|MEXICO - BEFORE YOU GO|
WHY GO TO MEXICO
Mexico offers a truly astonishing variety of travel options. The attractions of the country can be divided into four major themes. It is very common (and desirable) to have several, if not all, of these attractions combined into a single vacation:
To help chart a vacation thats right on target, look at the grid of options entitled "Mexico Vacation Planner" on the following page (II-2).
WHEN TO GO
Mexico is a year-round visitors destination. Take these factors into account when planning a visit.
Contrary to popular impresssions about south of the border travel, Mexico does not experience true "reverse" weather seasons from the U.S. and Canada. Summers at Mexicos beach resorts are generally quite hot and humid, while winter travelers to inland cities can experience cool and even cold weather.
Recommendation: Head to beach resorts from November April and inland cities from May-October.
Both U.S. and Mexican holidays impact travel flow to Mexicos beach resorts. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter (Semana Santa) are traditionally the busiest times for beach resorts.
Recommendation: Skip these holidays and travel in early December or early January the weathers great and the crowds are smaller.
PRICES Mexicos hoteliers generally work on two seasons: High (Dec.15 through Easter) a low (the rest of the year). Look for the best bargains in late spring, summer, and fall.
Recommendations: it is common for properties to offer low seasons pricing for the first three weeks of January (a traditionally slow travel period). Enjoy the great weather at reduce pricing.
HOW TO GET THERE
International air travel to Mexico has seen some significant changes in the last few years, including:
Cruise ships offer an excellent way to see Mexicos coastal resorts. Cruise visitors reached 2.2 million. Basically, Mexico cruises can be broken into two types...
* Transcanal Cruises: usually begin and/or end in Los Angeles and touch several Mexican ports of call (usually Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, or Zihuatanejo) on route to Panama. All stop at Acapulco, the Mexican cruise "hub."
* Mexico Cruises: normally seven-day cruises begin in Los Angeles/San Diego or Acapulco. Common stops include Los Cabos, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, and Zihuatanejo. The Sea of Cortés features "naturalist" cruises. The Yucatán Peninsula ports of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexicos most popular cruise ports (over 1 million annual visitors).
Following recent Mexican legislative changes, escorted bus tours to Mexico have become a more popular mode of entry into Mexico. In 1991 a mere 12,000 visitors arrived by motorcoach; in 1998 over 500,000 vacationers arrived by motorcoach. The National Tour Association and its members have actively worked with the Mexican government to streamline motorcoach arrivals. Dozens of U.S. and Canadian operators now offer escorted motorcoach tours to Mexico.