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The Tulum we once knew is on its way out. The sleepy, bohemian, backpacker hideaway has given way to boutique hotels, beachside cocktail bars, and lots of LuluLemon. And while this newer, polished version of Tulum is chic and elegant, it has lost its off-the-radar appeal. So now the question for the next wave of artists and tree-huggers remains, “What’s next?” What remains for the hippies and the boho-chic? Here are the four places in Mexico that are poised to become the next Tulum.

RELATED: 10 Mexico beaches locals want to keep secret

Bay in Puerto Escondido with hotel and lighthouse, Mexico

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

While Oaxaca is known for its stunning colonial capital city, as well as its vibrant culinary scene, the state has some of Mexico’s best and most beautiful beaches, many of them still relatively undiscovered. Surfers have been chasing an endless summer along Puerto Escondido for years, especially on Playa Zicatela on the south end of the bay. At night, Puerto Escondido comes alive, especially along the pedestrian street, El Adoquin. Here the party will last as long as the tequila and music holds out, which is often past sunrise.

But beyond partying, beach naps and surfing, Puerto Escondido boasts many wonderful spots for nature lovers. Just 20 minutes north, birders can rent kayaks or motorbikes to spot pelicans, hawks, hummingbirds and spoonbills. The nearby village of Mazunte has dedicated itself to protecting the natural environment. From here travelers can take eco-tours on foot, horseback or by rowboat. There is also a turtle sanctuary that provides shelter for all the marine and land turtle species in Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Grand isla navidad resort

Costalegre

As the once-untouched shoreline in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit turns itself over to more resort development, there remain few places in Pacific Mexico that are still bohemian and tucked away. But the area between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo is one of them: This is Mexico’s Costalegre, a stretch of 43 beaches, capes and bays along the Pacific coast. This stretch is a far cry from the crowded beaches you expect to find in better known Mexican beach towns.

Right now, limited accessibility is what makes this destination so untapped, as the closest airports are in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, about two hours from the beaches. But next year, the destination is expected to open the Chalacatepec airport, which will make this beach getaway more accessible. Until then, what travelers can find along the Costalegre is boutique luxury, particularly in the Costa Careyes community. Here, the exclusive, private Costa Careyes Resort with its ocean castles, villas, casitas and bungalows, is known for its diving, swimming, kayaking and windsurfing.

Cabo Pulmo National Park in Cabo San Lucas Baja Mexico

Cabo Pulmo

Sixty miles from Cabo San Lucas, along a bumpy, dusty road, is a paradise for divers and a contender for one of the next big bohemian beach escapes. Cabo Pulmo is a basic beach bum hideaway, with a population of 250, a smattering of hotels, two cantinas and four restaurants. But divers will be rewarded with one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific. The main draw here is Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, just 60 miles north of Los Cabos. The five-mile stretch of beach runs from Pulmo Point to Los Frailes and is surrounded by virgin desert and mountains. Cabo Pulmo has only a handful of restaurants, which are more akin to cantinas, and most are cash only.

To stay, consider Cabo Pulmo Eco Palapas, a thatch-roofed property right in front of the marine park with rustic bungalows.

ALSO: Orbitz Rewards is like the next Tulum of rewards programs—join today!

The beach in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Mahahual

Despite a cruise pier that was built in the early 2000s, Mahahual is a haven for sustainable tourism. The south side of town, away from the northern cruise port, retains its charm as a laid-back, Caribbean-style beach hangout. Snorkeling and diving are intense here, as the reef extends down into Belize and up into Cozumel, both of which are known for their top-notch diving. The predominantly cash-only town has its share of hostels, boutique hotels, and bohemian beach bars where the tequila game is strong.

Addresses in Mahahual are more like guidelines, given as distances from the military checkpoint in the north of town. Consider Posada Pachamama, with ocean views and a solid restaurant on the property.

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Tagged: Mexico, Uncategorized

Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger

Meagan is a New York-based travel writer, though if you give her a plane ticket today she'll be somewhere else tomorrow. Her focus and passion is Mexico, but her travel wishlist never seems to get any shorter.

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