Mexico has been the go-to spring break destination for hordes of college kids,singles and families with children of all ages for decades,with Cancun,Playa del Carmen,Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas hosting the largest crowds during peak travel times,according to USA Today. Still,there is much more to Mexico than meets the eye – especially if you’ve only been looking from the bow of a cruise ship,or from within the cocoon of an all-inclusive resort.
Of course,cruises and luxury accommodations are wonderful,but as travel expert Robert Reid reports for Aol Travel,“it’s hardly Mexico at its deepest.” To help visitors unlock the real Mexico,Reid lists the top five spring break destinations that are within easy reach of major airports and are listed as safe and clear for tourism,according to the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory.
The colonial city of Merida lies just three hours east of Cancun and is located close enough to the ocean that visitors can easily spend time at the beach. With 16th-century cathedrals that were constructed from the ruins of destroyed Mayan pyramids,a multitude of free cultural events and a thriving art community,Merida offers plenty of options for travelers of all ages.
“Beyond its museums and shops,it’s a great hub town for nearby trips to see colonial villages and flamingoes,” writes Reid.
Click here to learn more about top destinations near Cancun.
Near Puerto Vallarta
Situated just 60 miles north of the famed Los Muertos pier in Puerto Vallarta,the tiny fishing village of Chacala beckons new visitors with its stunning mile-wide cove,which is bordered by a pristine golden-sand beach that remains largely untouched. Here,just a few dozen homes and a couple of luxury hotels present a reserved façade,especially when compared to the busy beachfronts of the region’s more well known destinations.
Near Cabo San Lucas
Take a quick one-hour ride north of the international airport in Cabo San Lucas and you will find yourself in the growing seaside town of Todos Santos,which has attracted a growing ex-pat population in recent years and is one of Mexico’s 36 Pueblos Magicos or “Magical Towns.” Also an excellent surfing destination,there are schools available for newbies and seasoned wave riders will enjoy the challenge of Playa San Pedrito and Playa la Pastora.
Near Mexico City
Nestled in the hills between Mexico City and Guadalajara,the picturesque colonial-era city of Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies in a region known as the Bajio,which some call the heartland of Mexico. Known for its safety and excellent quality of life,visitors will enjoy the colorful,16th century architecture and historic theatres,but according to Reid the city’s most famous attraction is the Museo de las Momias,which is home to dozes of centuries-old mummies.
Finally,Reid highlights the small but stunning colonial town of Tlaxcala,which is defined by its imposing historic churches and two impressive central plazas. Here,a large student population has given rise to excellent restaurants,lively bars and cafes,excellent museums and a vibrant cultural life.