Caribbean/Central American mini-vacation at the end of my vacation
September 29, 2019 12:15 PM   Subscribe

I'll be travelling back from Buenos Aires to the US in mid-February. I have a few days to spare and I'm thinking of spending them in the Caribbean or Central America. Where?

The main part of my vacation will be more active, so I'm looking for something more relaxing for a mini-vacation at the end of my vacation.

Requirements:
  • On/near a beach
  • Not too hard to get to (I'll have 2, maybe 3 nights so something requiring 3 flights and a 6-hour bus ride is out)
  • Not an all-inclusive resort; however, a resort-y/touristy area is fine
Preferences:
  • Historic sites nearby
  • Nearby parks or other areas suitable for light day hiking (e.g., 1-2 hours)
I was looking at San Juan, Puerto Rico as one possibility. Where else should I be considering?
posted by DevilsAdvocate to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
 
Tulum is a quick bus ride (2 hours?) from the Cancun airport and ticks all your boxes.
posted by ananci at 1:11 PM on September 29, 2019


Bahamas. All the islands that the hurricane missed are open for business, so it'd be a benefit to the country and probably less crowded.
posted by sammyo at 1:34 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's a long flight from Buenos Aires, and losing a bunch more time to connecting flights (especially if you have to go through a third country) would cut time and add aggregation to what is already a short stop for relaxation, so I would strongly consider a direct flight to be a plus, and there's not a lot of direct flights from BsAs to this region.

An ITA Matrix search shows the direct options to be: Bogota, Mexico City, Panama, Punta Cana, Cancun, and Miami. The first three are more city break destinations (and the first two landlocked), so skip those. Punta Cana is, as I understand, a pretty resort-heavy area. Miami is a plausible beach town, too -- and while it's not generally thought of as a "relaxing" place, it might seem so depending on how much culture shock you'll have in Buenos Aires. (Or you could go to quieter Florida beaches).

Cancun itself is resortville, but Tulum indeed has history and is remarkable, although I understand it's getting more crowded these days; there are other Mayan sites in the Yucatan that make plausible day trips although other than Chichen Itza you'd probably need a car or a guide. Coba is a more ruiny-ruin, but it's in a jungle with a bit of an Indiana Jones vibe.

The last direct option, per Wikipedia, is Havana -- it has beaches and is historical and charming as hell. But there is the uncertainty around US visa regulations, and you would be flying on the Cuban airline, which is something you should do more research into before considering.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:05 PM on September 29, 2019


I'm currently in Buenos Aires -- let's meet up if you'd like! If you're flying COPA, you'll have to change planes in Panama and could do an easy layover there. I've always been in a rush and can't stay longer but Panama City is warm and certainly worth a visit!
posted by smorgasbord at 5:48 PM on September 29, 2019


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