Spring Break travel without the Spring Breakers
November 26, 2005 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to travel somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean in the spring, but I want to avoid Spring Breakers like the plague.

I'm open to suggestions, as long as I'm not surrounded by students. My priority is to relax and enjoy the scenery, so the spot doesn't have to have tons of touristy stuff. I'd like to stay in either the Caribbean or Mexico, but I'd think about staying in the States or going elsewhere if a good place was recommended and didn't cost alot.

I definitely want to go after early March, but before school lets out for the summer.

Any suggestions or thoughts as to how I can have a relaxing vacation for as cheap as possible?
posted by damnjezebel to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
 
For relaxing and cheap, would you consider going a little (OK, a lot) further south, to Argentina? The dollar-peso exchange is quite advantageous these days (I'm assuming you're U.S.-based). A few days in Buenos Aires for urban living, plus some beach time in Mar del Plata could be inexpensive & you'd avoid any spring breakers. As of summer 2004, at least, prices generally ran 1/3 or less of U.S. prices. It's most likely still about the same. Weather in March would be late summer/early fall, and beautiful.

If it's Mexico you're after, there are certainly options besides Cancun with the college crowd. I've only been down here four weeks and haven't had a chance to get to the beaches yet. But if you're interested in Mexico City, I could probably help you hook a thing or two up. And I may know more about the coast by early 2006. Email (not in profile) is donpedrosf at [the yahoo place many of us have accounts].

If you're not dead-set on beach you might consider Cuernavaca, land of eternal spring & warm weather. Beautiful city, with bougainvillea everywhere. Guanajuato is supposed to be pretty nice too.

Shoot, maybe fly to Cuba (illegal for U.S. citizens in most cases, but there are ways around that). I've always wanted to.
posted by donpedro at 3:32 PM on November 26, 2005


The State of Oaxaca. . .Oaxaca City, and then Puerto Angel on the Pacific .just avoid Puerto Escondido to the north and Bahias de Hualtuco to the south.
posted by Danf at 3:33 PM on November 26, 2005


Costa Rica? I know it is more central american but it does have a carribean side. My husband and I visited the mountains and Pacific side earlier this year and it was great. I don't really think it is that much of a party destination for high school/ college kids. The town we stayed at on the Pacific coast (Samara) was small and peaceful with a beautiful beach.

It was a pretty inexpensive vacation, everyone is very friendly.
posted by TheLibrarian at 4:04 PM on November 26, 2005


Really off the beaten trail is Senor Reyes' mountain lodge in Tlachichuca, east of Mexico City. It's the start point for a lot of people climbing Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's highest volcano. I recommend it. On the other side of the volcano is the city of Orizaba, a sleepy, charming, touristless place.
posted by atchafalaya at 4:29 PM on November 26, 2005


The cabanas in Tulum, Mexico are pretty laid back and spring breaker free. Although it is getting more popular, it is pretty much the opposite of staying at a big resort in Cancun. There are all sorts of accommodations that range from a shack on the beach for $20USD /night to full luxurious cabins for $200/night. Depending on your budget, you might be surrounded by European backpackers or American vacationers.
posted by Staggering Jack at 4:58 PM on November 26, 2005


oaxaca was the place i liked best in my short time in mexico (indeed, the only place i found really pleasant - the anti-gringo attitude in other places really bugged me).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:43 PM on November 26, 2005


If you want something a little closer, try Abaco in the out islands of the Bahamas.

You can fly to Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay from Florida and either stay on the main island of Abaco or on one of the cays. I went in 2000 and stayed in Hopetown on Elbow Cay.

Elbow Cay is a little island, a half mile wide at the widest and about 3 miles long. Hopetown is a great little harbour town. Grocery store, couple of restaurants, souvie shops, and lots of beach with generally very few people to clutter up your sand. Most days I had at least a half mile of beach to myself.

The residents are very friendly, both the locals and the snowbirds. One of the transplant locals was lamenting to me that she'd broken a bottle and stepped on some glass and because of that was forced to wear shoes for the first time in 2 years. ;)
posted by Jase at 6:21 PM on November 26, 2005


Third on Oaxaca. I went there for spring break last March; I liked it so much I went back this summer for a month to take a Spanish class. I'll be returning with my family over Christmas. A wonderful, charming colonial city, with lots to do and see. Email in profile if you want to know more.
posted by Wet Spot at 6:33 PM on November 26, 2005


All great suggestions above, and here are two more:

Cuba! Change planes in Vera Cruz to do an end run around the travel restrictions. Cuba is like nowhere on earth, and will change in the blink of an eye when Castro dies. Go now or you'll be sorry.

Dominican Republic. The touristy areas are terrible, but it is a big beautiful island. Half an island, actually.
posted by LarryC at 7:11 PM on November 26, 2005


Another vote for cuba.
posted by duck at 8:13 PM on November 26, 2005


Try Isla Holbox in mexico.
Landing in Cancun will probably drive you wild but a busride of a few hours will bring you to a dock where you can take a 20 minute boatride to the island. There are no cars on the island and no more then 500 or so inhabitants. a few beachside cabinas that are very cheap.
This is one of the best places in the world for seashell hunting as it is positioned in cross currents and you will find some pretty sea shells by the sea shore.
Google it, you may be interested.
posted by sandrapbrady at 9:49 AM on November 27, 2005


Domincan Republic seconded, but find your own comfort instead of the major destinations. Flights there are also very cheap (try JetBlue).

Costa Rica not a spring break destination? Maybe some parts, but do some research before making plans. I have several friends who've been to Belize and enjoyed it's non-spring-breakness.

Cuba's awesome, and will definitely go through major changes in the next few years, but I really wouldn't want to run into problems with the travel restrictions - the number of people caught and the fines have gone up since I was there (legally, in 2003).
posted by whatzit at 7:35 PM on November 27, 2005


Response by poster: Thanks for commenting, everyone! For the most part, alot of these places are simply way too expensive for me. I can't afford to spend $500 on a ticket to anywhere, so the majority of these places are out. I've thought about some more things I'd like:

- beach. I need a beach. I must have a beach. I'm not a swimmer - in fact, I'm barely a wader. I just want to snooze on the beach with a good book.

- English. This will be my very first time travelling alone, and I have a tendency to not ask for help and do without if I can't communicate with someone. I also took 3 years of spanish, and couldn't hablo my way out of a paper bag even if my life depended on it. So it either needs to be an English-speaking country, or a well-known all-inclusive resort that caters to English-speakers. I'll try the off-the-beaten-path places when I feel comfortable enough travelling.

- CHEAP!!! I'm going alone, so I can't split the cost of a hotel room with someone. I want to spend at least two full days wherever I go. It doesn't matter what days I go, or when I come back. Flight: I don't want to pay more than $300 to fly anywhere, and I refuse to pay more than $100 per night purely on principle (cheapskate). The whole point is to go during an off-off-off peak time, avoiding people (I have social anxiety disorder), as well as saving a buck or two.


Hopefully that helped. Sorry I couldn't think of these before, but your answers actually helped me make decisions on my own.

Another question: is there any place I should avoid like the plague during the time I want to go (early march to late may, avoiding spring break)?
posted by damnjezebel at 2:01 AM on November 28, 2005


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