Delights of the Mexican Riviera beckon year-round, from ice-cold margaritas during the sun-soaked days of summer to whale watching in the winter. Take a look at these top cities on the Riviera to begin planning your next blissful vacation.
Anyone spending time on the Mexican Riviera will soon see that it’s easy to live it up in Puerto Vallarta. Sprawls of beaches are the perfect hub for vacationers ready to get their adrenaline pumping with ziplining on land or water sports in the Bahía de Banderas waters. For those who prefer a more tempered pace, catamaran sailing and city tours are available. This gem on the Riviera shines bright, attracting both international visitors as well as domestic vacationers.
Younger tourists tend to flock to the city’s shores, as Puerto Vallarta has a thriving nightlife and welcomes LGBT visitors. This is no shock to Mexicans, as the city was once dubbed the “Friendliest City in the World.” This open environment fosters acceptance around every corner, making it easy to be your authentic self in the city.
Must-try dish: the fresh ceviche served in Puerto Vallarta. Mouth-watering bites of raw fish, onions, jalapeños or serrano peppers and scallops covered in lime juice are paired with tortilla chips for a refreshing dish the city is known for.
Mazatlán offers a host of things to do for Mexican Riviera travelers. Founded in the mid-1500s, this city was once a melting pot of indigenous groups like the Totorames and the Xiximes, as well as Spanish and German immigrants. Since then, it’s flourished as the thriving tourism and fishing hubs in the region. Its boardwalk is one of the world’s longest, offering plenty of activities to do along the waterfront. Mazatlán Cathedral—also known as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception—is a massive Baroque-style church, as well as one of the biggest draws for international and domestic tourists.
Nature-lovers, in particular, will love this Mexican city—its name derives from the Nahuatl word that means place of deer—white-tailed deer are plentiful in the region, as are armadillos, herons and more. Some noteworthy marine life includes dolphins year-round and whales in the winter.
Must-try dish: bearded tamales. In Mazatlán, the tamales are made with headless and antenna-less shrimp, thus giving the dish its name.
CABO SAN LUCAS
Just across the Gulf of California, on the other side of the Mexican Riviera, lies Cabo San Lucas, renowned for its appeal as a resort city. This popular spring break and summer destination is an excellent choice for winter and off-season vacations, thanks to its year-round temperate climate. Accordingly, Cabo San Lucas is a prime spot for water sports, including parasailing, waterskiing, and more. Basically, if it’s a water sport, you can do it in Cabo San Lucas. Additionally, award-winning golf courses are plentiful in the area, many designed by professional golfers.
Take some time to enjoy Cabo San Lucas’s geographical attractions. The Arch of Cabo San Lucas is a well-recognized natural feature of the region, as is Playa del Amor—Love Beach—a well-hidden cove known for its many snorkeling opportunities.
You have to try: Almejas Chocolatas, or chocolate clams, a regional specialty. These clams are cooked on a stone bed and covered with rosemary, which infuses the clams with a delicious flavor. When the rosemary is consumed by the hot stones, then it’s time to eat!
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