crystal clear waters of Cozumel. The pearly white beaches of Cancun.
The colonial charm of Puerto Vallarta. The majestic desert-meets-ocean
landscape of Los Cabos. The romance of Acapulco. Mexico offers a
beach for everyone.
on the Yucatan peninsula, Cancun sits on a strip of land, surrounded
on three sides by water. The Caribbean waters are a stunning blue,
and the beaches are that sort of soft, silky sugary-white sand
that you simply must run your toes through. Cancun is perhaps
Mexico's most visited tourist destinations, and flights operate
frequently, making it an easy jaunt from most US cities. Many
resorts here are all-inclusive, and there are plenty of American-branded
restaurants as well. All-inclusive options are the smartest because
of the high prices in Cancun for food and beverages.
south of Cancun (and an easy distance from the Cancun airport)
sits the Caribbean coast known as Riviera Maya. If you are familiar
at all with the landscape, this includes Playa del Carmen and
the Tulum area. Riviera Maya's properties are different from Cancun's
in that they are built more as self-contained properties, almost
all of which are all-inclusive. Many are set within the gorgeous
jungle, and almost all are on the beach. Some have long beach
expanses, while some properties offer small beaches but larger,
more elaborate pools. Some properties specialize in family vacations,
while others are romantic and adults only. Excellent Mayan ruins
are nearby and make a great day's excursion, as well as a visit
to Xel-Ha park.
& Isla Mujeres
Just off the coast of the Yucatan and south of Cancun lies Mexico's
largest island, Cozumel. This Caribbean beauty offers some great
diving and snorkeling because of the Palancar coral reef, the second
largest in the world. There's enough to do on this island that you're
never bored. Cruise traffic has boomed in the last decade, resulting
in a busy feel to the downtown area. There's a mix of all-inclusive
and European-plan properties. Some resorts are self-contained, while
other hotels are simply a place to rest at night. And, in case you
were wondering, Cozumel has its own airport.
North of Cozumel and off the coast of Cancun lies the tiny island
of Isla Mujeres. This little treasure requires a ferry ride from
Cancun (you'd first fly into Cancun airport). Once there, you can
probably walk to your resort, or opt to take a taxi. The island
is small enough that you'll learn its entire layout in a week, and
you can rent golf carts to explore the southern end and visit the
turtle farm. Isla Mujere's beaches are sandy white, and the residents
are geniune. There's an authentic feeling here, and you may be surprised
at the charm. Most travelers to this island are Europeans, and the
best accomodations only boast Moderate ratings. Still, this is one
place to try for yourself.
It is easy to fall in love with the people and the scenery in Puerto
Vallarta. This tourist region sits on Banderas Bay, and includes Puerto
Vallarta (downtown and the Marina area), the southern development
in the more mountainous Mismayola area, and the newest development
in Nuevo Vallarta, with its long expanses of beach. Wherever you are,
you can take a relatively inexpensive taxi ride (or bus ride if you're
adventurous) into downtown to shop, enjoy the Boardwalk, try some
of the outstanding restaurants, or just enjoy the locals.
town has colonial roots, and the roads in the downtown area are cobblestone,
and whimsical sculptures adorn many public areas. Overwhelmingly,
folks here are friendly. Puerto Vallarta was recently selected as
one of the safest cities in the world. Jungle excursions and canopy
tours are available, as is whale watching in the "cooler"
half of the year. ~(Photo courtesy Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board)
Sitting on the tip of the Baja peninsula lies Cabo San Lucas, where
the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, and where the mountain range
literally tumbles into the ocean. I've heard this spot described as
"Scottsdale with an ocean," and that may be an accurate
description: the climate is desert, the resorts are trendy, and golfing
abounds. Many of the beaches are not swimmable, but they certainly
offer wonderful strolls. Fishing is also incredible.
The resort town of Ixtapa, on the Pacific coast, sits midway between
Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. Mountains serve as a backdrop, and
palm trees sway along the sandy beach. Nearby is the sleepy village
of Zihuatanejo, worthy of a day visit. Fishing is reportedly excellent
are located in in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex near Frisco, Little Elm, Plano, and Irving.
Expert Family Travel, The Colony, Texas
800-957-8600 (US) or 972-625-6200