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Winter Getaway: Shrug Off the Cold in Mexico

January 07, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
Mexico caters to any wintertime traveler, whether your ideal getaway involves lazing at a beach resort, experiencing authentic culture or city life, or getting up close with nature. Learn where the choicest, yet cheapest, all-inclusive resorts are found, find out why butterflies are synonymous with one particular Mexican state, and discover two under-the-radar locales where the quiet life prevails over commercial development.

All-Inclusive Resorts

The Travel Channel provides a list of the Top 10 Mexican Beach Resorts, which “are no longer just for the well-to-do.” Some of the most high-end, luxurious resorts are available from less than $200 per night, and flights to Mexico are often only about two hours long for most Americans, making the sunny country a convenient escape.

City Life

The St. Cloud Times calls Mexico City “chic and cheap,” with great art and performances, as well as colonial architecture and historical attractions, including the oldest cathedral in the Americas, the Metropolitan Cathedral. Among the most awe-inspiring prehispanic ruins is the Templo Mayor, also known as “Great Temple,” which is believed to have been built by the Aztecs in the 1300s.

Authentic Culture

The New York Times Travel section has focused on two intriguing Mexican destinations in the past few months, both offering visitors cultural attractions and a chance to see “the real Mexico.”

The small village of Puerto Morelos is just 20 miles from Cancun on the Mayan Riviera and has kept development at bay, maintaining authentic Mexican sights, sounds and smells, according to The New York Times’ Nancy Schuessler. “Here, you may catch a scent of fish or seaweed as you sunbathe on the uncrowded beach or stroll along the pier,” she writes. Schuessler’s suggestions for where to stay and find delicious food include Villas Clarita, a family-owned bed and breakfast led by Boston native John Mastromarino, “a collector of local art and a gregarious story-teller.”

The Frugal Traveler revealed another low-key Mexican getaway: Chiapas. Mexico’s southernmost state features intensely green foliage, Spanish colonial architecture, and a large population of indigenous people, but has yet to be crowded with tourists. For just about $50 per day, according to the Frugal Traveler, Chiapas offers a range of possibilities for visitors, including rainforests and excellent coffee, but is not as easy to get to as most of Mexico. The Frugal Traveler writes, Chiapas is “at least 12 hours by bus from Cancún, Oaxaca or Mexico City, and about the same by air from the New York area.”

Michoacan’s Monarch Butterflies

Each year, from late November through March, a swarm of Monarch butterflies descend on Michoacan, 70 miles west of Mexico City, according to Mexico Vacation Travels. Michoacan is a mountainous state with pines and oaks featuring prominently in the coniferous forests covering its peaks. The “unique Mexican forest” hosts butterfly sanctuaries that overflow with the orange insects until they travel back to the United States and Canada in April.

Watch a YouTube video of Michoacan’s Monarch butterflies, filmed in El Rosario sanctuary in December 2008. And view photographs of Monarchs taken in March 2008 and posted to Flickr by Lauren Adams.

Mexico Guide

The findingDulcinea Web Guide to Mexico travel includes sections that link to Web sites on Mexico’s cities and attractions, travel requirements for Mexico, advice on booking flights and hotels, tips for getting around in Mexico, and travel blogs and forums on Mexico travel.

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