Ask any American where they'll be headed for their next sunny break, and there's a strong possibility they'll answer Cancun. Famous for its luxurious resorts, white-sand beaches, and year-round warm weather, the city is the best-performing destination in Mexico by a mile, but it has been facing some serious competition lately.
Despite leading in overall tourist numbers and having attracted a record number of visitors in 2022, Cancun seems to be reaching an apex, as it is no longer the country's fastest-growing destination, a title that has now been bequeathed to a Pacific destination that's historically occupied the runner-up slot.
In case you're wondering which city is set to become the next go-to vacation spot, perhaps this iconic arch-like rock formation jutting out of the deep-blue ocean may give you an idea:
Los Cabos Is The Next Cancun
For decades, Los Cabos had been relegated to a secondary role in Mexico's tourism front as Cancun, Tulum, and other Riviera Maya attractions drew in the most visitors. Despite its huge potential, it used to be overlooked by sunseekers venturing south of the border, who were deeply enamored with the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea and developing resort scene.
As the years went by, however, the Riviera Maya began losing some of its appeals as a result of mass tourism and the constant surges in price, while the dual destination of ‘The Capes', which includes both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, rose to prominence as a much more relaxed alternative that's yet to be overrun by the Instagram hordes.
Unsurprisingly, it shot up the charts as the second most visited coastal destination in all of Mexico in 2022, behind only Cancun. In total, 4 million people landed in Los Cabos International, the main airport serving Baja California Sur, between January and December of last year. It is still far below Cancun's figures, which totaled 8 million, but this is when things start to get truly interesting:
The 4-million mark is already 20% greater than the number registered in 2021, proving yet again The Capes continue on an upward trend when it comes to growth. In other words, they are now the fastest-growing Mexican destination, easily surpassing the tourism powerhouses of Cancun, Mexico City, and Puerto Vallarta.
In September 2022, there were already signs Los Cabos was on track to topple Cancun in terms of growth, registering a 32.6 percent increase in visitor numbers during the Northern Hemisphere summer, in comparison to the Caribbean hub's much more moderate 26.6 percent.
As our sister website The Cabo Sun states, Cabo ‘still has plenty of room to grow'. So what's behind Los Cabos' popularity, and where could it be headed next?
How Has Los Cabos Become This Popular?
Part of the reason why Los Cabos feel so special is the host of luxurious accommodations and unique experiences it offers, often coupled with stunning natural scenery and within walking distance of the beaches. Recently, the twin cities were named Mexico's number one wellness destination, boasting the ‘greatest presence' of wellness retreats in the Americas.
It may not be exactly affordable, but there's no denying the high-quality service and the laid-back vibes, contrasting with the Riviera Maya's chaotic party scene, have helped Cabo carve a niche for itself in the high-end tourism sector, appealing to those who are not only willing to splurge on an all-inclusive but who also expect some exclusivity and actual relaxation.
Unsurprisingly, many Hollywood celebrities have Cabo as their preferred beach getaway, though it is equally popular among middle-income Americans saving up for months for a true five-star treatment, even when flying – and of course, there's the region's cultural wealth and pristine nature to consider.
As noted above, Los Cabos could grow in relevance even more, especially after the major airport renovation is completed and capacity increases. Additionally, in response to the rising demand, all of the world's top hotel brands will soon be opening new properties in the area, such as Four Seasons and Marriott.
The Capes are hot right now, and we have a feeling Cancun's days as Mexico's unchallenged King of Tourism are numbered.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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.