Cancun is world famous for its huge resorts, fine sand beaches and lively nightlife. From honeymooners to families, the shining star of the Mexican Caribbean attracts all sorts of travelers. Cancun also doesn’t have to be expensive. The amount of rooms available in a variety of resorts means that a vacation in Cancun can fit just about every budget. The various beaches and day trip option to Isla Mujeres makes Cancun a one-stop travel destination.
The Caribbean side of Mexico not only includes Cancun, but a variety of other spots to explore. You might even consider foregoing Cancun and choose other places to home base. There is no wrong place to choose as a home base, only the right choice for you. Especially if you hire a car like I do, you will be able to explore the area easily while enjoying your preferred home base.
Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen has a small town feel with big city comforts. The beach clubs that line the wide beach are an option for those looking for a stylish day on the sand. I recommend staying at the Fives Curio Collection by Hilton. It’s a block away from the beach and has a fantastic rooftop pool and bar. It’s also walking distance from lots of restaurants and cafes. The Hotel is also taking part in the Hilton Clean Stay program which even includes a full body disinfectant mist for anyone exiting or entering the property
Do not miss an opportunity to have tacos at El Fogon. It’s a no frills taqueria that hits the spot and not your wallet. I would highly recommend the el pastor tacos. Be sure to check out the guys carving meat from the rotisserie for each order.
There is no doubt Tulum is a vibe. The hipster enclave is very popular with those looking to boost their instagram game. Looking beyond the superficial popularity, Tulum is a great place to home base for its proximity to cenotes and Mayan era pyramids. The hip beach clubs, unique architecture and various art installations help Tulum standout among the rest. There is a strong expat community and a focus on wellness that entices a lot of travelers to stay as long as possible. There are lots of hotel options that line the main beach road in Tulum. Airbnbs are also available in downtown.
Further south, close to the Belize border, lies Bacalar. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds of trendy Tulum and busy Cancun. The town is located on a lagoon that is so beautiful it is called the Lake of Seven Colors. Bacalar has an off the beaten path feel. There is an air of romance in Bacalar that is part jungle, part lagoon, with a couple of romantic lodges thrown in. The low key vibe of Bacalar is what makes it attractive. It’s the perfect prize at the end of a 2.5 hr drive from Tulum.