It’s hard to tell from tourism visitor numbers how many luxury travelers are headed to various places in Latin America. The overall visitor numbers include shoestring travelers and billionaires, business travelers and honeymooners. Plus the events of the last year and a half have thrown off all stats as some countries closed completely and travel in general declined due to health worries, especially international travel.
Thankfully for us, luxury travelers kept traveling, partly because most didn’t take much of a financial hit during the pandemic (real estate and the stock market have both done great). They also had the means to keep their distance by renting luxury villas, upgrading hotel rooms to suites, hiring private chefs, and arranging private transportation.
So we thought it would be fun to look at our stats from the online luxury travel magazine and see which countries and regions are getting viewed the most on our site in these unusual times. We pulled up our analytics from March 2021 onward–about the time large numbers of Americans were eligible to receive a vaccine. That’s also when the floodgates of pent-up demand started to open as people plotted when they would be considered “fully vaccinated” and could board a plane to distant lands again. That’s when planning visits and bookings on travel websites started to really take off again.
Keep in mind though that this exercise is always a bit flawed in several ways. Our audience is 2/3 U.S. and Canadian, so getting to Belize is a lot easier than getting to Patagonia. Also, search engine rankings are fickle, especially for content sites like ours not spending ad money with Google, so results can vary on that front depending on what Big G is making to its algorithms and how many ads they’re stuffing into the top of the search results. (Sometimes the ads are all you see on the first screen of mobile devices.)
Also, our main navigation pages, like Destinations, Luxury Tours, Latin America Real Estate, and Luxury Hotels are always going to do well no matter what, so I’m leaving those out. Beyond those though, here goes with a snapshot of which pages have been the most popular.
Belize Luxury Hotels – This page is consistently at or near the top of our popularity list, throughout the year. Mexico is more popular overall (see below), but it’s a much larger country and we have different portal pages for different regions. For smaller Belize, everyone comes through the same door.
What do readers check out once they get there? Well, the most popular resort reviews on the site are ones for Cayo Espanto, Matachica, Las Terrazas, Victoria House, and Phoenix Resort on Ambergris Caye, as well as Chabil Mar in Placencia. I’m kind of surprised that the jungle lodges and private island resorts haven’t fared as well since it’s so easy to isolate at those, but they do take more effort to reach.
Colombia Luxury Hotels – This was a big surprise to me that I would not have predicted. Sure, Colombia is one of the easiest countries to reach thanks to good air connectivity, but they’ve had more than a few problems this past year. I’m guessing lots of people were attracted to Cartagena deals as they landed on reviews for Karibana Beach and Golf Resort, Intercontinental Cartagena, and Casa Pestagua, as well as our tour story about the Coffee Triangle.
Ecuador Luxury Hotels – Ecuador was one of the first countries in South America to open back up to travelers arriving with negative test results, then they took the bold step of vaccinating 100% of the adult population on the Galapagos Islands. Since it’s easy to charter a ship for a private group or big family to explore the islands, many of those travelers were apparently researching where to stay before or after to complete the trip.
Staying away from crowds seemed to play a big role in popularity as the three most popular hotel review pages were Sacha Lodge in the jungle, Samari Spa Hotel in Baños, and Hacienda Zuleta in the countryside.
Panama Luxury Hotels – Panama took its time opening back up and has kept a lot of restrictions in place, but it’s the hub for Copa Air, so getting there has stayed relatively easy. The country is also a popular expat hotspot, so more than a few visitors are on exploratory trips with the intention of making a move.
The traffic to individual hotel pages has been spread rather widely, with the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve slightly edging out the others since travel picked back up. The most popular Panama article overall, however, has been the one on luxury real estate in Panama City.
Luxury Hotels in Huatulco and Oaxaca – I’m guessing that this section does so well because there’s no other site out there covering this state of Mexico in depth like we do, especially at the high end. I was still surprised to see it in the top-10 overall though, with lots of hits on Hotel Escondido and Secrets Huatulco at the beaches, Casa Cid de Leon in the city.
Luxury Hotels in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato – Again, nobody covers this part of central Mexico in as much detail as we do, so most people planning a trip to these two UNESCO World Heritage gems end up on our site eventually. We’ve added more even while this pandemic was raging since San Miguel has been doing a great job of keeping travelers safe.
Various Hotels and Resorts in Mexico – The country of Mexico kept its borders open and never required a test to enter, so its beach resorts have been very popular destinations for foreign vacationers. We have had a lot of traffic on the three luxury Tulum hotels that are not just hype, as well as Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Live Aqua Cancun, Le Blanc Los Cabos, One&Only Palmilla, W Punta de Mita, and St. Regis Punta Mita.
Various Feature Stories – We run lots of tour stories, real estate market round-ups, and golf course round-ups on Luxury Latin America. We haven’t been on any group tours lately, but we have done some well-spaced activities. Articles that have remained popular during these unusual times are on golf in San Miguel de Allende; wineries near San Miguel, luxury real estate in Antigua, Guatemala; luxury villa vacations in Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita; and real estate in Zihuatanejo.