The star-studded Pacific coast destination of Cabo San Lucas takes on the Mexican Caribbean areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya in the latest Yahoo! Travel Mexico Smackdown. Discover what makes each of these prime destinations special and decide for yourself who the winner is. Here,we’ve rounded up highlights from the original article,plus a few insider tips from our experts at Investment Properties Mexico – enjoy!
Cabo San Lucas
Also known as Los Cabos,or simply just “Cabo,” this glittering resort city lies on Mexico’s Pacific Coast at the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. The resort area actually includes two seaside pueblos – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – which are often collectively referred to as Los Cabos.
“It’s hard to utter the words ‘Los Cabos’ and not immediately picture ‘A-list resort town,’ writes Yahoo! Travel contributor Jenna Mahoney. “It seems as though Jennifer Aniston has a permanent residence in Los Cabos. Similarly,George Clooney,Leonardo DiCaprio,Ryan Seacrest and Cameron Diaz are familiar faces,as are a slew of reality stars – Kardashians,we’re looking at you – recording artists,and TV personalities.”
Despite the region’s popularity,Cabo has managed to retain an authentic,small-town vibe that keeps everyone coming back year after year. Here,the arid desert landscape meets the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez,with plenty of beachfront hideaways dotting the shoreline. Popular resorts include the glamorous One&Only Palmilla,the all-inclusive Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa and the uber-luxe Rosewood Resort,the Las Ventanas al Paraiso,where all guests receive a dedicated butler and complimentary in-suite massage.
In the town of San Jose del Cabo,the weekly art walk is always interesting,so head over to the city’s Art District from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays from Nov. through June to discover a collection of galleries offering work by local artists,as well as antiquities,folk items and a variety of international pieces. The area is also home to plenty of fabulous neighborhood restaurants,so make a night of it and enjoy!
Click here for our very own list of the Top 5 Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas!
Experience a guided instructional day of surfing at one of the local beaches,many of which are ideal for catching waves. The One&Only Palmilla resort houses luxury surfing outfitter Tropicsurf,which offers tips on form,wave selection and board maneuvering,with instruction available for beginners. If watching is more your speed,check out the world-famous Zippers Beach,located just west of San Jose del Cabo,which is the site of numerous annual surf competitions.
Fish tacos have become a Cabo specialty and are a simple,delicious way to experience the local cuisine. Traditional Baja tacos come with beer-battered fish,topped with fresh cabbage,avocado and a mouth-watering white sauce. Roadside stands like Taqueria Rossy are always a fun option,or check out Tacos Gardenias,a casual restaurant that Emmy-winning travel journalist Peter Greenberg called “irresistible.”
Discover the Top 6 Places to Dine Like a Local in Cabo with the experts at Investment Properties Mexico!
At the other end of the spectrum lies Market,a fine dining restaurant by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten,which artfully blends Euro-Asian cuisine with traditional Mexican fare and local inspirations.
Cancun / Riviera Maya
This east coast resort destination is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular locales as travelers discover there is so much more to Cancun and the Riviera Maya region just to its south than spring break parties and nightlife. Stretching from just south of Cancun to encompass Playa del Carmen,Tulum and Akumal,this Mexican Caribbean hotspot offers a slew of unforgettable experiences.
“There are incomparable cultural attractions,awesome natural phenomena,endless food and lodging options,and just as many activities at every turn,” writes Yahoo! Travel. “Riviera Maya’s powder sand beaches on the brilliantly turquoise Caribbean Sea are among the world’s most picturesque.”
Also popular among celebs and the jet-set crowd,Jessica Alba and Sofia Vergara are among the famous faces spotted regularly at the Rosewood Mayakoba just north of Playa and south of Puerto Morelos,while Antonio Banderas and Leonardo DiCaprio are often seen on the beaches around Tulum’s Ana y Jose Hotel & Spa.
If luxury is what you crave,check out the Banyan Tree Mayakoba,a smaller boutique-style hotel that features a private plunge pool with every room,blending Mexican culture with Asian hospitality,world-class dining and relaxing spa treatments. A-listers love Coqui Coqui Tulum,which lies a bit farther south along the coast,offering a rustic yet contemporary vibe,and is located just moments from an ancient Mayan pyramid overlooking the sea. For an all-inclusive experience that retains a personalized feel,check out Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita,an intimate collection of 90 rooms with loads of charm,excellent service and seaside views from every suite.
Click here to discover the 7 Best Secret Luxury Spots in Tulum!
The Riviera Maya is home to some of the world’s most impressive pre-Columbian Mayan ruins,and almost every hotel in the region offers excursions to explore their mysteries. Consider a visit to the most popular sites at Tulum and Chichen Itza,or opt for a longer excursion to lesser-known Coba,which is vast and boasts the tallest known pyramid in the area. Coba is also home to a variety of other structures,including a great ball court and many religious buildings.
With the world’s second-largest reef system located just offshore,consider a snorkeling trip,or if your visit falls between May and Sept.,book a guided tour and swim with the whale sharks that come to these waters each year. These giant mammals are harmless,but they offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Love golf? Click here to discover the top world-class golf destinations in Mexico’s Riviera Maya,which is home to some of the world’s finest courses.
Yucatan cuisine combines a variety of European,Mexican and Mayan flavors and techniques to create a unique sort of fusion that has foodies worldwide going wild. While here,definitely check out the local dish cochinita pibil,which is made of slow-roasted pork in a pumpkin-based sauce wrapped in a banana leaf. Labná in Cancun offers a tasty version of this traditional dish,along with other local specialties,such as chimole (a turkey with mole sauce) and atole (a scrumptious dessert made from corn,allspice,sugar and chocolate).
Craving more? At the adults-only Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla resort’s modern-themed Passion restaurant,famed Spanish chef and Basque cuisine master Martín Berasategui (who holds an impressive seven Michelin stars) offers up his signature cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere that is open to non-guests.
Insider Scoop From Investment Properties Mexico: Check out this Foodie’s Guide To the Colorful Cuisine of Puerto Morelos to discover even more of the Riviera Maya’s fabulous flavors!
Who do you think the winner is? Let us know if you prefer Cabo or Cancun / Riviera Maya in the comments section below!