- View of Guanajuato City, Mexico1 of 8
- Mazatlan, Mexico2 of 8
- Ceramic suns, Mexico3 of 8
- Puerto Escondido, Mexico4 of 8
- Acapulco, Mexico5 of 8
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico6 of 8
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico7 of 8
- Snorkeling in Carribean sea, Mexico8 of 8
If you think you know Mexico, think again. There’s a Mexico for everyone on offer on the country’s stunning West Coast, as you cruise along the country’s party towns of Acapulco, tourist haven and celebrity favourite Cabo San Lucas, local’s favourite Mazatlan, colonial city on the sea Puerto Vallarta, and hidden gems such as Puerto Escondido. Mexico is a country to indulge and relax in, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough on offer to keep even the most dedicated thrill junkie happy, or historical buff and culture vulture in raptures. There’s more to life than the sun, sea, and margaritas that Mexico has largely sold itself on to the vast number of tourists who visit every year, and best of all is that all it has to offer is set out under the blistering sun.
At the tip of the Baja Peninsula, and serving as the sandy and sunny playground of California’s rich and famous, is Los Cabos which comprises of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas is probably the better known of the two, with its pristine beaches, and large resort lined beachfront, but San Jose del Cabo deserves to be explored as well. A beautiful old Spanish colonial town, San Jose del Cabo is a cobbled lined haven of grand old architecture and dazzlingly enjoyable and eclectic shops and restaurants. The two towns which make up Los Cabos are connected by a beautiful beach, from which you can enjoy parasailing, banana boating, and further off shore some of the best scuba and snorkelling opportunities in Mexico. Alternatively you can travel to where the Mexicans holiday in Mazatlan, a vibrant and full to bursting seaside town on the Pacific Ocean. Mazatlan is a favourite with Mexicans from all over the country, so you know it must be good. With a fine historic centre including some gorgeous old architecture, appealing shops and boutiques, great bars and restaurants, as well as a fantastic beach promenade which has an almost European atmosphere, and where those with penchant for evening strolls head come sundown, there’s something to charm everyone, including even the most discerning of travellers in Mazatlan. There’s horseback riding on the beach, and just 45 miles to the south a truly invigorating and educational tree canopy tour to partake in.
Manzanillo has been a popular destination with tourists and travellers for a while now, and especially with those who are keen scuba divers. With some of the best spots to dive in not too far off shore from this port city, this fact is fairly unsurprising. If you’re looking for something a little more unspoilt, however, Bahia de Navidad just north of the city should be your next port of call. A crescent shaped bay of golden sandy beaches, Bahia de Navidad has the unique ability to drive all your troubles away. Sit back on a sun lounger, sip on a margarita, indulge in a fish taco and feel any residue stress drain away. At the south end of the Bahia de Navidad bay is the small fishing town of Barra de Navidad, a pleasant little place with plenty of character and live music on the beach.
On the Pacific Coast of the state of Oaxaca, well known as one of Mexico’s most intriguing and seductive areas, lies the ‘hidden port’ or Puerto Escondido. The town itself is set in a tranquil and peaceful bay, which is in fact the reason why it was founded here, as the coffee planters and growers who worked the land at the foot of the local mountain range decided it was the perfect spot for shipping all that locally grown coffee out of the area. But Puerto Escondido is also very well known to surfers as the home of the Mexican Pipeline, possibly Mexico’s most famous break. The combination of the laid back surfing way of life and the town’s adherence to its more humble beginnings as a traditional fishing town means that Puerto Escondido is simply one of the most charming beachside towns in Mexico. Completely mesmerising in its simplicity and natural beauty, Puerto Escondido is the home to a vast array of natural wildlife, including birdlife, whales and sea turtles; there is something to see at every turn. As with much of the Mexican coast, great scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities are only a boat ride away, but in Puerto Escondido you can also explore the coastal lagoons of Manialtepec and Chacahua. This is a tranquil and charmingly laid back and relaxed town that is simply not to be missed.
Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco may be two of Mexico’s best known and most visited west coast beach side towns, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing. Puerto Vallarta, far from being ruined by the hordes of tourists who visit every year, has held up its appealing façade with the glamour and grace of the finest Hollywood star. The city is nestled into the lush greenery of the surrounding mountains and forests, whilst showing off its glitzier side to the greedy Pacific Ocean. Where the holidaying hordes frolic is down on the sand, in the shadow of the city’s charming colonial architecture, and in the basking beauty of the sun and the gentle surf of the Pacific. There’s an international atmosphere to Puerto Vallarta which isn’t just bound to the thousands of foreign visitors who flock here every year. The traditional cobblestone streets are lined with world renowned restaurants, swanky boutiques, and there’s a great bar and café culture to entertain in the sultry evenings and warm nights, when only a frosty Michelada, or chilled tequila will do. Acapulco, of course, is most famous for being the site of many a young American’s spring break antics – not that they’ll remember any of it if you happen to ask about the town - but behind its heavy drinking and hearty partying reputation is a friendly city set in one of Mexico’s most beautiful and sheltered bays. Which is why, of course all the visitors came in the first place. There are plenty of vast resorts on the beach front but only slightly further afield are protected coves, and of course be sure not to miss the legendary cliff-divers, who jump into the roaring surf from the top of the cliffs overlooking the sea on the north side of town as a regular occurrence. Only thrill-seekers need apply.
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