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Mexico: Spring Break and Beyond

by Angela Yorke May 17th, 2012 | Beach, Destination Highlight, Mexico
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Suppose you have an acquaintance from Asia. He has won a lottery and now has the means to travel anywhere he wishes. His wife wants to go to Mexico. Having watched too many movies, he feels apprehensive about the prospect of encountering the hedonistic (and chronically underdressed) youth on holiday who often become the premise of movies so tragically horrendous that they’re entertaining.

Broadly speaking, the beaches and beach towns/cities in Mexico are divided into those found on the Caribbean coast, those on the Pacific coast, and those on the Gulf coast. Typically, the water on the “Caribbean side” is warmer, and the sands whiter.

In addition to the well-known Cancún, the Caribbean coast is also home to Tulum (pictured), considered one of the most amazing beaches in the region. Tulum, from which Mayan ruins can be seen, is sufficiently far away from Cancún (about 81 miles) for visitors to enjoy the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. It should be noted though, that Tulum appears disconcertingly touristy at first glance, but those who make the effort to explore beyond the raucous surface will be rewarded by the full beauty and charm of the region.

The water off the Pacific coast is a breathtaking bright azure and is better for surfing. Spanning Baja California to Chiapas, this region includes the well-visited beaches of Puerto Vallarta.

Farther away, in Oaxaca and southeast of Acapulco, Puerto Escondido is a lure for travelers seeking generous stretches of impressive sandy beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Zicatela beach, located to the east, is a one-mile stretch also known as the Mexican Pipeline, attracting surfers from all over the world.

On the other hand, if a smaller beach is preferred, Puerto Angelito beach fits the bill. A little over 300 feet long, the beach boasts clear, warm, green-blue water and gentle, low waves ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Needless to say, it might get a bit crowded during the holidays.

Beaches along the Gulf coast are sparse and not as pretty as that of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, but the water is warm and there are few other visitors, so it’s likely you’d have the beaches of 31-mile Costa Esmeralda, Veracruz, all to yourself. A site of interest in the area is El Tajín (City of Thunder), a Totonac ceremonial center and UNESCO World Heritage site that is also home to the annual Cumbre Tajín cultural and arts festival.

In addition to telling your acquaintance that there is more to Mexican beaches than Los Cabos, let him know that the beaches are accessible all year-round, although he might find it warmer and more humid in May to September, and the seas on the Pacific coast might be rough in August to November.

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