15 Dreamiest Destinations in Mexico Most Americans Don’t Know About

Everyone has heard of Cancun and Los Cabos. But what about the other incredible destinations in Mexico worth exploring, with their deserted beaches, stunning historical landmarks, and some of the best food you’ll ever eat? These are the 15 most impressive destinations in Mexico that most American travelers have never even heard of.

Puerta Cortés

Image Credit: Puerta Cortes.

Head north of La Paz on the Baja California peninsula until you reach Puerta Cortés, where untouched and pristine desert landscapes meet the sea to make this resort destination one of Mexico’s hidden gems that you won’t want to miss. It is home to a golf club, marina, shops, residences, hotels, and villas that perfectly combine exclusivity with the laidback, beachy vibes you’re looking for in an escape to Mexico. The 115-room Hotel Indigo La Paz Puerta Cortés, part of IHG’s Hotels & Resorts’ luxury collection, recently debuted here.

Todos Santos

Image Credit: Explorers Away.

Located just over an hour north of Los Cabos, the historic “magical town” of Todos Santos entices visitors with its lively arts scene, quaint streets lined with galleries, and stretches of beach. Surfers flock to nearby Los Cerritos for the legendary breaks, while art lovers can explore the town’s vibrant culture. Stay at the brand-new Todos Santos Boutique Hotel for a luxurious retreat in an impeccably restored and revitalized historic property.

Isla Holbox

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Isla Holbox is just a short drive—and ferry ride—from Cancun, but it feels like a world away from the busy stretch of resorts on the beaches of the Riviera Maya. The island has an undeniably tranquil atmosphere, where cars are scarce and bicycles and golf carts rule the sandy streets. It is also known as a destination for swimming with whale sharks.

Isla Mujeres

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Like nearby Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres is a legendary destination for swimming with whale sharks. Just a stone’s throw from Cancun, it’s a charming and relaxed destination that far fewer travelers make it to despite its incredible underwater life, stunning beaches, and infectious beach town vibe.


Image Credit: Our Habitas Bacalar.

Bacalar is just a short drive from the busy, built-up Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, but few travelers have heard of the unique features of this inland gem of a destination. Bacalar beckons with its renowned Lagoon of Seven Colors, which shimmers with azure tones amidst lush jungle surroundings. Stay at Our Habitas Bacalar, among the most affordable luxury resorts in Mexico.

Costa Palmas

costa palmas
Image Credit: Costa Palmas.

Located just over an hour north of Los Cabos, the exclusive community of Costa Palmas offers access to miles of pristine beaches, hiking trails, and nature reserves teeming with diverse flora and fauna. This 1,500-acre resort community is home to Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences and the soon-to-open Amanvari, the legendary Aman brand’s first property in Mexico. It’s also a world-class yachting destination on the rich Sea of Cortez, home to the Four Seasons brand’s first-ever private marina, with a 250-slip port that accommodates up to 300-foot yachts.


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Guadalajara is one of Mexico’s largest and most important cities, though it’s more charm than hustle and bustle. Stroll along the historic streets of downtown to admire colorful buildings and ornate churches, then delve into the local art scene at galleries and museums before treating yourself to traditional dishes like birria and tortas ahogadas, full of flavors.

San Miguel de Allende

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Arguably one of the most beautiful towns in Mexico, tiny San Miguel de Allende is so beloved it has even been named the best city in the world by Travel + Leisure multiple years in a row. Baroque churches, artisan markets with handcrafted textiles and pottery, and stunning viewpoints over colorful rooftops and cobblestone streets make it picturesque beyond words. Stay at Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, built in six historic casonas, for a luxe stay that brings all the charm of the town close.


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Rich in indigenous culture and traditions, Oaxaca enchants visitors with its colorful markets, ancient ruins, and culinary delights. Also a frequent contender for the top spot on Travel + Leisure’s list of the best cities in the world, Oaxaca is best known for its incredible local cuisine, including regional specialties like tlayudas and dishes featuring chapulines.


Image Credit: Explorers Away.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guanajuato dazzles visitors with its picturesque alleyways, colorful colonial buildings, and underground tunnels. While many travelers visit just as a day trip from nearby San Miguel de Allende, this stunning city merits a longer stay to truly enjoy.


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Plenty of travelers know of the resort towns along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but few have heard of the inland gem known as Mérida. Also known as La Ciudad Blanca – The White City – Mérida boasts colorful streets, elegant colonial architecture, and easy access to nearby cenotes, untouched beaches, and plenty more to entice visitors to stick around.

La Paz

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The capital of the increasingly popular Baja California Sur region, the coastal city of La Paz offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while providing all the amenities to make for an easy, hassle-free trip. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Sea of Cortez to swim alongside whale sharks or kayak among playful sea lions before escaping to the white sands of the world-famous Balandra Beach.


Image Credit: Hotel Oasis.

The tiny, historic town of Loreto feels like the laidback beach town you’ve always dreamed of. Located along the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, its golden beaches and rugged desert landscapes feel like they’re a world away from Los Cabos. They make this relaxed retreat one of the best places in Mexico for an affordable wellness escape, especially if you’re looking to enjoy adventurous activities like sport fishing, diving, and sailing to the nearby islands of Loreto as an additional way to unwind.


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Also known as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” the small city of Mazatlán beckons with its golden beaches, lively malecón oceanfront promenade, and rich cultural heritage. Stay at the brand-new Dreams Estrella del Mar Mazatlán Golf & Spa Resort from Hyatt for your visit. Located on the Estrella del Mar coastline, it’s a sign of exciting new things to come for Mazatlán. Guests who book by April 30, 2024, will receive grand opening specials.


Image Credit: ericbvd / Depositphotos.

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains, the Pacific coast beach town of Manzanillo is one of the country’s hidden gems for those looking for a combination of beautiful beaches and a laidback destination off the beaten path. Stay at Las Hadas Golf Resort & Marina for friendly hospitality and spectacular views overlooking the town.

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.