Mexico has always been the go-to sunny destination for Americans going abroad, but this year, the number of passenger arrivals has taken even national authorities by surprise.
So far, over 10 million U.S. passengers have landed in Mexico compared to 2022, a 4% increase over what had already been a historical year for Mexican tourism, and airports are projecting further growth as the high season is only starting.
So why are most Americans still flocking to their Southern neighbor when chances are they have been numerous times before and are already familiarized with Cancun’s luxurious Hotel Zone, Cabo’s wellness scene, and Mexico City’s world-class museums?
Here are 7 reasons why:
Great Flight Connectivity
First of all, there is probably no other country easier to fly to from the mainland States than Mexico. Every single major U.S. hub will serve at least two Mexican destinations, and even minor hubs will host seasonal flights to the sunny Mexican Caribbean or up-and-coming cultural hotspots.
Perennial Cancun is the number one destination for Americans, and a grand total of 37 international airports across the States offer nonstop connections to the Caribbean city, usually at very affordable rates, as cheap as $65 one-way.
When traveling abroad, especially if it’s a short paid leave, the average U.S. citizen prioritizes destinations that are closer to home – a short three to four-hour flight – and where the predictability factor is high: in sunny Mexico, they just know they’re going to get their hard-earned money’s worth.
Mexico is also rising in popularity due to the world-renowned hospitality observed across its hotel chains and marvelous resorts. Elaborating on the previous point, Americans visiting on an all-inclusive deal are certain they’ll be treated like royalty upon landing:
Cancun, for instance, always offers great getaway package deals, with guests paying upfront for the utmost comfort and high-level catering and being able to simply show up, not worry about the minutiae of international travel, and enter a state of relaxation from the minute they check into their hotel.
Regardless of your property of choice, if it’s a five-star listing, rest assured you will meet well-trained, English-speaking staff ready to attend to your every need as a paying customer, with impressive amenities and state-of-the-art, modern installations.
The perception of peace and tranquility, which correlates with nature, plays a huge part in the decision-making process, and coastal Mexico is known for having abundant verdant reserves, particularly around the Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur states, America’s two favorite.
Not only is Quintana Roo home to white-sand beaches bordered by a teal-colored sea, it is covered by dense forestation, and its jungle paths lead to majestic waterfalls, lagoons, and partly-underground cenotes where visitors can swim in the clearest of waters while basking in the Caribbean sun.
Baja California Sur, on the other hand, includes the twin destinations of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, and it lays claim to a couple of Mexico’s most striking natural features, such as the landmark Arco de Los Cabos and the protected Cabo Pulmo.
The cultural wealth is just as pivotal to Mexico’s success as a tourist destination, and now that a growing number of visitors are actively seeking deeper cultural immersions and a better understanding of the local customs, brand new sub-categories of tourism are rising.
One of them is ‘colonial tourism‘, which focuses on the (re)discovery of historical colonial-era settlements that had previously been largely ignored by sunseekers, who would mostly be concentrated along coastal resort areas, yet are now looking for alternative experiences.
Noteworthy examples of colonial cities undergoing a revival include Merida, where tourists will find the oldest cathedral in the mainland Americas, a short three-and-a-half hour drive from Cancun, and Guanajuato, deemed the most beautiful state capital in the country.
Can We Talk About Infrastructure?
Points of interest aside, yet another reason why visitors choose Mexico over other Caribbean or Latin American (LatAm) countries is the impressive infrastructure, particularly pertaining to the accessibility of destinations and how well-connected cities are.
From December onward, those sojourning in the Mexican Caribbean will enjoy rapid rail links to a number of tried-and-true holiday spots, as well as off-path gems on the hotly-anticipated Maya Train, one of the largest tourist infrastructure projects in the whole of LatAm.
Furthermore, a brand new airport will be opening in Tulum, and several cities have announced major revitalization projects in a bid to attract more tourists. In charming Merida, a new Gastronomic Corridor is being installed, and even underrated Veracruz is investing heavily in the upkeep of its historic quarter.
Mexico is aiming to officially become an A-list destination, up there with the likes of France, Spain, and Italy, and it’s sparing no effort when it comes to development.
Mexico Is Safe
The mainstream media may state otherwise, but there are fewer Latin American destinations safer than Mexico.
A single armed robbery will lead authorities to deploy hundreds of police officers to beach areas to keep tourists safe, as we have witnessed time and again, and the amount of occurrences where visitors are directly affected by violence of any kind has fallen dramatically in recent years.
While this may not be true for the whole of Mexico, all tourist cities, namely Mexico City, Cancun, Tulum, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and adjacent settlements are extremely well-guarded, with constant patrolling and surveillance cameras everywhere to be seen.
This does not mean you should let your guard down – common safety advice applies – but as long as you keep an eye on your belongings, leave valuables you don’t need at home, and stick to the best-frequented zones, your risks of having an unpleasant encounter are very low.
Easy Visa Rules
Finally, tourists from all over the world are welcome in Mexico due to the country’s easy visa rules.
Countries like the United States, Canada, and most of the European Union are extremely strict regarding visa and entry regulations, so much so that the U.S. itself only allows foreign nationals from 41 other countries to enter without applying for a visa in advance.
Mexico, on the other hand, allows almost everyone, from Americans to Canadians to fellow Latin Americans to Asian passport holders and even Russians, to visit without undergoing unnecessary bureaucratic steps.
As long as you carry a valid passport, you fulfill visa-exemption requirements – which every American does – and are able to present proof of onward travel at the end of your stay; you will be granted a six-month stay in Mexico, perfect not only for seasonal guests, but especially long-term tourists.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com