Water sports are the attraction on the crescent of sandy beaches stretching from Muelle Storni in the north almost to Punta Cuevas in the south. In these sheltered waters, hazards like rip currents are nonexistent, but at low tide the water retreats hundreds of meters on the gently sloping beach.Destination:Activities:
The road may be paved now and fuel much easier to come by than in the early days of peninsular travel, but Baja California remains a classic route for travelers who enjoy the thrill of a long road trip. All you need is ample time, a reliable vehicle, and an ability to cope with unpredictable situations.
This itinerary follows Mexico 1 from the border crossing in Tecate to the Los Cabos tourist corridor at the southern tip of the peninsula, 1,600 kilometers away, with a few options for side trips and off-highway scenic drives along the way.Destination:Activities:
After winding its way over the Sierra de la Laguna heading southeast from La Paz, Mexico 1 reaches the Gulf coast once again at Los Barriles, more or less in the middle of the wide and exposed Bahía de las Palmas. The bay is roughly 32 kilometers long, extending from Punta Pescadero in the north to Punta Arena at its southern end.Destination:Activities:
Swimming, Surfing, and Boogie Boarding
While Puerto Vallarta’s calm waters are generally safe for swimming, they are often too tranquil for surfing, bodysurfing, and boogie boarding. Sometimes strong, surfable waves rise along the southern half of Playa los Muertos. Another notable possibility is at the mouth of the Río Ameca (north of the airport) where, during the rainy summer season, the large river flow helps create bigger than normal waves. Surfing is more common to the north at Bucerías and Punta Mita.Destination:Activities:
These are available right on the beach at a number of the north-side resort-hotels, such as the Sheraton, Las Palmas Resort, Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, and NH Krystal.
The same sports are also seasonally available south of Cuale on Playa los Muertos, in front of the Hotels Playa los Arcos and Tropicana. Expect to pay about $50 per half hour for a personal watercraft, $75/hour for waterskiing, and $25 for a 10-minute parasail.Destination:Activities:
Swimming, surfing, sailboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and personal watercraft–riding are the Puerto Vallarta region’s water sports of choice.
Viewed from Puerto Vallarta beaches, the Pacific Ocean usually lives up to its name. Many protected inlets, safe for child’s play, dot the coastline. Unsheltered shorelines, on the other hand, can be deceiving. Smooth water in the calm morning often changes to choppy in the afternoon; calm ripples that lap the shore in March can grow to hurricane-driven walls of water in November. Such storms can wash away sand, temporarily changing a wide, gently sloping beach into a steep one plagued by turbulent waves and treacherous currents.Destination:Activities:
You can rent Jet Skis, kayaks, and other gear from small kiosks on the beach, including in front of El Viejo y El Mar restaurant (Calle 19 at Calle 78). There, the equipment is available 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily; ask in the restaurant if you don’t find anyone on the beach.Destination:Activities:
East of Progreso, the coastal road wanders behind a long string of summer houses for seven kilometers (4.3 miles) to the small fishing village of Chicxulub Puerto. The town is run-down, has few hotels, and the beach is always filled with boats—not too appealing for most travelers.
However, the strong, steady wind and shallow, obstacle-free shoreline make for ideal sailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding conditions, and wind-sport athletes come to Chicxulub from all over the world to play and train. The town is home base for two of Mexico’s 2004 windsurfing Olympians.Destination:Activities:
The best—and perhaps only—reason to visit Chicxulub Puerto is for the wind sports. And for that, all roads lead to Marina Silcer (Antigua Carretera Progreso-Chicxulub km. 3.5, tel. 969/934-0491, www.marinasilcer.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun.). One-on-one instruction is available for all levels in windsurfing (US$167/eight 1.5-hr. sessions), sailing (US$232/four 1.5-hr. sessions for two people), and kiteboarding (US$350/six 1.5 hour sessions). You also can rent gear by two-hour increments and afterward use the marina’s semi-Olympic-size swimming pool. There’s a good seafood restaurant on-site too. To get here, turn left at the old gasoline station on the outskirts of town.Destination:Activities:
Pack the kid-friendly sunscreen and load up the brood. Family-friendly tours, accommodations, and activities abound in Belize and at all budget levels. Some areas and resorts in Belize are tailored specifically for romantic escapes or adult-level expeditions, so always ask your tour operator and/or accommodations provider specific questions concerning how welcome your kids will be.
Arrive at Philip Goldson International Airport. Board a puddle-jumper to San Pedro, a good place to ease into paradise.
Hang out on the island, book a snorkeling or manatee-watching tour, maybe even a sunset cruise to top it off (make sure it won’t be a drunkfest though).Destination:Activities:
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