Few destinations hit all the items on travelers’ wish lists like Mexico. For those in search of sun and surf, seaside resorts await. Or you can instead explore ancient cities constructed by the Aztecs, Maya and other storied civilizations. If you are passionate about food, a trip to Mexico is a revelation; UNESCO recognized the country’s cuisine for its preservation of age-old culinary techniques. Finally, for the traveler interested in natural wonders, sights include sanctuaries for marine life, the deserts of the north and the rain forests of the south. Whatever draws you to Mexico, expect a welcome as warm as the country’s sun-kissed climate.
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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Mazatlán, nicknamed the Pearl of the Pacific, is a pleasant port city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where the best of traditional Mexican architecture, food and culture is found alongside contemporary conveniences, amenities and attractions. There's a reason why Americans and Canadians flock here, particularly in winter: It's a warm and welcoming place with plenty to keep visitors entertained for a vacation getaway. There really is something for everyone here, from golfing, fishing and zip lining to sampling agave-based spirits on a distillery tour or learning more about local history at the archaeological museum. There are plenty of cultural opportunities, too.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Unlike some of Mexico’s beach resorts, Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Ocean, retains its colonial-era charm. Its town square, Plaza de Armas, and the gorgeous parish church topped with an ornate crown serve as the loveliest representations of bygone ages. Alongside them are an ambitious public art project along the seaside walkway (the malecón) and trendy restaurants. Round these out with outdoor activities on Banderas Bay (whale-watching! snorkeling! jet-skiing!) and a side trip to one of Mexico's pueblos mágicos (magical towns, a designation recognizing smaller towns that possess historical and cultural value), and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant port.
San Diego, California, US
Easygoing San Diego embodies the Southern California surfer town fantasy, with its more than 300 days of sun, mild year-round temperatures and accessible outdoor activities. You can hike the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to get a glimpse of whale migrations, go sailing in the bay and, of course, surf the famous swells of Del Mar, Oceanside and La Jolla. But the sixth-largest city in the United States also has some surprising neighborhoods: Old Town, North Park, Point Loma and Coronado are all within a few miles of the port, while the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy are also within walking distance.