Don’t get me wrong. Tulum is one of the best spots on the Riviera Maya. I have talked before about gorgeous destinations in Tulum (including some amazing wellness retreats). Along with Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, it is a much-loved hot spot, and sometimes that’s enough to have you looking forward to it. If you do not want to get what you are asking for, you will not get it.

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. Sometimes you want to sit around and hang out with locals and learn what life is really like away from the tourist hotspots.

If you’re looking to go under the radar, here are 10 places you can visit in Mexico that aren’t Tulum. Keep this between us.

La Paz

The capital city of the state of Baja is a cosmopolitan city of just over 250,000 people. It is the perfect base for exploring the region. The city is located on the Sea of Cortez, “the aquarium of the world.”

If you love diving as much as I do that is enough said already. We are talking 800 different kinds of fish and a dizzying array of sea life.

A dream! This place is amazing. I especially like La Paz because it’s easy to find secluded beaches. Places like Tecolote Beach make it so worth the effort to get off the beaten path.

Isla Holbox

Check out my 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Isla Holbox and see if you can do without packing up your flip-flops and buying a ticket.

If you dream of being a flamingo by the beach and eating tacos on a white sand beach, you can do that in real life. Read this Isla Holbox tourism guide to learn more about this place.

Camping in Bahia Concepcion

Take your adventure to Baja to the next level by camping at Bahia Concepcion. On the Sea of Cortez you will find a dozen different beaches along the Bay of Concepcion.

Look into the full list of camping sites. Rent an RV and come prepared to be amazed by all this nature has to offer.

If you go to a beach with a few other campers around, you will find yourself among neighbors who literally spend half of their lives on these beaches. Once you take in the view and feel all of your worries melt away, you will completely understand.

Loreto (+ Isla Carmen)

Try to find the cobblestone paths of Loreto and stroll down the jogging path. Envision the incredible natural beauty of Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto and then head over to Isla Carmen, which is located about six miles offshore.

There are salt mines on this island and a friendly sea lion population.

If you are looking for a laidback beach vibe, you will love this place. Best of all it is so close that you will actually find that a lot of people simply kayak over the Sea of Cortez to get there.

Here’s what you need to know before you go traveling in the summer.

Todos Santos

Much-loved by surfers and new-age gurus in the know, this quaint town in Baja California Sur is about an hour north of the famous Cabo San Lucas.

Mexico has chosen 121 places called “Magic Towns” to represent the variety of people, cultures and traditions in the country. Each one shows a unique perspective on local life.

Todos Santos is a place that offers a deeper look into the way things are done there.

San Miguel de Allende

Established in the sixteenth century, San Miguel de Allende has a beautiful old-world charm. A hotspot for ex-pats, you’ll find an amazing selection of artisanal crafts and foodie delights.


Merida is the cultural capital of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is a perfect place to get beyond the tourist traps of the region.

A perfect hub for exploring the UNESCO-listed heritage sites that dot the region. This is where locals come when they want to relax and explore.

Before you go, I suggest doing my Top Ten Things to Do in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Valle de Guadalupe

If you think of Mexico, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If wine isn’t at the top of your list, it is time to go to Valle de Guadalupe.

Go for a wine tasting in this region, about an hour south of Tijuana. You will see how it compares to the vintages of France, Spain, and California.


Sayulita is one of the top surfing sites in the world. It is 30 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta. With cobbled streets and fruit markets, this dreamy spot was made for lazy afternoons out.

Puerto Escondido

Known as the hidden port in Spanish Puerto Escondido is a dream getaway. A favorite amongst surfers and backpackers there are no giant resorts or tourist traps here.

Now that you are ready to go, start planning your next adventure! You can find everything you need to know about traveling to Mexico in my Ultimate Mexico Travel Guide.