Tropical Mexican beach vacation
December 24, 2015 12:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting laid off in February, and after that I'd like to give myself a month to reset by spending most of it on a beach with books and fruity drinks. I can fly to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, or Cancun for free, so I'm looking for places that are within an hour or two of those airports. Where should I go?

I like beaching, snorkeling, playing in gentle waves, tasty food, exploring town.

Since I'll be vacationing on savings, I'd like to spend less than $50/night for my accommodation, and less would be great. Rustic is okay, as long as it's clean and comfortable. I'd LOVE to be right on the beach or nearly so.

I don't want to be in a crazy tourist scene, but I don't mind a low-key one.
posted by spindrifter to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Can you fly into La Paz? I think it's just what you are looking for.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 12:55 PM on December 24, 2015

Response by poster: La Paz is pretty close to Cabo San Lucas, so I"ll check it out. Thanks!
posted by spindrifter at 1:08 PM on December 24, 2015

I love Isla Mujeres, and paid about 50-60 cash a night to stay on the beach. (Cheaper options are available in town- a three minute walk to the beach)
It is reached by a ferry just another 10 minutes past Cancun, and much much quieter. It has the gentlest surf imaginable, and some really nice snorkeling options at the far end of the island, which you can rent a motorbike or golf cart to get to or cheap boat excursions to snorkel and or fish. Otherwise, all of it is totally walkable. Lots of good cheap options for meals, including fresh caught seafood near the dock. There is another uninhabited island, Contoy, nearby and they offer short trips there where they fish and cook it for you on the island. Very laid back, I think there is exactly one night club to dozens of small cafes and restaurants.
posted by TenaciousB at 1:16 PM on December 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seconding Isla Mujeres! Wonderful place to relax.
posted by jennstra at 1:34 PM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ditto Isla Mujeres. We rented an apartment there so we had a kitchen, there's a big well-stocked grocery store on the town square, but there is also an old Isla Mujeres AskMe thread where someone recommended their favorite hotel which looked to be amazing and fun and charming.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:51 PM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

yes yes yes Isla Mujeres is wonderful! if you want something even more off the beaten track and quiet I have heard (never been) that Isla Holbox is also wonderful.
posted by supermedusa at 2:49 PM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

From what I've gleaned from Google flights etc., if you're headed for La Paz you'd want to fly into Cabo anyway--it's cheaper and the flights are much shorter (seems like all the flights to La Paz go through Mexico City). There is an airport to airport shuttle between Cabo and La Paz.

I just arrived in La Paz yesterday by car, and although I've only begun to explore, I agree it might fit your criteria. I'm staying for a month in a B&B for $30US a night (includes a small kitchen, private bath, and light breakfast). It's lovely, but I am about seven blocks from the beach. I don't know what the rates are closer downtown. The beach in La Paz itself is adjacent to the downtown promenade, so I don't know if people actually swim there (the internet says they do, but I haven't see it myself) but there are palapas and benches, and across the street there are bars and restaurants. It's actually only in the high seventies here at this time, so the "urge to swim" is probably not that strong.

There are tours out to Isla Espiritu Santo for the snorkeling.

La Paz is a small city and the capital of BCS so, there are tourists here, but it is not a tourist town.

I haven't visited Todos Santos yet, but that might be more "beachy" (although I understand it's very touristy as well).
posted by bricoleur at 2:52 PM on December 24, 2015

Todos Santos isn't really a beachy town. It is more of an artist community. You have to drive south toward Cabo to reach Pescadaro and other beach areas. Many people come up from Cabo to see the "hotel California" etc. From my experience LaPaz does tend to get windy. What about up the coast to Loreto?

If you want to go further south there are some great small towns north of Manzanillo. The bus can run you to any of them from the airport. I've been to Barra deNavidad, but Malaque and the other small towns north of there have gentler beaches/waves. There is a website called TomZap that hasn't been updated in quite some time, but it gives you a good basic overview of the small towns along the Costa Allegre as they like to call it. Many American and Canadians retirees spend their winters down there. I'm looking forward to joining them. I bet you can find a place to stay within your budget pretty easily. My kids stayed in La Manzanilla (north of Barra) for a few weeks for a song.

Good luck on the job hunt when you return. Enjoy this time to regroup and regenerate. I think everyone can use that time, but we often tend to push ourselves into another job we may or may not like. I'd love nothing better than a month off right now.
posted by OkTwigs at 6:59 PM on December 24, 2015

yea I was gonna say isla mujeres but was beaten to it. wonderful little island.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:55 AM on December 25, 2015

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