During the cold North American winters, the warm weather and the beautiful Mexico beaches draw millions of tourists to relaxing vacations and holidays in all-inclusive resorts. Mexico is one of the most affordable vacation destinations, especially for North Americans, and it’s not surprising it has established itself as one of the best places for a warm winter getaway.
Let’s start in the north, with Baja California, a peninsula that is located between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. “Baja” in Spanish means “low” and the region’s name designates it as Lower California. The upper part of California (Alta California) was taken by the Americans during the Mexican-American War in 1848 and has since then been part of the United States. The landscapes there are just fantastic with inhospitable deserts, long extinct volcanoes and historic colonial towns. The most important tourist destinations in Baja California are Ensenada, Rosarito Beach, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Surfing, snorkelling, sport-fishing and scuba-diving are among the popular activities in Baja California.
Across the Gulf of California from Los Cabos is Mazatlan, a fairly large city with a population of about 350,000 people. The perfect mix of long, sandy Mexico Beaches, the Pacific Ocean and unspoiled nature, friendly locals and amazing Mexican food have turned Mazatlan into a tropical Riviera. The city itself features two areas that are very popular with the tourists: the Centro Historico and the Zona Dorada, with its nightlife opportunities, restaurants and high rise hotels.
About 440 kilometers farther south is Puerto Vallarta, considered to be one of the best resort towns in Mexico. With its scenic mountainous backdrop, the lush jungle and its waterfalls, Puerto Vallarta is located next to the Sierra Madre on the Pacific Ocean. The calm waters of Banderas Bay offer some of the best Mexico beaches along a length of about 100 kilometers. Along the malecón, the waterfront promenade, tourists can enjoy a lively variety of street performers, artists and musicians. The long beaches offer great opportunities for water sports of all kinds. Old Town Vallarta, also called the Zona Romantica, is the city’s picturesque and historic centre with cobbled streets and white-washed houses. It brings to mind the romantic charm of ancient Mexico.
Manzanillo is considered the country’s most important shipping centre and also calls itself the “Sailfish Capital of the World”. Throughout the year, it hosts various fishing competitions that draw large crowds of local and international visitors. With a population of about 110,000 people, this city has become one of Mexico’s most important resort destinations. The famous “Las Hadas” resort is located here, a filming location for the movie “10” with Bo Derek.
Zijuatanejo and Ixtapa are two resorts, located about 10 km apart, on the Pacific Ocean. Ixtapa’s Playa Palmar with its curving 4 kilometer (2.5 mile) long shoreline and its palm-fringed waterfront avenue full of restaurants and shops, is one of the most amazing Mexico Beaches on the west coast. Zihuatanejo, on the other hand, has more the feel of a traditional fishing village. The most famous beaches in Zihuatanejo are called Playa Las Gatas and Playa La Ropa.
Acapulco is Mexico’s original resort town and was selected as the country’s first tourist location in the 1940s. Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn and John Wayne made Acapulco famous the world over. The city is renowned for its vibrant night-life and its high-rise resort developments. One of the city’s unique attractions, the cliff divers at La Quebrada, have enchanted observers since 1934 with their death-defying performances. Some of the most famous Mexico beaches are located along “La Costera”, the sea-front boulevard that abounds with restaurants, shops and nightclubs.
Luxurious resorts, never-ending water sports opportunities, great shopping and a vibrant nightlife await you in the beach towns of Western Mexico. Combined with a great climate and opportunities for interesting excursions, they make this part of the Mexico one of the most popular warm-weather getaways.
To get an appetite for some Mexican delicacies check out the article about our foodie tour of Puerto Vallarta.