Spring break in Mexico will continue to rule the roost for years to come -- though Florida's fun and Europe's on the upswing when it comes to spring break hot spots. But spring break in Mexico? It just can't be beat. So where should you go, what should you do, and who should you expect to be there? And is spring break in Mexico safe?
Let's get all the answers.
Mexico is one of my favorite countries in the world, and one of the hottest destinations for spring break.
It's got everything you could possibly need, from warm weather to gorgeous beaches to stunning mountain cities, and it's all doable on a student's budget.
One of the greatest fears new travelers have before arriving in Mexico is about their safety. Let's face it: Mexico doesn't have the greatest reputation in the U.S. media, and if you only paid attention to Fox News, you'd think the entire country was dangerous and to be avoided.
Fortunately, the opposite is true, and after having spent eight months traveling around the country, I can tell you that Mexico is one of the places where I've felt most safe in the world. It's seriously extremely safe where tourists want to go, so don't let anything put you off from visiting.
Before arriving, make sure to research the destination you most want to visit and check recent trip reports online to make sure that it's safe for foreigners. Once you're in town, be sure to behave how you would at home, so that means not getting so drunk that you can't function, not wandering alone after dark, and staying away from dangerous neighborhoods. I always recommend staying in the tourist-heavy parts of town, as these have a high police presence and are not targets of violence.
The dangerous parts of Mexico are the areas where tourists don't visit, so if you're there for spring break, you'll be safe. Thousands of Americans visit Mexico for spring break every year and come home after having had a safe and fun trip.
If you want to celebrate spring break with the biggest party of your life, Cancun is the place to be. Though it's far from the only place for spring break in Mexico, it's definitely the hottest attraction year after year, and the one that attracts the biggest crowds of partiers.
This little piece of Mexico is pure craziness during March and April, filled with margarita madness and attracting a massive influx of students doing the spring thing on drop-dead gorgeous beaches and in late-late-late night clubs.
If Cancun sounds like the place for you, be sure to book your accommodation fast, as rates are high and rooms sell out quickly.
Spring Break in Acapulco
For somewhere a little off-the-beaten-track, head to Acapulco for spring break. While you won't find the gorgeous beaches of the Yucatan here, you will find solitude much easier to come by. Head to Playa Pie de la Cuesta for some quiet time or if you prefer elbow-to-elbow humans, La Condesa.
My top tip is to stay in a hotel on the Costera and plan to day trip to Puerto Marques village for an afternoon while you're there -- it has one of the best views in the area and is definitely going to make your friends jealous once they see your photos.
Puerto Vallarta Spring Break
For something a little more local, head to Puerto Vallarta for great beaches (although bear in mind that it's on the Pacific side of the country, so the water will still be chilly), friendly locals, a pumping nightlife, and some seriously great all-inclusive deals.
Puerto Vallarta has a wild watersports scene, too, whether you want to surf, windsurf, parasail, or jetski your way around the coastline.
For a break from the madness, head to nearby Sayulita for the day to check out this sleepy surfing heaven for hippies. Or, if you're all about surfing and partying, consider staying in Sayulita over the entire week. I once spent three months living in this laid back beach town, so I can definitely recommend checking it out.
Mazatlan Spring Break and Party Buses
Welcome to spring break, Mazatlan!
This once-sleepy fishing village on Mexico's Pacific coast is stepping up its game for spring break, and you can even take a party bus down to the beach here from southwest states of America. One bonus of being able to travel overland to this beach destination is that you don't need to bring your passport with you -- great if you haven't yet applied for yours!
Just like Mazatlan, you won't need to pack your passport if you'll be heading to Rosarito Beach in North Baja.
If you're someone who leaves everything to the last minute, this is the quick and easy spring break destination for you! Rosarito Beach is on the Mexico border, so is easy to get to and inexpensive to stay in. While the beach isn't the greatest, this is an affordable way to celebrate spring break in a different country, get your beach fix, and get another stamp in your passport.
Cabo San Lucas
For a taste of luxury, head to Cabo at the southernmost tip of Baja, Maxico. This is where students come to be seen, with all night-long parties and expensive resorts lining the water. Prepare to save up for many months before booking your trip here, as it's one of the most expensive places in Mexico to celebrate spring break. It's well worth it, though, with some of the hottest parties and best beaches in the country.
The Riviera Maya
From Cancun, you can hop on a bus to make the one hour journey south to Playa del Carmen for slower-paced sandy paradises than Cancun's craziness creates. It's still a party down, but it's calmer than Cancun and tends to attract a slightly older crowd in the spring months.
Xel-Ha is fun for snorkeling, and Tulum is worth a visit (90 miles south; go early in the morning to get the ruins to yourself), and you can even swim with sea turtles in Akumal (definitely worth doing).
Playa del Carmen has a lively nightlife scene, but don't expect too much if you decide to stay elsewhere -- Tulum is more about wellness than drunkenness, for example, and is great if you're all about yoga and smoothies instead of Coronas and nachos.
"Secret" Mexico Beaches
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 wild 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...
This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff.