Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.
Mexico is a great country to visit on vacation. It’s cost-effective, tropical, and has some of the best food and beaches in the world. You can even travel around most places in Mexico in a van to save on accommodation costs.
However, in recent years, some locations in Mexico have been overrun with Instagram posts that exaggerate the views and the experience. Check out this list to avoid the most overrated stops in Mexico and get the most out of your experience.
Cancún, Quintana Roo
Cancún is a gorgeous resort city on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It boasts wild nightlife and an excellent restaurant scene.
However, in recent years, Cancún has become highly overpriced. Most resorts are on a thin strip of land between the city and the ocean, so they can charge whatever they want because of the scarcity of accommodations. The resorts also keep travelers excluded from the local culture.
Many say it’s too much of a party town, with beaches overrun by drunk college students and beer cans. It might not be the best place for most people to relax.
If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery on the East Coast of Mexico, consider visiting Mahahual instead. This town is on a similar peninsula but with a calmer atmosphere, cheaper hotels, and the same stunning sunsets.
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Tulum was once a major port city for the Mayan Empire. Many monuments and stone castles still sit in the city, ready to be explored. It also hosts several blue-green lagoons in a lush rainforest setting.
But as people tend to move away from resort-style vacations, Tulum became the ultimate Instragramable spot. It quickly became overwhelmed with tourists, and prices for hotels and Airbnb’s skyrocketed.
Many people who visit based on the suggestion of their favorite influencers also state that the actual scenery can be lackluster, and the streets are packed with other tourists.
If you’re looking for a beach town with the same boho-chic appeal for a fraction of the cost, consider visiting Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. This undiscovered gem is the birth place of Mezcal, which makes it an excellent spot for cuisine and cocktails.
Mexico City (CDMX)
La Ciudad de México, or Mexico City, is the country’s capital. It was once the epicenter of the Aztec Empire and Spanish conquistadors. You can expect to enjoy a world-class culinary scene, rich history dating back to the 13th century, and breathtaking fresco-painted churches.
However, many visitors describe being overwhelmed in a metropolitan city while on vacation. It can lack a more relaxing vibe as the city is so big that it’s both a city and a state.
For an easier-going vibe, consider visiting Guadalajara, Jalisco. This major metropolitan city offers many breathtaking Aztec temples and religious sites. It’s known for its excellent tequila, as all of the blue agave grown for the world’s tequila supply is produced in Jalisco.
Tijuana, Baja California
Tijuana was once a great place for Americans to stop in for a day or two to enjoy Mexican culture. But in recent years, the city has unfortunately become overrun with crime, exploitation, and Cartel gangs.
Many Americans have even stated being stopped by the police while driving a car with American license plates and being shaken down for money, making this destination unsafe right now.
If you still want to experience what the West Coast of Mexico offers, consider going to Ensenada, still located on the Baja California Sur. This quiet beach town hosts some of the best surfing in the world.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Puerto Vallarta has been one of the best stops on the West Coast of Mexico for decades, but lately, it’s become overrun with timeshares and tacky shops.
While the city has exciting day trips to places like the Marietas Islands and rich cultural experiences, the number of tourists can seem overwhelming, which can often become a letdown of an experience.
Instead, we recommend driving an hour north to Sayulita, Nayarit. This small beach town is nestled into a green jungle. The town offers exciting celebrations for Las Dias De Los Muertos and unique local restaurants.
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