Cancun is located on the Caribbean Sea in the Yucatán Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Thanks to its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife, it is the ultimate tourist destination for tourists from North America and all over the world. That said, if you have already been to Cancun several times, you may not be looking forward to a return trip. You can, however, visit Places Similar to Cancun that offer the same feel and amount of thrills. Here is a review of 20 such places.
20. Ensenada, Baja California
Located in Baja, California state, Ensenada is one of Mexico’s most important and second largest cruise ports. It is a mere 68 miles from the border and is known for its varied recreational activities. The best time to tour Ensenada is between December and April, when you can kayak, dive, and whale watch.
19. Manzanillo, Colima Mexico
Manzanillo is affectionately referred to as “The Sailfish Capital of the World.” The city, which is located in Colima, receives sunshine 350 days a year and offers a wide range of adventure sports, ecotourism opportunities, and beach activities. While here, you can dine at the main plaza, which offers scrumptious seafood and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. You can also tour the exquisite golf courses.
18. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca México
Located in Oaxaca, Mexico, you will find the stunning beach city of Puerto Escondido at the end of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountain. It boasts several beaches, Bacocho Beach being the most popular, and features a variety of cultural institutions, restaurants, and hotels. If you are traveling with your family, you will love Playa Principal, while beach Zicatela caters to a younger crowd and surfers. You can take a day away from the beach and explore the city’s rock formation at the ecological reserve.
17. Mazatlán, Sinaloa Mexico
Mazatlán is a breathtaking beach city in Sinaloa known for its rich history, culture, and lovely beaches. It is divided into two zones, with one side, Golden Zone, hosting major restaurants, bars, and hotels. In Old Mazatlán – the other zone – you will find picturesque markets, churches, and cafes. Mazatlán is also notable for its rich German influences, evident in the vibrant Banda music and beer scene.
16. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta is a collection of stunning beaches located on the border of Nayarit and Jalisco on the Pacific Ocean. A tour of the north side will take you through the Los Arcos amphitheater, which offers free shows, and Gringo Gulch. The weather here is warm and tropical, with average daytime temperatures of 80°F to 85°F and night temperatures of 55°F to 65°F between November and May. The city is also very tourist-friendly, so you can get around in English very easily.
15. Acapulco, Guerrero Mexico
Located in Guerrero, Acapulco is one of the most notable tourist destinations in Mexico. The port is located on the Pacific Ocean and is affectionately called the “queen” of Mexican resorts. While in Acapulco, you can enjoy beach life at two beautiful bays, Bahia de Acapulco and Santa Lucia, and indulge in the exuberant nightlife. You can also take an eco-tour of the town’s jungles, islands, and lagoons.
14. Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Commonly called Valle, Valle de Bravo is an ethereal town located in Mexico. It is built around a lake and is popular for calm waters that accommodate activities like swimming, water-skiing, kayaking, sailing, and boating. Away from the water, visitors can explore the town’s unique architecture. The San Francisco de Asis Parish Church is a must-visit.
13. Belize, Central America
Belize has a breathtaking shoreline on its eastern coast, Mayan ruins across the area, and lush green jungles to the west, making it a full-package vacation. The Belize barrier reef is perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. In the jungle, you can go caving, horseback riding, and hiking. Overall, you cannot run out of things to do in this beautiful town.
12. Algarve, Portugal
Airfare has dropped so much recently that you can have your Cancun-like vacation in Portugal. The Algarve is located in the south of Portugal and is known for world class resorts, cliffs, pools, water activities, beautiful sandy beaches, and the Mediterranean’s blue waters. During your trip, step away from the water and explore the town’s historic villages while enjoying delicious seafood and wine.
Aruba is home to blue waters and plenty of beaches. You can snorkel, swim, surf, and more. But, if you are a thrill seeker, you will want to explore the rugged terrain of the north coast for some off-road adventures. You can also stroll through the town, taking in the colorful homes, unique architecture, and land formations like land bridges. Make sure to pop by the Bushiribana Gold Mill ruins and the Alto Vista Chapel, which is situated on top of a hill. Over three million pounds of gold were mined in the ruins in the 19th century.
You do not have to leave the country to enjoy beautiful spas, beaches, swim up bars, and warm weather: just head over to Hawaii. Hawaii’s waters are great for snorkeling and surfing, and the lush jungles are perfect for biking and hiking. If you are in the mood for some adventure, you can also tour the island’s remote parts to experience active volcanoes and dreamlike waterfalls.
Curacao is the place to be if your idea of a vacation involves a lot of nightlife and dancing. It has an unmatched nightlife, with most of its beach restaurants and bars offering dance discos and live music throughout the night. You can also spend a few dollars at the casinos or enjoy the many jazz clubs and salsa-dancing spots. Every month, over 3,000 head over to Kokomo Beach for a full moon party.
8. Jamaica, The Caribbean
If you go to Cancun for the aquatic activities, scrumptious food and drinks, private beaches, and all-inclusive resorts, you should feel right at home in Jamaica. This Caribbean country is teeming with lush rainforests and beaches lined with reefs. To the northeast is Montego Bay which features a cluster of all-inclusive resorts with private beaches. Most of these establishments have water parks, spas, pools, bars, casinos, and free water sports so that you never run out of things to do in Jamaica. You also have the option of longing by the beach and enjoying the pristine blue waters.
7. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located in Central America and is an excellent alternative to a Cancun vacation. The area is known for its lush rainforests and unrivaled zip lining opportunities. Whether you are 7 or 70, Costa Rica has a zip lining adventure you will love. You can hang off a bridge, rappel down a waterfall, soar through the canopies, and more. The area is also home to several active volcanos and streams and rivers that offer canoeing and kayaking expeditions. Even better, you can go horse riding, trail hiking, and reef diving. If you prefer to be by the water, there are enough beaches to meet your needs.
6. Several Islands in Yucatan
Like Cancun, these three hot locations are located in the Yucatán Peninsula, so you can be sure they provide pretty much the same fee. HuffPost identified them as great alternatives to a Cancun vacation, and it is easy to see why. Cozumel Island, the first of the three, is home to the Caribbean’s only pearl farm and has great locations for snorkeling and scuba diving. Boutique hotels here also cost as low as $100 a night. Holbox Island, on the other hand, is more laid back. It is undisturbed and remote, with an atmosphere pulling between beach island and jungle. You go here when you are looking for a small-town experience intertwined with the beauty of a hammock-rich twenty-six-mile island. The third island is Bacalar which is famous for its unique blue waters and remote luxury villas. It is remote and peaceful, boasting natural features like ruins, jungles, and water caves.
5. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv has 13 spectacular beaches, multiple underground clubs, and an endless array of beachfront luxury hotels, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Nicknamed the “Mediterranean Capital of Cool” by the New York Times, this city is one of the most vibrant locations in the world. It is alive 24/7 with a buzzing nightlife, world-class cultural scene, amazing food, and architecture that is recognized by UNESCO.
The sandy Mediterranean beaches are also something to look forward to, with the main beach, Gordon Beach, being hailed as one of the best beaches in the world. There is so much to do and see in Tel Aviv that, every year, more than 2.5 million international tourists visit the city. In recognition of its thriving nightlife, the city has also been called things like “party capital” and “the city that never sleeps.” This is definitely the place to go if you are looking for a party vacation.
4. Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos, one of the most popular Greek islands, is situated in the middle of the Cyclades island group. The island is famous for its vibrant nightlife and cosmopolitan feel. In fact, it has been nicknamed “The Ibiza of Greece.” Things to look forward to here include the minimalistic Cycladic architecture, which encompasses many blue-domed chapels and traditional whitewashed homes. You also do not want to miss a chance to watch the sunset over the lovely traditional windmills in Little Venice. Of course, beach lovers can explore Mykonos’ beaches, which range from sandy to pebbly and beast deep blue, azure, or emerald waters. Beach activities include kitesurfing.
3. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan is located a short distance from the epic shores of Lombok. It is one of the most beautiful islands in Southeast Asia and the largest of the famous 3 Gilis islands. In addition to scenic natural landscapes, the area boasts soft white powdery beaches bordered by large palm trees and blue waters teeming with aquatic life. It is no wonder Gili Trawangan is a popular side trip or alternative for tourists to Bali. Although it only measures 15 square kilometers in size, there is no shortage of things to do here. You can let loose at the many beach bars, snorkel with turtles, scuba dive with reef sharks, island hop, and more.
2. Boracay Island, Philippines
Boracay is only 11 square kilometers in size, but it is one of the most known tourist destinations in the Philippines. It has a total of 17 beaches and coves that are beyond breathtaking. Even better, it is part of the Western Visayas Island Group – an archipelago – which allows you to island-hop all you want during your trip. Boracay’s white sandy beaches are just the tip of the iceberg; while here, you can parasail, cliff dive, kiteboard, windsurf, snorkel, dive helmet, scuba dive, and horseback ride on or near this island.
Boracay is also home to the Graham Marsh designed 18-hole par 72 golf course. The island emerged as a top global destination for tranquility and nightlife in 2013 and was awarded the Best Island in the World in 2012 by Travel + Leisure, as reported by ABS-CBN News.
1. Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza is famous for its raucous and wild parties that attract celebrities and normal folk alike. Widely considered the crème de la crème of beach party destinations, the island is home to some of the best nightclubs in the world, featuring swimming pools, sunbeds, cabanas, and more. It also boasts breathtakingly stunning beaches with warm sunshine, clear waters, and soft sands. While in Ibiza, you can indulge in the many activities offered at local beaches or relax in some of the isolated locales on the outskirts. Thanks to the clear water, Ibiza is prime snorkeling ground.
According to Reportur, hotel occupancy rates in Cancun have been on the rise lately, indicating that Quintana Roo’s tourism sector has fully recovered from COVID-19-related tourist absences. If you want to get in on the action but have already been to Cancun, you can try these Places Similar to Cancun that are just as exciting.
Written by Liz Flynn
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