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6 Surprising Destinations Considered The Best In Mexico According To New Report

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Every year, U.S. News & World Report presents a list of some of the best vacation spots across the globe.

The latest edition was just released earlier this week. While the well-respected publication has been consistent in determining the best places to travel, there were some surprises this time.

colorful street in sayulita

In particular, the report for Mexico’s top destinations has some lesser-known places that don’t match up with Mexico’s record-breaking tourism numbers.

While more popular places, such as Tulum, Cozumel, and Cancun did crack the top 10 for best places to visit, some of the other recommendations are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

These 3 major tourist hubs can easily fill up an itinerary from morning ’til night with awesome beaches, delicious restaurants and a buzzing nightlife scene.

The others mentioned are off-the-grid to many typical tourists who make their way to Mexico for a vacation.

These are 6 of the most surprising destinations considered the best to visit in Mexico:

Punta Mita

Those looking to party should go to Cabo. Those looking for the opposite of Cabo should go to Punta Mita.

palm tree lined pool at resort in punta mita

This secluded region of Mexico near Puerto Vallarta offers upscale accommodations such as the commonly known Four Seasons and St. Regis resorts.

Punta Mita is a quiet, peaceful area for the type of traveler who enjoys being outside and in the wonderful waters of Mexico.

Many will find the surfing to be top-notch as well as an excellent place to enjoy the lovely warm weather while playing 18 holes.


Talk about Off Path?! This small beach town is away from most major cities. The closest city is Colima, where the U.S. has the strongest travel advisory in place for the entire state of Colima.

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manzanillo colima beach

According to the U.S. government, a ‘Do Not Travel’ order has been set “due to crime and kidnapping”.

While Manzanillo is a lovely town that offers a fun, sun-soaked beach like many of Mexico’s destinations, getting here should not be taken lightly.

The safer route might be from Puerta Vallarta, approximately 170 miles away, compared to Colima, which is roughly 65 miles away.

manzanillo sign

Those who take travel advisories seriously should know the state of Colima has the same level of warnings as frequent troublesome places, such as Haiti.

Ultimately, travelers will have to decide if making the trek to this picturesque beach town is worth it as bad things can happen anywhere.


This quaint beach town, an easy drive from Puerto Vallarta, is known for long stretches of pristine beaches and some of the best surfing conditions on this side of the country.

Sayulita offers many adventurous daytime activities to spend the day outside and make awesome memories.

aerial view of sayulita

Whether it's zip-lining, a whale-watching tour, or perusing the local art galleries, you can find your niche in this scenic little town.

Puerta Vallarta can become crowded with tourists, so this easy-to-reach town can be an alternative for a quiet day or weekend.

Foodies will love the thriving culinary scene ranging from authentic hole-in-the-wall shops to more upscale restaurants.

Isla Holbox

A gorgeous strand of beaches outside Cancun is on Isla Holbox. Nature lovers will find themselves enjoying the vast array of wildlife with dozens of exotic birds, including flamingos.

flamingos on the beach in isla holbox

What makes Holbox particularly interesting is there are no cars. It is truly an off-the-beaten-path destination.

Here, visitors will find charming hotels and beautiful white sand beaches to enjoy the ultimate relaxation in paradise away from the typical crowds of Cancun.

Isla Mujeres

Also near Cancun is one of the best places in the country for snorkeling – Isla Mujeres.

One of the most unique attractions here is an underwater museum and one of the largest coral reefs in the world. 

underwater art in isla mujeres

Snorkelers will love the tranquil blue waters and the plethora of colorful fish attracted to the reefs. One of the best places to relax and enjoy the day is the most popular beach, Playa Norte.

Travelers will find stunning white sand and tranquil turquoise waters lined with palm trees perfect for a postcard.


U.S. News & World Report claims Zihuatanejo is the best place in all of Mexico to visit. Here, tourists will be welcomed with chill vibes and amazing sunsets over the calm blue waters.

Located on the Pacific Coast near its sister city, Ixtapa, this calm fishing village offers guests a more authentic experience of its culture.

zihuatanejo coastline

The artsy crowd can buy hand-crafted woodworks and ceramic gifts. Foodies can sit beachside and indulge in decadent local seafood, such as catch-of-the-day fish tacos.

Beaches here, such as Playa La Ropa, are notably clean, quiet and welcoming for the whole family. 

Neighboring Ixtapa also made the list, but Zihuatanejo was ranked #1.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Friday 16th of June 2023

Just another know-nothing article about Mexico, including the obligatory travel advisory bs.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

So happy these travel articles rarely focus, if at all, on the true hidden gems of Mexico's interior. I'll gladly leave the beach towns to the throngs of North Americans. Mexico is so much more than the beach.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

The road from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo is very large and well built due to the new Costalegre International airport that they started to build. And when driving this road, there is no need to drive all the way to Manzanillo as you will pass some of the nicest beaches in Mexico, especially around the area of Chamela-Cuitzmala. Besides, Manzanillo has an international airport with direct flights from the US and Canada.