Mexico offers an endless array of vacation possibilities. Adventure activities? Check. Cuisine to fire up your taste buds? Covered. Historic culture, ruins, and artifacts? All are here. And there are countless beaches, too, for those who want a low-key vacation focusing on sun, surf, and relaxation. Here are five getaways to satisfy all types of travelers.
Adventure and history
GAP Adventures’ “Mexico Ancient Civilizations” vacation features 15 days (14 nights) of exploring the country’s history, from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen. The itinerary includes visiting the colonial sites of Puebla, touring Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca, learning about San Cristóbal’s indigenous people, and taking in some culture (museums, cathedrals, and more) in Mérida. Travelers also get a few days at the beach in Playa del Carmen. With a few exceptions, the GAP Adventures’ package includes a two-night stop at each highlighted destination.
There’s a maximum of 15 travelers per group, and multiple tour dates are available throughout the year. Trip prices are $545 per person, plus a $250 “local payment” that covers some costs on arrival, such as in-country transportation. Rates include accommodations, transportation, and the services of a tour guide. Airfare and meals are not included. At press time, sample round-trip airfares to Mexico City came in at $381 from Chicago, $386 from Miami, and $388 from New York for winter travel. You will need to arrange transportation back to Mexico City from Playa del Carmen, or fly home out of Cancun, the closest airport.
For the ultimate stress-free Mexico vacation, many travelers choose an all-inclusive resort when visiting one of the country’s famous beach destinations. One payment, one wristband, and you’re done—leave your belongings in your hotel room and just flash your bracelet to enjoy the property’s beaches, pools, bars, restaurants, and activities. BeachDestinations.com has partnered with several all-inclusive properties in Cancun to offer airfare-and-resort packages at a discount. Three-night getaways at the all-inclusive Aquamarina Beach Resort Hotel start at $513 per person, with all taxes included.
BeachDestinations.com’s packages include round-trip airfare, three nights’ accommodations, all meals and snacks, unlimited beverages, mini golf, fitness classes, use of in-room safe, daily activities, non-motorized watersports, nightly entertainment, and all taxes and gratuities. At press time, quoted prices per-person came in at $513 with departures from Miami, $764 from Chicago, and $772 from New York in winter. Those who can book and travel by April 10 are eligible to receive 35 percent off.
If you’re driven to travel by your taste buds, consider a culinary vacation in Cuernavaca (approximately 45 minutes south of Mexico City) with La Villa Bonita School of Mexican Cuisine. Hosted by chef Ana Isabel Garcia Moreno, the school provides a combination of hands-on cooking instruction and cultural tours for four or seven nights. All accommodations and cooking classes are held in a historic 16th-century mansion. Possible lessons include introduction to chiles and salsas, flan and arroz con leche preparation, and tamale making.
Seven-night packages include lodging, breakfast and lunch each day, four days of cooking classes, instruction materials and cooking utensils, two days of cultural and culinary field trips, and transportation to and from the Mexico City airport. Rates are $1,550 per person, double occupancy, for seven-night packages. Four-night packages, with abbreviated itineraries, are available for $1,150 per person, double occupancy. Airfare and taxes are not included. At press time, sample round-trip airfares to Mexico City came in at $381 from Chicago, $386 from Miami, and $388 from New York in February.
Oaxaca and Chiapas are known worldwide for their Day of the Dead celebrations in late October and early November. Elaborate altars, specialty dishes, and lavish costumes are on display as the locals honor their ancestors with food, rituals, and art. With responsibletravel.com‘s trip for the holiday, you can be there in person. Activities include visiting a Xoxocotlán cemetery, witnessing the many altars prepared for ancestors, having dinner with a local artist, and touring the Sumidero Canyon. In keeping with responsibletravel.com’s dedication to travel that makes a positive local impact, tours are limited to 12 participants. Accommodations are at locally owned properties; a stay with a host family may also be requested.
This tour departs on October 29. Eight-night packages are available from $1,980 per person, or 10-night excursions can be booked for $2,370 per person. Airfare is not included. At the time of publication, round-trip airfare to Oaxaca was quoted at $538 from Chicago, $541 from Miami, and $594 from New York.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast offers a diverse array of wildlife, geology, and flora. Eco-conscious travelers may want to check out gloCaltravel Mexico’s “Oaxaca and the South Pacific Coast” tour, which takes a week to explore western Mexico, stretching from Huatulco to Oaxaca. GloCaltravel’s tour will take you to the Ventanilla Lagoon outside of Mazunte, a breeding ground for crocodiles; the Northern Sierra for a hike among spider monkeys, birds, and tapirs; and Salina Blanca to witness natural salt waterfalls, the turquoise Quiechapa River, and stalagmites. Travelers will also get downtime to relax at the beach, as well as an excursion to Monte Alban for an archaeological tour of its Zapotec ruins.
Packages cost $500 per person. Rates cover transfers from the Huatulco airport, six nights’ accommodations, activities, excursions, and some meals. Airfare is not included. Groups are limited to seven travelers. At the time of publication, round-trip airfare in February to Huatulco was priced at $499 from Chicago, $590 from Miami, and $672 from New York.