Costa Maya, Mexico

The Southern Caribbean Coast, or the Costa Maya as the tourist brochures call it, is the latest region to be hit by the development boom. But if you’re looking for a quiet escape on the Mexican Caribbean, it’s still the best place to be.
With a coast stretching about 100km south of Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve down to the small community of Xcalak, you’ll find many surprises along the way, including the tranquil fishing town of Mahahual, which offers great diving, beach-bumming and bird-watching opportunities – residents there put a premium on sustainable development, and it shows.

In the interior, you’ll be blown away by the mesmerizing Laguna Bacalar, aka the ‘lagoon of seven colours,’ while the seldom-visited ruins of Dzibanché and Kohunlich seem all the more mysterious without the tour vans. For both the ruins and trips down south to Belize, Quintana Roo’s capital Chetumal makes a great jumping-off point.