If you’ve ever been to Mexico, you already know the country is full of beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, delicious food, and so much more. For many, the main cities that come to mind when they think of Mexico are Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel…the classic beach spots that are among the most popular, and for good reason – they’re truly gorgeous and can be a whole lot of fun! But we know of a handful of spots that are off the beaten track that you might want to check out, especially if you’re looking for something a little more low key and a lot less populated.
Here are our favorite hidden gems in Mexico:
If vacationing at a beautiful Mexican beach without the throng of partygoers interests you, look no further. Yelapa will meet your needs. Called Mexico’s “last authentic beach town” by some, it remains generally unpopulated. This may be because you can only get there by boat. This means you will need to either take a water taxi or hire a private boat to get there. Once you arrive, you won’t find any chain restaurants, hotels, or shops in Yelapa. You will find relatively secluded beaches, authentic Mexican restaurants and accommodations, and the perfect place to relax on your vacation.
Located in the heart of the Riviera Nayarit on the Pacific Coastline, San Pancho is the perfect getaway for wellness gurus, especially those who practice yoga. Unlike Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita, neighboring cities that have become somewhat overpopulated meccas for yogis, San Pancho is still under the radar, offering a different kind of peace and relaxation. San Pancho isn’t overdeveloped. It’s surrounded by nature, so you can really take a break from it all and destress.
Looking for a beach as gorgeous as the ones in Cancun, but much less populated by party animals of all ages? Check out Isla Mujeres, a smaller beach less than eight miles away from Cancun, but worlds less chaotic. You can hang on the beach or enjoy one of the village’s unique attractions, including an underwater sculpture museum and a chance to swim with whale sharks – one of the only places in the world where that’s an option!
Have you been to the Grand Canyon before? If you’ve experienced its vastness, you may be shocked to hear Mexico’s Copper Canyon is, somehow, four times its size. The crazy part is…no one seems to know about it, or very few people at least. This means you’ll have the views and hikes to yourself when you visit. We recommend taking the Chihuahua al Pacifico railway through the Mexican wilderness, which stops along the way so you can take a few days to explore the canyons, of which there are actually six.
While Mexico is famous for its beautiful beaches, it also has an incredibly rich history, as you likely know. If you’re more interested in exploring a Mexican city that will provide a glimpse into the country’s history and culture, try Merida. It’s located in the Yucatan state–a colonial town that dates back to the 16th century. The town is chock full of museums, churches, and historical sites. While you’re there, take a free walking tour of the city (they start at 9am every day at the Merida Tourism Office!), peruse the Museum of the Mayan World, take in a reenactment of the traditional Mayan ball game Pok Ta Pok, or enjoy a night of dancing in one of the town’s weekly fiestas!