Tulum’s the star when it comes to boho destinations in Mexico. But you’ll find an arty, free-loving spirit across this chili-shaped land. Mystical beaches help. As does a flourishing yoga and wellness scene. But there’s lots more offbeat charm here to delight the avant-garde nomad. Here are the top spots for bohemian travelers in Mexico.
The top surf destination in Mexico – and among the best in the world – is Puerto Escondido, in the southern state of Oaxaca. During high season, in late spring or summer, the waves here reach upwards of 6m (20ft), attracting a far-out collection of sandy footed adrenaline seekers and those happy to watch from dry land. Beginner wave riders are well served here by several surf schools, just avoid Playa Zicatela, home to the only-for-pros barrels of the Mexican Pipeline.
The ever-packed main beach at Sayulita and thrumming nightlife will tell you that it’s no longer a locals-only destination. But the boho vibes linger, kept alive by a thriving surf scene and beginner-friendly waves. There’s also the lesser-known Playa Los Muertos, a short walk from the town center, should you want to escape the blanket of beach umbrellas. Though small, Sayulita is crammed with galleries, beach bars, chilled restaurants and boutiques. And at night, there are often DJ-led beach raves into the early hours.
Neighboring Sayulita is the quieter San Pancho, also known as – though rarely called – San Francisco. There’s a gorgeous, stretching flick of sand here, the perfect spot to look out for passing whales when they arrive in winter. In town, the action centers on the main thoroughfare Avenida Tercer Mundo, home to some great restaurants, cafes and budget-friendly accommodation. There’s a decent surf scene here too, but the crashing waves are best avoided if you’re a newbie.
The boho vibes are strong in Tulum. A soul-enriching spot on the Caribbean coast helps, but it’s the yogis tootling around town on bikes and boundary-pushing galleries that really make this an essential stop. Leading the way is Sfer Ik, a contemporary art gallery that looks like a Dalí -designed treehouse, showcasing visual arts and workshops.
You can visit Tulum as part of Culture Trip’s nine-day adventure exploring the best of the Yucatán Peninsula.
If you like your boho breaks remote and peaceful, visit the tucked-away town of Yelapa on the Pacific coast. You’ll need to take a panga (a traditional fishing boat) from Puerto Vallarta to get there and bring cash – there are no ATMs. But what awaits is a tiny village clustered around a small bay, with a hillside jungle behind. There’s a welcoming community of locals and escape-from-it-all expats, restaurants on the sand and peaceful walks to waterfalls.
Ocean castles and private villas may not be your conventional boho set up, but Carayes is anything but conventional. This is one of the most exclusive private estates in Mexico, primarily populated by an international collection of artists and free spirits. The social calendar is pretty special too, including the invite-only Ondalinda festival – international DJs, Mexican crafts boutiques and wellness – and the equally exclusive Arte Careyes Film Festival.
This quaint town on the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula was founded as a Jesuit mission in the 18th century, but has more recently acquired a rep as a major artistic hub. Mexican artists have flocked to the area in the past decade, and new galleries and art studios are springing up constantly. The picturesque town is an engaging place to explore and the area also offers a range of opportunities to hike, snorkel with tropical fish, and swim with sea lions.
This is an updated version of the original article by Stephen Woodman.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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