Mexico is the go-to country for U.S. citizens flying abroad, and while it’s true the whole country is packed with tourist attractions and breathtaking sights, there are three cities that stand out as America’s preferred vacation destinations, regardless of travel season, due to their year-round warmer weather, the hospitality of the locals, vast tourist offer and vibrant multiculturalism.
The Southern Neighbor has come out of the health crisis stronger than ever before: it has always been a tourism powerhouse, drawing in millions of tourists every year prior to 2020, but it is breaking every imaginable record in the current era. It has hosted over 30 million visitors in 2022, and further growth is expected for 2023 when an even greater number of Americans is expected to travel.
We already knew 25% of them will be heading to Mexico this year, but now we also know which cities they’re most likely to fly to:
The Leading Tourist Destinations In Mexico
According to recent research conducted by Grupo Empresarial Estrategia, three of Mexico’s coastal cities saw a 12.6% increase in arrivals in the first seven months of 2022 jointly compared to 2019. In actual numbers, this translates as 8.4 million passengers or 23.3% of Mexico’s tourism figures at that point.
In a country where the tourism offer is impossibly vast, comprising Magical Towns, colonial-era destinations, and an extensive coastline, keeping up the momentum is hard, but these three cities have proven yet again their reign is only starting. Further supporting the earlier findings, new data from Allianz Travel confirmed them as the top destinations for Americans traveling abroad in early February.
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As seen in the study, which focuses mostly on travel data for Valentine’s Day but encompasses the wider period of February 2 up to February 13, during the peak season in Mexico, the country is the most popular vacation option for Americans flying internationally. More specifically, the exact same destinations that had been named Mexico’s most powerful triad last year.
Officially, the top three vacation spots Americans are completely obsessed with are:
Cancun is the busiest hub in the state of Quintana Roo, and a highly sought-after destination for mainly one reason: it offers easy access to the wider Riviera Maya, a gorgeous sandy strip extending along the Eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, home to some of Mexico’s top-rated five-star resorts, a busy nightlife, the clearest beaches in the entire country, and seas that are turquoise blue.
It does have its flaws, especially when it comes to overpricing and the quality of the service amid higher demand, as well as the occasional presence of sargassum, which blankets the coast from April through October, but it remains a world-class destination. Demand has been so high and air traffic so intense eGates were opened to speed up the processing of passengers early this year.
Located at the very tip of the Baja California peninsula, the ‘Capes’, or Los Cabos, are a dual destination including the neighboring cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, which are both famous for their well-developed wellness scene and stunning nature – think the iconic arch-shaped rock formation rising out of the Pacific, golden sands and lush marine parks.
As a single entity, Los Cabos is the fastest-growing destination in all of Mexico, surpassing Cancun’s own growth rate. Last year, it posted a 24% increase in arrival figures, claiming the title of Mexico’s second most popular coastal spot. Its soaring popularity is attributed to a host of luxurious hotels and spa facilities and a laid-back atmosphere – contrasting with Cancun’s chaotic party scene.
A gorgeous city in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta’s skyline is one of the most easily recognized in Mexico. It features a rose-colored cathedral spire rising above a Spanish-built cobblestone Old Town, dramatically set against the backdrop of the Pacific ocean. Wandering the streets, visitors are met with a surprising mix of old and new.
The old buildings in the Centro Historico will offer them a glimpse of Mexico’s bygone colonial era, and the riches of the now-defunct Spanish Empire, under which Puerto Vallarta existed, while the well-frequented, palm tree-lined Malecon promenade, filled with restaurants and trendy bars, serves as a reminder it is far from being just another boring open-air museum: it is youthful, fun, and full of life.
A Powerhouse Trio
Regardless of the holiday period and season, these three cities will continue leading booking trends. It is not a mere coincidence, and it is a pretty rare, impressive feat. For instance, it is quite normal for bookings to surge in the European market over summer, as Americans fly in their droves to the Mediterranean – or the newly-discovered Black Sea – to soak up the culture.
As the cold months approach, however, inbound travel from America decreases significantly – the European South is, after all, a seasonal favorite. Mexico’s triad, on the other hand, is busy year-round: even though numbers tend to dwindle in the off-season, they are still high enough for incoming passengers to struggle with higher rates and lower room availability in a number of areas.
Other fast-growing destinations in Mexico that should be on your list include Isla Mujeres, a scenic island off the Cancun coast, Lake Bacalar, touted as the new Tulum – except it’s far more authentic and has not been ruined by overtourism – and Merida, a colonial gem famous for its colorful 18th and 19th century buildings and Spanish heritage.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
Please note Puerto Vallarta is not the capital of Jalisco, and it was an insignificant, totally isolated coastal village, during the Spanish empire period. Of course neither of these facts detract from its wonderful appeal today.
Monday 27th of February 2023
I am here now and cost is not an advantage in PV anymore. 20% drop in cad vs MX adds to the problem. Americans are luckier.with deglobalization it will get even worse as Mexico is the big winner in NAFTA 2 as America brings manufacturing back to North America.
Sunday 26th of February 2023
@Kathleen Kutz, It's a shame, not only rent is high but restaurants have raised their prices from 20 to 30% this year.boat rides have gone sky high.unfortunately, as long as we keep paying, they keep raising their prices.
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
@Bruce Hanson, I was just going to say the same thing. Puerto Vallarta is not at all Spanish colonial. I first came in 1969 when there were just 3 palapas (small buildings covered with palm branches as the roof.
It is on steroids now, many building being torn down to build small expensive condos which owners rent out for extremely high prices. In my building the going nightly rental rate is $279 USD/night for a 2 bedroom.
One can avoid the "scene" easily however. But high priced rentals are the norm. You only get a break if you rent year round.