With an increasingly more internationalized Cancun and a busy, ridiculously overpriced Tulum, have you ever wondered where locals go for their yearly break in Mexico? In this article, we bring you the top 5 Mexican beach destinations Mexicans love the most, known for their stunning nature, authenticity, and long-standing tradition.
Mexico is the number one destination for Americans going abroad. We all know how insanely busy it can get, particularly in early January, when beachgoers flock to the Mexican Caribbean in search of some winter sun. But if you’re not a fan of crowds, and splurging for the sake of splurging doesn’t sit right with you, it can definitely be a bit much at times.
Fortunately, Mexico’s coastline extends for nearly 7,000 miles, and there are numerous other spots to discover far away from all the Tulum madness:
The Top 5 Beach Destinations Most Sought-After By Mexicans
According to new research published by Despegar, one of Mexico’s leading travel agencies, the top 5 coastal cities most sought-after by Mexicans are:
An under-visited resort town straddling the Pacific shoreline of the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Mazatlan is famous for its 13-mile long Malecon, a modern seafront promenade lined on one side by sandy beaches, and on the other by modern developments, upscale residential complexes, and five-star hotels with ocean view suites averaging only $262 a night.
It is also home to an incredibly well-preserved Centro Historico, full of Old World charm. Some of the city’s most beautiful colonial-era buildings are found in this area, such as the imposing Immaculate Conception Basilica, as well as some of the best restaurants and bars. On Despegar, reservations have been up 20 percent this year.
4. Playa del Carmen
One of the most popular international destinations in Mexico, Playa del Carmen is located a short one-hour drive south of Cancun. It has developed a reputation for being more family-friendly than other party towns along the Mayan Riviera route. In 2022, there was a 20 percent increase in booked trips to Playa del Carmen, proving it is trendier than ever.
This winter, there is a high chance rooms could sell out in the town as it continues to capitalize on the influx of tourists arriving via Cancun Airport. They are drawn to the region’s palm-lined, white-sand beaches, coral reefs, turquoise-colored cenotes, countless archaeological sites just a stone’s throw away from the tourist zone, and sheer tropical beauty.
Tied with Mazatlan and Playa del Carmen, Acapulco has experienced a 20% surge in reservations in 2022, proving it will remain one of the trendiest domestic destinations for Mexicans escaping to the seaside in 2023. Nestled in the Pacific Coast of the Guerrero state, only 11 miles from the nearest international airport, it has everything sun-seekers could hope for:
Year-round warm weather, golden-sand beaches, wellness centers, and vibrant nightlife… It has been particularly favored by movie stars and millionaires visiting Mexico since the Golden Age of Hollywood, having earned its nickname of ‘Playground of the Rich and Famous’ for catering to luxury travelers for nearly a century.
2. Puerto Vallarta
With a 44 percent jump in bookings, Puerto Vallarta is the domestic runner-up among Mexicans this year. The crown jewel of the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is most easily recognized for its impressive baroque architecture, evocative of the former colonial power Spain, and an oceanic esplanade featuring a futuristic boardwalk adjacent to a well-frequented beach.
One-third of Mexico’s official triad of world-class cities, a status it shares with Cancun and Cabo, it continues to grow in relevance due to its perfect blend of fun and culture. Whether strolling cobblestone streets over three centuries old or sipping margaritas with their feet buried in the sand, tourists are guaranteed to have a memorable vacation.
Number one on the list with a 45 percent uptick in bookings, Huatulco is Mexico’s favorite beach destination. Taking a glimpse at its scenic Oaxaca coastline, which includes 36 spotless beaches and a total of 9 bays, where the water is every imaginable shade of translucent blue, it’s not hard to see why Mexican nationals have left Cancun and are heading there instead.
Other than nature, tourists will also find some of Mexico’s most exclusive, high-end resorts, golf courses, and the charming, quintessentially Mexican town of La Crucecita. Here they’ll find souvenir shops, restaurants that have stayed true to the flavors of Mexico, and locals who are welcoming and eager to greet tourists.
Looking for more inspiration for your off-path Mexican vacation? Perhaps you should consider these other 5 underrated beaches that see only a tiny fraction of Quintana Roo’s crazy tourism numbers over the winter holidays.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com