Where to Go Instead of Mexico: 7 Alternative Vacation Ideas

Mexico is an amazing and convenient vacation destination for tourists from the United States, with a plethora of different activities and regions to cater to anyone’s travel wish list. However, for many, it's become a "been there, done that" trip. If you’re looking to branch out, there are plenty of other vacation spots with a similar feel and price point to try out. We’ve rounded up seven locales that you should definitely consider for your next vacation.

1. If you're looking for an all inclusive resort, try Jamaica.

Negril, Jamaica/Oyster

Mexico is known for its all-inclusive resorts with private beaches, unlimited drinks and food, and a ton of activities, but you can find the same sort of vacation in Jamaica. Located in the Caribbean, Jamaica is not only the birthplace of reggae singer Bob Marley, but it also has lush rainforests and reef lined beaches. Many of the island’s all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, located in the northeast of the country: The town is the headquarters of the international resort chain Sandals. The average temperature hovers in the high 70s or low 80s all year, with the second half of the year having the most rain. Most of the all-inclusive resorts have free water sports, casinos, bars, pools, spas, and sometimes even water parks, so there will always be something to do.

An All-Inclusive Hotel Pick:

2. If you're looking to go zip-lining, try Costa Rica.

The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort/Oyster

Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a great alternative to a Mexican vacation. Known for its lush rainforests, the country is a great place if you’re looking to include zip-lining in your vacation plans. Pretty much anyone between the ages of five and 85 who visit the country can find a zip-lining adventure that suits them, whether it involves soaring through the canopies, rappelling down waterfalls, hanging off bridges, or all of the above. No matter where you stay, a zip-line adventure will be none too far away, and the stunning views should not be missed. On top of that, there are several active volcanoes, and many rivers and streams that attract kayakers and canoers from around the world. There are beaches to lounge on, trails to hike and ride horses on, and reefs for diving and exploring, making Costa Rica a great spot for your next trip.

A Kid-Friendly Hotel Pick:

3. If you're looking for a European alternative, try Portugal's Algarve.

The Algarve/Oyster

Not all alternatives to Mexican vacations are in the Americas. With airfare so low these days, Portugal is a great option for a vacation, and you can get many the benefits of a Mexico trip here. The Algarve in the southern most region of the country provides sandy beaches, water activities, pools, cliffs, and resorts all along the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. On top of that, there are castles to explore and historic villages to wander through. Portugal is also known for its fresh seafood and delicious wine, so foodies can rejoice.

A Luxury Hotel Pick:

4. If you're looking for a swim-up bar, try Hawaii.

Four Seasons Maui/Oyster

For a great all-inclusive vacation with beaches and spas -- and even swim up bars -- you don’t even have to leave the country. Just depart the 48 continental states and head over to Hawaii. On top of getting all the benefits of a Mexican beach vacation, you also get adventure as well. The waters are perfect for surfing and snorkeling, and the lush forests are great for hiking and biking. There are boat and helicopter tours to bring you to the remote parts of the island chain to see surreal waterfalls and active volcanoes. Best of all, Hawaii has some of the best swim-up bars for you to relax in after a long day of exploration. And with more direct flights from across the country popping up, traveling to Hawaii is becoming easier, cheaper, and all around more convenient. 

A Luxury Hotel Pick:

5. If you want to go snorkeling in clear blue waters, try Belize.

El Secreto/Oyster

For another vacation option in Central America, check out Belize. Not only does it have beautiful shorelines on the eastern coast and lush jungles in the western part of the country, but there are also Mayan ruins scattered throughout. Directly offshore is the Belize barrier reef, which makes for a great destination for those who are looking to snorkel or scuba. There is also kayaking and canoeing through the jungles, as well as hiking, horseback riding, and caving, making Belize perfect for a well rounded vacation that isn’t in Mexico. And with an average yearly temperature of 84 degrees, there’s not a bad time to visit.

A Romantic Hotel Pick:

6. If you want to dance the night away, try Curacao.

Lions Dive and Beach Resort/Oyster

If your idea of a Mexican vacation includes dancing the night away at the various bars and clubs in Cancun, Curacao is an excellent alternative. After a day of lounging by the pool or beach adventures, there are plenty of nighttime activities for everyone to enjoy. Many of the beach bars and restaurants provide live music at night, nightclubs and discos provide dance floors for you to show off your moves, and there are even casinos, late-night salsa dancing, and jazz clubs. Kokomo Beach is famous for its monthly full moon celebration where over 3,000 people gather to party the night away. One of Curacao’s hottest parties is Sunday at The Hemingway Bar, if you’re looking for a huge disco party, so make sure to not book an early morning flight out Monday morning.

A Beachfront Hotel Pick:

7. If you want to explore the rugged terrain, try Aruba.

Courtesy of Caleb Zahnd/Flickr

While there are plenty of beaches and miles of blue water to explore while visiting Aruba, thrill seekers should head to the north coast, where there is more rugged terrain ideal for off-road adventures. After cruising through the towns and checking out the island’s colorful homes, ATV and UTV tours take riders to explore formations including land bridges and landmarks, like Alto Vista Chapel, which stands on top of a hill, and the ruins of the Bushiribana Gold Mill, where more than three million pounds of gold was mined in the 19th century. If you’d rather explore the country’s outdoors alone, you can rent an ATV from reputable companies and create your own adventure. 

A Kid-Friendly Hotel Pick:

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