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Why These 2 Mexican Caribbean Destinations Are Trending With Travelers This Year

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Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are wrapping up their best year on record for international travel.

But two stunning destinations in the sun-soaked region have proven to be particularly popular with travelers this year.

Travelers on a beach in playa del carmen

New statistics reveal that the idyllic hotspots of Playa del Carmen and Akumal recorded the highest average hotel occupancy rate in Mexico amid soaring travel demand.

Boasting an assortment of excellent white-sand beaches, lively city streets, and amazing nature, these sunny destinations are the essence of the Mexican Caribbean.

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With that in mind, here’s a look at why these tropical destinations are the most popular with travelers in Mexico this year.

Riviera Maya Destinations Continue To Surge In Popularity 

2023 has been an enormously successful year for international travel to the Mexican Caribbean, with nearly all destinations in the state of Quintana Roo reporting record growth.

Although heavyweights like Cancun continue to dominate the popularity charts, destinations south of the resort hotspot have attracted an impressive number of travelers.

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A new report published by the federal Secretariat for Tourism (Sectur) reveals that hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen and Akumal were busier than anywhere else in Mexico this year. 

Resorts In Playa del Carmen See Spike In Bookings

According to the latest statistical overview, Playa del Carmen is officially the destination with the highest average occupancy rate in 2023, with nearly 83% of all rooms sold out from January to October. 

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Playa del Carmen is a popular alternative to Cancun, offering a more laid-back atmosphere complete with artisan shops, cocktail bars, and local restaurants.

The Mexican Caribbean hotspot is famous for its massive resorts – including the recently renovated Xcaret Mexico – as well as a growing number of Airbnbs, many of which are located in downtown Playa del Carmen. 

The city boasts a number of centrally-located beaches, offering travelers convenient access to the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Meanwhile, new efforts to fight erosion on popular beaches, including Playa el Recodo, means that Playa del Carmen will only continue to get better. 

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Akumal’s Diverse Nature Attracts Growing Number Of Travelers

Meanwhile, Akumal, an idyllic town and eco-tourism haven, reported the second-highest average occupancy rate in Mexico this year. Despite having a much smaller number of hotels than Cancun or Playa del Carmen, Akumal proves the age-old adage of quality over quantity.

Akumal is an extremely popular location for travelers seeking family-friendly and adult-only retreats and boasts some of the best white-sand beaches in Mexico. 

@katlyn.stevens #mexico #akumal #cheaptravel #wildlife #natgeo #travel #travelhacks #cancun #snorkeling #ocean #caribean #viajar #HeyAngel ♬ Mexico en la Piel – Lupita Jiménez

In addition to its prestigious resorts – many of which are 5-star – Akumal is especially famous for its diverse nature.

From swimming with green turtles to enjoying the area’s pristine waters, Akumal allows travelers to get up close and personal with the Mexican Caribbean’s astonishing nature. 

Akumal has also seen its popularity grow as a wellness destination, with resorts like that 5-star Akumal Bay – Beach & Wellness Resort offering spas, massages, and yoga lessons. 

What The Maya Trains Means For These Mexican Caribbean Destinations 

The Maya Train is officially a reality for the Mexican Caribbean, ushering in a new era of affordable and high-quality public transportation for millions of travelers. 

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Travelers arriving at Cancun International Airport can take advantage of complimentary transfers to the airport’s Maya Train station, from where they can head to Playa del Carmen as well as other destinations in the Rivera Maya.

While only a small section of the railway system is currently operational, more routes will open up to travelers in early 2024.

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