Best Places to Visit in Mexico in Spring

woman floating Xcaret beach mexico spring break

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Mexico. Spring break. They often seem to go hand in hand. Certain Mexican destinations have always been popular spots for spring breakers. I feel like I left those spring break party days behind me long ago, and there’s so much more of Mexico to discover. So I’m highlighting some alternatives that may be less party-centric and less crowded in March, April, and May. The weather is great at that time of year, warm days and cooler evenings.

Mexico Spring Break – U.S. Travel Warning

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico issued a spring break travel warning for Americans visiting Mexico. The warning states that U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark. Note that the vast majority of people who visit Mexico do so safely. Like any destination, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your drinks so no one has an opportunity to put anything in them. If traveling solo, it’s always a good idea to share your location and your plans with others.

Mexico Geography and Climate

Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world by land area. It’s about one-fifth of the size of the United States. Mexico is divided into 31 states, plus one federal area (Mexico City, the country’s capital). Mexico shares its north border with the United States, and its south border with Belize and Guatemala. The Pacific Ocean is on the west and south sides of Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are on the east side of the country. As far as climate, temperatures typically range from 50 to 90 degrees F (10-32 degrees Celsius), with average humidity around 70%. It was hard to narrow this list down, so these destinations offer a lot of activities, some special for spring, and also offer great areas and overall vibes for relaxation if that’s what you are seeking in a spring getaway. 

Best Places to Visit in Mexico in Spring

If you’re looking for a destination that’s more on the western side of Mexico, then Mazatlan is a good alternative to Cabo San Lucas. Mazatlan is often called the “Pearl of the Pacific”. Playa Olas Altas is great for surfing, while Playa Norte is perfect for a more relaxed swim or sunbathing. Isla de la Piedra (on Stone Island) has tranquil beaches and delicious seafood. Explore Old Town, Centro Historico of Mazatlan, a beautifully preserved area with colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and vibrant plazas. Take a walk Along the Malecón, one of the longest waterfront promenades in the world, and enjoy the ocean views, sculptures, and street vendors. Fresh seafood is prominent here. Spring is a great time to enjoy fresh dishes like ceviche, aguachile, and the local specialty, Sinaloa-style grilled fish. If your visit is in late spring, you might catch the Mazatlán Cultural Festival, which showcases a variety of performances including dance, music, and theater. I looked at the Mazatlan calendar of events, and there is so much to choose from – basketball games, soccer games, beach bashes, concerts, an organic farmers market, an art walk, and more.

North of Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula, Todos Santos is a peaceful alternative to the busier Los Cabos area. There’s a lot to do in this destination! Tour the art galleries and explore the historic downtown area. Springtime is near the end of the whale watching season for Baja California Sur, so it’s a good time to try to spot gray whales making their annual migration. Spring is also a great time to hike in the nearby mountains, Sierra de la Laguna. Lastly, tour a local farm or garden, another great activity for spring time. 

Oaxaca is the largest city and the capital of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The markets of Oaxaca are famous, so definitely explore them and sample local foods, or shop for crafts and textiles. Visit the Ethnobotanical Garden, next to the Santo Domingo Church. Guided tours are highly recommended. If you love hiking and swimming, travel 2 hours outside the city to Hierve el Agua, an area with petrified waterfalls and natural mineral pools. You can also hike and bike in the Sierra Norte mountains that also have several indigenous communities that offer ecotourism experiences. 

Next, let’s go to Merida, the capital of Yucatán. Merida is known as the “White City” due to its many limestone buildings. It offers a mix of colonial history, Mayan culture, and modern amenities. Explore nearby Mayan ruins like Uxmal and the world-famous Chichen Itza, without the crowds often found in more touristy areas. 

Here’s something new that I learned about when I was researching this. The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its cenotes, which are natural freshwater pools formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. Merida is close to several cenotes, and spring is a great time to visit these for their beauty and to go swimming and diving. 

Another fun activity with nature is to take a day trip to the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, where you can see flocks of flamingos and other migratory birds in their natural habitat. The boat tours through the mangroves are especially popular in the spring.

This event sounds truly amazing to me. If you’re in Merida around the spring equinox, visit the ancient city of Chichen Itza, about a 90-minute drive from Merida, to witness the descent of the feathered serpent god, Kukulkan, down the steps of the El Castillo pyramid. I read about this, and it’s astounding how the Mayans built over 1,000 years ago this 80-foot stone pyramid to be a physical representation of the Mayan calendar. The El Castillo pyramid has a total of 365 steps. And then twice a year, at the spring equinox and the fall equinox, the way the sun hits the side of the pyramid looks like a feathered serpent is descending the pyramid. And at the base of the pyramid’s staircase is a statue of a stone serpent head. I just added this event to my must-do’s while traveling.

If you head about 4.5 hours south of Merida by car, you’ll come to Bacalar, near the Belize border. Bacalar is known for its stunning Laguna de Bacalar or the “Lagoon of Seven Colors,” a freshwater lake that displays different shades of blue and turquoise. At the lagoon, you can swim of course. There’s an area appropriately named Los Rapidos, that’s a narrow, fast-flowing section of water feeding into the lagoon, where you can relax or have a more unique swimming experience. If you go kayaking or paddleboarding, you can reach more secluded areas of the lagoon. Or go sailing on the lagoon. Bird watching in this area is particularly great in the spring, with lots of migratory and local birds to see. 

If you truly just want a very chill, relaxing vacation where you stay put, get pampered, and enjoy the beach, check out Punta Mita. It’s about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. Punta Mita is a private peninsula, just about 1500 acres, with a few hotels and resorts and also private communities. The hotels and resorts range from $100 to $1400 per night, so there’s something for everyone. My friend stayed at the W Punta Mita last year and absolutely loved the resort and the area. 

South of Puerto Vallarta is La Huasteca Potosina in Hidalgo. The Tamul waterfalls are 340 feet above the Santa Marta River. There are other waterfalls in the area, ziplining, rock climbing, and more activities to do in nature. La Pozas is a garden with sculptures to climb, they look like treehouses without walls, and the photos look really amazing. There are also caves to explore, and the Tamtoc archeological ruins.

Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or historical sightseeing, Mexico has many destinations for you to enjoy, particularly in spring.

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