Mexico has it all, and people know it. With affordable flights, beautiful beaches, fantastic weather, and a rich culture, it is easy to see why 25% of Americans traveling abroad end up in Mexico each year. Visitor numbers continue to rise. Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism has just reported that 2022 arrivals have surpassed those of 2021 and 2019.
Between January and November of 2022, Mexico welcomed an estimated 18.4 million tourists through its international airports. That number represents an 8% increase from the same period in 2019, and a whopping 52% increase over 2021 arrivals. Americans alone made up 11.7 million of those international tourists. This is an increase of 30% in 2021 numbers and up 24% from 2019.
While tourism in Mexico is more popular than ever, some destinations continue to be favorites of international tourists. Mexico has so many beautiful locations, but the majority of visitors end up in one of these top 5 destinations.
Year after year, Cancun wins the popularity contest for Mexican tourism destinations. Because it has been such a popular destination for so long, Cancun has built up the infrastructure needed to support the hordes of tourists that visit each year.
Simply put, visiting Cancun is easy. Cancun’s International Airport sees direct flights from many U.S. and Canadian cities, and the fares are competitive. Additionally, there is a huge range of accommodations in Cancun. From romantic all-inclusives to family-friendly resorts, the variety of hotels available makes Cancun accessible to all types of travelers.
The ease of visiting Cancun leaves more time for relaxing on the beautiful beaches, enjoying the vibrant nightlife, and basking in the near-perfect weather. Several resorts even go the extra mile to make your vacation even easier by offering butler service so you don’t have to lift a finger.
How to get there: The Cancun International Airport is just 13 miles from the hotel zone. Shuttles, buses, taxis, and rental cars can be hired at the airport for the short transfer to the tourist area.
When to visit: Visiting between November – April will avoid the hurricane and rainy season in the area.
Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is only 45 minutes south of Cancun but can seem a world away. It is smaller and more laid-back than Cancun, but still offers all the comforts you need in a Mexican beach vacation.
All of Playa Del Carmen’s beaches are public and easily accessed. This means you don’t have to stay at a resort in order to access its beach. Playa Del Carmen’s location in the heart of Rivera Maya makes it a great base for exploring the surrounding beauty of the region. Popular activities include exploring the world’s second-longest coral reef off the coast, exploring the nearby cenotes, and sightseeing at the nearby Mayan ruins.
How to get there: Fly into Cancun International airport and book a bus, shuttle, or rental car to go direct to Playa Del Carmen from the airport. In late 2023 a train will connect Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and beyond.
When to visit: Visit between November – April to avoid the rainy and hurricane seasons.
Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is known for its Mexican culture, vibrant nightlife, and stunning beaches. Home to Mariachi music and raicilla (the local drink), visitors get swept away in the city’s vibrant neighborhooods and tourist attractions while marveling at the stunning mountain landscapes.
This resort town has lots of all-inclusives to choose from, making it accessible to families, couples, and budget solo travelers. It’s no wonder that Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular spots to vacation in Mexico.
How to get there: Flying into Puerto Vallarta International Airport is easy and a taxi or bus transfer from the airport is only 10 minutes.
When to visit: High season in Puerto Vallarta is between December and April. Those looking for an epic underwater adventure should visit between May–August.
Los Cabos is located at the Southern point of the Baja California Peninsula. The area includes the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. The two towns are linked by 32 km of beach-front resorts and golf clubs. It is most recognized by its rugged rock formations that rip out of the ocean where the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez meet.
While other spots in Mexico are known for their party scene, Los Cabos focuses on luxury stays. With over 2 million visitors per year, visitors are drawn to the turquoise waters and warm sandy beaches. Some of the best surfing in all of Mexico is along Costa Azul Beach. It was named one of the world’s top beach destinations in 2022.
How to get there: Visitors to any of the tourist areas in Los Cabos can fly into the Los Cabos International Airport. San José del Cabo is just 8 miles away from the airport, and Cabo San Lucas is 23 miles away. Taxis and shuttles are available to provide transfers from the airport.
When to visit: Most tourists to Los Cabos visit during the high season of December – April when the weather is ideal. Travelers looking to avoid the crowds but still have nice weather should go between May and June.
Mexico City is one of the oldest cities in North America. It is also the fifth most populated city in the world. It is a great destination for tourists looking to immerse themselves in Mexican culture. With over 150 museums and galleries, sprawling public squares and parks, ancient Aztec ruins, and vibrant neighborhoods, tourists could spend a lifetime exploring all Mexico City has to offer.
Fans of Mexican food are especially partial to Mexico City. The diverse cuisines from every region of the country are available. From unassuming street food vendors, to hip cafes, and high-end restaurants, tourists can eat their way through Mexico without ever leaving the city.
How to get there: Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport has frequent flights from all over the world. The airport is 6 miles outside of the city. Depending on your mode of transportation it can take between 25 and 50 minutes to get to the city center.
When to visit: Mexico City is a great year-round destination. Visitors should choose the best time to go based on what they want to do and see in the city. Spring sees the most pleasant weather, and autumn is when most festivals occur.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com