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This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.

If you're booking a resort getaway in Mexico, certain things are a given no matter where you check in. Sun, sand, and surf, naturally — or at least cabanas and chlorine. Mezcal- and tequila-based drinks that flow like water, and maybe even a few bottles of local spirits like bacalar or raicilla behind the bar. You'll undoubtedly find calaca-inspired pieces with fanciful skeleton imagery in the gift shop, and there will almost certainly be some kind of taco on the menu. But the hotels that Travel + Leisure readers voted as the best resorts in Mexico — the ones that feel not merely in the place, but of the place — go beyond that surface-level experience to weave a true connection to Mexico throughout every traveler's stay. 

Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Viceroy Riviera Maya, hotel pool, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Each of the spots on this list offers distinct ways to connect with the culture and environment of its region. At No. 15 Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, local artisans converge on the resort each week, giving guests the chance to learn from these creatives about Huichol beadwork or foraging native botanicals, and to take home a souvenir with a substantive tie to the place itself. A shaman-led multiday wellness ritual at No. 6 Rosewood Mayakoba weaves in Indigenous teachings, enriching guests' understanding of Mexico's pre-Hispanic cultures while they unwind. And guests at the Montage Los Cabos, which earned the No. 7 spot, will find that the bar menu doesn't stop at agave-based spirits: a guided tasting of Mexican wines introduces travelers to the vintners who have brought international acclaim to modern Mexico's wine scene. Connections to the country don't stop with these hotels' cultural and gastronomic details. The Ambassadors of the Environment program at No. 3 Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, taps professional biologists to lead programs that teach guests about the marine and desert ecosystems surrounding the resort.

Certainly you could go to any one of these places and stay glued beneath a beach umbrella, with nothing more than a few margaritas and an order of guac to clue you in to your cultural surroundings. But then you'd be missing out on what makes the resorts on this list so special, and missing out on a chance to fully embrace one of the great joys of travel: learning about the people and places that make our world so vibrant, and such a thrill to explore. Ahead, more on our winner and this year's winners for the best resorts in Mexico.

1. Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen

Viceroy private villa pool Riviera Maya
Credit: Courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya

Travel + Leisure readers have long admired this 41-villa property, which has risen to the top spot after being absent from last year's list and placing fourth in 2019. There's no such thing as a lackluster room here: villas start at 1,000 square feet, and each has a private patio with a heated plunge pool, hammock, and an outdoor shower, so you're guaranteed seclusion, space, and indoor-outdoor living. And in a destination as popular as Playa del Carmen, Viceroy stands out for marrying away-from-it-all energy with easy access. "The intimacy of the resort combined with the private jungle villas lead you to feel like you are on a private island when really you are just a quick plane ride away from home," wrote one reader. Still, it's worth pulling yourself away from your plunge pool to experience all the activities on offer: ATV rides past jungle ruins and remote caves, tamale-making lessons at the resort's La Marea restaurant, and guided visits to Chichén Itzá and the nearby cenotes are just a few of the possibilities that await. When it's time to head home, there's no better last hurrah than a candlelit dinner under a palapa, a glass of Valle de Guadalupe Chardonnay in hand, your feet in the sand, and the lapping waves of the Caribbean just steps away.

Score: 97.92
More information: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

2. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort, San José del Cabo

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort, San José del Cabo, Mexico
Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort,hotel, guest room, San José del Cabo, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort

Score: 97.68
More information: rosewoodhotels.com

3. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, San José del Cabo 

Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, San José del Cabo, Mexico
Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, hotel, Rm 174, San José del Cabo, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Score: 97.41
More information: ritzcarlton.com

4. Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques Mexico, Acapulco, Mexico
Banyan Tree Cabo Marques Mexico, Family Pool Villa- 2nd bedroom, hotel, Acapulco, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Banyan Tree Cabo Marques Mexico

Score: 97.30
More information: banyantree.com

5. Mahekal Beach Resort, Playa del Carmen

Mahekal Beach Resort, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mahekal Beach Resort, hotel, exterior, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Mahekal Beach Resort

Score: 97.12    
More information: mahekalbeachresort.com

6. Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen  

Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Rosewood Mayakoba, hotel pool, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba

Score: 96.70
More information: rosewoodhotels.com

7. Montage Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas 

Montage Los Cabos, Mexico
Montage Los Cabos, beach beds, hotel, Los Cabos, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Montage Los Cabos

Score: 96.68
More information: montagehotels.com

8. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta    

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, hotel pool, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Velas Resorts

Score: 96.24
More information: vallarta.grandvelas.com

9. Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas  

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Mexico
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, hotel pool, Los Cabos, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

Score: 95.84
More information: waldorfastorialoscabospedregal.com

10. Cala de Mar Resort & Spa, Ixtapa

Cala de Mar Resort & Spa, Ixtapa, Mexico
Cala de Mar Resort & Spa, hotel exterior, Ixtapa, Mexico

Score: 95.79
More information: calademar.com

11. Las Brisas Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo

Las Brisas Ixtapa, Mexico
Las Brisas Ixtapa, hotel, aerial, Ixtapa, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Las Brisas Ixtapa

Score: 95.78
More information: lasbrisashotels.com.mx

12. Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas

Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Mexico
Garza Blanca Resort & Spa, hotel guest room, Los Cabos, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Mexico

Score: 95.67
More information: cabo.garzablancaresort.com

13. Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta  

Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, hotel, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Vidanta

Score: 95.60
More information: vidanta.com

14. Vidanta Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen

Vidanta Riviera Maya, Mexico
Vidanta Riviera Maya, hotel beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Vidanta

Score: 95.46
More information: vidanta.com

15. Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, hotel guest room, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Score: 95.21
More information: aubergeresorts.com

16. One&Only Palmilla, San José del Cabo

One&Only Palmilla, San José del Cabo, Mexico
One&Only Palmilla, hotel pool,San José del Cabo, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of One&Only Palmilla

Score: 95.15
More information: oneandonlyresorts.com

17. Grand Velas Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas

Grand Velas Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Grand Velas Los Cabos, hotel, Miramar Bar, Riviera Maya, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Velas Resorts

Score: 94.86
More information: loscabos.grandvelas.com

18. Chileno Bay Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, hotel, Villa Brisa Del Mar, Cabo San Lucas
| Credit: Courtesy of Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection

Score: 94.78
More information: aubergeresorts.com

19. The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, exterior, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of The Cape, a Thompson Hotel

Score: 94.72
More information: thompsonhotels.com

20. Vidanta Los Cabos, San José del Cabo

Vidanta Los Cabo, Mexico
Vidanta Los Cabo, Los Cabos, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy to Vidanta

Score: 94.56
More information: vidanta.com

21. The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Cancún

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
The Ritz-Carlton, hotel, beach, Cancun, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun

Score: 93.64              
More information: ritzcarlton.com

22. W Punta de Mita, Punta Mita

W Punta de Mita, Punta Mita, Mexico
W Punta de Mita, hotel, pool, beach, Punta Mita, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of W Punta Mita

Score: 93.60 
More information: marriott.com

23. Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen     

Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Beachfront Three-Bedroom, hotel, Playa del Carmen,Mexico

Score: 93.55
More information: banyantree.com

24. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Punta Mita 

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, hotel pool, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

Score: 93.54
More information: fourseasons.com

25. Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancún   

Courtesy of Le Blanc Spa Resorts, Cancún, Mexico
Le Blanc Spa Resorts, hotel guest room, Cancún, Mexico
| Credit: Courtesy of Le Blanc Spa Resorts

Score: 93.28
More information: leblancsparesorts.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.