Five Great Mexican Vacation Spots

Five Great Mexican Vacation Spots

Lost in 2012: Faith in the MayansMy wife and I first went to Mexico on our honeymoon seven years ago.  While Cancun is always considered a “party town” by college students, we were looking for a place to go and relax, do some touristy stuff, and have a good time.  What we found is that Mexico is full of beautiful scenery, wonderful people, and a rich history.  We are looking to go back again whenever we get the chance and are looking for some of the hidden treasures of the country that we missed the first time around.  Here are five locations that are absolutely wonderful vacation spots.  I’d be interested in hearing some of your own thoughts on these choices.
 
 

RIVIERA MAYARiviera Maya

This is the location we chose for our honeymoon spot.  We stayed at an “Adults Only” hotel, but found that some of these places allow children as young as 14 into those hotels.  Fortunately, ours did not, but you have to check.  If you have kids, there are plenty of luxurious hotels to choose from.  The people in Riviera Maya, which is on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, south of Cancun, are very polite and helpful. We never felt that we were not in a safe location the entire time we were there.  The ocean was beautiful, the food – an ethnic variety from around the world – was great, and there was plenty of tourist spots to see.  We were able to see Chichen Itza on our trip there and plan on going to the ruins at Tulum on our next visit.  The Riviera Maya also boasts a large shopping district in the town of Playa del Carmen, which is centralized to the entire area.  Be sure to haggle when you shop there.
 
 

COZUMELCozumel

Cozumel is a small island off the Gulf Coast of Mexico just six miles off of the Yucatan Peninsula.  It’s name means, “The Island of Swallows“.  Three-fourths of the people live in the city of San Miguel which is on the island’s western shore.  Cozumel is a cruise ship stop and is best known for its Palancar Reef where you can find all types of tropical fish.  Because of this, scuba diving and snorkeling are a main attraction of the area.  It was made famous in 1960 by explorer Jacques Cousteau. For the fisherman out there, chartering a boat is also a big draw for the island.
 
 

ACAPULCOAcapulco

This Pacific seaport is southwest of Mexico City.  It is known for its deep, semi-circular bay and its beach resorts that became popular in the 1950s when actors from Hollywood started vacationing here.  When you see people cliff diving into the ocean, it is usually in Acapulco.  Mexico City, which is only about three and a half hours away from Acapulco is the center of Mexico and many businesspeople now travel here for weekend trips.  If you are planning a trip to this city, it is advised to stay within the borders of your hotel and its beach.  Like many resort areas, traveling alone to different areas in the city can be dangerous and make you a target for criminals.
 
 

PUERTO VALLARTAPuerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a resort city on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas. With its closeness to the Ameca River Valley, Puerto Vallarta was once a pirate haven in Mexico. The city really became a tourist attraction in 1963 when director John Huston directed his film, Night of the Iguana here.  The movie starred Elizabeth Taylor who was having an extra-marital affair with actor Richard Burton.  As the paparazzi descended upon the city, American interest took hold of the place.  At one time, Puerto Vallarta was known as “The Friendliest Place on Earth” because of their warm welcome to tourists.  The largest group of foreign people that come to this city are Canadians, although in the 2000’s, Puerto Vallarta has become a retiree destination for U.S. citizens, as well.
 
 

GUADALAJARAGuadalajara

This city is located on the Pacific coast and is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco.  Besides it’s tourist industry, Guadalajara is the information technology capital of Mexico, similar to our Silicon Valley.  They also host many international cultural affairs, such as a yearly film festival and international book fair.  In 2011, they will be hosting the Pan-American Games.  As for tourists attractions, one can find many examples of Mexico’s rich Colonial architecture within the city as well as historical remnants of Mexico’s revolutionary time period.  It is also the beer making capital of Mexico, so there is plenty of sightseeing to do for the party crowd.  There really isn’t anything you can’t find in this city; Museums, Sports, Music, Food, etc… However, unlike the other cities on this list, what you won’t find is a beach. Guadalajara is inland.  It’s location puts you near the Pacific Coast.  Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco or only a short drive away from this city.  If you are not looking to spend time at the ocean, but wish to emerge yourself in a cultural experience, Guadalajara is the place that you want to be in Mexico.