Tulum and Isla Mujeres have been given the coveted designation of ‘Pueblos Mágicos’ or "Magic Towns" announced Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism following the National Magical Towns Fair Sept. 25-27. Both destinations are located near Cancun in the Mexican Caribbean in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula.
“Pueblos Mágicos is a program developed by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), in conjunction with other government agencies, which recognizes those who inhabit these cities and the efforts they have developed to protect and save their cultural richness,” writes The Yucatan Times.
The program was originally launched in 2001 and currently includes a total of 111 towns and municipalities throughout Mexico. Quintana Roo Governor Roberto Borge Angulo was in attendance at the fair for the announcement and later revealed the news on his Twitter account.
“With great pride I announce that Quintana Roo has two new Pueblos Mágicos: Tulum and Isla Mujeres, appointed today by SECTUR.”
Before this announcement,the town of Bacalar was the only official Magic Town in Quintana Roo and it remains one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Other Pueblos Mágicos on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and in the southeastern portions of the country include Izama, Yucatan; Valladolid, Yucatan; Palizada, Campeche; Tapijulapa, Tabasco; Comitán, Chiapas; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas and Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas.
In all,28 new Magic Towns were added in late September and the beach town of Sayulita is also on the list. Located in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita has also gained attention in recent years as a hippie-chic surf town. Todos Santos in Baja California Sur close to La Paz is another popular Magic Town and also home to a large Jesuit mission.
According to Mexico News Daily, changes were made to the Pueblos Mágicos program in 2014 that are intended to make it harder to achieve the designation.
“The changes were designed to help guarantee a uniformity among the destinations sharing the Pueblos Mágicos brand, and to convey to domestic and foreign visitors the guarantee of a certain level of quality,” shared Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid.
The secretary also revealed that there is no guarantee that a town will forever retain the Pueblos Mágicos designation. Instead, annual evaluations will be carried out that will ensure the towns are meeting their obligations. The incentive to do is high, because the designation comes with a variety of international promotions, as well as an injection of federal capital.