In 2016, a record-breaking 35 million international visitors traveled to Mexico, a jump of more than 9 percent from 2015. This surge in tourism is likely because Mexico’s breaking away from its spring break reputation and investing in infrastructure and new travel trends. Plus, the current political climate makes for a very favorable exchange rate.
So if the beaches, tequila, and tamales weren’t calling your name already, check out the newest attractions waiting to be discovered just below the border.
Mexico City’s Back on the Map
The New York Times and Google searchers agree: Mexico City is one of the world’s hottest destinations. This boom stems from the 1997 election of a liberal government, which ushered in social and economic reforms like same-sex marriage.
Now, Mexico City is considered one of the most progressive cities in Latin America, making it attractive to tourists and millennial residents (the average age is 27) alike. This has led to a flourishing creative and gastronomic movement, with hot new restaurants opening every month.
Tulum Has Become an Eco-Paradise
Los Cabos is known for luxury, but Riviera Maya offers all the bliss of Mexican beaches and lush jungles for a more affordable price. Along the southern coast of Riviera Maya, two hours south of Cancun, sits Tulum. Affectionately known as the Williamsburg of Mexico thanks to a New York Mag travel piece, the city has become a hub for trendy travelers.
Once a popular stop along the backpacker’s trail, Tulum has been “discovered” and it’s not looking back. Complete with wellness retreats, art galleries, and world-class restaurants, it’s easy to see why. Its accessible location, eco-consciousness, and spiritual vibes don’t hurt either. A New York developer has even converted Pablo Escobar’s Tulum compound into a boutique hotel.
Baja Breweries Transform Tijuana
If you only drink lagers with lime wedges, you're missing out on Mexico’s latest and greatest: “cerveza artesanal.” For years, microbreweries couldn’t compete with the country’s beer giants, Grupo Modelo and Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, who signed exclusive contracts with bars and controlled more than 90% of the market. Heineken and AB-InBev have now bought these companies and the government has implemented regulations against monopoly practices.
Taking inspiration from nearby California, the craft beer revolution is transforming Tijuana from seedy nightlife hub to cultural center. The trendy rooftop beer gardens and microbrewery tastings help explain why the city appeared on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2017.
So whether it’s the Mayan sites, shark diving, or Great Butterfly Migration that has you packing your bags for Mexico, be sure to grab world-class grub in the cultural capital; try some yoga in Tulum; and sample craft brews in Baja along the way.
Brewery image provided by Insurgent Brewery.