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Travelers Love Cities in Mexico

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Credits: Bill Perry | Adobe Stock images

Travel + Leisure magazine is out with the results from its annual readership study and confirms once again that upscale travelers love cities in Mexico, ranking three in the top five best destinations in the world.

The magazine for well-heeled travelers chose San Miguel de Allende as the second-best city in the world to visit, breaking SMA’s lock on first place after wins in both 2017 and 2018. Hoi An, Vietnam stole the hearts of T + L readers this time around.

But San Miguel isn’t the only hot spot in Mexico for T + L readers. Mexico City came in fourth (up from #11 last year), but was narrowly edged out by Chiang Mai, Thailand for third place. Right on the heels of Mexico City, in fifth place, is Oaxaca, a foodie favorite for years.

The top 15 cities in the world is just one part of Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards” survey, which also includes readers’ choices for the best islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines and other categories of interest. With an average reader income of nearly US$120,000, Travel + Leisure’s study shows that Mexico is still a preferred destination for sophisticated world travelers.

To get a little different perspective on which cities in Mexico are favored by visitors, we also took a look at U.S. News and World Report – the go-to magazine for “Best” rankings for just about everything – to see what it had to say.

The magazine’s “Best Places to Visit in Mexico” survey shows Riviera Maya cities dominating the top spots. Cozumel was #1, followed by Tulum at #2, Playa del Carmen #3 and Cancún #5. Mexico City broke into to the top five at #4, the same ranking T + L readers gave it on the world stage. Oaxaca – #5 in the T + L study – ranked #6 in this study. San Miguel de Allende was a distant #11 in the U.S. News study, ranking lower than #7 Guanajuato, #8 Puebla, #9 Puerto Vallarta and #10 Cabo San Lucas, but edging out last place Punta Mita.

Keep in mind, though, methodologies were completely different. Travel + Leisure used a self-selected reader poll to determine the top destination in the world to visit, while U.S. News and World Report compiled a list of top destinations in Mexico using factors like cultural attractions, beaches and nightlife that were voted on by travelers and augmented by expert opinions.

Regardless, it’s pretty clear that Mexico hasn’t yet lost its mojo when it comes to tourism, even with the closing of Mexico tourism offices throughout the world. Travelers love cities in Mexico, but it remains to be seen if there will be a longer-term impact from these actions by the government.