It seems no matter what time of the year it is, people are always looking for a quick getaway to a tropical paradise. Those lucky enough to live in the United States have a bastion of warm destinations just south of the border. Mexico has been a favorite destination for tourists for decades, and for all the right reasons. From old historical ruins to partying and nightlife, there are enough beach destinations to fit everyone’s tastes and needs. Here are the best Mexico beach destinations for 2012, as picked by travelers for tripadvisor.com:
Puerto Morelos is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. Unlike the more crowded and developed region of Cancun, Puerto Morelos offers more in the way of natural beauty and older historical sites. People flock to the region for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean, which is found in the coral reefs that form part of the much larger Great Mesoamerican Reef. There is also the famous lighthouse of Puerto Morelos which, just like the Tower of Pisa in Italy, leans at an angle. It was the result of being knocked off balance by Hurricane Beulah in 1967.
This West Coast Mexican destination has been widely popular for many years. It became a household name for American tourists after President Nixon’s visit in 1970. Today Puerto Vallarta is still a larger city and tourist destination, but offers many small charms as well. Head to the city to visit the old City Hall and Cathedral or check out the local markets in the city or at Isle Cuale. The region is home to dozens of beaches including Conchas Chinas, known for fisherman who unload their catches ashore, or Playa de Muertos, known for its past history of pirates landing here and clashing with local workers ending with bad results.
Most certainly, this resort destination lives up to its name. Though not as rowdy as other towns on the Rivera Maya, the area does a good job of blending tropical jungle attractions with those in the sea. Come here for natural attractions. Explore the nearby forests, or head for a scuba dive in the small coves. Or since it is a relaxed setting, set up a hammock or go out for a sail. Perhaps some deep-sea fishing will cap off the day’s activities.
This secluded island opposite the Yucatan is often overlooked by many who visit Mexico; literally. Most flights into nearby Cancun fly close enough that many can see Cozumel from the air. Though the island may not look like much, its low-key city of San Miguel and surrounding villages offer a relaxed vibe for beach going and bar hopping. The real draw for Cozumel is underwater, which happens to have the second largest coral reef in the world. It is known worldwide for being one of the most beautiful aquatic destinations anywhere.
Akumal is another natural paradise about one hour from Cancun. In Mayan, its name means “Place of the Turtle”, which is fitting considering they inhabit the area and can be found along the beaches. The area is also rich in other aquatic life including eels, barracuda, and various other colorful, tropical fish. Yal-ku Lagoon offers the best place to seek out these natural wonders. If swimming is not your thing find a secluded spot of white, sandy beach and just stare out at the blue and turquoise waters.
This lesser known beach hotspot is only 16 miles north of its more famous sibling, Puerto Vallarta. The area is much more private and secluded, offering intimate coves and bays framed by jungle hillsides. It is no wonder then that wildlife also enjoys this natural haven. The Caguama turtle makes this area their seasonal nesting grounds, and dolphins also frequent the waters here. This area is the perfect place to truly escape it all and take in natural beauty while sipping on your favorite tropical drink.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is one of the more exclusive and glamorous of the Mexican beach destinations. Located on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo is a prime location for all things fun in the sun. Water sports such as jet skiing, sailing, and hang gliding are great for this area. The oceans are also known for great big-game fishing as well as whale watching. If you prefer the city life, Cabo San Lucas has a great bar and club scene. Many clubs are notorious for hosting the rich and famous.
Playa Del Carmen
This smaller beach enclave is 40 miles south of Cancun. Playa, as the locals call it, tries to maintain a more small town vibe while accommodating the many tourists who come to enjoy its white sandy beaches. The city has a mandate limiting the size of buildings and resorts so that the area doesn’t become too developed. However, nightlife and partying is still abundant in this town. Head to the restaurant and bar-filled Avenida Quinta for a great time after dark.
Ask anyone if they have heard of Cancun, and nearly all will jokingly say it’s the spring break capital of America. Unfortunate, considering Cancun is a beautiful destination all year round, and not just for college kids. Great weather, great nightlife, and great resort hotels make this the place to go on vacation in Mexico. Of course, aside from the partying and crazy college crowd, the area also offers numerous great resorts and packages for families and those just wishing to relax. Lastly, the city is centrally located on the Yucatan Peninsula, and the large Cancun airport makes it a good portal for visiting other nearby Mexican resort towns and getting to the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichén Itzá.
Few places on Earth match the all around charm and allure of Tulum (pictured in caption). The area truly has it all where a rare blend of beaches, natural beauty, comfortable resorts and ancient ruins make this destination a well-rounded paradise. Clearly the most famous attraction is the ancient Mayan city itself formerly known as Zana, an ancient urban ruin in the jungle with multiple stone structures. Not far are clear waters full of more coral reefs and natural beauty, as well as the world famous underwater caves at Dos Ojos. This is the epitome of a tropical getaway.
Source: Trip Advisor