Mexico may not be the first destination that springs to mind when planning a summer vacation, but we’re here to change all that. From coast to coast, Mexico’s most alluring destinations have plenty to offer during the warm weather months, from wildlife encounters to brag-worthy deals at high-end resorts, and we’ve found five of the most alluring. Get ‘em while they’re hot.
Swim with Whale Sharks:
From May to November the island of Holbox, northeast of Cancun, plays to host to hundreds of whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. These gentle giants arrive to spend their summer breeding and feeding in the warm, plankton-rich waters, making this an ideal time to visit this laid-back fishing village community. A host of small tour companies on Holbox offer half-day tours to snorkel with the whale sharks, an unforgettable and horizon-broadening experience -- these incredible fish can grow to forty feet in length. (They’re filter feeders, so don’t worry, they won’t bite.) Once back on the island, kick back with a few cervezas and watch the sun set from one of Holbox’s convivial bars and restaurants.
Read more about Holbox
As voluntourism – combining a vacation with volunteer work -- has grown in popularity, so have the variety of programs available in Mexico to cater to this interest. Opportunities range from working in a rural clinic providing healthcare to villagers to helping with wildlife conservation efforts, like saving endangered sea turtles. The level of commitment is up to you: some resorts offer one-off programs that allow guests to participate in activities like turtle egg rescue and baby turtle release, while others involve long-term stays in the country working with NGOs. Volunteering in summer ensures that these valuable programs have participants working year-round, not just in the popular winter months. Visit one of the world’s most beautiful countries while helping save the world…it’s win-win!
Read more about volunteering in Mexico
Dive or Snorkel a Cenote:
Escape the often-oppressive heat of a Yucatan summer by visiting some of the peninsula’s famous cenotes, deep, freshwater-filled sinkholes formed when the roof of a limestone cavern collapses and fills with water. Many cenotes have intricate caves and underground tunnels, along with crystal-clear pure water and million-year-old stalagmite and stalactite formations. The region has over 2000 cenotes, many of which are open to the public for swimming, snorkeling or diving.
This is an adventure that suits all skill levels: families might opt for one of the Riviera Maya’s fun water parks, like Xel Ha, where adults and kids alike can float in inner tubes or hire snorkels, while the more adventurous might choose to book a tour to venture deep into less-explored cenotes. Scuba divers with a cavern diving certification can even embark on a cave diving adventure that offers an extra level of awe-inspiring experience underground.
Learn to Surf:
Not only does summer in Mexico bring some of the best waves around -- depending on the particular beach, of course -- it’s also an ideal time to learn thanks to warmer waters (very important when you’re always falling off the board!) Head to the cool surf town of Sayulita, in the central Pacific state of Nayarit, for a fun surf scene, great social life and a perfect beginner’s beach, San Blas. The season here runs April to November, with mid-year being the ideal time to hit the waves.
Read more about surfing in Mexico
Live Large for Less:
Summer is low season for most hotels around the country, particularly in the coastal areas, so this is the time to snap up some bargains. Blue chip luxury resorts like the stunning Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Baja, offer their best rates of the year through late September, with deals like a fourth night free when booking a three-night stay. Along with exceptional views over the Sea of Cortez and an award-winning spa, Las Ventanas has a “Department of Romance” dedicated to tailoring perfect experiences for couples. If there’s a better time to surprise your beloved with a long weekend they’ll never forget, we haven’t found it yet!