Spring Break is almost here! And that means it’s time to plan your holidays somewhere sunny and warm. Of all the places to go, Mexico is the ideal spring break destination. Especially so for seekers of sunshine and sandy beaches (and maybe a taco or two, or dozens…)!
Of course, there are other fantastic destinations around the world to spend spring break. But none are as close to the US or Canada as Mexico, which makes flights both cheaper and faster!
If you feel like escaping to the warmer climates of Mexico, then read on! Whether it’s to party it up in places like spring break haven of Cancun or delve into the local natural and cultural experiences of central or western Mexico, there’s a Mexican destination for every type of spring breaker!
Here are a few epic destinations in Mexico for an unforgettable spring break vacation!
11 Best Places in Mexico to Go for Spring Break
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Cancun is the number one destination in Mexico for spring break! Everyone just knows that Cancun = Spring Break. It’s actually what comes to mind first when you hear Cancun. But do you actually know why it’s that way?
Other than being super easy to reach from major cities across the US, Cancun is simply emblematic of what spring break is all about. Having fun with friends, partying, staying out late, staying at a luxe resort, and feeling stress-free. I mean, who wouldn’t love to lounge under tropical palm trees while sipping an exotic margarita at the beachfront bar? Right!
But Cancun is far from being one of my favorite places to go in Mexico. Yes, it’s fun for spring breakers with the all-inclusive Cancun resorts, the white sandy beaches, the cheap food and drinks, and eccentric nightlife.
However, if you want to experience the beach and the Mexican culture, just without the Cancun craze, I’ve got the perfect Mexican destinations lined up for your spring break below!
2. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is an amazing destination in Mexico to go for honeymoons, retreats, getaways, weddings, girls’ trips, and yes, even spring break!
The city of Puerto Vallarta can be found on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco, just minutes from the pristine coastline which makes up the Riviera Nayarit. (Watch this space for my upcoming guide to Puerto Vallarta!!)
In my opinion, Puerto Vallarta is the destination in Mexico for spring break if you want to have a more authentic experience of life here outside of the Riviera Maya. You can also stay in luxurious resorts if that’s your thing. But know that Puerto Vallarta also has plenty of charming boutique hotels and LGTB-friendly hotels that make for a super sweet escape!
Riviera Nayarit VS. Riviera Maya?
I’ve lived in Nayarit for almost two years and counting. And during that time, we were able to visit the Riviera Maya on several occasions. Neither is better than the other, as both offer very different experiences. I personally find west coast Mexico to be more lush and tropical than in the east, where it’s flatter and the jungle is different. Here, there’s so much natural diversity with the mountains, jungle, and ocean (and desert not far away). I do miss the cenotes in eastern Mexico, though!
Plus, there’s so much more to do in Puerto Vallarta than in Cancun, in my opinion. For starters, Puerto Vallarta has a special charm with its Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone) which features intimate plazas, old churches, and traditional/original Mexican architecture.
Then there are also tons of hikes, coastal villages, and the lovely Banderas Bay is ideal for water excursions and day trips. Plus PV has amazing malls and movie theaters for shopping and entertainment. And not to mention Puerto Vallarta also has tons of chic clubs, restaurants, and cafes lining the charming streets and waterfront boardwalk to enjoy!
Definitely consider going to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for spring break this year! You won’t regret it.
Sayulita is a chic surfing town and is one of the Mexican government’s many “Pueblo Magicos,” meaning Magic Towns. Magic Towns were an initiative to highlight the many small towns and pueblos across Mexico that preserve their rich cultural, indigenous, and historical heritage, promote their local and regional identity, folklore, art, and have exceptional hospitality.
The pueblo of Sayulita sits about ~45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, so you could ideally combine the two for your spring break vacation. In any case, to get to Sayulita you have to pass through Puerto Vallarta. Not to mention, the charming, eco-friendly pueblo of San Pancho is just two miles away.
Sayulita is the destination in Mexico to go for spring break if you like having all the aspects of staying out late and partying. But it has lots of cultural and outdoor activities to take advantage of, too. It’s primarily a surfer’s paradise. And it attracts the laid-back boho crowd.
Here you can enjoy awesome margaritas at the swing bar, stroll around the colorful streets, and explore one of Sayulita’s many beaches!
4. CDMX, Mexico City
La Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) or simply Mexico City, is a great destination for spring break if you want to dive into Mexico’s past with amazing opportunities to learn about the culture, history, and more. There aren’t any beaches nearby Mexico City. So it’s not the destination for typical spring breakers who require a beach.
However, there are a ton of positives about going on spring break in Mexico City, rather than at the Mexican beaches. For one, Mexico City is simply booming with so much to do and see. It’s one of the most buzzing cities in Mexico and in all the world!
You can travel back in time to the era of the Spanish conquistadors at the historic cathedral in the Central Plaza, or even voyage further back when the Aztecs once thrived with the Templo Mayor and the surrounding archaeological sites like at Teotihuacán.
There are lots of reasons to spend spring break in Mexico City! But I think it’s especially for those culture lovers and foodie lovers. So many good outdoor artisanal markets are here to explore, as well as local Mexican food stalls + international restaurants!
– Click here to check out hotels in Mexico City –
Oaxaca is a state (and a city with the same name) in southern Mexico. It’s at the top of my Mexico bucket list because there are simply so many amazing things and experiences to enjoy here!
Both the state and the city of Oaxaca is famous for its remarkable artisanship and regional gastronomy. You can find so many good (cheap) Mexican artisanal products here ranging from handmade pillows and rugs to woven bags and baskets.
It’s also in the state of Oaxaca that you can find the Instagram-famous petrified waterfall at Hierve el Agua!
And do you remember when Anthony Bourdain said Oaxacan mole (a 20-something-ingredient traditional chocolaty-spicy-sweet-savory sauce) was essentially one of the most labored-with-love culinary creations?
And as much as we think we know and love it, we have barely scratched the surface of what Mexican food really is. It is NOT melted cheese over tortilla chips. It is not simple, or easy. It is not simply “bro food” at halftime. It is in fact, old—older even than the great cuisines of Europe, and often deeply complex, refined, subtle, and sophisticated. A true mole sauce, for instance, can take DAYS to make, a balance of freshly (always fresh) ingredients painstakingly prepared by hand. It could be, should be, one of the most exciting cuisines on the planet, if we paid attention. The old school cooks of Oaxaca make some of the more difficult and nuanced sauces in gastronomy.
But that’s not all! Oaxaca is known for its mezcal (Mexican spirit similar to tequila), chocolate, coffee, and its exceptional outdoor natural sites and cultural heritage. In fact, Oaxaca is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
In the spring, around the time for spring break between March-April, Oaxaca becomes alive with the scent of jaracanda blossoms. There’s so much to learn from a trip to Oaxaca, much more than you’ll find on the gringo-laden beaches of Cancun or Playa del Carmen. This leads me to my next Mexican destination for spring break…
– Check here for the best hotels in Oaxaca –
Tulum is on the Riviera Maya, in the eastern state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Most know it because of the luxurious, so-called “eco-resorts” here, like Azulik. Actually, most people who visit Cancun or Playa del Carmen also add a trip to Tulum to their itinerary. Tulum attracts so many tourists because it is definitely unique, especially with all the amazing cenotes to jump into!
However, I hate to say it but Tulum is overrated. Even if you have the money to spend at the eco-resorts, which are shown not to be so eco-friendly after all (using diesel generators, mismanaging the sewage so that it’s actually seeping into the underground cenotes, and not to mention the ever-increasing landfill pollution…) it’s hard to appreciate Tulum without becoming aware of the negative impacts tourism is having on the town.
Yes, the cenotes near Tulum are incredible and definitely bucket list-worthy. But they are also hard to enjoy without a dozen other tourists. The good news is there are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. So if you’re up for it, there’s definitely room to explore a little off the beaten track!
Nonetheless, I totally get why people need to see Tulum for themselves to make their own opinion. Hey, I did! Twice! But now that I know, I know.
If you’re set on going to Tulum for spring break, that’s totally fine! You’ll find beautiful ruins and turquoise cenotes, plus lots of vegan cafes and restaurants and boho-chic resorts and hotels.
Merida, nicknamed the White City, is a great city destination in Mexico for spring break! The city of Merida is also the bustling capital of the Yucatan. As such, it has lots to offer and it’s super easy to discover with direct flights from major US cities! Of all the places for international expats to live in Mexico, Merida sits at the top of the list!
The central plaza in Merida, Yucatan
Best known for its Spanish colonial architecture, lively plazas, vibrant art scene, and its rich cultural Mayan heritage, Merida is one of the best cities in Mexico to explore. And yes, even for spring break vacation!
Right. So Merida might be a huge city, but you have the beaches of Progreso just 30 minutes away. Not to mention, there’s a handful of undiscovered cenotes in nearby Cuzama to enjoy! Finally, there are awesome Mayan ruins sites that make for great day trips from Merida.
Because Merida offers so much to see and do, it truly is one of the best places in Mexico for spring break. You’ve got something for everyone, whether its beaches, ruins or eclectic nightlife!
8. Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is definitely renowned among surfer’s, but it might not be where people first think of when they hear spring break in Mexico. But I think that’s quickly changing, as Puerto Escondido is becoming better known for its vibrant nightlife and picture-perfect beaches!
PC: Visit Mexico Puerto Escondido
The port town can be found on the edge of Oaxaca state, along the southwestern coast of Mexico. Puerto Escondido attracts the laid-back chill backpackers of the world! So you can expect tons of fellow youngsters and internationals hanging out here enjoying a drink under a thatch-roofed bar on the beach.
– Find the best hostels/hotels in Puerto Escondido here –
Surfing is the main outdoor activity here, with the famous pipeline surf break. But there’s lots more to see and do in Puerto Escondido if you’re wanting to stretch beyond being a beach bum and surfer dude/chick.
If you want to explore Puerto Escondido, you could combine this trip with a few days in Oaxaca City, since you’ll be in the state anyway. Bus or car travel around Mexico is super easy and pretty cheap, too. So that’ll definitely help to keep your spring break costs down.
Puerto Escondido is also high up on my bucket list, along with so many other places in Mexico. Even after living here for nearly 2 years, there’s still so much I want to visit and see!
Cozumel is one of the most famous of Mexican’s tropical islands. The island of San Miguel de Cozumel is best known for its incredible scuba diving as well as being a popular cruise port! We got to experience Cozumel for 4-5 days and it was such a fun time! It’s where I first tried a Scuba Diving Discovery course and I fell in love immediately!
Playa Palancar in Cozumel
The island of Cozumel definitely has its developed touristy side to it, yet it largely keeps its local vibe and charm. Actually, it’s the mix of the two is what is especially nice because you can have both your comforts of a nice hotel, shopping, restaurants, etc. while delving a bit further into the Mexican culture.
Spring breakers can explore the island in search of the best beaches, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or even rent a jeep and go off-roading.
Since the island lies off the coast of Playa del Carmen, it’s possible to combine your Mexican spring break with Cancun or Playa. The ferry ride to reach Cozumel via Playa del Carmen is fast and relatively cheap.
Cozumel is definitely an option for spring break in Mexico, especially for water lovers keen on hitting up lots of beaches and enjoying incredible reef diving and snorkeling!
10. Punta Mita
Punta de Mita (or just Punta Mita, or “Mita” by the locals) is a luxurious resort-town on the coast of Nayarit. It sits just north of Puerto Vallarta, nearby popular towns like Bucerias or La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.
Punta Mita is a luxurious hub of 5-star resorts and pristine golf courses. If you’re looking at a map of Mexico, Punta Mita is on the piece of land jutting out into the Pacific ocean.
Punta Mita, Nayarit | PC: PuntaMita.com*
For me, Punta Mita is an interesting destination in Mexico (whether for spring break or not) because it’s extremely popular, but seems more reserved for the wealthier travelers. It’s not so much the place to go hang out in town (like you can in Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita).
However, Punta de Mita has lots of good beach space to chill out. If you are seeking all-inclusive resorts to spend most of your time at then Punta Mita might be a better place for you than other towns. There’s also some of the best surfing beaches just nearby Punta Mita. La Lancha is the best spot to surf in Nayarit!
So if golf courses, luxe hotels, nice restaurants, and surfing is your game, head to Punta Mita for your Mexican spring break!
11. Los Cabos (Super popular Mexican destination for spring break!)
Of course, no Mexico Spring Break list is complete without Cabo San Lucas. Think of it this way: Cabo is like the Cancun of the Baja! It has been a popular Mexican destination for spring breakers for years and years. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon!
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas | via Canva.com
Cabo San Lucas is where you’ll find your spring break essentials: beach, resorts, turquoise water, alcohol, friends, nightclubs, and great food and fun! It’s one of the rare resort towns where deserts meet the beach.
You’re also spoiled for choice when it comes to what to do in Los Cabos. The Sea of Cortez and Playa del Amor are two beach hotspots to kick up your feet and enjoy the beaches. There’s also surfing, camel safaris in the Desert Park Natural Preserve, swimming, and more! Not to mention, Cabo has exquisite dining and all types of entertainment.
– Check out the best resorts in Los Cabos –
Final Thoughts: Where to Go in Mexico for Spring Break
For those of you residing on the west coast of the USA, a trip to Los Cabos or somewhere like Puerto Vallarta is likely to be cheaper rather than flying across the country to reach Cancun! On the other hand, if you reside on the east coast USA then a flight to Merida, Mexico City, or Cancun is likely your best bet.
For all other travelers coming from international countries, anywhere you go in Mexico will likely cost the same. Although definitely start your search with the bigger cities like PV, Cancun, or Cabo. And if you can, book in advance!
If you can make it to other destinations, like Oaxaca, then consider doing that for your spring break instead! The importance is to find a place that resonates with you and your preference. Definitely don’t pass up the chance to enjoy the warmer weather, especially if you’re coming from a particularly frosty winter.
Book your Mexico spring break vacation early!
Tip: Mexico also has its own spring break called Semana Santa. (Which is some time at the end of March/beginning of April.) This holiday is when most Mexican nationals take to the coastal pueblos to soak in the sultry climate. So take that into consideration as you plan your Mexico spring break trip as well!
Where would you go first for your spring break getaway in Mexico? Drop your questions or comments with me below!
*Featured image via PuntaMita.com | Pin images via Canva.com | All images belong to Bucketlist Bri unless otherwise credited.