Tulum used to be the hot spot. Now, Americans are flocking to Mexico City (and for good reason). But if you’re looking for an escape south of the border sans the crowds (and the inflated prices that accompany these place), there are still plenty of options. The Escape Home’s Danielle Hyams shares some lesser-known Mexican destinations to consider for your next getaway.
Bacalar is a town located in Mexico’s southwest, near the border with Belize. Visitors come to see the town’s lagoon, known as the “lake of seven colors” thanks to its many different shares of water. Most hotels come with docks that lead into the lagoon, and the calm waters are perfect for swimming, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. You can also explore the lake by boat during which you can visit Canal de Los Piratas, or Pirates’ Channel, which leads to the Caribbean Sea and was historically used by pirates. The area also boasts several cenotes and an island where visitors can view migratory birds.
Todos Santos is a town on the Pacific coast in southern Baja, about an hour’s drive from Cabo San Lucas International Airport. It’s known for good surfing (and those cool vibes that accompany the sport), whale watching, fresh local oysters and beautiful desert scenery, with a backdrop of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range.
It’s also a popular destination for artists and boasts numerous galleries, as well as Hotel California, which may or may not (it’s highly disputed) be the inspiration for the Eagle’s song. Todos Santos is the kind of place people intend to visit for a few days and end up staying for months.
Just about an hour-and-a-half drive from Mexico City, Tepoztlán, which has been designated one of the country’s “pueblos mágicos,” is a unique colonial town surrounded by jagged cliffs. Legend has it that it is also the birthplace of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, making it a center of mysticism and spirituality where visitors can partake in yoga, meditation and visit a temazcal, the traditional Mexican steam bath known to cleanse the mind, body and spirit.
The town center features cobblestone streets, traditional mercados teeming with prehispanic food and weekend artisan markets. Visitors can also visit the archeological site of Tepozteco Pyramid ruins.
Holbox (pronounced “hole-bosh”) is an island that is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, situated north of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s known for its crystal clear waters (some of the most stunning in Mexico) and laid-back, undeveloped vibe; the island is car free, though golf carts are available for rent. The area offers excellent snorkeling and has abundant wildlife, including crocodiles and flamingos, and during certain times of the year you can even swim with whale sharks. To get to Holbox from Cancun you first travel by road for roughly two and a half hours to Chiquilá, where you catch a 25-minute ferry. If you visit, plan to disconnect — while internet exists, you won’t be able to hop on any Zoom calls.