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Pueblos Magicos to Explore on Your Riviera Maya Vacation

Mexico’s big-name destinations live up to their reputations, with vibrant art and architecture, incredible cuisine, world-class shopping, and swaths of beach or jungle — but head off the beaten track and you’ll discover a whole new side to Mexico that is just as enticing. The country boasts 121 charming towns that are collectively known as the “Pueblos Mágicos,” which feature rich cultures and beautiful natural attractions, but much smaller crowds than the cities and resort towns. Peruse our list for a guide to some of the choices, including several within reach of Mahekal Beach Resort.


Colorful Valladolid is a perfect Pueblo Mágico for historians and nature lovers. Here you’ll find a soaring cathedral, the Convent of San Bernardino of Siena, the Mayan historical site of Ek Balam, and a scattering of beautiful cenotes. If you’re an art enthusiast, you can also scour shops filled with traditional Yucatán handicrafts.


Mérida is one of the larger Pueblos Mágicos and has a bit more of a glamorous and cosmopolitan vibe, including shops, haciendas, and sophisticated restaurants. It’s the capital of the Yucatán, so if you’re celebrating holidays such as Día de Muertos, this is an ideal location to watch a parade or admire streets filled with festive decorations.


Like Mexico’s answer to Toulouse, France (the Pink City) and Morocco’s Chefchaouen (the Blue City), Izamal is known as the Yucatán’s Yellow City — thanks to colonial buildings painted a beautiful marigold hue. The Franciscan monastery, one of the Americas’ oldest monasteries, is among the many historic landmarks that resides within this former Mayan religious capital.


Bacalar is a lovely spot for beach enthusiasts, due to its location near both Belize and vivid Lake Bacalar — “the Lagoon of Seven Colors.” Fishing houses and swing sets over the water evoke the Maldives, right here in North America.


Arguably the most famous Pueblo Mágico, just a short drive from Mahekal Beach Resort, is Tulum. Admire ruins on a Caribbean clifftop, explore the UNESCO-protected Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve — featuring jaguars, pumas, and flamingos — or just soak in some of the prettiest waters in Mexico.

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