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Why These 3 Magic Towns Near Cancun Are Skyrocketing In Popularity This Year

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If there has been one thing decided this year, it is that the Mexican Caribbean is a heavyweight champion when it comes to tourism. 

A year like no other, the region has seen a surge in popularity in the aftermath of the pandemic, with more and more people in search of the vacation of a lifetime to make up for ‘time lost’.

As the winter season begins, and with the summer season breaking a whole host of records by coming close to full occupancy levels in some hotel areas, it is important to note that places beyond Cancun are finding just as much success. 

aerial drone view of beach in bacalar

People are looking beyond the typical beach destination in search of something more from their vacation and luckily, the surrounding ‘magical towns’ offer exactly that, with standouts such as Cozumel, Bacalar, and Tulum as clear favorites.  

Yes, there are of course stunning beaches everywhere you can possibly imagine in the Mexican Caribbean, but these towns offer beyond that.

They have been given their coveted title for being historically, culturally and/or environmentally significant to the region, acting as ‘guardians of (our) identity and culture’, according to Secretary of Tourism Bernardo Cueto Riestra. 

Is a more authentic slice of Mexican life what you’re after from your next trip? You need look no further…

@travelsbytash Make sure to visit Bacalar on your next trip to Mexico! The colour of the water here is insane 😍 #backpackingmexico #solofemalebackpacker #bacalarmexico #visitmexico🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽 #mexicotips ♬ Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun


Found just off the coast of the ever-popular Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is a beautiful island that has the picture-perfect, postcard beaches tourists want…and so much more!

Scuba divers and watersport enthusiasts will have come to the right place, being in touching distance to part of the Mesoamerican Reef, an area teeming with aquatic life.

If swimming isn’t your idea of fun, then you can skip the water and check out the impressive downtown area, which is host to a whole number of different amenities and some fantastic food options. 

@touristtolocal THIS is how you do Cozumel Mexico 🇲🇽🌴 #cozumel #cozumelmexico #cozumelisland #mexicomagico #mexicotravel ♬ original sound – touristtolocal

Cozumel remains underdeveloped and has a more natural beauty to it, differing hugely from the famous hotel zone in Cancun, which has seen its popularity soar in recent years.

The island has many luxury all-inclusive resorts but also offers smaller, secluded hotel options for those looking for something just that little bit different.

Between January to September 2023, Cozumel received more than 780,000 tourists and for good reason; the island is a perfect contrast to the more built-up areas such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun and seems to be only growing more popular every day. 

Tourists on a Beautiful Beach in Cozumel, Mexico


Far away from the hordes of tourists in Mexican resort towns, Bacalar is a magical town that should be high on your list of places to visit.

With the feel of being off-the-beaten-path, the destination has attracted more than 188,000 visitors, which is no surprise to anyone; it is host to the impressive Lagoon of the Seven Colors, a natural lagoon with pristine blue waters that change shades of blue when the light reaches it at certain times of the day. 

Bacalar is also a destination that offers a more authentic experience of Mexico, with the area traditionally being Mayan, which can still be felt in the fabric of its people and community today.

A romantic view of Bacalar at night

Perfect for any nature lover, the town is home to a variety of plants, animals, and aquatic life, and has plenty of opportunities to keep you occupied on your trip, with boat tours, kayaking, and historical locations galore!

Whether you immerse yourself fully in the Mexican culture or choose any of the adventure activities on offer, Bacalar is going to be an unforgettable visit.


Now with its own International airport, Tulum seems to be the name on everyone’s lips this year as it becomes trendier than ever. 

Known for its majestic Mayan ruins and breathtaking beaches, the town offers a far different feel to its counterparts, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 

Its huge transformation has seen it move far away from its humble beginning as a small fishing village and is now host to a bohemian vibe that focuses on wellness and health, being one of the top places for Yoga in the entire world. 

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a firm favorite, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a natural attraction that spans over 1544 square miles. 

Traveler walking in the Sian Ka'an reserve

Once believed to be a ‘gateway to heaven’ by the Mayan people, it can now be enjoyed by tourists who can tour the reserve and witness the unique jungle and mangroves that surround it. 

Tulum has a wealth of other natural attractions, such as the iconic Playa Paraiso Beach and the Cristal and Escondido cenotes, which are an absolute must-see as well.

The town has a focus on the preservation of these incredible natural attractions, as well as sustainability within its hotel and restaurant structures, making it a number one eco-friendly destination (something that is quickly becoming important for a lot of tourists.)

These three magical towns have seen an occupancy rate of around 72 percent this year, proving just how popular they have become, and give hope to more magical towns that join the coveted list waiting to be discovered by even more tourists!

tulum beach with Mayan ruins above

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Joyce magee

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Hello we are coming in March staying at coral beach Teaqueas hotel. Is it safe there and is there lord of things to do and how far arevthectowndbto walk to pkease and Thank u


Thursday 28th of December 2023

Forget the complete overpriced, overrated, gridlock mess that is Tulum. 15 years and they still don’t have more that a strip mall street and a beachfront you can’t use unless you booked an outrageously expensive spot. Do yourself a favor and Just skip Tulum.