Mexico is seeing another level of fame right now, especially in the Mexican Caribbean.

With so many amazing spots to explore, it seems you could spend a lifetime in this one region of Mexico and never get bored.

That being said, there is one city that has yet to gain household recognition, but 2024 just may be the year for that to change.

Chetumal will never be Cancun or even Tulum, but what sets it apart is its own unique charm and history as well as its prime geography.

Along the Mexico-Belize border is a stunning coastal city surging in popularity, filled with authentic charm, incredible nature, and mind-bending beaches in close reach.

Easy Come, Easy Go

It goes without saying Cancun is the easiest access point to the magnificent state of Quintana Roo.

It’s the most popular international vacation destination for Americans.

cancun chetumal road sign

However, some may not know that the new Tulum airport is not the third international airport in the state. It’s the fourth.

Even with up-and-down spikes in popularity, Chetumal has been maintaining a low profile for years with their pint-size, yet conveniently located, airport.

While direct flights from the U.S. have been nixed, there are ample options with an easy connection through Mexico City.

Going this route will likely still save time over flying into Cancun as Chetumal is 5 hours away by car.

maya train sign

Chetumal is a destination on the new Maya Train and will become even easier to reach when the final stages are expected to open later in 2024.

This, by the way, would make Tulum the better gateway to reach Chetumal for those who don’t want to connect through Mexico City.

Rich In Culture

Chetumal is relatively small but worth a visit within the city limits. The city itself offers stunning views along the coastline.

However, it’s worth noting if you’re planning a trip during the summer months, you will find yourself back in one of the trendy boutique hotels just for air conditioning.

Xpujil ruins outside chetumal mexico

Chetumal is an underrated foodie destination, with a mix of quiet and lively streets, scattered markets, and ‘Mom and Pop’ shops.

This side of Mexico is deeply rooted in Mayan culture, with ruins close to the city and a fascinating Mayan museum in the city center.

Outside the city, there are plentiful sites to see the wondrous Mayan ruins, with the most popular being Kohunlich, Dzibanche, and Xpujil—all well worth a day trip.

Given the close proximity to Belize, there are even more sites to discover across the border.

maya museum in chetumal mexico

Nature Abounds

A trip to Chetumal wouldn’t be right without using the city as a gateway to the eye-popping natural wonders nearby.

Many vacationers who jet off to Mexico seek an incredible beach vacation, which is certainly doable around Chetumal.

But others may be seeking more adventure, which also suits Chetumal tourists.

The cenotes in the region are otherworldly and perfect for divers to explore the vibrant aquatic wildlife or for more novice visitors to simply enjoy taking a dip in stunning crystal clear waters.

cenote and blue waters of Bacalar

The Taj Mahal is by far the favorite of travelers because the underwater tunnels are known for a layer of sunlight, adding more color to these underwater tunnels.

If cenotes aren’t your jam and you’re in need of a beach day, there are awesome places to visit for some sun and sand.

In fact, a pair of beach towns within close reach are also surging just as much, if not more, than Chetumal.

Visiting Bacalar, you get the best of both worlds by being able to hit up the beach and cenotes the same day.

tourist swinging on mahahual beach

Those seeking a small-town exotic escape may be better off in Mahahual, where beachgoers can enjoy picturesque beaches without the crowds, all while staying in trendy boutique hotels.

No matter which you choose, or all of the above, nature abounds around Chetumal, and it is very easy to immerse yourself in some of Mexico’s most gorgeous sites, all within 2 hours from each other.

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