Mexico Romance…It’s Hot! Hot! Hot!
by Lisa Coleman
Like margaritas and Mariachis, Mexico and romance have always been eternally linked. From the deep blue waters of the Pacific Coast to the soft white sand of the Caribbean, Mexico’s beach resorts possess their own special kind of magic. This is a land of extraordinary contrasts filled with vibrant images, amazing diversity, unique experiences and unexpected possibilities. Quite simply…romance defines itself here. So much to do, so much to see, and no matter how you slice it up, there is still nothing in the world quite like a Mexican sunset!
At home on the scenic tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos (meaning “the capes”) is comprised of the sparkling seaside resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Shortened to “Cabo” by most savvy Mexico travelers, this distinctly desert resort town has a look and feel unlike any other. The attitude and atmosphere are very “north-of-the-border” creating a kind of cultural duality which is extremely appealing to American visitors. Known for outstanding golf, ecotourism, sport fishing, diving and an exclusive spa scene, Cabo is also one of the premiere whale watching destinations in world from December through March.
For a lay of land in Cabo, think north to south starting with San Jose del Cabo. This is a true Mexican town with plenty of charm and colonial splendor. Quiet and subdued, San Jose is known for its galleries (evening art walks), cultural flare and all-inclusive resorts. Particularly appealing if you are really wanting to get away from it all! Cruising south towards land’s end along “The Corridor” is a showcase of Mexico’s finest upscale hotels with golf courses to match. As the crowds thicken and the pace picks up, you’ve reached Cabo San Lucas, the passionate heart of Mexico’s resort life. With one side facing the crashing Pacific and the other side facing the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez, it’s fishing by day and out-on-the-town all night. With excellent restaurants, and plenty of electricity, Cabo San Lucas has earned its reputation as a Mexico hot spot.
As the Pacific Ocean hits the mainland of Mexico, the romantic beach possibilities go into full swing. . Each with its own personality and style, the resorts here are sure to deliver. Mazatlán remains a model of traditional character and good value. This is your basic Mexican vacation, highlighted with miles of uninterrupted coastline, high-rise resorts, open-air bistros, bars and every water sport imaginable. A newly remodeled downtown is great alternative for a day away from the beach.
Sometimes referred to as the “San Francisco of Mexico,” Puerto Vallarta is the ultimate blend of colonial charm, seaside beauty, and sophistication. Old town comes to life with cobblestone streets, prestigious galleries, and local craft shops. There is plenty to interest the culturally inclined. On the flip side, the modern Nuevo Vallarta takes the luxury all-inclusive experience to a new level. Want to take it up a notch? Try a botanical horseback safari, mountain biking, sea kayaking or a swim with the dolphins.
Manzanillo laid back Mexico at its finest. The hotels are dotted along the coast and offer all the amenities without the crowds. This isn’t dazzle and glamour, what you get here is good old bare bones Mexico. It is a special place with a special style and if you take some time to get a good feel for it, you’ll be hooked.
Acapulco, a long time playground of the Hollywood elite is the undisputed queen of the Mexican beach resorts. Mexican tourism was born here, including the phenomenon of the tequila popper, swim up bars and cliff diving. Acapulco’s nightlife is unequivocally above the rest. A cliffside dinner overlooking the spectacle of Acapulco Bay is an unforgettable romantic experience.
When it comes to the Caribbean side of Mexico, the known hot spots stand out loud and clear – Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya. The bottom line is the same…. Crystal clear turquoise and emerald waters roll to shore to meet with sugar-white sand. The ocean takes on colors so vivid it’s hard to look away. One thing is constant…Dreams are made of perfect beaches like this!
Cancun, the heavyweight, is unquestionably the best known destination in all of Mexico, and rightly so. Some of Mexico’s most notable resorts and spas call this home and they are flanked by two 18-hole championship golf courses, hundreds of fine restaurants, exclusive shops, and flashy discos to accommodate the fast-paced nightlife. The city is teeming with energy and excitement. No time to be bored here! Over 1200 archeological sites are scattered within a few hours of Cancun, including the world famous Chichén Itzá.
Cozumel, which lies just off the coast of Playa del Carmen (about 35 miles south of Cancun) is the baby of the bunch. The interior of the island is a tropical jungle while ivory beaches, turquoise waters and one of the most spectacular coral reefs in the hemisphere hug the coastline. Diving and snorkeling on Cozumel are legendary.
Finally, there’s the 100-mile stretch of perfection known as the Riviera Maya, where the escapist can find adventure and the history buff can capture the essence and magnificence of the Maya world. The main attractions are archeological sites and extraordinary Eco-tourism possibilities. Tulum, a Mayan fortress perched on cliffs above the Caribbean Sea, is the most impressive of the ruins here. Fantastic eco parks offer snorkeling, diving and swimming within the ecosystems themselves including underground rivers, caves and fascinating bay areas where fresh water rivers meet the salt waters of the sea. Things you have to see to believe!
That was just a whirlwind trip through paradise, there is much more worth discovering. Whether it’s all about romance, or just an added bonus of your trip, you can always surprise yourself with the wonder of Mexico.