It’s no secret the Riviera Maya is the go-to place for those looking to escape the winter blues, but while Cancun, Tulum and the like would normally be hailed as the top destinations, it’s the much more quaint island of Isla Mujeres that’s been stealing the spotlight lately. In fact, based on occupancy alone, it is now officially one of America’s favorite sunny destinations.
Isla Mujeres is a small island known for its ‘laid-back’ nature. Much like Puerto Morelos, another up and coming smaller settlement we already covered here, it brands itself as a ‘more authentic’ alternative to the ‘overtouristed’ continental stretch. Additionally, it is easily accessible and boasts both crystal clear and waters a year-round warm weather.
All the qualities that, when it comes to a Caribbean getaway, U.S. visitors tend to prioritize:
Americans Love Isla Mujeres And The Proof Is In The Numbers
As reported by local media, Isla Mujeres has become one of the leading destinations in the state of Quintana Roo, which comprises most of the Mexican Caribbean, largely thanks to a successful promotional campaign headed by the local government – and of course, its own hospitality outlook. The news were shared during the Día Nacional de los Pueblos Mágicos.
The commemorative date celebrates achievements of 132 towns across Mexico that have distinguished themselves as sites of both historical and cultural importance. This year, it saw Isla Mujeres, one of these magical ‘pueblos’, tower high above other competitors in the same category due to its post-pandemic hotel occupancy.
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According to figures released by Sedetur, Mexico’s equivalent to a Tourism Board earlier in the year, Isla Mujeres was already one of the best performing in the Mexican Caribbean during the first yearly quarter, way before the last surviving Covid mandates in Mexico fell – at times, it even surpassed the mighty Cancun.
In the first three months of the present year, which comprised the last high season for Mexican tourism, Isla Mujeres had an occupancy rate of 71.2%, higher even than the Cancun-Puerto Morelos duo at 70.73%. It still couldn’t beat Cozumel (71.77%), but it got pretty close to snatching the crown as the Riviera Maya’s fastest recovering municipality in early 2022.
Trend Continued Well Into The Summer Months
This trend was repeated over summer, when the insular gem experienced a ‘boom’ in bookings, with an average 180,000-200,000 tourists monthly. According to José Castillo Magaña, the island has succeeded in having ‘record occupations’ that even exceed the pre-pandemic levels. On certain occasions, occupancy was as high as 85 percent.
Of course, in terms of guests, Cancun remains a force to be reckoned with, being currently projected to be used as an entry point into Mexico by as much as 25 million tourists by year’s end. Although many will land in, and fulfill their vacations in Cancun, others will have onward tickets to other spots along or off the coast, including Isla Mujeres.
In early June, there were already up to 12,000 hotel rooms available, and an approximate 3,000 more would be added ‘until the end of 2022’, proving demand remains at an all-time high. As Magaña sees it, Isla Mujeres is positioning itself as a consolidated tourist hub, both due to the quality of services provided and ‘warmth’ of the islanders.
Our partner website and one of the biggest sources for Riviera Maya news in English, The Cancun Sun, concurs Isla Mujeres is on track to become major in the region. With multiple ferries departing daily from the continent, it is both a highly sought-after day trip, due to the exclusivity it provides being an island, as well as a resourceful final destination.
What Makes Isla Mujeres So Popular?
Located only 13 km from the Cancun coast, Isla Mujeres is home to incredibly pristine beaches, including Playa Norte, repeatedly ranked among the most beautiful in the world, and that’s been recently named ‘the best beach‘ in all of Mexico. It beats other regional contenders, like Playa Delfines in Cancun and Playa Paradiso in Tulum.
It has also been recently voted the second best island destination in North America by the renowned travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler. Besides, it is part of the reason why the Mexican Caribbean’s has had surprising September numbers, a period when tourism usually slows down following the end of the school holidays.
We cannot predict whether this growing popularity will extend into the upcoming high season, namely the months of December through April, especially now that the looming recession and cost of living crisis is making it harder for the average American to go abroad and splurge on a Mexican all-inclusive, but one thing’s for certain:
Isla Mujeres is trendier than ever, and they’re eager to welcome you.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com