Best Places to Visit Outside of Cancun, Mexico
Cancun is a great setting for a holiday. The city’s thriving nightlife, pristine beaches, and luxurious hotel strip are popular with tourists for good reason. But there is so much more to Mexico than all-inclusive resorts and cocktails by the pool. This is a rich and beautiful country with a fascinating culture, abundant wildlife, and some seriously stunning nature. So get out and explore it! Here are some unique places to visit in Mexico for something a little less typical..
Not far from Tulum, the two bays at Akumal are famous for the huge numbers of turtles which can be found swimming very close to shore. Thanks to nearby reefs, the crystal-clear waters of the bays are very calm, with perfect snorkelling conditions. You can grab a snorkel, wade into the water, and spot a turtle within minutes. Just please follow the rules about where to swim, and don’t touch the turtles – it’s bad for them!
Lake Bacalar is one of those places that’s so special you almost don’t want to tell anyone about it. A stunning 42km lake fed by underground rivers, Bacalar is known as “the lake of seven colours” because of the varying shades of blue of its waters. Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited, it’s still quite off the radar for most tourists, making it all the more special.
Get back to basics on Isla Holbox, a sleepy little island where the only mode of transport is by golf cart, and where all the roads are made of sand. Walk barefoot through the tiny colourful town, rent a golf buggy to tour the dazzling beaches, or stop by one of the many bars for some awesome live music. Plus, if the season is right you can swim with whale sharks, which is a truly incredible experience.
More touristy and a little more built up than Holbox, Cozumel is a small island just off the coast from Playa del Carmen – but it feels a whole world away from the busy party town. A haven for scuba divers, Cozumel is rugged, windswept, and its beaches feel less polished than the ones in Cancun and Playa – but that’s all part of the charm! For an unforgettable experience, rent one of the colourful convertible bugs or busted-up jeeps to tour the island.
If you want to get right off the tourist trail, head to Rio Lagartos – a tiny, sleepy town on the edge of an enormous lake and biosphere reserve. Feed crocodiles at the local crocodile farm, take a sunrise boat tour to spot the birds and wildlife around the lake, and head to nearby Las Coloradas to see some bright pink salt lakes.
Last but not least is Tulum, Mexico’s hippy and yoga paradise on the Caribbean coast. Seriously trendy, this gorgeous little town has more hip bars and restaurants than Shoreditch! It also has some jaw-droppingly perfect beaches, incredible Mayan ruins, and some of the prettiest boutique hotels I’ve ever seen. Throw in great vibes, a relaxed party scene, and a more authentic feel – and you have the ideal alternative to Cancun.
If you are thinking of visiting Mexico don’t forget to stay safe and arrange your travel insurance! Our worldwide Annual Travel Insurance is perfect for long haul destinations and if you travel multiple times a year.