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Spring Break in Mexico

Where to go and be for spring break in Mexico!

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Spring break in Mexico will continue to rule the spring break roost for years to come -- though Florida's fun and Europe's on the upswing in spring break hot spots, spring break in Mexico just cannot be beat. So -- where to go, what to do, and who's going to be there for spring break in Mexico in 2013? And is spring break in Mexico safe? (We think so.) Let's get all the answers:

Why Mexico?

Palapas and Pool on the Beach in Puerto Vallarta
© Kathleen Crislip
Ahhh, Mexico. That sunny land just south of the border is home to some of the sweetest beaches and most majestic mountains in North America, and it's a great place to get started on a life of travel. It's not especially spendy to hit the sugary sands of Mexico for spring break, and you can drive into Mexico without a passport if need be.

Is spring break in Mexico safe?

Before we look at some of the hottest spots for spring break in Mexico, let's clear some things up: lots of folks claimed last year that spring break in Mexico ain't safe (and lots 'o folks in Mexico were completely surprised to hear that -- we're among them, as we think we're perfectly safe in Mexico, provided we follow a few simple rational rules of travel safety). Take an in-depth look to be sure you understand what's going on with the various campus-wide email warnings many students got last year,and what's really up with that US guv travel alert on spring break in Mexico that happened in 2011:

Spring Break in Cancun

MTV Spring Break in Cancun
Scott Greis / Getty Images
Spring break in Cancun is, year after year, where the boys and girls are. Though it's far from the only place for spring break in Mexico, it's definitely the hottest, and the one where you'll see the most folks flocking when spring break rolls around. In fact, this little piece of Mexico is pure craziness during March and April: margarita madness and a massive influx of students doing the spring thing on drop-dead gorgeous beaches and in late-late-late night clubs. So, let's get the skinny on Cancun, and spring break in Cancun!

Acapulco Spring Break

La Condesa Beach in Acapulco
© Kathleen Crislip
Acapulco's not Mexico's best beachside city (that might be Puerto Vallarta), but it's tried, true, and ready for you. Acapulco's turf war problems have little to do with you -- mind your Mexico manners and consider student travel safety tips, and you should be as safe as you would in any US city.

Acapulco beaches range from quiet hideaways, like Playa Pie de la Cuesta, to elbow-to-elbow humans, like La Condesa. Stay in a hotel on the Costera (main drag) -- drop by the small Puerto Marques village for an afternoon.

Puerto Vallarta Spring Break

Ujena Bikini Contest - Christine Club, Puerto Vallarta
© Stephen Manente

Puerto Vallarta's a beach-meets-Mexican-mountains city that will have a lot of what you want for 2013 -- friendly folks, awesome nightlife, beautiful beaches, great all-inclusive hotel deals -- and all the action's not just at the beach, either: parasail or mountain bike, for instance. Hasta pronto!

Mazatlan Spring Break and Party Buses

© Stephen Manente
And welcome to spring break, Mazatlan! This once-sleepy fishing village on Mexico's Pacific coast is pepping up plenty for spring break -- think about taking the STA party bus (no passport needed) from southwestern states to this beach town not far south of the US border, where laidback days lead into long cocktail hours by the sea. Ahhhh -- now that's Mexico. (Mazatlan's a great spot to be for Carnaval, too.)

Rosarito Beach

Rosarito Beach - View From the Sea

You need no passport to drive to Mexico this year, and Rosarito Beach in North Baja will get some last minute driving traffic through San Diego from those who forgot to get passports (you need a passport to fly home from Mexico). However, it won't be the scene that's been seen in recent years: campus warnings dissuaded many students from traveling to Mexico border towns for spring break in the last two years... we drove across the border in March, 2012, and all was well, but you should read up for yourself before deciding:

 

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo is at the southernmost tip of Baja, Maxico -- a civilized, sometimes spendy, always awesome former fishing village with lots more to offer than great seafood, though it's got that in spades. Just lovely -- you'll like.

The Riviera Maya

Tulum Ruins and Beach Photo
From Cancun, hop the bus one hour or so south to Playa del Carmen for slower-paced sandy paradises than Cancun's craziness creates. Xel-Ha is fun for snorkeling, and Tulum is worth a visit (90 miles south; go early a.m.) -- great beach and unba ruins, but don't expect nightlife (the quiet nights -- generator-powered lights out by 10 -- are part of the charm); this formerly deserted strip of Mexico loveliness is .

More reading: Tulum Travel Guide | Tulum Archaeological Ruins | Chichen Itza Archaeological Ruins

"Secret" Mexico Beaches

Mulegé, Baja California Sur - Beach at Mulege
Adalberto Rios Szalay / Sexto Sol / Getty Images
Yes, they still exist -- and what you'll find for spring break on these secret Mexico beaches is blue sky, bright sun, sweet hammocks, and sand -- and solitude. If getting far from the madding crowds while sipping coconut juice and savoring fresh mango is your goal, then these are your places in the sun. Don't expect packages and glitz. Do expect the spring break dreams are made of... About.com's resident Mexico expert, Suzanne Barbezat, has put together a list of perfect places from the Yucatan (Isla Holbox, 100 miles from Cancun)to the Pacific (Rincon de Guayabitos, north of Puerto Vallarta) and everything in between (Oaxaca's San Agustinillo -- sweet):

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