When it comes to Mexico, each destination has its own flavor, with influences determined by the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean, by pristine beaches or mountain vistas, by local wildlife or festive nightlife. Each destination within this gateway to Latin America offers a fresh, unique character that will leave you with a memorable vacation. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun; see how each can enhance your vacation experience.
CABO SAN LUCAS – ONE OF THE BEST IN ROMANCE
At the edge of the Baja Peninsula, surrounded by beautiful beaches, intimate restaurants and a glorious pastel sunset, Cabo San Lucas is an ideal location for a romantic vacation with that special someone. Take a seaside stroll along the Playa del Amor (Lovers Beach) with its wave-carved cliff faces and turquoise waters. Impress your significant other with your foodie destinations, such as the ocean-view and lantern lights of El Farrallon or the savory lobster enchiladas of Hacienda Cocina. Be sure to snorkel in the waters of the Cabo Pulmo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and subtropical sea park, where you’ll behold coral reefs, sea mammals and more than 220 species of fish. In Cabo San Lucas, Mother Nature provides the setting, the romance is up to you!
PUERTO VALLARTA – BEST PLACE FOR A HIKE OR A WALK
Have you felt captivated by a place just by walking through it? Been delighted by a local market, side-street, garden or the surrounding outdoors? Well Puerto Vallarta certainly fits that category. This former mining town in the Bahía de Banderas (Bay of Flags), has been the inspiration of foreign visitors since the advent of commercial air travel in the 1940s, with an initial pilgrimage of artists and writers who settled in the town’s “Gringo Gulch” quarter.
During your visit, walk through Downtown Vallarta and soak in the colorful boutiques, colonial-style homes and coffee shops with panoramic views of Banderas Bay; or take a stroll through Isla Rio Cuale (Cuale River Island), a literal island between two arms of a river within the city. There you’ll find small shops with authentic handicrafts, silver jewelry, multi-colored apparel, restaurants and cafés.
For those seeking more nature-based excursions, there’s the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, where across 64 acres, one can find vivid flora from local and tropical zones worldwide. Check out the 300 native orchids species, swim in fresh-water pools (for example, the emerald Río Horncones), or just hike among the palms, agave, cactus or oak collections. And for those feeling even more adventurous, a number of companies provide trips into the Sierra Madre mountains for hiking, zip-lines, rappelling or riding along on an ATV.
CANCÚN – THE BEST PLACE FOR BEACHES AND MORE
Mayan ruins, an underwater art museum, an activity park and more, Cancún is the rock star of Mexican vacation destinations. Are you interested in history, sun and relaxation or snorkeling to see marine life? Your enjoyment goes as far as your imagination. Witness the grandeur of Chichén Itzá, a World Heritage Site with some of the greatest pre-Hispanic ruins in the Americas and one of the most awesome pyramids of the ancient world. Witness the haunting beauty of the MUSA underwater art museum, a reef assembled from 500 statues beneath the waves across 1,377 feet. You can appreciate the details of the statues and aquatic life from a boat tour, snorkeling or scuba diving. And for those seeking an excursion with cultural significance, consider a trip to Xcaret Park, an astonishing ecotourism development, with more than 50 natural and cultural attractions, located near Riviera Maya. You’ll find water parks, natural sanctuaries for local wildlife and live dance and music performances portraying Mexican culture. These experiences are just the tip of the Yucatán when it comes of Cancún; you’ll have to see for yourself to determine how far this destination will engage you!