Well, the temps are dropping and the days are shortening, which means we’ve got one thing on our mind: a warm-weather getaway. And when it comes to planning yours, don’t underestimate our close and fabulous neighbor Mexico. Here, seven glamorous Mexican resort towns that don’t require sacrificing a whole vacation day for travel time.
Yes, Cancun has that pesky spring-break reputation. But if you seek out one of the many tranquil resorts, you’ll feel worlds away from the crowds. Home to a major airport, Cancun is an easily accessible locale for a quick winter trip or long-weekend getaway.
THE RIVIERA MAYA
This stretch of crystal-clear blue Caribbean coastline (just south of Cancun) is home to dozens of luxurious resorts. And its abundance of outdoor adventure makes it a popular destination for families. For example, you can take a day trip to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and swim in a limestone cenote (a water-filled sinkhole). If you want to stay close to the beach, hit up the lively neighboring town of Playa del Carmen and its pedestrian Fifth Avenue, which is lined with alfresco restaurants, bars and shops.
A decade ago, Tulum was a bohemian hideaway with no electricity or traffic lights. Today, the secret’s out. This town (which is also technically on the Riviera Maya) now attracts Insta-bloggers and celebs alike to its gorgeous beaches that boast jade-green water and snow-white sand framed by Mayan ruins. It’s also home to a sophisticated culinary scene, including the world-renowned Hartwood restaurant.
On the Gulf of California are the sister cities of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, located just 20 minutes apart on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. While the former is known for luxurious resorts and nightlife, the latter has a sophisticated art scene with galleries and open-air plazas.
For those who love Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a sleepy little surf town not too far away. Colorful and laid-back, the Pacific Coast town is filled with vibrant Huichol arts and crafts, surf shops, taco stands and tequila bars. Along the beaches you’ll find seaside casitas and welcoming guesthouses.
Once a small fishing village, this town in the state of Guerrero is now a trendy destination known for its laid-back vibe and upscale boutique hotels (meaning it’s not as overcrowded as nearby Acapulco). Just three hours from Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast, Zihuatanejo’s main beach is a tranquil bay protected by rocky cliffs. For adventure seekers, the resort town also offers fishing, snorkeling, nature preserves and public markets ripe for exploring.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
You won’t find sand or waves in the enchanting Guanajuato mountain city of San Miguel de Allende. But you will find lots of culture among the 16th-century colonial Spanish architecture, lush gardens, incredible restaurants and flourishing art scene, from interior design studios to shops selling hand-painted pottery.