I’ve been to the Yucatán Peninsula three times already and can’t get enough. From the aquamarine waters of Cancun; to the vibrant, yet small town feel of Playa Del Carmen; to the majestic Chichen Itza all the way to Mexico’s own Dead Sea. Heck, I even partied with the Backstreet Boys in Cozumel! Yet, it’s time I explore some underrated Mexico attractions.
I want to go back to Mexico and not be stuck at an all-inclusive resort, though.
For this reason, I have partnered with Karma Trails to explore several gems that are very close to popular tourist attractions in Mexico; yet, very few tourists know about. These are all a short hop from Mexico City and/or Yucatán hotspots such as Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.
Their customized, flexible trips allow you to build the Mexico itinerary you want through local Destination Experts and guides who give it a special touch. To really get to know the cultural, historical, archaeological nuances and activities that are not so cookie-cutter.
I’m heading to explore the national treasures of Chiapas, Holbox Island, and the colonial city of Merida!
Chiapas, Holbox Island, and Merida: Underrated Mexico Attractions
Chiapas: San Cristobal de Las Casas, Sumidero, Palenque, Zinacatan
I had never heard of the Mexican state of Chiapas–except in the name of one of the hot sauces I like XD Antonello, the owner of Karma Trails, strongly suggested it as it is one of the most naturally-rich, yet underrated attractions in Mexico.
When I saw the pictures, my jaw dropped as low as yours.
It looks like freaking Southeast Asia! Towering peaks and flooded canyons–sprinkled with tropical greenery–hug the Guatemalan border. Ancient Maya cities, nearly swallowed by the rain forest, abound as well.
Speaking of which: more than 80% of all vegetables and fruits consumed within the country come from Chiapas! All electric energy consumed within the Yucatan and some of it even sold to Belize Guatemala, is produced in Chiapas.
What’s missing? Foreign tourists, mostly.
I will spend 2 nights at San Cristobal de Las Casas (July 20-22)–a sparsely-visited Spanish colonial town in the central Mexican highlands. As you know I’m Puerto Rican, so I’m planning to haggle it up in the markets in my native language!
From my Chiapas base, I’ll be visiting Sumidero Canyon, Agua Azul, Maya city of Palenque, and the indigenous communities of Zinacatan and San Juan Chamula.
The state of Chiapas could easily become the next ecotourism hotspot in Mexico. I can’t wait to explore its colorful culture and natural attractions before most! Expect intense goPro footage from yours truly 😉
Merida: Ek Balam, Uxmal, Coba
Merida is the stunning cultural center of the Yucatán Peninsula. While more popular than, say, Chiapas state, it is still overshadowed by its glitzy neighbor on the east: Cancun.
Unbeknownst to most, Merida is a cheaper, better base for the history buffs and cultural explorers who wish to visit all major Maya ruins in the region.
I will spend 3 days and 2 nights based out of Merida, exploring known and lesser-known Maya cities.
While I’m visiting Chichen Itza and Coba again, I’ll do so from a different perspective (and lens!) this time. I wish to catch corners and angles I didn’t notice the first time around.
Particularly, I’m anxious to see Ek Balam again. That unique Jaguar Temple left quite an impression on me on my 2012 Mexico trip.
Then, it is off to Uxmal and Tulum for the first time. The former is swallowed by the jungle; while the latter is caressed by the Gulf of Mexico. One is fairly off-the-beaten-path; while the other is more popular than I would like. Two Maya cities, two contrasting locales.
Expect cultural video galore from the Yucatán as well! ;D
Holbox Island: Whale Sharks + Laid-Back Vibes!
One of the most idyllic, incredibly-underrated Mexico attractions is Holbox Island.
Did you know this is one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish (and shark) in the world?!
Imagine such a creature: akin a whale, that feeds on tiny plankton, swimming nearby.
It’s been on my travel bucket list forever. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.
OMFG. I’m about to cry just thinking about it…*%$&#@! 😀
Swimming with whale sharks in Holbox is definitely one of my most anticipated Mexico attractions on this trip. I will also get to explore the.island proper, just a few miles north of the Yucatán Peninsula, with its low-key vibe and virgin beaches.
I plan to mostly chill, as the unique Holbox Dream Hotel has such a character that I’m sure it will suck me in and force me to truly relax <3
This trip will be for the books!
I arrive July 19 and depart July 29. Follow me and #latinabroadMX on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter @LatinAbroad for real-time posts from these Mexico attractions!
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Again, many thanks to Karma Trails for sponsoring this epic trip <3