There are endless reasons to visit the magical and beautiful land of Mexico.
It’s a country that offers something special for everyone. You can visit popular destinations such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta for more of a tourist vibe. If you want more of a cultural experience, you can see one of Mexicos’s Pueblos de Magico, or magic towns.
Yet the country has even more to showcase off its coast. According to a recent survey, these 3 islands are among the most popular and must-visit in the land of tacos and margaritas.
Here are the top three islands you must add to your bucket list:
Not many places elegantly balance nature and artificial structures, but Isla Holbox does. Isla Holbox is a little paradise in the Yucatan Peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
One of the many reasons Isla Holbox is a gem of Mexico’s island is the intentional harmony created within this place.
The island helps preserve the stunning beaches and the pristine nature by having roads paved with sand instead of cement, and most people use golf carts instead of cars to get around the island.
However, this respect for nature isn’t the island’s only magical touch.
Exploiting the island can feel like walking through a fairytale as local artists have painted several colorful murals across town. You can practically feel the culture oozing from the buildings.
And while the day is filled with glorious sunshine, the nights can also be luminous. During certain parts of the year, the ocean lights up at night with the infamous bioluminescent spectacle.
This phenomenon is where the plankton in the water glows, turning the waves to bright blue and green lights.
Another charming island located in the Yucatan Peninsula is Isla Mujeres. It is a perfect getaway if you need a break from Cancun’s lively party scene.
On the island, you’ll meet many people, including locals, fishermen, ex-pats, artists, musicians, and all-around friendly people. In addition to welcoming people, the island has white sand beaches that complement the clear turquoise water.
The island’s beauty offers many things to do and see and a unique history to explore. If you’re a scuba diver, you must dive into MUSA, the underwater art museum.
Originally designed to counteract the effects of climate change and tourism on the reef system, this museum contains 12 galleries with over 1000 artificial pieces.
The exhibits have sculptures of people and objects with coral growing off them to help marine life flourish.
Don’t worry if you’re not scuba diving; you can still experience the magic with an underwater glass boat experience.
Another unique activity that you may not find in most places is the opportunity to walk dogs. Yes, you can get a temporary fix on Isla Animals for all dog lovers who had to leave their canine Campeon at home.
There, you can volunteer to walk dogs, cuddle with puppies, and take part in the grooming and care of four-legged friends.
More than just a tropical getaway, Cozumel is an island with a sacred history. It was once an ancient Mayan community.
The temples created there were for women seeking fertility. Most of these ancient ruins still hold up today and are known as the ruins of San Gervasio.
The island is divided into two main sides, the east and west sides. The west side is the more touristic and popular side. However, the east side is known as the “wild” side.
Don’t worry; visiting this site doesn’t mean entering an untamed jungle with ravishing wildlife.
However, if you want a break from the hotels and beach clubs of the west side, you can find remote beaches and local bars of the east.
Exploring the island is best done by jeep, where you can visit Cedral, the original capital, surrounded by beautiful nature, such as caves, hiking trails, and a cenote.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com