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Why This Beautiful Region South Of Cancun Is Gaining Popularity This Year

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When it comes to choosing the perfect destination for a vacation, the Mexican Caribbean does not fall short of stunning places on offer. 

While the most popular areas continue to be Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, the list is endless when it comes to picking out your own slice of paradise for your visit. 

People on a dock in Bacalar

The Grand Costa Maya, situated in Quintana Roo just south of Cancun, recently saw an influx of 475,870 visitors in the first half of this year, as tourist numbers skyrocketed for the Mexican Caribbean, beating numbers from before the pandemic. 

When compared to 2022, Chetumal, Mahahual, and Bacalar, all areas within the Grand Costa Maya saw an influx of 450,797 visitors, which means the area’s popularity has increased significantly with 25,000 more people in 2023, an increase of 5.5%.

There will be many factors for this rise in popularity; one such reason could be attributed to tourists who were looking to skip the overcrowding and busyness of Cancun during the high season when hotels were almost meeting full capacity.

chetumal boardwalk going out into the ocean

Another reason will be the work carried out by local authorities to advertise and promote the locations to tourists, with the above-mentioned areas also becoming popular destinations for influencers who have highlighted the areas hugely through social media platforms, enabling a wider reaching audience to view just exactly what is on offer.

The Director of Tourism Development of the City Council of Othón P. Blanco, Luis González Salazar has also highlighted that the tourist offerings within these areas, such as special events and festivals, have had a natural draw for visitors adding to the influx.

So where is the Grand Costa Maya, and what makes it such an appealing place to travel to? 

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iconic swing in bacalar with crystal clear waters

Located in the south of Quintana Roo, the region is known for its rich culture and archaeological sites that capture the imagination of all history lovers and offers a more authentic beach experience for anyone looking for a relaxing, calm vacation destination. 

The area has everything from luscious nature to mesmerizing lagoon systems and unique attractions which are perfect for any family looking to add a slice of adventure to their trip. 


This thriving city genuinely has everything you could ever need from a perfect tourist destination. 

Beautiful Sunset in Chetumal, Mexico

Chetumal is known for its diverse cultural heritage and has touches of Mayan, Mexican, and Caribbean influences which spreads out into the city’s architecture, cuisine, music and traditions. 

Here you can experience breathtaking cenotes and coral reefs, perfect for any adventurer who is keen to explore these unique environments. 

If you’d prefer to stay on land, the Ruins of Oxtankah, an ancient Mayan city, might capture your interest, giving you a special glimpse into Mayan culture. 

Once all your adventuring has built up your appetite, you can experience the stunning architecture of the colonial era where you will not be hard-pressed to find the rich culinary delights of the city, with traditional Mexican food around every corner.


Home to the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, the area has claimed the title of one of the best places for diving in the Mexican Caribbean, perfect for seeing turtles, nurse sharks and rays, as well as more than 60 sunken ships dating back to the 16th and 17th century.

A view of the Caribbean sea in mahahual

If you are looking for a more relaxed, laid-back beach experience, with sugary white sands and turquoise waters in abundance, Mahahual is going to be the perfect place for you. 

The area has just recently announced that it remains sargassum free, another reason why the location should be high up on any beach lover’s bucket list. 


Holding the status as one of Quintana Roo’s “magic towns’, this area is perfect for tourists looking for a quieter, smaller, and cheaper alternative to Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. 

Here you can take in the beautiful sights of the lagoon, which has hotels, restaurants, and bars dotted all along it for the perfect view. 

lagoon at Bacalar as the sun is setting

Bacalar is also known for its amazing food options, giving tourists a taste of proper Mexican cuisine that puts it on the map.

With both cheaper affordable options as well as some more expensive ones, Bacalar has a place to eat for everyone looking to experience some great traditional food. 

Cenote Azul is another highlight for any visitor to the area looking to experience the sparkling, deep blue open-air water for a swim to escape the afternoon heat. 

sunset on a beach in the Mexican Caribbean

The hotel infrastructure in the Grand Costa Maya currently stands at 260 different locations, with a total of 4,310 rooms. 

As these three areas continue to grow in popularity, so too will the expansion of hotels and its tourist offerings; be sure to check them out!

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