‘Do’ South: Mexico offers easily accessible exploration, escape

‘Do’ South: Mexico offers easily accessible exploration, escape

Certainly, Mexico has become a hotspot for Valley residents, especially Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carman and Puerto Vallarta, thanks to the direct flights daily and ample expansive resorts that rival the biggest and best in the world. Here are some worth exploring:

Cabo San Lucas: Sun, surf and so much amor

Rancho San Lucas, a stunningly beautiful 834-acre resort community along the Pacific Coast of Cabo San Lucas, has gone the extra mile to set the stage for couples looking for a little romance south of the border. Within the waterfront community are a bevy of luxury homes and estates as well as the award-winning Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, exquisite fine dining — don’t miss signature Baja-inspired restaurant Anica or the farm-to-table Italian cuisine of Picaro — and the incomparable Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort Golf & Spa.
The all-suite resort is both sophisticated and welcoming, combining natural earth tones with ironwork, lush greenery and abundant water features — including a lazy river and saltwater lagoon — in homage to the surrounding Baja coast’s look and feel. There are three types of suites available: the 828-square-foot grand studio, which offers ocean views and one king bed; the 1,245-square-foot master suite, which features two bathrooms and a private bedroom area off the living space; and the 2,038-square-foot presidential suite, which features two bedrooms, a marble wet bar, living room, dining room and extra-large terrace.

Guests at Grand Solmar may take advantage of the entire community’s amenities, including the 18-hole Greg Norman-developed golf course, a Mexican-inspired shopping village, a tennis club, biking and hiking trails and more. They may also indulge in Spa by the Ocean, which debuted in 2019 at Grand Solmar and offers elegant seaside cabanas, outdoor spa beds, outdoor treatment bungalows and specialty treatments for individuals and couples alike.


Playa del Carmen
The region, a massive jungle along the Pacific Ocean, was discovered by the Mayans in approximately 600 B.C. Today, much of the area remains untouched, save for the preserved ruins, swimmable cenotes (underground caves) and responsibly built resorts nestled along the water.

The 206-acre Grand Velas Riviera Maya is among the most opulent all-inclusive resorts in the area, especially for those who love the outdoors. The modern, all-suite resort is divided into three sections — Grand Class, Ambassador and Zen Grand — each with its own distinct look and feel.

The 90 suites in the Grand Class section, restricted to guests 16 and older, boast ample oceanfront terraces, each with its own personal plunge pool. While the Grand Class is perfect if traveling with friends, the Ambassador experience is made for those vacationing with the family.

This section of the resort, 195 suites in total, features a baby concierge and is close to both the kids’ club and teens’ club. Amenities here include everything from in-room teepees and kid-size bathrobes to beach toys and family photo sessions.

There are even two-bedroom suites tailor-made for families (complete with stuffed animals), not to mention ample nearby kid-friendly dining and optional en-suite plunge pools for those with older children. Finally, the Zen Grand Class is for those looking to escape from it all. Set just off the main resort, with shuttle service back and forth nearly 24 hours a day, each of these 254 suites features indigenous stone and wood and comes complete with a plunge pool overlooking the actual Mayan jungle as well as floor-to-ceiling windows to make you feel wholly enveloped by nature. The best way to describe it: a boutique property in the middle of Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”

Specialized concierge teams deftly book the perfect resort activities and off-property excursions, many in partnership with Cancun Adventures, which range from watersports to dolphin swims to Yucatán jungle exploration. Through December, there is also a golf enhancement package for those staying in the Ambassador suites, which includes a round of golf at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleón.


Puerto Vallarta
Though the Mexican state of Jalisco is known worldwide for the city of Tequila — and its popular libation of the same name — it is also home to much of the Bahía de Banderas, or Banderas Bay. The 62-mile-long bay straddling Jalisco and the neighboring state of Nayarit boasts sandy white beaches that rival Miami; crystal blue waters as clear as those in the Bahamas; golf courses as lush as those in Scottsdale; and award-winning resorts one might find in the French Riviera.

The most populated area along the bay is Puerto Vallarta. A resort town, Puerto Vallarta is the place to go for fun in the sun followed by a bustling nightlife scene. The area is the perfect combination of charming cobblestone walkways with ornate churches, boutiques and botanical gardens mixed with bars, nightclubs and waterfront restaurants galore.

Though there are copious resorts from which to choose sprinkled along Puerto Vallarta’s miles of glistening beaches, Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta is of particular note. The adults-only enclave is made up of just 80 suites and feels almost hidden away from the rest of the world, as it is tucked along Marina Vallarta Golf Course. The resort has its own private beach club — Táu Beach Club — that not only boasts picture-perfect views and luxe cabanas but a private pool complex complete with pool, Jacuzzi and restaurants overlooking the water. Those on the beach as well as at the pool have individualized wait staff service, including all-inclusive mixology and dining options.

In addition, Casa Velas boasts one of the most lauded culinary programs in Mexico — thanks in great part to AAA Four-Diamond Emiliano Restaurant — as an award-winning wellness program anchored by ABJA Spa, with herbs and ingredients harvested at a botanical garden on property. There is also daily yoga for all guests as well as wine and cheese tastings, margarita classes, tequila tasting and more. 



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