Quintana Roo, Los Cabos and Riviera Nayarit—what makes these three of the hottest destinations in Mexico? We asked Quintana Roo’s Dario Flota Ocampo, Los Cabos’ Rodrigo Esponda and Riviera Nayarit’s Marc Murphy, as well as Apple Vacations and Delta Vacations. 

Quintana Roo
Ask Apple Vacations’ current president Tim Mullen what destinations are hot in Mexico and he immediately points to Cancun—which experienced a 4 percent increase in tourism thus far in 2018 compared to the same period last year—as well as the Riviera Maya. “They continue to perform exceptionally well for us, but Playa Mujeres, about 20 minutes north of Cancun, is particularly hot right now. This newly developing stretch of beach is home to some truly spectacular accommodations, including Secrets and RIU-branded resorts, as well as the brand-new Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres. Travel advisors can also look forward to Paradisus Playa Mujeres, which is scheduled to open in April 2019. 

Trendy Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo.

“These new developments underscore the demand for amenity-rich vacations,” he points out. Dario Flota Ocampo, tourism director for Quintana Roo, which is home to these destinations, plus hidden gems such as Holbox, Bacalar, and Chetumal, as well as hip Tulum and blissful Cozumel, concurs with Mullen, saying that it’s the accommodations that are making a huge difference. He points out that Quintana Roo will continue to be a hot destination into 2019 due, in part, to “the different hotels located within the state, such as luxury hotels in the Riviera Maya, eco-friendly hotels in Tulum, all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, boutique hotels in Cozumel, etc.” Besides that, he says, “the number of flights keeps increasing, with new flight routes opening for next year.” 

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are the best-selling destinations within Mexico for Delta Vacations, as well, according to Elizabeth Moriarty, v.p., product development for Delta Vacations. Moriarty adds that overall, Mexico is their second best-selling region, topped only by the Caribbean.

With that in mind, Delta Vacations, says Eric Fandek, sr. director of product development for Delta Vacations, has added new personalized experiences in Mexico. “One of my favorite experiences,” he says, “is one in which you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture of Mexico.” The experience has visitors going to the market with a local chef to pick food for a meal that everyone prepares and enjoys together. 

Los Cabos
The team at Delta Vacations also points to Los Cabos as one of the hottest destinations in the country, one which boasts “award-winning resorts,” notes Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of Los Cabos Tourism Board. That’s one of the many reasons, he says, that Los Cabos is a hot destination for U.S. travelers. “In fact,” he says, “Los Cabos is Mexico and Latin America’s premier luxury destination, uniquely owning one of the highest concentrations of five-star hotel brands around the world. The destination is set to welcome 22 new resorts—some of the newest include Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos and Montage Los Cabos, both of which opened in June; Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, set for a late-2018 opening; and Nobu Los Cabos, scheduled to open in spring 2019.” He adds, though, that there’s a lot more to Los Cabos than sumptuous accommodations. There’s also its “culinary offerings, considered some of the finest available anywhere, its vibrant arts and culture scene, rejuvenating spas, and world-renowned sportfishing tournaments.” Esponda says that he’s certain 2019 will be a banner year for the destination with a $60 million enhancement to the Los Cabos International Airport set to be completed next year, and added air service. 

“Los Cabos continues to sustain an explosive wave of growth,” he says. “During the first quarter of 2018, overall visitation grew by 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year.” 

Huichol handicrafts in Riviera Nayarit.
Huichol handicrafts in Riviera Nayarit.

Riviera Nayarit
In this corner of Mexico, sustainability is a focal point and it’s making the destination one of the hottest draws in the country, especially for those visitors seeking out more authentic vacations. Riviera Nayarit and its luxury resorts as well as its eco-tourism inns are putting the focus on sustaining sustainability—and they aren’t just using it as a slogan for visitors seeking out green vacations, according to Marc Murphy, managing director of Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Sustainability,” he says, “can be an ambiguous buzzword used throughout the travel and hospitality industry. Riviera Nayarit walks the talk with tangible, proactive efforts powered by local communities, hoteliers and visitors alike that seek to preserve the eclectic allure that make Mexico’s Pacific Treasure truly shine.”

As examples the CVB points to Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta Resort & Spa, which has been recognized by the Rainforest Alliance for its respect of the ancestral culture associated with the Cora and Huichol indigenous people who once inhabited the area. The natives’ language, culture and spirituality play a significant role in the Dreams Villamagna experience. Meanwhile, at W Punta Mita, the design elements embrace local Huichol culture, and the spirit of Mexico is reflected in artistry such as lucha libre masks, papel picado folk art, candy skulls and mariachi instruments. In terms of energy-saving
and resource-wise systems, Imanta Resorts uses “green” roofs on the buildings as well as systems that help maintain ideal temperatures in the suites year-round. 

Recommend tip: Clients headed to Riviera Nayarit who want to immerse themselves in the true spirit of Mexico should visit Sayulita, a bohemian and surfer’s paradise often called the “crown jewel” of Riviera Nayarit with its jungle havens, yoga retreats, and
open-air eateries.

Contact Information
Apple Vacations: applevacations.com
Delta Vacations: worldagentdirect.com
Los Cabos Tourism Board: visitloscabos.travel
Quintana Roo:
visitmexico.com/en/main-destinations/quintana-roo
Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau:
rivieranayarit.com