Your Active Vacation: Part Adventure, All Inclusive
Photo: Playa del Amor, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Photo Credit: Ernesto Norman - Unsplash
Your Mexico vacation is booked and the itinerary is action-packed. Temple trekking, cenote swimming and adrenaline-soaked excursions are all on the schedule. But have you built in time for relaxation? Enter the perfect, welcoming home base after a day of adventures: The all-inclusive resort. We’ve rounded up three of our favorite adrenaline-soaked activities near popular all-inclusive locations to help max-out your Mexico getaway with both luxury and adventure.
Beachfront All-Inclusive Resort
This isn’t just a beautiful beach. It’s a place of respite where you don’t have to spend energy thinking about where to eat, what to do or how to get there. Simply return to your abode and sink into five-star service, saving your mental energy for tomorrow’s big excursion. So what’s on the agenda? From extreme hang-gliding over the Baja sand dunes to wildlife experiences at a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, plan ahead to maximize your time in Mexico.
Photo: Isla Blanca, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico - Photo Credit: Fernando Garcia - Unsplash
Cancun: Kitesurfing at Isla Blanca
A single road traces the pencil-thin peninsula of Isla Blanca, the sparkling Caribbean on one side and the powder-soft sands of Laguna Chacmuchuch on the other. As one of the world’s most popular beach destinations in the world, there aren’t many places in Cancun that feel this isolated. No luxury resorts. No busy highways. Just 12 miles north of the bustling hotel zone, the sleepy peninsula feels miles away from Cancun’s tourist epicenter — but that’s not the only draw.
With a perfect combination of shallow waters, soft sand and a consistent, gentle breeze, the conditions here are ideal for kitesurfing. October to June is the best time to visit, when the western lagoon sees steady, consistent winds and the knee-deep sea is the perfect bathwater temperature. For those new to the sport, the flat, soft sands make for easy learning, while wide swathes of sea free from boats and natural obstacles offer a calm setting to practice tricks or simply enjoy the flow of your board gliding over the crystalline turquoise waters.
Unlike other sports like sailboarding, kitesurfing is typically very beginner-friendly, meaning you can expect to be up on the water during your first lesson. Because you’ll be using different muscle groups than a typical workout, you might be a little sore afterward. Plan ahead and book a massage at the resort spa for the morning after your lesson.
Photo: Flying pelican over smooth water surface in Banderas Bay, Mexico - Photo Credit: Stephan Hinni - Unsplash
Puerto Vallarta: Wildlife Tours of Isla Marietas National Park
Known as Playa del Amor or Playa Escondida, the focal feature of Islas Marietas National Park may not be one that you recognize by name. But you’ll certainly recognize this iconic hidden beach in person. Envision pristine white sands flanked by gently lapping turquoise waters, all concealed within a perfectly round, sinkhole-like cavern. The peculiar crater is said to have been created by military explosive testing in the early 1900s. Today, its desolate setting — reachable only during low tide via a 50-foot channel through the rock — isn’t just an Instagrammer’s dream. It’s also protected by UNESCO as a designated Biosphere Reserve, with a diversity of wildlife at every turn.
You’ll start with an hour-long boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. Make sure to book your trip between the months of November and March, when Banderas Bay becomes the breeding ground for nearly 500 humpback whales. You might also spot dolphins, orcas, stingrays and giant manta rays along the way. Upon arrival, even more wildlife can be seen by both land and sea.
Made up of a pair of small uninhabited islands — Isla Larga and Isla Redonda — Islas Marietas National Park is home to over 80 species of birds. Birders shouldn’t skip the hiking trail at the northwestern end of Isla Larga for the opportunity to see nesting seabirds, including the blue-footed booby and red-billed tropicbird, while divers will be rewarded with views of otherworldly volcanic formations, from arches and spires to tunnels and caves filled with several different species of colorful coral.
Because Islas Marietas is an undeveloped natural area, you won’t find venues for food and drink. Take advantage of the inclusions at the resort with a hearty breakfast before your excursion. Many all-inclusive resorts also offer premade lunches, snacks and bottled water to go — grab a few staples to build your own perfect picnic lunch.
Photo: El Archo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Photo Credit: Victoria Bragg - Unsplash
Los Cabos: Sky Tour of Land's End
The southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula — where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez — is a must-see for anyone visiting Los Cabos. El Arco, the distinctive limestone rock formation at Land’s End, is a popular spot for sea lions and sailing charters alike. Spend the morning on the water soaking up the iconic views. And once you’ve captured the essential selfies by sea, strap on your GoPro and ascend into sky.
The area’s popular air tours are conducted by ultralight aircraft, a type of motorized hang-glider that can accommodate two adults. You’ll begin with a stunning aerial view of Cabo San Lucas Bay, Médano Beach and the coastline of Mar de Cortés before crossing the Pacific Ocean to circle the formations at Land’s End, including Divorce Beach, Pirate’s Cave, Lover’s Beach and El Arco. From the sky, you’ll have a better vantage point to spot basking sea lions, playful dolphin pods, manta rays and even humpback whales. Your excursion has two flight styles: Smooth or Extreme. Choose the extreme option and you’ll continue to the sand dunes, diving down to glide mere feet above the ground, tracing the peaks and valleys of the sand with your professional ultralight pilot.
Opt for an early morning excursion when the water is still and the beaches are still relatively empty. Because the tour requires minimal physical exertion, you’ll have plenty of time and energy for another tour or activity afterward. Check with the concierge at the resort for recommendations.
How will you have fun in Mexico? Inquire today!
Hero Image by Spencer Watson from Unsplash
Reprinted with permission from Travel Leaders Network | Dayna Engberg | June 14, 2022