Ask anyone what the most popular tourist destination in Mexico is and they’ll probably tell you Cancun. After all, the beautiful beaches and nearly unlimited amount of activities, shops, restaurants, and bars make Cancun a fantastically energetic place visited by people from all over the world. Although the crowds are part of what makes Cancun great, there are many places nearby you can go for a respite from all the hustle and bustle of this major tourist area. If you’d like a break from the crowds, you should pay a visit to the locations outlined below.
You can travel to these places independently by renting a car, taking a bus, or hiring a taxi, or you can see them as part of a guided tour booked through our agency Xplora Cancun.
Puerto Morelos – 40 Minutes
Puerto Morelos is a small beachside village located about 20 miles south of Cancun, making it the most accessible destination on our list. This town is famous for the fantastic snorkeling available in the nearby Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, but there’s much more to do than that. Puerto Morelos’ pristine white sandy beaches are wide and uncrowded, making them perfect for relaxing and simply listening to the waves crash in. Meanwhile, the town center is full of souvenir and gear shops, restaurants, and even a cooking school that offers classes in preparing Yucatecan cuisine.
How to Get There:
Follow Carretera Cancun – Tulum/Mexico 307 south about 20 miles until you reach the exit for Calle Jose Maria Morelos. Take the exit, turn left on Calle Jose Maria Morelos, and continue until you reach the town center.
Recommended Xplora Cancun Tour: Snorkeling Adventure
Akumal – 1.5 Hours
In the Mayan language, Akumal means “Place of the Turtle,” and it certainly lives up to its name. The clear turquoise waters just off Akumal’s beaches are the habitat for the endangered Green Sea Turtle, and it’s not unusual to see them if you go snorkeling. If you want to learn more about these animals, stop by the Centro Ecologico Akumal, a conservation organization that works to protect the local turtle population. In addition to the turtles, this peaceful village is near a golf course, numerous cenotes, and it has several fantastic places to get a meal or sip on a margarita while you gaze at the stunning blue sea.
How to Get There:
Travel 60 miles south on Carretera Cancun – Tulum/Mexico 307 and turn right on Calle 16 in Akumal. Make a U-turn so you’re heading east on Calle 16, and follow the road about half a mile.
Recommended Xplora Cancun Tour: Mayan Adventure Snorkel Xtreme
Valladolid – 1.5 hours
If you want to explore a traditional Mexican town full of colonial charm, look no further than Valladolid. Walk around this small city, founded in the 16th century, and you’ll see cobblestone streets flanked by colorful arcade style buildings, towering stone cathedrals, and adobe-walled restaurants, cafes, and shops. You can see many of Valladolid’s sites by walking from the center of town, including the stunning Ex-Convent San Bernardino de Siena; the Calzada de los Frailes, a popular walking route through town; and the Zaci cenote, which is located near the central plaza. Should you want to pick up a souvenir, check out the Yalat Boutique, which sells jewelry, handcrafts, and original artwork.
How to Get There:
Head west on Cancun-Valladolid/Paseo Lopez Portillo/Mexico 180. In about 85 miles, exit onto Mexico 295 toward Valladolid.
Recommended Xplora Cancun Tour: Xichen – Valladolid
Isla Holbox – 3 Hours
In terms of keeping it low key, Isla Holbox may be hard to beat. This 18-mile-long island is a friendly slow-paced destination where the most popular way to get around is by golf cart. What the island lacks in major commercial centers it makes up for with its miles of seemingly endless, and sparsely populated, white sand beaches and wealth of wildlife. In fact, Isla Holbox is home to more than 150 species of birds, while the waters around the island are teeming with fish and other marine life, including whale sharks that visit the area from June to September.
How to Get There:
You can follow this driving route, but your best bet may be to go on a guided tour through Xplora Cancun.
Recommended Xplora Cancun Tour: Ecocolors
Cancun is an exciting destination, but if you’d like to experience life at a slower pace then you should visit these wonderful places. Book your next exciting tour in Cancun! Visit our tour agency, Xplora Cancun, to discover and book the most popular excursions in the Mayan Riviera, as well as arrange a transfer from Cancun International Airport to Club Regina Cancun.
Where to Stay
Club Regina Cancun is a beach resort located in Mexico’s premier vacation destination, nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon. The location brings ancient and contemporary Cancun to your vacation experience. This destination offers seaside views of naturally turquoise waters; perfect for waterskiing, diving and snorkeling.
The resort amenities include an on-site restaurant and bar, and a sparkling swimming pool. Cancun is nestled on the southeast coast of Mexico where the Great Mesoamerican Reef creates the best water sports venue in North America. Tour Mayan temples nearby and later, enjoy Cancun’s international nightlife. The night lights up with some of the best clubs in Mexico, playing every music genre from salsa to R&B. Open the door to an unforgettable escape.
Click here to watch a video of the resort!