10 Off the Beaten Path Places in Mexico

Sian Ka'an

Mexico is full of treasures to explore during a journey through this country of paradisiacal landscapes.

Natural wonders mingle with dreamy beaches and architectural treasures left by ancient civilizations.

The Yucatan Peninsula, in particular, hosts some beautiful surprises off the beaten path in Mexico that I highly recommend not to miss.

In this article, I will present to you 10 off the beaten path places in Mexico that are nonetheless breathtaking.

1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is an immense nature reserve located south of Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Sian Ka’an Reserve is home to thousands of animals, including over 300 different species of birds, dolphins, turtles, crocodiles, and more.

The best way to explore the Sian Ka’an Reserve is by taking a boat tour from the village of Punta Allen.

Witnessing dolphins swimming freely in their natural habitat in this off the beaten path location is an incredible opportunity.

The boat tour in Sian Ka’an will also take you to the coral reef of the reserve.

Snorkeling on the reef in Mexico allows you to observe hundreds of tropical fish, rays, and corals of all shapes.

Finally, relax in the natural pools of Punta Allen, where the crystal-clear water transports you to dreamy landscapes.

❤️ If you’re tempted by the experience, I recommend this excursion, which includes transportation from your hotel and a guide for the day.

Sian Ka'an biosphere

Sian Ka’an Boat Tour

Discover the wild beauty of Sian Ka’an by boat! Sail through turquoise lagoons, spot dolphins and turtles, and explore the mysteries of this preserved natural reserve. An unforgettable adventure in Mexico!

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2. Cenote Taak Bi Ha

Cenotes in Mexico are incredible places to discover during your travels.

These typical features of the Yucatan Peninsula are unique geological formations that can be underground or open-air.

Originally, cenotes were underground caves that became filled with water through the infiltration of rainwater into the limestone rock.

In some of these caves, the ceiling later collapsed to form open-air cenotes.

For other cenotes, they remain underground and consist of an underground lake amidst breathtaking surroundings.

Such is the case with Cenote Taak Bi Ha, an underground cenote surrounded by thousands of stalactites and stalagmites.

For me, it’s one of the most beautiful cenotes in Tulum thanks to its spectacular geological formations both above and below the water.

Cenote Taak Bi Ha is one of the off the beaten path places in Mexico and is less frequented.

❤️ If you’re interested in visiting Cenote Taak Bi Ha, I recommend this excursion, which includes exploring the cenote Taak Bi-Ha, the Tulum ruins, and a turtle swimming activity.

Cenote Taak Bi Ha

3. Cenote Nicte-Ha

Near Cenote Taak Bi Ha, you’ll find another magnificent off the beaten path cenote that I highly recommend.

It’s called Cenote Nicte-Ha. This cenote is open-air, with hundreds of water lilies floating on the surface.

Cenote Nicte-Ha is a true green oasis in the heart of the jungle that is worth a visit.

Snorkeling in Cenote Nicte-Ha allows you to observe a rich underwater fauna and the water lilies beneath the surface.

Cenote Nicte-Ha also has an underground section with incredible light effects thanks to the sun’s rays.

Nicte-Ha cenote

4. Punta Laguna Reserve

Punta Laguna Reserve is an extraordinary natural reserve located in the Yucatan Peninsula.

During a visit to Punta Laguna, explore the Mexican jungle on a walk through the forest.

You’ll observe monkeys living freely in the trees of the jungle, with two types of monkeys present.

Spider monkeys are recognizable by their long arms, which allow them to move quickly from tree to tree.

Howler monkeys are identifiable by their cry, which can be heard up to 5 kilometers away.

Punta Laguna Reserve also houses a lagoon that can be crossed by canoe and even traversed by zip line.

Lastly, experience a Maya ceremony full of emotions conducted by a Maya shaman in Punta Laguna Reserve.

As you can see, Punta Laguna Reserve is one of the off the beaten path places in Mexico where you can have an unforgettable experience blending nature, adventure, and emotions.

❤️ If you’re interested in this experience, I recommend this excursion, which includes a visit to Punta Laguna Nature Reserve, the ruins of Coba, and lunch with a Maya family.

Punta Laguna

5. Isla Contoy

Mexico is home to several paradisiacal islands off its coasts. Among them, the islands of Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, and Holbox are certainly the most touristy.

To find a paradisiacal island off the beaten path in Mexico, Isla Contoy is a true gem.

Isla Contoy is indeed a protected island, completely untouched by human development.

The number of visitors allowed access to Isla Contoy is limited to 200 per day to protect the island.

Visiting Isla Contoy allows you to observe numerous animals, starting with birds, turtles, tropical fish, and more.

Snorkeling at Isla Contoy is an incredible activity to discover the world’s second-largest coral reef, which passes nearby the island.

The paradisiacal beaches of Isla Contoy will transport you to another world, with white sand, coconut trees, and crystal-clear Caribbean Sea.

❤️ Since the island is not served by a ferry line, it is essential to take an excursion from Cancun to visit Isla Contoy.

Isla Contoy

6. Underground River

Visiting an underground river in Mexico is my favorite off the beaten path experience to do in Mexico.

It’s a dive into the heart of the Mayan underworld that awaits you for an off the beaten path experience.

Accompanied by your guide, you will head into the cave to admire breathtaking geological formations.

You’ll navigate through the cave amidst thousands of stalactites and stalagmites, each more impressive than the last.

Your guide will explain the formation of this exceptional place with a history spanning millions of years.

As you wander through the cave, you may even discover entrances to underwater caves used by divers.

Exploring an underground river in Mexico is definitely an unforgettable experience to have during your stay.

❤️ If you too want to embark on the extraordinary adventure of visiting an underground river, I recommend this excursion.

Rio Secreto

7. Laguna Kaan Luum

Laguna Kaan Luum is a lagoon located just a few minutes south of the town of Tulum.

This paradisiacal lagoon is one of my favorite off the beaten path places in Mexico.

The water color of Kaan Luum lagoon is full of contrasts, ranging from the most transparent to the darkest hues.

A wooden tower allows you to observe the lagoon from above and admire its various colors.

Enjoy several swings and hammocks in the water for a relaxing day.

A wooden dock provides a place to lay down your towel and soak up the Caribbean sun.

Kaan Luum

8. Calakmul Reserve

The Calakmul Biosphere is both an exceptional nature reserve and a major archaeological site in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Located deep in the jungle, the Maya city of Calakmul appears to be swallowed by the forest.

Two large pyramids offer the opportunity to climb to their summits and observe the extraordinary view of the archaeological site and the surrounding jungle.

Exploring the submerged city of Calakmul is a timeless moment in an off the beaten path location.

This ancient Maya city is situated in the middle of a nature reserve spanning several thousand square kilometers.

You’ll encounter numerous animals such as spider monkeys, howler monkeys, birds, crocodiles, and more.

A cave with hundreds of thousands of bats is also located nearby the nature reserve.

The Calakmul Reserve is an ideal stop during a road trip in the Yucatan Peninsula to explore the treasures of the region.


9. Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is a paradise for snorkeling enthusiasts in Mexico.

The coral reef off the coast of this small fishing village is the second largest coral reef in the world.

In addition to corals of all shapes and colors, you’ll encounter plenty of colorful fish.

To experience snorkeling in Puerto Morelos, you can board a boat operated by the Puerto Morelos fishermen’s cooperative.

You’ll have the opportunity to visit two different spots for two sessions of 45 minutes each to observe the rich underwater fauna.

Snorkeling Puerto Morelos

10. Caleta Yal Ku

Another exceptional snorkeling spot located on the Riviera Maya is Caleta Yal Ku near Akumal.

Caleta Yal-Ku is a cove open to the sea with hundreds of colorful tropical fish.

Indulge in this incredible place resembling a natural aquarium in the heart of Mexico.

Caleta Yal Ku
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