Past the beach parties, high-rise hotels and tourist towns, there is more to see in Mexico. While you may have already ventured off the beaten path to discover some of these lesser-known destinations, there’s no harm in visiting again.
Romp through vineyards while chugging vino in an area sometimes referred to as the Napa Valley of Mexico. Located just 75 miles south of San Diego and just Northeast of Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe has become a mecca for wine and those who love it. The hidden gem is filled with wineries and restaurants with some of the best offerings around. The region has received many medals for stellar wine but it has still managed to fly under the radar, meaning an influx of thirsty tourists have yet to invade. The quiet area is dotted with boutique hotels and more than 50 wineries including Bodegas Santo Tomás, Monte Xanic, Casa de Piedra and Château Camou.
This residential and resort community was founded in 1968 by Gian Franco Brignone and has become one of the most elite getaway spots. Located on the south coast of Jalisco between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, the ritzy, yet exotic community also boasts a small boutique hotel, contemporary art gallery, polo club, five restaurants and eight miles of private coastline. The community has played host to many celebrities throughout the years like Bill Gates, Giorgio Armani and Seal, who actually owns a home. The final scenes of Kill Bill were even shot here, along with a Calvin Klein campaign and many music videos. While you may not have the budget to hole up in one of the “Ocean Castles,” you can certainly dare to dream—starting at $6,500 per night, post up in the six-bedroom, seven-bath Sol de Oriente villa that’s hugged by a 360-degree, 11,000-square-foot infinity pool.
In the turquoise waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc is a massive underwater museum that houses more than 500 permanent life size sculptures made up of special materials that promote coral life. Many of the sculptures resemble people, making for an eerie and intriguing sight. Visitors can experience the museum by glass-bottom boat, scuba diving, a swift boat or snorkeling.
One hour outside of Oaxaca is an optical illusion that’s breathtaking and beautiful. What looks like cascading water flowing over towering cliffs, is actually a rock formation created by countless years of mineral buildup. Climb to the top to enjoy panoramic views of San Lorenzo Albarradas and cliff-top pools to wade in while peering out over cliff edges. (Featured Image)
The largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve located near Tulum and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For visitors, the lush and tropical nature is a refreshing change from the busy tourist beaches not too far away. The endless mangroves, cenotes, lagoons and jungle-laden paths of Sian Ka’an are home to plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world. Take it all in on a private tour.