Photo Credit: Ushindi Namegabe
Beyond Tulum: 5 Dope Destinations In Mexico That Black Travelers Love
As much as we’ve collectively agreed to adore Tulum, the price of over-tourism is one we can no longer afford to pay, or ignore.
This is one of the many examples of tourist hot-spots that unfortunately knows the effects of over-tourism, gentrification and all the environmental and social effects that come along with it.
Here is a Travel Noire list of 5 locations in Mexico to enjoy, beyond Tulum.
You want to be in Quintana Roo, but you’re also not traveling unless there’s sun, and a connection with other Black travelers. For you, we recommend Mérida as your Tulum alternative.
Based in Mexico’s Caribbean, you’ll surely enjoy the heat (and we mean heat) and the balance between local, market culture and excitement (once the sun sets and provides some relief).
Mérida is a good place to explore the rest of the Yucatán peninsula and take in the magic of the Mayan culture in this popular region.
Travel Noire tip: Be prepared for some serious humidity. Prepare your haircare routine, adjust your skincare routine and know that Black travelers are managing, so you can do it too!
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
Puerto Escondido seems to have a hold on every Black traveler who visits, keeping them weeks or even months longer than originally planned.
But, what is it about Puerto Escondido and Black travelers? Is it the chill vibes on the Pacific coast? Is it the proximity to Afro-descendant towns in Oaxaca? Maybe it’s the chance to have plantain with every meal without having to even ask (what more could you want, gastronomically speaking?)
Also, a comforting observation, Puerto Escondido hasn’t had tourism take over the entire city meaning that it remains accessible to locals and actually has an energy where locals and travelers often integrate, surfing, swimming and dancing on the beach together, which is very unlike the neighboring town of Mazunte, known for its rapid and slightly unchecked rate of gentrification… but that’s for another day.
Travel Noire tip: You’re in Puerto Escondido, so make the most of the world-famous waves and grab yourself a surf board. We’re absolutely here for more Black surfers and Black people enjoying water sports in general.
Travelers often skip out on Chacahua while beach hopping Oaxaca’s glorious coastal towns. This isn’t all bad though, Black travelers who do happen across Chacahua will be pleasantly surprised by this densely Afro-Mexican town, and it’s super chill, super Black vibe.
It’s nice to have reggae music blaring without it feeling performative or misplaced, or to find Afro-Mexican’s offering to braid hair on the beaches while you relax, unbothered by the usual hyper-tourist vibes.
The Costa Chica which runs from Acapulco to Puerto Ángel is widely enjoyed by Black travelers who are met with warmth and safe curiosity that leads to gorgeous cultural exchanges with Mexicans aware of their Afromestizo which runs through the land.
Travel Noire tip: Chacahua’s lagoon is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, check out the mangroves and slowly take in the charm of this small town by boat.
Puerto Veracruz, Veracruz
Known for its fusion of Indigenous, Spanish, African and Cuban cultures, Black travelers will surely appreciate the entire state of Veracruz.
The African-descent towns and villages are mostly located in the northern and southern parts of the state but don’t be fooled, the African presence runs deep.
Puerto Veracruz used to be the principal port for Africans entering the country through the Gulf of Mexico, and remnants of that history is easily found.
Black travelers looking for a taste of Havana without the additional flight will enjoy Veracruz, not only can you find Cuba in the jarocho, fandango and son of the region, but you’ll also see it in the Caribbean attitude. Black travelers looking to dance their way through the heat of the night will be spoiled for choice in this musical state.
The port city of Veracruz is not massively visited by international tourists, but Black travelers looking for access to a city, the beach, African towns and an abundance of nature and waterfalls won’t need convincing to swap Tulum for Veracruz.
Travel Noire tip: As a result of most of the tourism being domestic, English is not massively spoken in Veracruz. This is a spot for you to practice your Spanish while you enjoy some of the best seafood on the city’s vibrant malécon.
Chiapas and Quintana Roo are not too far in distance, but in feeling, they’re widely distinct.
While having Mayan culture and architecture in common, Chiapas and Quintana Roo excite Black travelers for different reasons. Forget luxury resorts and lazy days on white sand beaches, you come to Chiapas for a traditionally Mexican experience complete with Mexico’s most impressive waterfalls, canyons and jungles.
By far the most irresistible part of traveling Chiapas is the biodiversity that offers Black travelers the escape and release that many initially travel for. Return to your natural roots in Palenque, stay snug in the high-energies of the jungle and the Mayan ruins. Or, if you’re looking for a cooler climate, retreat to the magic mountain town of San Cristobál de las Casas.
Whether you land in Palenque or San Cris or anywhere in between, the presence of the Indigenous and their preservation of ancient cultures is found here more than anywhere in Mexico, and this is what Black travelers across the diaspora connect with.
Travel Noire tip: No trip to Palenque is complete without a dip in the waterfalls. The beach is nice (and also accessible with Chiapas’ Boca del Rio) but does it mesmerize like Cascadas de Robertos Barrios?