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Why This Region South Of Cancun Is Trending With Travelers This Winter

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The Mexican Caribbean is having its best year on record in terms of international arrivals as the sun-drenched region skyrockets in popularity.

The recent launching of the Maya Train coupled with the inauguration of Tulum’s cutting-edge airport means that the touristy region will only continue to grow in popularity.

A blue ocean and a boat in the costa maya

But one region south of Cancun is set to become especially popular thanks to improved infrastructure and unprecedented international connectivity.

The Costa Maya – a region known for its notable Mayan influence and quaint beaches – is soaring in popularity this winter.

aerial view of a white sand beach and attractiosn in the costa maya

With that in mind, here’s a look at why this region south of Cancun is trending with travelers right now.

Vibrant Culture And Endless Beaches Draw More Travelers To Costa Maya

Situated on the southern portion of the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo lies one of the region’s most underrated areas – the Costa Maya.

Although the sunny hotspot welcomes tens of thousands of cruise ship travelers, it doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as the likes of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 

@joshcruises THINGS TO DO IN COSTA MAYA MEXICO: Bacalar Lagoon! 🛶 #cruise #cruising #cruiseship #cruiselife #cruisetok #joshcruises #cruiseexcursion #mexico #costamaya #bacalarlagoon #bacalar #kayaking #thingstodoincostamaya ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

But that’s soon set to change thanks to the completion of the Maya Train, a landmark infrastructure project that connects 5 different states across the Yucatan Peninsula, including Quintana Roo.

The Costa Maya is an informal region comprising Chetumal, Bacalar, and Mahahual, as well as numerous smaller towns and villages.

Despite lacking the massive all-inclusives that dot the rest of the state, these off-the-beaten-path destinations offer a unique glimpse of ancient Mayan culture and are home to some of the region’s most stunning nature.

New statistics show that this winter, the sunny region is especially popular with travelers, with nearly 80,000 visitors expected to spend their vacation exploring the area’s Mayan ruins and lush rainforests.

According to the latest projections, the cultural hotspot and the state capital of Quintana Roo, Chetumal, is gearing up to welcome around 51,000 travelers this winter. The southern destination is mostly famous for its old wooden buildings and historical neighborhoods, many of which are undergoing a significant transformation as part of the Barrios Mágicos program.

@shemamamaps Travel with me to the land of “No, Gracias” in Costa Maya, Mexico! #traveltiktok #tiktoktravel #travelwithme #comewithme #costamaya #costamayamexico #mahahual #travelwithkids #traveltips ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

Chetumal also has a train station belonging to the Maya Train network, allowing travelers from nearby Tulum and Bacalar to visit the coastal city for a day trip or an extended break.

Meanwhile, the eco-hotspot of Bacalar is projected to receive nearly 21,000 visitors this winter, making it the second most sought-after destination in the area. Bacalar is known for its overwater bungalows and quaint boutique hotels, which offer cozy retreats compared to massive all-inclusives found elsewhere in the region. 

@travelcruiseconnoisseur #cruisecontent #cruisewithme #cruising #cruisetok #cruiselife #cruisecontentcreator #cruising2023 #cruiseshipcontent #contentcreator #costamaya #costamayamexico #thingstodo #travelblogger #traveltiktok ♬ Lowkey (Sped Up) – Rochelle Jordan

Lastly, the cruise ship hub of Mahahual is expected to welcome around 8,000 travelers during the high season. And while that number pales in comparison to other locations in the Mexican Caribbean, it’s still an excellent destination to avoid the crowds. That said, Mahahual sees thousands of cruise ship travelers each day, making the destination feel busy at times. 

Once the Maya Train is fully operational early next year, the Costa Maya will attract even more travelers. For now, however, travelers still have to rely on private transfers or taxis to reach the historical region. 

@cruisinsusie Cruise Port Destination: Costa Maya #cruise #port #costamaya #mexico #cruiseship #dotd #cruisetravel #destination #travel ♬ Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse

Travelers headed to Costa Maya this winter should definitely consider checking out the impressive Chacchoben ruins. Situated just 50 minutes by car from Mahahual, these ancient ruins date back to the 7th century and feature a massive pyramid structure as the crown jewel.

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