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Why These 2 Lesser Known Destinations Near Cancun Are Surging In Popularity

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With Cancun breaking all-time tourism records and claiming the title of the most popular beach destination on Earth, many travelers are searching for ways to still enjoy the charm and natural allure of the area without any of the chaos that comes with visiting a mega-hotspot like this.

woman sitting on a swing in Mahahual, mexico

Luckily, there’s no shortage of paradisic beaches in Mexico, and there are two lesser-known destinations, in particular, that are currently surging in popularity thanks to their pristine shorelines and peaceful atmospheres — Mahahual and Xcalak.

Plenty To See And Do

The kind of natural beauty you’ll be able to find in Mahahual and Xcalak really sets these two criminally underrated villages apart from the rest of the region, which has quickly become overcommercialized.

Mahahual, located along Costa Maya, boasts powdery white sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs that seem to have come out right out of a painting.

Beach in Mahahual, Mexico

Xcalak, on the other hand, is a remote fishing village best known for its untouched coastline and abundant marine life, making it the perfect destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts looking to get away from the crowds.

Invasive lionfish in the watres of Xcalak, Mexico

While Mahahual is a bit bigger and better known among travel circles than its counterpart, both towns promise to provide tourists with the type of authentic Mexican charm that’s lost in more popular hotspots.

Whether you want to sunbathe on the gorgeous beaches of Maya Chan and Punta Xcayal, go snorkeling with the experts at the XTC Dive Center, or simply enjoy a sunset walk along the Malecon promenade, these destinations provide the experience of a lifetime.

Abundant Accommodation Options

If you’re worried about your chances of finding a decent accommodation option in a village that usually houses less than 500 people, I’m here to tell you that there’s no cause for concern.

street in Xcalak village, Mexico

Infrastructure projects have been abundant in both destinations, valued at 350,000,000 pesos or 19.1 million dollars. 

Just this last year, several boutique hotels opened their doors to the legions of visitors flocking to the area. Even still, Mahahual and Xcalak are forecasting higher hotel occupancy rates this winter than ever before.

Passengers disembarking cruise in Mahahual, Mexico

This means that it’s just a matter of time before new lodging establishments set their foundations in these small fishing villages, giving tourist plenty of options when it comes to choosing an accommodation alternative that fits both their preferences and budget.

The Beaches Are Becoming Sagarssum-Free

One significant issue both Xcalak and Mahahual have had to deal with in the past involves the arrival of sargassum to the once pristine shores.

Recently, however, the most prominent beaches that dot these two towns have reported that the presence of the smelly seaweed has finally decreased, promising a sargassum-free experience for winter travelers looking to enjoy the idyllic coastline in its truest form.

sargassum beach stinky seaweed

Specific machinery, as well as cleaners employed by the Mexican Navy, are tasked to not only get the beaches in perfect condition before the winter rush but also to keep sargassum from ever becoming a major issue again.

Getting In And Out Of These Villages Has Never Been Easier

What gives most travelers pause before booking a vacation to an off-the-beaten-path destination are the logistics of getting in and out of the location as efficiently as possible.

While Mahahual and Xcalak are notably less connected than the likes of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, or Mérida, the introduction of the new Maya train will make visiting these gorgeous villages easier than ever.

Maya Train Construction On A Bridge, Mexico

The long-awaited rail line will have two designated stops at each of these destinations and is set to start operating this December – so, winter travelers, get your bags ready!

Quiet, Peaceful Atmosphere

Lastly, what really sets Mahahual and Xcalak apart from other Mexican destinations with stunning beaches is the fact that they provide the kind of peace and quiet that’s impossible to find in buzzing hotspots like Cancun or Tulum.

You won’t have to worry about traffic or loud clubs disturbing your good night’s sleep here. 

A Pier Stretching Out Onto The Sea In Mahahual, A Caribbean Beach In Southern Quintana Roo, Mexico

However, if you do want to explore the best of what these villages have to offer after the sun sets, I’d recommend grabbing a beer at a laid-back bar or a cocktail in one of the dimly-lit beach lounges in the area.

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