Mexico. What images and sensations instantly come to mind when you hear this word?
Are your first thoughts tacos, ice-cold margaritas or tequila? Has your mouth started watering? Do you hear mariachi bands performing the Mexican Hat Dance in your head? What about beaches and sunshine? Can you sense the warmth of the sun on your face, hear the ocean waves as they pound the shore, and feel the sand surround your toes? Or maybe you envision a beautifully landscaped championship-level golf course just waiting to be played. Are you ready to reel in a whopper of a fish, swim with whale sharks, or play with dolphins? Does examining the sites of ancient civilizations excite you?
You can find all of these things and even more when you visit Mexico. That is exactly what brings millions of tourists to this popular destination each year, and that’s why it is often a top choice for travel consultants to recommend to their travel clients.
Mexico is geographically HUGE, and its climate ranges from tropical to desert-like conditions depending on where you are vacationing. Temperatures, while normally warm, will fluctuate based on elevation and time of year. In other words, if you were to ask me, “What will the weather be like in Mexico?” my answer would be, “That depends on when and where you’re going.”
To help better explain the variety you’ll find in Mexico, I thought I would highlight a few of the major tourist areas, starting with Cancun on the southern tip of the east coast and working our way around to the west coast destination of Los Cabos.
With nearly 14 miles of powdery, white-sand beaches, Cancun has become a popular beach destination since the Mexican government began developing it as a tourist destination back in 1967. Here you will find a large variety of modern accommodations to fit all budgets. If you are a water-sports enthusiast, you will enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing, fishing, water-skiing, and parasailing. Under the water you can enjoy swimming with whale sharks and dive the Cancun Underwater Museum where 500 life-size sculptures are located in the waters around Cancun and Isla Mujeres, an island a short boat ride away. (I’ve done both of these activities and absolutely LOVED it!) Above the water you can visit ecological parks where you may swim in underwater caves or with dolphins, take excursions to visit sites of ancient Maya civilization such as Chichen Itza and Coba, play golf, and shop ‘til you drop. You may also easily take a ferry boat ride to the islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel for day trips and excursions.
The Riviera Maya region runs along an 86-mile corridor starting in the village of Puerto Morelos (22 miles south of Cancun) and traveling south along the coast to the town of Punta Allen. In this region you will find the resort towns of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum. Playa del Carmen has a lot of activities to offer including zip-lining, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, ATV tours, exploring cenotes (sinkholes filled with fresh water), and visiting theme parks like Xplor and Xcaret. Tulum is famous for being the only Mayan Indian city built along the sea, and I can personally attest to how beautiful it is.
Located along a 20-mile stretch of Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco began its rise as a tourist destination in the late 1980s and is known for its nine bays (with 36 beaches, inlets, and coves) where you may enjoy a number of watersports, including swimming, snorkeling, jetskiing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and diving. If placid waters aren’t your style, take a jaunt up the coast for surfing at Zicatela Beach. Additionally, you will find discos, nightclubs, restaurants, and golf courses in the Huatulco area.
Thanks to development investments, improvements to infrastructure, and urban renewal, Acapulco is rising again as a tourist destination. With four golf courses, luxury resorts, shopping centers, and performing arts venues, Acapulco also serves as a popular cruise ship port.
Though two separate towns, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are often visited in the same trip. They offer very different experiences. Ixtapa is where you will find high-rise hotels and resorts, and upscale shopping all surrounded by beautiful tropical foliage. Along the Hotel Zone, you will find handicraft stalls, boutique/designer shops, bars, and restaurants—most within walking distance of your hotel or resort. Zihuatanejo is more laid back, having evolved from a quiet fishing village into a tourist destination that is comprised of three side-by-side coves connected by roads that meander around the shoreline of the Pacific. Regardless of which town suits your style, you will find a wide variety of watersports, golf, deep-sea fishing, boat excursions, eco-adventures, and tours to suit your interests.
Known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, the waters around Manzanillo are filled with sailfish, marlin and all sorts of marine life. Whether you snorkel, scuba dive, or surf, you’re bound to see something exciting in the waters. If water sports aren’t your thing, there are two world-class golf courses in the area, or take a tour of the countryside, go hiking, horseback riding, or play tennis.
Located on the shores of the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is divided by the Cuale River. North of the river you will find the Old Town with its main square and amphitheater. Enjoy artists and entertainment nearly every day in this area. Beach and water lovers will enjoy whale watching, surfing, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing.
Located north of Puerto Vallarta, the region of Riviera Nayarit runs nearly 200 miles along the Pacific coast line and is nestled between the ocean and the Western Sierra Madre Mountains. Here you will find everything from quiet little beach villages to all-inclusive resorts and six golf courses, including two Jack Nicklaus golf courses and a Greg Norman course. Adventure travelers will love the region’s activities—zip-lining, horseback riding on the beach, ATV adventures, 4×4 off-road excursions, baby sea turtle releases. Beach and watersport enthusiasts will enjoy the regions beaches, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, and whale watching.
If you’re looking to find an “Old Mexico” experience, this is your place. Mazatlan is a colonial city on the beach. Here you will find many cultural and outdoor excursion opportunities such as visiting the downtown area to see 19th century buildings that have been lovingly restored or the Historic Center where markets, cafes, churches, and plazas help you experience the old-world charm of days gone by. Modern resorts, golf courses, and marinas are also located in the area. Mazatlan is best known for fishing, and also serves as the location for the annual Carnival celebration in late February/early March.
If you love golf and fishing, Los Cabos is a great destination for you. Though the area suffered major damage from Hurricane Odile in 2014, it has quickly rebuilt and is open for business. If you are seeking a traditional Mexico-type town with cobblestone streets and quaint restaurants, you’ll want to stay in San Jose del Cabo. Looking for a vibrant nightlife, shopping, and a variety of tour excursion opportunities, Cabo San Lucas is the place to be. The Corridor, a stretch of highway between the two towns, is where you will find all-inclusive resorts and a number of championship golf courses. Regardless of which area of Los Cabos you choose to stay, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including scuba diving, boat excursions, snorkeling, kayaking, ATVs, 4×4 off-road adventures, horseback riding, and cycling.
As you can see, Mexico really does offer something for everyone. I can’t wait for you to experience this beautiful destination for yourself! Contact me about your trip to Mexico!