The picturesque, centuries-old Mayan ruins of Tulum, perched on a bluff overlooking the idyllic blue-green expanse of the Caribbean, has long attracted shutterbugs, scenery lovers, beachgoers, and more recently, celebrities, bloggers and Instagrammers. It truly is one of the most spectacular places on the Mayan Riviera.
But it would be a mistake to think that Tulum is the only Bohemian paradise in Tierra del Sol. Here are four more up-and-coming getaways in Mexico that you’ll want to check out too.
Bohemian Bliss in Isla Holbox
Leave the tourist crowds behind in Cancun and travel north to Isla Holbox, just off the northern coast of the Yucatan. This mostly car-free island, separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon, provides sanctuary for flamingos, pelicans and other exotic animals. Few tourists visit there, and the streets are made of white sand. Electricity arrived only in the late 1970s. You can dive in unspoiled underwater beauty with sea turtles and whale sharks. The 26-mile island is a spot for wellness retreats such as The Meditation & Margaritas Trip – five days of hammocks, meditation, margaritas, tequila, yoga, and spiritual guidance.
For a great place to stay, try CasaSandra Boutique Hotel. A swath of white-sand beach outside, and no televisions, telephones, radios, or alarm clocks inside pretty much guarantee the best downtime you can ever hope to experience.
Tacos & Tequila in Sayulita
This sleepy beach town is on the Pacific coast of Mexico about 25 miles north of Puerta Vallarta. It’s known for its laid back hippy vibe and artisanal culture. Of course, tequila is a must when in Mexico, so pop in to Sayulita Fish Taco and Tequila Bar for a taste; they stock over 300 different kinds. Check out the local art of the Huichol people. You’ll want to bring home a sample or two of their unique painting and beadwork style. And be sure to take a day trip to the Marietta Islands – you’ll see a volcano in the ocean that actually has a beach inside of it.
For an experience a bit different from the standard hotel, check out Aurinko Bungalows. There are only six units, and each has its own outdoor space, a fully equipped kitchen, and is a short walk to the beach.
R&R in Playa Mazunte
Located on Mexico’s south coast in the state of Oaxaca, this area was once completely dependent on the turtle and turtle egg trade. It was banned in Mexico in 1990, and eco-tourism based on turtle conservation has taken its place. Visit the Mexican National Turtle Center on the beach – it’s where the turtle slaughterhouse used to be – and see all of the marine turtle species indigenous to Mexico as well as fresh water and land varieties.
The beach is a 1-km stretch of soft sand, and dreadlocks and tattoos are the norm there. A variety of restaurants can be found in the town. An annual jazz festival has been held in Mazunte since 2005, and the Festival de Mazunte – also held annually – features floats, a bikini contest, and a fishing contest.
Natural Wonders at Cabo Pulmo
If you are looking to really get away from it all, at the very end of the Baja California Peninsula is the tiny village of Cabo Pulmo and Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America. The town is quite remote and consists of just a few dirt roads and restaurants, but the snorkeling and diving are out of this world. You can see rays, jacks, trumpet fish and even bull sharks.
Stay at Hotel Punta Pescadaro Paradise in nearby Los Barillas. Settle into a room with a view of the picturesque Sea of Cortez and take advantage of the beachfront facilities, private beach, pool, tennis court, and more.