Magic Towns in Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula

Magic Towns are small cities or towns in Mexico where the cultural character of the country is most accentuated. As Mexico has practically all types of climate in its territory, it is possible to meet Magic Towns near the beach as well as deep in the jungle and in the heights of the mountains. Only in Quintana Roo and Yucatán, states that cover most of what is known as the Riviera Maya and the Yucatán Peninsula, there are more than 5 Magic Towns, ranging from old towns dating from colonial times, to tourist poles with thick Mayan jungle and bohemian islands full of natural wonders.

Magic Towns in Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo is one of the most popular states in Mexico for being home to the most popular tourist destinations of the last decade: Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, among many others.

The Magic Towns located in Quintana Roo announced to date (January 2022), are, in order of popularity: Tulum, Isla Mujeres and Bacalar.


Characterized by an eco-chic atmosphere, Tulum is a place to reconnect with nature and the ancestral spirit in every human being. It has a large number of ecological hotels and hostels that promote the renewal of the soul. Originally a commercial port of the ancient Mayan civilization, Tulum has the only Mayan remains located off the Caribbean coast. Thanks to its popularity, it is often home to world-class musical and artistic events. Being part of the Riviera Maya, it is close to beautiful and impressive cenotes, places that were considered the entrance to the Underworld according to the ancient Mayans.

Isla Mujeres

Home of the Temple of Ixchel, Mayan Goddess of fertility; Isla Mujeres is a medium-sized island located northeast of Cancun with a bohemian and relaxed atmosphere. Its most popular beach, Playa Norte, is one of the most characteristic points of the island, with its fine white sand and turquoise blue waters where snorkeling can result in encounters with beautiful species of marine life. It is also home to places like the Tortugranja, where various species of turtles of different ages are protected, and Punta Sur, one of the ends of the island where there is a sculptural space in front of the cliffs.


Characterized by its popular Seven Colors Lagoon (Laguna de Los Siete Colores), Bacalar is the Magic Town of Quintana Roo that best preserves its pristine quality. Due to the little human presence, wild species can be observed in their natural habitat, ranging from toucans to manatees. In the lagoon, it is possible to practice snorkeling and kayaking. Other popular places include the Fort of San Felipe; a museum where pieces related to pirate activity in the area are exhibited; the Cenote Azul, one of the most popular in the entire Riviera Maya, among others.

Magic Towns in Yucatan

Yucatan is home to hundreds of towns that share cultural similarities, from the distribution of the towns to the practices by their inhabitants, it is possible to notice the strong cultural presence in each of these towns, some of which have been named Magic Towns.


Perhaps the most touristic of the Magic Towns in Yucatan, Valladolid is a Magic Town that is popular, in part, thanks to its proximity to Chichen Itza, from where tours usually extend to the most popular square of this colonial town. The Church of San Servacio, founded in 1545 and located in front of the Francisco Cantón Rosado Main Park, is one of the most iconic places in this beautiful town. Despite not being a large town, it has all the services of a larger city, such as supermarkets, universities, accommodations, among others.


With pre-Hispanic and colonial features, Izamal is built on the memories of an ancient Mayan city. It is known as “the city of the three cultures”, because its pre-Hispanic and colonial past, as well as contemporary Mexico, are present in it. One of its main attractions is the Archaeological Zone and the Convent of San Antonio de Padua. Tour its streets in a horse-drawn carriage and going up and down the Kinich Kak Moo Temple are some of the popular activities. Ocher yellow and white is for people from Izamal a way to conserve their light and project it into the future, which is why many of their buildings are painted in these tones.


It is distinguished by belonging to an area of great biological influence for the Caribbean. Boat rides are recommended to explore what nature was kind enough to give Sisal. Its beautiful beaches and mangroves with a historical legacy made it a Magic Town. Delighting yourself with the smells of its kitchen is imperative when you are visiting this beautiful town in Yucatan.


One of the oldest towns in Yucatan. Its name means “place where everything happened” in the Mayan language. Walking through its streets is meeting a living community that still talks in its mother language and proudly wears those colors and designs that give it its identity. It is common to find inhabitants with the typical clothing of Yucatan: the huipils. Do not miss enjoying the delicious local dish: Poc Chuc.

Again, this is a list of Magic Towns up to January 2022. Bear in mind new Magic Towns could be added, as Mexico’s cultural richness is still being discovered every single day.

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