MEXICO IS HAVING QUITE A RESURGENCE—HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HEAD SOUTH OF THE BORDER.
Mexico is an incredibly compelling and resilient destination—and adding it to you list of spots to visit may be just what you need to round out the year. “The current comeback is a continuation of the Covid boom, when Mexico was one of the only destinations with relatively little to no restrictions. This, coupled with its warm weather, abundance of outdoor dining and living options, and proximity to the U.S. made it a top destination for pandemic travel,” says Zachary Rabinor, founder and CEO of Journey Mexico, which specializes in high-end, customized travel to Mexico. And that continues today, even with many travel restrictions having been lifted by now.
Rabinor, who has been selling luxury travel to Mexico for over 30 years notes that the country not only attracts travelers who are looking for sun and sand, but also those looking for culture, nature, wildlife and adventure travel. Pre-covid, travelers were going to more far-flung destinations like Europe, Africa, Asia and South America looking for these attributes, but are now discovering that they exist right here, in their neighbor to the south.
“For foodies, you have a mix of Mayan, Spanish, European and Caribbean influences,” says Juan Fernandez, Owner of Elli Travel Group based in Larchmont, NY. “For history buffs you have the captivating Mayan Ruins as well as the Spanish Colonial influences seen in the Sierra Mountains and towns like San Miguel de Allede.” Fernandez also believes that, along with its cultural diversity, Mexico is on par with the best service of any resort area in North America. So where should you go? We’ve got a look at some of the top destinations within this diverse country.
If you only associate this gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula with spring breakers, it’s time to reassess. “People return multiple times, first because of the outstanding service, but also because the area has unique eco-adventure opportunities,” says Fernandez. “In particular, the area has one of the largest underground river systems in the world.” You can explore the caves and cenotes in various ways, with snorkeling and diving as popular options. The Mayan ruins, including Tulum, also attract many travelers.
Where to Stay: Cancun has a plethora of amazing resorts. We love staying at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort, a luxury resort with 602-oceanfront suites—each with a private terrace. Dining options abound from the AAA Five-Diamond Le Basilic and authentic Mexican at La Joya to fresh seafood at Isla Contoy. The resort is a good blend of serenity and activity and the massive 40,000-square-foot spa has innovative treatments, which include gemstone therapy and a dramatic 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual.
Another good option is the Wyndham Alltra Cancun, which is especially good for families. Camp Alltra has plenty of options for kids including water sports, beach games, crafts and night shows, with a water park that features a pirate ship and a medieval castle. Adults, meanwhile, will enjoy the culinary classes, spa and live music. Plus, there are plenty of food options: The all-inclusive resort has 13 restaurants and bars.
CABO SAN LUCAS
“Cabo San Lucas has been transformed into a luxurious playground,” says Fernandez. “The Pacific Ocean sunsets are glorious.” It’s where the Pacific Ocean coincides with the Sea of Cortez and is a great place to see the migrating whales. “Los Cabos is much more about the landscapes, wildlife—marine wildlife to be specific—and active adventure experiences,” says Rabinor. “Desert meets the sea contrasts with remote fishing communities and glittering resorts.”
Where to Stay: For a beachfront, family friendly resort with a contemporary design that’s inspired by the natural landscape, we recommend Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos. It also offers a world-class spa, five gourmet restaurants, eight pools (several of which overlook the ocean, including a rooftop infinity pool for adults only). All rooms are suites, many of which have ocean views.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
“We really love to combine the beach and mountain experience for our clients,” says Fernandez. “Years ago, artists discovered San Miguel de Allende and the Spanish colonial town has been transformed into a cultural beacon.” He notes that travelers can visit several beautiful and cultural significant towns like Puebla and combine it with hiking or horseback riding.
Where to stay: We love Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende, a luxury resort in the heart of San Miguel de Allende with a state-of-the-art spa. Celebrity Mexican Chef Eduardo Palazuelo’s Zibu Restaurant is not to be missed and the hotel is just steps away from the colonial architecture that made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Mexico City’s food scene is one of the most compelling in Latin America,” says Emmanuel Burgio, president of Blue Parallel, a luxury travel boutique that specializes in bespoke, white-glove trips. “Gaze down at Chapultepec Castle from the 56th-floor terrace of ultra-chic Ling Ling while sipping a signature mezcal or sake cocktail. Tucked in a colonial building with rustic stone walls in the historic center, Limosneros serves exquisite takes on traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist.” Burgio notes that in the heart of Roma Norte, the city’s hippest neighborhood, Maximo Bistrot, the flagship of chef Eduardo Garcia, brings French influences to farm-to-table Mexican flavors in a discreet indoor/outdoor patio setting. He also explains that travelers to Mexico City are immersed in Mexico’s “tres culturas”—the pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial, and modern republic. Burgio recommends private guided tours of the Aztec pyramids at Teotihuacán, the Zócalo and historic center including the iconic art nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the renowned National Museum of Anthropology.
Where to Stay: Burgio recommends the Ritz Carlton Mexico City, which is part of the Paseo de la Reforma skyline and has sweeping views of Chapultepec Park. The hotel’s award-winning Ling Ling restaurant, as he mentions, is located on the 56th floor.