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Looking for the top underrated beach destinations in Mexico?
Mexico’s popular beach destinations like Cancun and Cabo are so overcrowded, expensive, and touristy that they start to feel like extensions of the United States.
Even a once-off-the-beaten-path location like Tulum has seen an overwhelming amount of tourism and development in the past decade, making prices skyrocket and overcrowding.
If you’re looking for more underrated beach destinations in Mexico, these are five of the best places to go.
None of these destinations are truly “hidden” or undiscovered, but you won’t find the same level of development and crowds you’ll find in places like Cancun or Cabo.
However, you can find excellent tourist infrastructure while enjoying destinations that retain their local charm and authenticity.
1. Todos Santos
Todos Santos is a small town on the coast of Baja California, about an hour’s drive from popular Cabo San Lucas. But it’s a world away from bustling Cabo.
The town itself is colorful and quaint, known for its interesting history and extensive art galleries. Surfers will love beaches such as San Pedrito and Los Cerritos, known for their excellent surf conditions.
Popular activities in Todos Santos include surfing, hiking, eco tours and gallery tours. A hidden gem in Baja California, this destination has something for everyone.
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2. San Pancho
San Pancho is an underrated destination on Mexico’s Pacific Riviera Nayarit.
This quaint town is about an hour from the popular resort town of Puerto Vallarta and 15 minutes from Sayulita, a beach town that has become very popular in recent years.
However, San Pancho is still relatively undiscovered. But anyone who visits this charming destination is sure to fall in love.
San Pancho is a quiet town with beautiful beaches, surfing, yoga classes and an eco-friendly vibe.
3. Holbox Island
Located in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Holbox is an under-the-radar destination that is truly a tropical paradise.
Reaching Holbox Island is about a two-hour drive from Cancun and a 30-minute ferry ride from Chiquila. Holbox Island is car-free, so bicycles or golf carts are the best ways to get around.
This contributes to the laid-back and calm atmosphere of the island. While on Holbox Island, explore the pristine beaches and yam he Balam Reserve, witness the incredible bioluminescent natural phenomenon, and you can see flamingos at Punta He Cocos.
4. Puerto Escondido
Although its name means “hidden harbor” in Spanish, Puerto Escondido is no longer the quiet, secluded fishing village it once was. But for many travelers who don’t know this stunning beach town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, it’s still off the beaten path.
Reach Puerto Escondido by flying from Mexico City or driving from Oaxaca in 8 to 10 hours. Many travelers take the night bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.
Once you arrive, you can enjoy the beaches, surfing, and scuba diving of this laid-back city by day, and its bustling nightlife scene by night.
Bacalar is a town in southeastern Mexico near the border with Belize. It’s not actually a beach, but on the shores of Lake Bacalar, known as the Seven-Colored Lagoon because of its stunning hues of blue, green and turquoise water.
This destination is often referred to as ‘the next Tulum’ because of what Tulum looked like a decade ago.
It’s only a matter of time before Bacalar becomes as crowded and expensive as Tulum, but for now, guests can enjoy the quiet, laid-back atmosphere of this serene destination.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com.