There is so much to do and see in Mexico. Living a hefty portion of our lives in central and southern USA, Mexico was one of our top vacation spots. Cheap and quick airfare made it simple for us to get there for quick 4-5 day trips and boy, did we take full advantage of that.
There are 31 states plus Mexico City so we didn't even get close to exploring the entire country, but the Coast is a favorite of ours. We are partial to delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine, picturesque views, mesmerizing ruins, crystal clear cenotes, and the amazing water and diving conditions. So for all of those reasons, first up on our list of locations is Riviera Maya.
If you are a lover of warm sun, waves, and stunning reefs on the Caribbean coast, Riviera Maya is where you want to be. Here, you will find world-class restaurants, upbeat nightlife, exclusive spas, one of a kind shopping centers and some of the world's best golf courses. This of course makes Brady very happy!
What makes Bianca happy is that it is one of the best destinations for diving and snorkeling. The marine shores are lined up with extensive coral reefs. If you are lucky enough to submerge in the waters, you will find yourself surrounded by tropical fish, stingrays, and may even spot a whale shark if the season is right. One of our favorite things about Riviera Maya is the cenotes! These beautiful natural pools allow you to explore caverns and swim in crystal clear water. Who wouldn't want that in their memories forever!
Tulum is hot on our list as well. This area offers the perfect combination of total relaxation, tranquility and seclusion, but will still fill up your days with plenty of activities and fun. For us, Tulum is separated into 2 main areas. We will start with our favorite....The Ruins!
The Ruins can be accessed by walking, bicycle or taking a taxi. Once you arrive to the ruins, the entrance fee is minimal, about 5USD per person. You can explore the ruins on your own, hire a certified guide, and head down to the beach below to cool off. If accessing the ruins from the main road, they do have a flea market area for souvenirs and snacks. Bring small bills, you do not want to miss out on the many local souvenirs it has to offer!
The 2nd must do in Tulum is hit up the beach strip. It is a small road that runs the length of the beach and leads you to the arch, which is the access to the Sian Ka’an biosphere. You can find accommodation on both the beach side and across the road. These accommodations can range from camp sites for the nature lovers to luxury cabanas for those who like champagne with their champagne. This area has a very relaxed, bohemian feel to it. Almost everything is accessible on foot in the main area, and bicycles are available for rent. The beach is public the whole way along so you can't beat free!
Playa Mujeres is 3rd on our list of favorites. Just North of Cancun you will find this laid back area. We love it because it is a far cry from the spring-break crowd of Cancun and now that we are both 30 and flirty, we don't need to hang out with college versions of ourselves. Sandwiched between the Mexican Caribbean and the Wetlands wildlife preserves, Playa Mujeres has a laid-back natural and luxurious vibe. If you want something more secluded but easy to get to, this is your spot. It's an easy ride from the Cancun airport.
The beaches and abundant resorts here will play into your relaxation and feed your appetite for luxury. It's a true destination if you're wanting to "get away" from the hustle and bustle and just relax in a resort, eat delicious cuisines and enjoy some mojitos. If you do decided to mix it up a bit, Playa Mujeres Golf Club has been recognized as one of the best golf courses in Mexico, offering beautiful views and challenges for everyone who has the opportunity to play it.
Playa Mujeres is in close proximity to the Great Mayan Reef. This beautiful reef runs from Isla Contoy (short boat ride from Playa Mujeres) all the way down to Belize and Honduras. Take advantage of its majestic diving and snorkeling. A short ride away and you can experience Xel Ha, home to the world's largest natural aquarium, ruins, temples and shopping.
Cozumel is a little island south of Cancun. Most travelers head to Cozumel for its reefs so it's no shock we would go there for the diving. If you are into shallow reefs, calm shores and sandy beaches then head to the south. If you want more current driven fun dives then go to the north part of the island where you can partake in some fun current line dives. Even if you are not a diver, take advantage of the many boat tours that Cozumel offers. You do not want to miss the clear blue water or the magnificent sunset cruises.
Apart from offering spectacular diving, it has a wide variety of ecotourism activities such as zip lining and rappelling, kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, snorkeling, fishing, golf, moto rides, bicycling, canoeing, and kayaking. Palancar Beach is acclaimed for having the best water activities and it's a free beach.
There is also the San Gervasio Ruins to explore or hiking through the Punta Sur Ecological Park. If you are a wild life lover, then this is the park for you. It is home to exotic birds, crocodiles, and sea turtles. It also houses two lighthouses, one of which hails from the pre-Hispanic era. If you're into museums, there is one at the park that details the history of the Maya, as well as pirates and corsairs.
We are going to end our top 5 with the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a city surrounded by mountains and sea. You have a huge bay at the Pacific Ocean, with its various tones of blue and on the other side, a mountain, with fresh temperatures, rivers and cascades for people to conquer. There is no shortage of activities to do.
You have north and south beaches up and down the coast. Yes, the beaches at the resorts are all very nice but if you want to explore other beautiful beaches, these beaches are all Blue Flag certified beaches, meaning they are clean, safe, comfortable, and beautiful. Flamingos, Camarones, and Playa de Oro will all be found on the north part of the island. Palmeras is a gorgeous southern beach. There is also an abundance of art and culture here.
Puerto Vallarta has been a popular venue for music, theater, film and cultural festivals. The Boardwalk Malecon is a great place to experience the culture and art that the city provides. The Romantic Area is a reflection of a typical Mexican town style where you will find many cafes, bars, stores, boutiques, and art galleries. It's a vibrant and festive area and it's Puerto Vallarta's most famous LBGT area.
There is so much more of Mexico that we want to see and experience. For us these 5 places bring out an abundance of culture and beauty mixed with safety and tranquility. If you enjoy visiting coastal areas, you can't go wrong with these 5 in Mexico.
Gone to Mexico? Let us know some of your favorite places or where we should go to next!
Hike to the top of an unexplored hill and admire spectacular panoramic views. Discover a less touristic side of the island on a bike ride through local fisheries, markets, and neighborhoods. Connect with Stone Island Villagers to learn about their culture and traditions.
Experience one of the most magical neighborhoods in Mexico City, walk around beautiful cobbled streets. Go back in time and feel the charm of the colonial era, a neighborhood full of history, with lovely churches, monasteries and plazas. Between delicious food samples, you’ll visit cultural, religious and historic landmarks.