By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News, great travel spots in Mexico, Part Two
In last week’s article I gave you five great travel spots in Mexico. And here are four more. Discover the real Mexico in 2013 — great beaches for snorkeling and surfing, an affordable wine country, pirate legends and ancient Maya temples are reasons enough to make new travel discoveries in 2013.
Akumal, Quintana Roo
Fly Into: Cancun (66 miles away) or Playa del Carmen (23 miles away)
Why Go: To snorkel with sea turtles near the beach
An easy drive on a modern four-lane highway south of Cancun brings you to this quiet little town on the Riviera Maya’s Half Moon Bay. In Akumal, or “Place of the Turtles,” green and loggerhead sea turtles make the calm Caribbean bay their home year-round. This year alone, more than 30,000 hatchlings have been released by volunteers and visitors from Akumal’s ecological center. Snorkel out from the palm-lined white sandy beach to see the graceful swimmers—some as big as semitruck wheels—and hear them munch on sea grass. There are only a handful of small hotels, casual restaurants and artisan shops in this low-key, get-away-from-it-all destination.
If You Go: Rent snorkel or scuba gear on the beach at Akumal Dive Center or Akumal Dive Adventures. The Jungle Place spider monkey sanctuary is just west of Akumal.
Ensenada, Baja California
Fly Into: San Diego (88 miles away) or Tijuana (72 miles away)
Why Go: For wine country that’s still affordable
Near the US border in northwestern Baja, Ensenada sits at the edge of Mexico’s most popular wine-producing valley, Valle de Guadalupe. There are rustic family cellars, large award-winning wineries, vineyards with cute B&Bs, and upscale restaurants that give the region an authentic charm similar to Tuscany or Napa, but without blowing the budget. And, since this coastal town is also a fishing village, fresh hauls of seafood fill the boardwalk’s open-air fish market and tacos that are sold from Ensenada’s legendary street carts.
If You Go: Taste wine at more than 55 wineries in Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe. Try fresh seafood tostadas at La Guerrerense, a favorite of Anthony Bourdain’s. Take a whale-watching excursion to see grey whales migrating in January, February, and March.
Fly Into: Mérida (105 miles away)
Why Go: Seaside forts, colonial architecture, and pirate legends
On the west side of the Yucatán Peninsula opposite Cancun, the capital city of Campeche is a colonial beauty in pastels. Walk the streets of Old Town to see the stately, well-preserved buildings awash in pink, blue, and yellow; these were once protected from pirate attacks by the surrounding city walls and maritime bastions. Many of Campeche’s forts and watchtowers are now museums that reveal stories of this city’s history as a major shipping port between New Spain and America.
If You Go: Step inside historical strongholds that now house attractions like Campeche’s archeological museum, the Museum of Ships and Weapons, the Botanical Gardens, and a museum about piracy. Just outside of town is the Edzna archaeological site’s ancient Maya temples and underground irrigation canals.
Fly Into: Puerto Vallarta (30 miles away)
Why Go: Boho-chic surf-town vibe
Sayulita is synonymous with peace, love and surfing. This little laid-back Riviera Nayarit beach town just north of Puerto Vallarta is a top Mexican surf spot. Experience the bohemian vibe in beachfront restaurants and local bars and on the beach, where the sound of drums accompanies friendly gatherings. Diversity is the norm here. Local fishermen mix with expats and international visitors in the village’s coffee shops and fish-taco joints. Homes and B&B bungalows dot the forested hillside overlooking the ocean.
If You Go: Sign up for a surf camp at one of the many surf schools. Sailing charters to secluded beaches and on-the-beach horseback-riding tours are affordable in Sayulita. Shoppers will find colorful boutiques with local Huichol arts and crafts.
Deal of the Week
Two-for-One Deal on Tanzania’s Great Wing Safari
Great Safaris is offering a two-for-one deal for its eight-day Great Wing Safari in Tanzania. The deal is good only for departures January 20, 22 and 24; February 1, 3, 13 and 15; May 16; June 9 and 23; and August 24. Under the terms of the offer, the first traveler pays US$6,984 for all-inclusive land arrangements and internal airfare and a companion receives the same for free.
Guests will fly to the safari lodge on a nine-seat executive aircraft and stay in first class accommodations with gourmet cuisine. The itinerary includes Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Park. Accommodations will be at the luxurious Elewana camps and lodges.
The offer is valid only on departures listed above. The fully inclusive two-for-one fare is US$6,984 and includes luxury accommodations, meals, guided game viewing, and internal airfare by private aircraft. International airfare to Tanzania and Tanzania park fees of US$395 per person are not included.
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in tour and cruise travel for everyone. She also conducts private small group tours from San Miguel de Allende. 2013 tours will be announced in soon. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Smarter Travel, Travel Pulse