations.   

@updwellstl Reply to @brittnt221 very much so! This is Puerto Morelos #puertomorelos #mexico #rivieramaya #bienvenidos ♬ Paradise – Bazzi

Small Town Vibes 

When you visit Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres one thing you’ll notice is each destination’s small-town vibes.   

This is quite a different experience compared to super popular destinations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen.   

Locals are more likely to know each other and frequent local establishments and are super welcoming to visiting tourists.   

@curlsonclouds Isla Mujeres Mexico 🇲🇽 #traveltiktok #traveltok #travelblog #solofemaletravel #visitmexico🇲🇽 #fyp #travelinspo #islamujeres #visitcancun #mexico #mayariviera #clearwaters #mexicotrip ♬ HARLEY QUINN – Fuerza Regida & Marshmello

Variety Of Hotels 

The Mexican Caribbean is known for its large number of luxury all-inclusive hotels, and there are a few in both Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos if an all-inclusive is what you want.   

If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, though, there are plenty of other options in each destination.   

You’ll be able to choose from small boutique hotels, budget-friendly hostels, spacious villas, and more, in addition to luxury all-inclusives as well.   

@javierenelnorte Puerto Morelos is located only 20 minutes from Cancun #cancun #puertomorelos #travel #traveltiktok #explore #vacationideas ♬ Cumbia del Olvido – Nicola Cruz

Laid Back Atmosphere  

The smaller size and fewer people in Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres lend to a more laid-back atmosphere in each.   

Whereas places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen are great if you’re looking for nightlife and parties, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres are perfect if you’re hoping for a more relaxing vacation.   

From the beaches to the bars, both places are just in general more laid back.   

@laufouchey My heart 💛 Isla Mujeres, Mexico 🇲🇽 #travel #mexico #islamujeres #imanislandgirl #girlstrip #traveltiktok #caribbeantiktok #vacayvibes #puntasur ♬ Del Mar – Solo Version – Ozuna

Plenty Of Things To Do 

Not only are there plenty of things to do in Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos, but each is surrounded by places with even more to do, so you can’t go wrong.   

In either destination, you get the best of both worlds because you can spend the days adventuring in and around the town, and then wind down in a laid-back tropical paradise in the evenings.   

It is this diversity in the region that makes places like Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres continue to grow in popularity. 

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