Because there’s more to spring break in Mexico than Cancun, Acapulco, or the Riviera Maya, here are 10 lesser-known destinations to spend the best spring break on a budget.
As you probably know, Mexico’s privileged climate and enviable geography provide plenty of amazing beaches and destinations all along its coast. It’s no surprise, then, that spring break in Mexico represents one of the most memorable experiences in a lifetime. But the bustling nightlife of wonderful tourist spots like Riviera Maya, Acapulco, and Cancun is not all there is to Mexico’s endless offer for perfect spring break destinations, especially if you’re traveling with family or on a budget. If you’re looking for an alternative kind of vacation, here are 10 unknown destinations to spend the best spring break in Mexico on a budget.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Okay, let’s start with a destination between ‘completely unknown’ and ‘too-crowded-to-move’ and take it from there, shall we? Puerto Vallarta is like Cancun or Acapulco in that it’s a popular beach resort, but unlike them in that it’s not so well-known among foreigners, so it doesn’t get as crowded during spring break.
Located in a beautiful coastal plain at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Puerto Vallarta’s tropical climate means warm weather and high humidity. It was once known as “the friendliest city in the world,” and though it has grown significantly since then, its reputation remains true. Despite it being less frequented than Acapulco or Cancun, it’s still a tourist-heavy destination, so do expect to encounter plenty of Americans (and the like).
Though this one’s yet another resort, it’s even less known than Puerto Vallarta by international standards. So, here you can find the best of both worlds. Its name is Nahuatl for “place of deer,” and stands as one of the best spring break destinations available. Lively streets and a beautiful coast mix perfectly well with all the party-friendly attractions around, including party bus tours down to the beach itself from the southwestern U.S.
Rosarito, Baja California
Equipped with dance clubs and party beaches, it’s no wonder Rosarito is becoming an increasingly destination for Americans. It’s not so known yet that you’ll find unbearable crowds or overly expensive sites, but that might change in the next few years, so you should hurry. Its proximity to the US (it’s actually part of the international metropolitan area of San Diego-Tijuana) means it’s a really convenient trip for a quick and inexpensive spring break!
San Agustinillo, Oaxaca
Off to the other side of both fame and geography, San Agustinillo is a small fishing town located in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, right at the southernmost tip of the Sierra Madre del Sur. This region is popular among surfers all over the world looking for the legendary golden sands and huge waves of Oaxaca’s coast, though these adventurers gather around the more famous Puerto Escondido, slightly to the north.
San Agustinillo has little in the way of high-profile tourist developments, featuring dirt roads and small huts that make up most of the amenities available to travelers. It’s definitely perfect for an inexpensive, unassuming spring break in one of the most beautiful beaches Mexico has to offer.
Also on the southern side of Mexico, near San Agustinillo, lies Mazunte, a slightly bigger and better-known beach town. If you’re looking for a more touristy destination with all the magic of a remote location like San Agustinillo, then Mazunte is for you.
This town is most famous for its sea turtles, which tourists get to see on their yearly pilgrimage to either lay their eggs, or watch those eggs hatch and the newborns run towards the sea. It’s an amazing spectacle, and ecotourism in the area has grown because of it. The local National Turtle Center is the place to go if you want to learn about turtles during a ecology-heavy spring break.
Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo
Though Holbox is located a mere 100 miles from the ever-busy streets of Cancun, this little island feels distinctly remote. As a rustic retreat, Isla Holbox works perfectly for those looking to enjoy spring break away from the bustling energy of never-ending noise and crowds, focusing instead on a peaceful, zen-like experience. Definitely something I’d personally enjoy. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, you can always take part in the area’s most popular activity and opt to swim with the largest fishes in the world, the friendly whale sharks.
Isla Contoy, Quintana Roo
Another slice of paradise in the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, Isla Contoy, much like Isla Holbox, offers a uniquely serene experience. It’s perfect for an alternative spring break focused more on self-improvement, health, and just plain beauty than on booze and parties—if that’s your thing. However, unlike other destinations on this list, Isla Contoy is a strictly protected national park with supervised ecotourism, so you won’t be able to remain on-site for the whole vacation. Still, it's a worthwhile visit if you’re staying in Cancun or Isla Mujeres.
Rincón de Guayabitos, Nayarit
Another hidden gem along Mexico’s famous golden sand beaches. Just north of Puerto Vallarta, in the neighboring state of Nayarit, you’ll find Guayabitos, a two-kilometer beachfront resort featuring warm weather and gentle waves. It’s tranquil environment make it ideal for those looking for a relaxed spring break, or if you’re traveling with children—a perfect family destination.
Mulegé, Baja California Sur
An oasis hidden along the otherwise arid beaches of Baja California Sur, Mulegé is precisely what you want if you’re looking to explore the state’s largest and most beautiful bay, Bahía Concepción. Its warm and gentle waters make it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking—great for an adventurer’s spring break.
Back on the southern coast of Oaxaca, Zipolite stands together with Mazunte as one of the most popular ecotourism beaches in Mexico. Located between Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, this particular beach is especially loved by European backpackers. It is one of Mexico’s rare nude beaches, so it can certainly provide an alternative spring break vacation if you’re looking for a wholly original destination in this beautiful country.
There you have all you need to get you started. Remember that if you’re looking to visit one of the more remote locations on this list, you need to plan in advance—transportation and lodging is not always as straightforward as with the more developed tourist spots. But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? Rest assured it’s all worth it in the end. So, get going and have a wonderful spring break!
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