By LAUREL LEICHT
A few years ago, Tulum may well have been the only beachy spot to visit with all your on-trend, wellness-loving friends, but now, the secret’s out: Tulum has lost part of its charm. Overcrowded, built-up, and plagued by stinky seaweed washing ashore and a failing infrastructure, it’s not exactly the quiet, quirky paradise it used to be. And while the locale may not be dead, per the Cut’s take, it also may not be as high on your hit list of must-visit destinations as it once was.
But that hardly means you need to kiss away your dream of a secluded beach getaway. Below find seven alternatives to the Mexican outpost (and where to stay while there)—each with some of the relaxing, eco-chic vibes Tulum once promised. Bonus: They’re all a quick(ish) plane ride away.
Check out 7 beachy destinations that just might be the next Tulum.
1. Isla Holbox, Mexico
This spot, a little north of Tulum on the Yucatán Peninsula (about a two-hour drive from Cancún), may be the next big Mexican beach destination, but for now, it’s still a quiet alternative to more touristy spots. Soak up the sun on secluded stretches of beach, and shop alongside locals at daily fruit-and-vegetable markets.
The area is protected as part of the Yum Balam Preserve, which has helped to shield it from massive-resort developments. Stay in one of the 24 rooms at the Hotel Casa Las Tortugas (with quiet pools and a yoga studio). Or enjoy the Mayan-inspired restaurant, yoga studio, and spa at Ser CasaSandra, a hotel facing the ocean, with rooms free of TVs, radios, and en suite phones to help you unplug and unwind.
2. Vieques, Puerto Rico
This island off the coast of Puerto Rico offers quiet beaches for blissing out by day, and glowing bioluminescent waters to paddle through by night. Also worth taking in are the horses roaming the sand.
Stay at the coral-reef-inspired El Blok, which hosts sunset concerts. Or opt for Hix Island House, a modern, wabi sabi eco-lodge with yoga classes and serene pools, all nestled into a 13-acre natural refuge.
3. Port Antonio, Jamaica
This city is far from other tourist destinations of the island that are bigger and more built up—and it has all the serene details you’re searching for: secluded white beaches, deep-blue coves, boutique hotels, and bars.
And if you’re part of the music-fest set, Port Antonio might well be your tropical jam. The luxe, beachfront Geejam Hotel features a working recording studio, and visiting musicians—including the likes of Florence + the Machine—sometimes perform. The hotel also has rooms named for music genres (check out the Drum & Bass suite). For another accommodation option, try an eco-chic treetop bungalow tucked into a lush green hillside at Kanopi House.
4. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
With a name meaning “hidden port,” no giant resorts, and no direct flights, this spot in Oaxaca has blessedly remained under the radar of the masses. But, as a favorite of surfers and backpackers, we’re betting the secret will be out sooner than later.
A set of stone steps takes you down to the isolated, gorgeous Playa Carrizalillo beach. Stay at Hotel Escondido, a quiet, secluded inn tucked away on a beach beyond a field of cacti, where each room comes with a private terrace.
If peace and quiet is the prime goal of your getaway, consider super-luxe Nevis your next must-visit spot. Work up a sweat with a hike to Nevis Peak, and check out the Hamilton Estate, birthplace of yep, Alexander Hamilton. Splurge for a private villa at Paradise Beach, the only beachfront property on the tiny island. Or for an artsier option, check out Golden Rock Inn, an 11-room hideaway, surrounded by lush gardens. It boasts bold-colored decor, a freshwater pool, and views of Nevis Peak and the sea.
6. Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Outdoor adventurers, take note: This spot might not have as rich of an art or music vibe as some other locales on the list, but it’s packed with places to hike, kayak, and get your om on.
One must-see is the biodiverse rainforest of Corcovado National Park. And a stay at the luxurious 17-bungalow Lapa Rios Lodge, a tranquil spot in the rainforest, will give you a prime perch for taking it all in. Or, sign up for a yoga retreat at beachfront eco resort Blue Osa.
7. Sayulita, Mexico
If your heart’s set on Mexico, visit boho-chic Sayulita, which is a quick drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport. Here, kick back on the beach of the quiet, little fisherman-village-turned-surfer-enclave nestled into the rainforest-cloaked mountains of the country’s Pacific Coast.
Walk the cobbled streets, dotted with taco stands, fruit markets, and surf shops; and stay at a wellness resort or a boutique hotel like the family-owned Petit Hotel Hafa. It’s just two blocks from the beach and boasts a roof deck with views of the whole town. Another accommodation option is the tropical-hued, hillside-set Casa Dos Chicos. When you’re in paradise, it’s hard to go wrong.