The Next Tulum: 3 Towns in Mexico to Consider

Today, The Cut released a story with a headline that almost certainly stopped hearts from New York to LA: Who Killed Tulum?

Well, rest assured: Tulum is not dead. There will never be a shortage of beautiful people clamoring to spend long weekends in beautiful places, and Tulum is certainly a beautiful place. It helps that it’s also home to world-class food, miles of stunning coastline and dozens of extraordinarily Instagrammable hippie-chic boutique hotels.

However, the article does draw (perhaps overdue) attention to the pitfalls of Tulum’s transformation from a sleepy backpacker haven to the influencer mecca it is today. Chief among them: overcrowding, increased waste production, the degradation of the coral reef right off the coast, overdevelopment and vanishing wildlife…to name a few. The good news? If you’re itching for an escape—but looking for something a bit more off-the-beaten-path—Mexico remains an excellent option. Read on for a few of our favorite towns. 

swing on the beach in isla holbox, mexico
Photo by Michiel Ton on Unsplash

For the Beach-Goer: Isla Holbox

If what you want most out of your vacation is to be on a daybed with a cold drink in one hand a great book in the other, try this tiny island off of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. We are hardly the first ones to suggest this place as a Tulum alternative, and for good reason: its aqua waters and sleepy, barefoot culture call to mind Tulum’s early days, when you were more likely to stumble upon a pack of monkeys than an impromptu Instagram shoot. Isla Holbox is a perfect spot to truly get away from it all.

Photo by Michiel Ton on Unsplash

For the Foodie: Puerto Escondido

This surf town on Oaxaca’s Pacific Coast has earned its reputation as one of Mexico’s next great gastronomic destinations. We were practically drooling on our keyboards reading this article from Coastal Living, which provides a mouthwatering firsthand account of town’s gustatory wonders. It also has plenty of design-forward hotels that are e qual parts laid-back and beautiful.

door in san miguel de allende, mexico
Photo by Scott Tobin on Unsplash

For the Photographer: San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel might not share Tulum’s enviable position on the Mexican coastline, but with its colorful, sun-bleached architecture and narrow cobblestone streets, it has visual charm in spades. This once-sleepy colonial town has experienced a revival in recent years, with several new restaurants (and one particularly memorable Vogue wedding feature) placing it squarely on the international travel map. There’s almost no bad time to visit, and there’s something for everyone: in addition to its picturesque setting, San Miguel has fantastic food, museums and shopping.

Featured photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash.