We’ve been to Mexico on a number of occasions over the years and love the fact that it’s close and easily accessible from the United States. And we are now entering the time of year (winter!) when we tend to start day dreaming about being on a beach and soaking up the warmth and sun. So, we have been starting to look at various locations across the country that would hit the spot in terms of our need for a winter get-away. A nice beach is a necessity, but we also want to make sure our other needs are met before committing to booking our flights.
Lodging is always a top consideration for us when planning a trip and we have a variety of experiences over the course of our travels, from resort stays to individual vacation and villa rentals. While you can find positives in any type of lodging choice, we love having our own space and being able to hop in a private pool…who doesn’t, right?! We started searching for houses for rent in Mexico and found TONS of options as you can imagine, so there is definitely something for everyone.
We certainly understand that beaches and relaxing aren’t for everyone when it comes to getting away on vacation (us included at times), but when we think of visiting Mexico we immediately set our sights on beach lounging, cold drinks, and easy day trips versus all out exploration. So, we wanted to put together a guide of possible cities for those thinking about booking their next trip to Mexico!
Cabo San Lucas
Best Beach: Playa del Amor. In English, known as lovers beach, it’s situated next to the famous rock formations.
Best Day Trip: Check out La Paz. More laid back than Cabo, this is a nice spot for a relaxing day before heading back into Cabo for dinner.
Best Local Attraction: Hop on a boat and check out ‘El Arco’ or the arch. Cool rock formations and something you’ll surely remember.
Best Restaurant/Drink: Cabo Wabo. Owned by rocker Sammy Hagar, this place is a must visit when in Cabo. Enjoy a shot of Cabo Wabo tequila at the bar and watch some live music!
Best Beach: Playa Delfines. Beautiful bright blue water and a nice large beach for lounging.
Best Day Trip: Chichen Itza. A must see when visiting Cancun, as the ruins are a wonderful sight. While you can not climb the steps anymore, it is still worth the visit.
Best Local Attraction: Xel-Ha. Lots of fun water activities included and you’ll get plenty of action from the sea life.
Best Restaurant/Drink: Le Chique. Top notch fine dining, where you can enjoy a 12 course meal. Splurge here, if anywhere on your trip to Cancun.
Playa del Carmen
Best Beach: Visit Mamita’s beach club and enjoy a great atmosphere and access to drinks and partying on the beach.
Best Day Trip: Swim with sea turtles in Akumal. Just 30 minutes south, this activity is FREE and well worth the trip. Bring your own snorkel gear or rent some on site!
Best Local Attraction: Swimming in the cenotes. There are multiple cenotes around Playa del Carmen, so your options aren’t limited. These are great for divers as well.
Best Restaurant/Drink: Alux. Super unique environment as you literally eat inside a cave! Good food and drink at reasonable prices.
Best Beach: Playa Icacos. One of the largest beaches in the area and much less crowded than the more touristy Playa Condesa. Lounge or play water sports, this beach has it all.
Best Day Trip: Visiting the Capilla de la Paz or Chapel of Peace. The drive is an adventure and the Acapulco views are stunning. Religious or not, this is absolutely worth the visit.
Best Local Attraction: Checking out the high cliff divers. These are some amazing sights to see, as the guys dive from over a 100 foot tall cliff!
Best Restaurant/Drink: Pesca’O. We love high end food, but also love local small town restaurants as well. Some refer to this place as a ‘seafood shack’, but the food is fantastic and you will not be disappointed! Be sure to try the fish tacos.
Best Beach: Playa Las Animas. A great relaxed beach with small waves, which means it’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Best Day Trip: San Sebastian. A gorgeous 90 minute trip from Puerto Vallarta, this is a wonderful little village to visit. Settled in 1605, the village still holds onto its historical charm.
Best Local Attraction: Islas Marietas National Park. Part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve, which means there is no hunting or fishing permitted in the park. Therefore there is an abundance of wildlife, including whales and stingray. Book a tour early to make sure you can get in.
Best Restaurant/Drink: Local taco stands. Street food holds a dear place in our hearts from our time in SE Asia, so the local taco stands are perfect in our opinion. You can’t beat good street food and the taco stand ‘Tacos El Cunado’ is ideal.
Best Beach: Playa Sabalo. This is a more calm and relaxed beach, which is always enjoyable. However, Mazatlan is known for its great surfing beaches, so be sure to pick the one that fits your appetite.
Best Day Trip: Zip-lining through the Sinaloa region. For those interested in adventure activities, this one is for you. You can book a trip and zip line through the treetops of rural Sinaloa.
Best Local Attraction: Old Mazatlan. There is nothing like walking through old Mazatlan and enjoying the sights and sounds. The basilica is located here along with plenty of options for eating, so take your time walking around and be prepared for a delicious meal.
Best Restaurant/Drink: Todos Santos. A great open air restaurant that has a fantastic lively atmosphere. Young and hip vibes can be felt, but it is great for anyone wanting good food and drink!
We hope this guide to different Mexico vacation locations brings about some inspiration and direction when booking your next trip to Mexico. Everyone has different ideas on what a perfect vacation means, but most can agree beautiful weather and plenty of options are a winning combination. Now get going and start planning that get-away. Cheers!