As an avid traveler, I am always on the lookout for unique and interesting destinations to explore. One type of destination that has caught my attention recently is the “Pueblos Magicos” (Magical Towns) of Mexico. These are small towns throughout the country that have been designated as “Magical” due to their rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unique traditions.
If you’re looking for a taste of the real Mexico, look no further than the charming towns of Bacalar, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres in the Mexican Caribbean. These destinations offer a glimpse into traditional Mexican culture, as well as plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation. In this article, I’ll take you on a journey through each of these towns, highlighting the best things to see and do, as well as where to eat and sleep.
What does “Pueblo Mágico” means?
“Pueblo Mágico” (Magical Towns) is a designation given by the Mexican government to towns that are rich in tradition, culture, and history.
The Pueblos Magicos designation is more than just a label, it is a commitment to preserving and promoting the cultural and natural heritage of these towns. As a traveler, visiting a Magical Town is a chance to experience the true essence of Mexico, with its rich history, vibrant traditions, and stunning landscapes.
First up is Bacalar, a small town located in the state of Quintana Roo, on the southeastern coast of Mexico. Known as the “Lake of Seven Colors,” Bacalar is home to a stunning lagoon of the same name, which is said to change colors depending on the angle of the sun.
To get to Bacalar, you can fly into the nearby city of Cancun and then take a bus or rent a car. Once you’re in Bacalar, there are a number of things to see and do. The most popular attraction is, of course, the lake itself, which can be explored by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. If you’re interested in history, check out the Fort of San Felipe, a 17th-century fort that protected the town from pirates. And if you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, you can visit one of the many cenotes (natural swimming holes) that are found throughout the area.
When it comes to food, Bacalar offers a variety of options, from street food to high-end restaurants. Some of the most popular dishes include cochinita pibil (a slow-roasted pork dish), ceviche, and panuchos (a type of fried tortilla filled with beans). Prices range from very affordable to moderate, depending on where you choose to eat.
Next, we have Tulum, another town located in the state of Quintana Roo. Tulum is known for its stunning beaches and ancient Mayan ruins, which are located just a few minutes from the town center. Tulum is also one of the only archaeological sites in the world that are located on the beach.
To get to Tulum, you can fly into the nearby city of Cancun and then take a bus or rent a car. Once you’re in Tulum, be sure to check out the ancient Mayan ruins, which are some of the best preserved in Mexico. The ruins are located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and are a great place to take in the beautiful views. If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, you can visit one of the many cenotes (natural swimming holes) that are found throughout the area or take a dip in the Caribbean sea.
In terms of gastronomy, Tulum features some of the most innovative projects in the area. This beach town on the Yucatan Peninsula is known for its fresh and flavorful cuisine, which draws inspiration from traditional Mayan and Mexican cooking techniques. One of the best ways to experience Tulum’s gastronomy is by exploring its vibrant restaurant scene. From high-end dining establishments to casual beachfront eateries, there’s something for every taste and budget. Whatever your culinary preferences may be, Tulum’s restaurant scene is sure to delight and surprise you with its bold flavors and creative dishes.
If you wish to visit Bacalar and Tulum, staying at either Catalonia Riviera Maya or Catalonia Royal Tulum All Inclusive hotels is a great option for you. Both hotels offer a wide variety of activities, indulgent spas, and amazing settings to make your vacation unforgettable.
Catalonia Riviera Maya
Catalonia Riviera Maya is located in the Puerto Aventuras development, which boasts a marina for yachts, a golf course, restaurants, and dolphin tanks, all within easy reach of the main Mayan Riviera attractions. This resort is about a 30-minute drive north of Tulum and about 1.5 hours north of Bacalar.
Catalonia Royal Tulum
Catalonia Royal Tulum is an exclusive adults-only resort surrounded by towering jungles, mangrove forests, and cenotes. It is located about 30 minutes south of Tulum and approximately 2 hours south of Bacalar.
Both resorts have easy access to the main highway, which runs along the coast and connects all the major attractions in the Riviera Maya.
Last but not least is Isla Mujeres, a small island just off Cancun’s coast. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere. It’s also a great place to get away from the crowds and experience a more relaxed side of Mexico.
To get to Isla Mujeres, you can take a ferry from the mainland, which departs from the town of Puerto Juarez. Once you’re on the island, there are a number of things to see and do. The most popular attraction is the island’s beaches, which are some of the best in the Caribbean.
You can also take a snorkeling or diving trip to see the island’s coral reefs and marine life.
Visiting Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres is a must for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape. The stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, the rugged coastline, and the vibrant flora and fauna make it a unique and unforgettable experience.
Looking for a complete guide of how to get to Isla Mujeres?
Isla Mujeres boasts a diverse selection of dining options, from local street vendors selling authentic Mexican street food to upscale fine dining restaurants offering a more sophisticated culinary experience, there is something for everyone. Additionally, you can find seafood restaurants, taco stands, pizza places, international cuisine, vegetarian and vegan options, and much more.
Catalonia Grand Costa Mujeres
If you’re planning a visit to Isla Mujeres, staying at Catalonia Grand Costa Mujeres All Suites & Spa is a convenient and luxurious choice. The hotel offers spacious suites with a terrace or balcony, a wide variety of dining options, extensive entertainment programs, and high-end facilities that cater to both couples and families. This all-inclusive resort is located in an exclusive area of Cancun, and it is approximately a 25-minute drive from one of the ferry services that take passengers to Isla Mujeres.
In conclusion, Bacalar, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres are three charming towns in the Mexican Caribbean that offer plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation. These towns are rich in tradition, culture, and history, and are a great way to experience a more authentic side of Mexico.
Whether you’re interested in ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, or delicious food, there’s something for everyone in Bacalar, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable trip in the Mexican Caribbean!