Cancun may be America’s favorite city South of the border, but it is not the only sunny spot deserving of praise in the – much wider – Mexican Caribbean.
There is a small island just off the turquoise coast that’s drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year with its relaxed vibes and pristine nature. In fact, it is so special it was recently bestowed the greatest title a tourist destination in Mexico can strive for.
If you’re heading to Mexico this fall, you should definitely pay the trendy island of Cozumel a visit, and we will give you 5 reasons why:
A Quieter Atmosphere
However you wanna call it, the Quintana Roo coast or the Mayan Riviera, one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Mexico’s Easternmost coastal province may be the country’s most sought-after, and most luxurious resort zone, but it is far from being the most peaceful.
With the world-famous party scene in Tulum and Cancun’s busy entertainment venues attracting young sociable travelers, it is maybe not the place to go if you’re looking to enjoy some quality time with the family, kick back, and soak up the tropical nature.
Cozumel, on the other hand, has been time and again noted for its slow-paced lifestyle and less-busy resorts.
Luxurious Wellness Retreats
A strong favorite among visitors, the Iberostar Cozumel combines the best of Quintana Roo’s legendary entertainment industry, being in no way lacking in infrastructure in comparison to Cancun Hotel Zone’s offers.
Here, guests also enjoy the tranquil atmosphere that’s so characteristic of Cozumel, with its small, thatched-roof bungalows and sweeping native landscapes.
Other properties listed include the Cozumel Palace, with reviews reading it is ‘peaceful and quiet’, and the Melia Cozumel, one of the best in the hospitality giant’s portfolio, being described by a TripAdvisor customer as well-equipped and ‘very chill’.
Cozumel Is Extremely Safe
As Cozumel is an island municipality with a relatively small population, it does not suffer as much from issues relating to urbanization and gang activity as Cancun or other major mainland cities – after all; there are only so many places for criminals to run and hide.
Though it is definitely not immune to crime, with pickpocketing being a common occurrence, particularly in touristy areas, it is still very safe compared to other Caribbean hotspots, where civil unrest and soaring crime rates have been reported this year.
The island’s authorities have also ensured a high level of public safety by deploying more police to beach zones and resort areas, as early as December last year as part of Quintana Roo’s robust security package, which involves stricter surveillance and zero tolerance towards petty criminals.
As a result, crime levels have been relatively low, especially when compared to border zones between Mexico and the States or Mexican states in the State Department’s Level 4, ‘no-go’ list.
Vacationing in Cozumel, tourists can expect well-guarded resorts, safer streets, particularly in San Miguel de Cozumel, the island’s quaint capital, and an increased coastal guard presence, guaranteeing they will get to the end of their trip unscathed.
New Nonstop Flights From The U.S.
Though they are certainly paradisaical spots, Mexican islands are not exactly renowned for their excellent air connectivity, with several of them being in fact inaccessible by plane. Cozumel stands out as the only major island to host flights from America.
With an extensive list of nonstop flight routes, year-round and over the peak season, it welcomes visitors from numerous U.S. cities and regions, who benefit from affordable fares and greater availability of seats, most notably from December through April.
Passengers all over America, including those in Austin – Texas, Chicago, Denver, Miami, and so on get to pick from several different low-cost airlines or full-service carriers operating at more affordable rates, and every year, new exciting are launched.
2023 has been no different, as recently, flights between Atlanta and Minneapolis and Cozumel with Delta Airlines have been reinstated due to increased demand for Mexico vacations. At the same time, Canadians will now be able to fly to the island from Toronto and Montreal, with Air Canada and WestJet.
Cozumel Is Officially A Magical Town
Finally, Cozumel has been officially granted status as a Magical Town, but what does this even mean?
The decorative title, which is unique to Mexico and is bestowed upon the country’s top tourist destinations by the Tourism Ministry, recognizes Cozumel’s important role in advancing Mexican culture on both national and global levels.
Other than its world-class resorts and scenic beaches, and UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, which would warrant a designation based on natural sights alone, it is a seriously underrated cultural destination with a rich and largely unexplored Mayan heritage.
It is the site of San Gervasio, one of the most fascinating Mayan ruins of the bygone pre-Columbian civilization. Sitting on the northern third of the island, it was a piligrimage spot, as well as a sacrificial ground for the ancient people.
Through 16th-century writings attributed to Diego de Landa, the then-Bishop of Yucatan, Historians have learned that the Mayans ‘held Cozumel in the same veneration’ as the Christians do Jerusalem or Rome and would often visit to offer ‘presents’ there.
Having fulfilled all requirements to become a ‘Pueblo Magico’, such as having a robust tourist infrastructure, significant cultural offer, and a population of over 20,000 – Cozumel stands at roughly 90,000 – it was confirmed as Mexico’s newest Magical Town recently, giving visitors to the Mexican Caribbean yet another reason to add it to their bucket list.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com