Deal Experts' Favorite Travel Memories: Mexico Beaches
With Cancun named the No. 1 international destination for summer travel and No. 3 overall in a recent survey by Orbitz, it's no surprise millions of annual beachgoers flock to Mexico in seek of rest and relaxation. The country's sublime beaches, landmark ruins, and dreamlike underwater encounters continue to leave visitors enamored, including many of our own Deal Experts.
Just as our experts have left their footprints in the sands of Mexico, the country's top beach cities have in turn left an impression on them. Here is a collection of tips and unforgettable moments from their Mexico vacations. For more tips and exclusive travel deals that bring you sun and savings, visit the Featured Destination: Mexico's Beaches page.
- Cozumel was one of the ports during a cruise vacation I took. Since the island is not very large, we rented a car and spent the day exploring the island. You can easily drive around the entire island in less than a day’s time. (Word to the wise, the majority of the rental cars available will be manual shift.) Our first stop was Lighthouse Punta Sur. I highly recommend climbing the stairs to the top and the views of the ocean from that vantage point are unparalleled. Near the lighthouse, we found seaside hammocks where we spent at least an hour relaxing and enjoying the sound of the waves. I felt like I was in a commercial or a movie. We pulled to the side of the road a couple of times to walk the beach. Some of the Cozumel beaches are a bit rocky, but we found the rocks easy to navigate and once our toes touched to the sand, the tranquility was palpable and the water in the ocean is some of the clearest I have seen. When we got hungry, we found a beachside shack serving fresh, local food. With our toes in the sand, under an umbrella, we were able to sip cold drinks, and eat fresh shrimp and tortillas. Visiting Cozumel is one of the most laid-back, relaxed experiences I’ve ever had while on vacation. -- Jessica Tilley, Senior Associate Producer, travel
- Escape the Americanized beaches of Cancun and getaway to the tiny island of Isla Mujeres. It’s a short ferry ride from Cancun and offers a laid back islander vibe. You can venture from one side of the island to the other in one day, and it offers some of the most isolated beaches around. -- Mary Walker Baus, Assistant Producer, travel
- One of the offbeat tours we took in Riviera Maya last year was to Sian Ka'an, a UNESCO-protected biosphere that's in the southernmost point of the peninsula. The way to get there is by Jeep -- the roads are so bumpy that by taking a regular car, you'd risk blowing tires. Plus there's no cell phone signal out there, so it's really best to follow the lead of a guide! Once we got to the protected area, we hopped on a small fishing boat and spotted pink crane-like birds and turtles and dolphins swimming in the crystal blue waters. We were also taken to a beach reminiscent of something straight out of the movie "The Blue Lagoon" where we snorkeled and saw bright colorful fish. Definitely a worthwhile day trip if you're looking for a more unique experience. -- Lily Fu, Producer, travel
- The marina in Cabo San Lucas is beautiful and is the perfect place to shop, grab a bite to eat or have an exciting night on the town. Take a snorkeling trip that passes the natural wonder that is “El Arco,” the iconic rock formation that is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other. -- Erin Oliveri, Associate Producer, travel
- Cancun isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when planning a solo vacation. I had a handful of vacation days that I needed to use or lose. Unfortunately, all of my friends and family had already used theirs up for the year. I wanted sun, a beach, a frozen cocktail, and time to read. Cancun became the perfect solution. Traveling from New York, it was easy to get to. I stayed at a great all-inclusive resort and was able to stake my claim on a beach chair each day and switch off between sipping on a pina colada, reading, or napping in the sun. At night, there was entertainment at the resort. I was able to watch a show and then get to bed early so I could start my day with a workout in the fitness center. When traveling with others it can be hard to squeeze in those workouts! It was the perfect re-charge. -- Arielle Chorney, Producer, travel
- I stayed at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya -- my favorite memories of the hotel are the casita -- our own little “house” surrounded by trees, the beach because the water was warm enough to swim in May, and eating chilaquiles for breakfast every day. At The Rosewood Mayakoba hotel there is a great restaurant called Punta Bonita (really liked the cochinita pibil and duck tacos). We also went to the fire show at the Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen. -- Martha Appiah, Senior Producer, travel
- Definitely wear your bathing suit under your "explorer clothes." One of my favorite travel moments was swimming in the aqua waters below the ruins. There were a lot of disappointed visitors who didn’t bring their suits. -- Erica Bray, Senior Producer and Director of Destinations, travel