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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

College Spring Break 2008

I know, I know—you want your Mexican rendezvous to involve the least amount of planning possible. It’s Spring Break, for crying out loud, and as long as there’s booze, sun, sand and some like minded crazy kids, you’re fine. The only thing you need to “plan” is what kind of plastic container you are going to hide your coconut rum in when packing your suitcase. Trust me, I’ve been there.

But before you hop on the plane in a few weeks (or, if you’re kicking it old school, jump in a van), I want you to do two things:

  1. Remember your passport or photo ID (the real one!), whichever you need for your chosen route of debauchery. And don’t lose it.

Put it in one of those dorky Samsonite pouches or something. Trust me, the overworked people at the airport/border do not care how much you’ve spent on your ticket/hotel, or who your dad is. They don’t. Forget/lose your ID, and you are screwed.

  1. Take 30 minutes to actually think about what is going on in and around the place you are visiting, and book a few things to do.

By this I mean: there are going to be plenty of opportunities to get drunk and sunburned. There are going to be thousands of people running around you all day long doing just this. At first it will all seem fantastic (and it is). But by the third or fourth day of non-stop drinking up with the Joneses, you will crash. There are plenty of cool and exciting day excursions that you can do to switch things up a bit. Many are cheap and take only a few minutes to sign up for.

You may be thinking, “oh, I’ll just figure it out when I get there…they will be selling tours to see the Mayan ruins left and right.” Yes, they will, and no, you won’t. After 72 hours of spending all of your saved up dough on daiquiris, forgotten toiletries, and expensive burgers, the last thing you will want to do is fork over a wad of cash for an overpriced tour to a perky sales agent. It will be even harder to talk a friend into doing it with you. So take a few minutes, and plan.

You don’t want to depart your chosen slice of paradise without experiencing a little bit of your surrounds. After all, you may be going away for something like 7 or 10 days! Take advantage of this opportunity. Trust me, you will not regret having planned an excursion or two in advance. You will always remember your afternoon at the Mayan ruins and your sailboat ride to the pristine, secluded beach. I can’t say the same will be true for the hazy streak of kitschy tequila bars, street dancing and Spanglish banter that might comprise the rest of your trip (I only managed to learn of such escapades from some choice, shaky bits of personal mini DV footage).

Right, so if you’ve decided to venture south of the border in a few weeks (or are considering it and need some inspiration), today is your lucky day. I’m going to make things nice and easy for you.

Some affordable Spring Break excursions:

CANCUN

You did it—you chose to partake in the all out mayhem of the number one spring break destination in the world. You and 200,000 others. Congrats!

Now, here are some exciting and relaxing ways to break away from the clubbing crowd and experience the intriguing surrounds of the Yucatan region (fear not—there are obviously open bar options on both tours!).

1. Trimaran Cruise to Isla Mujeres.
That’s right gentleman, it’s the island of ladies (not that the female-male ratio will necessarily come close to outshining that of the Coco Bongo dance floor, but whatever I can do to get your attention…).

Anyways, ladies and gents alike, you will love this daylong break from the crowded, commercial city of Cancun. The trimaran ride alone will be rejuvenating. An oversized sailboat with an open bar—what more could you ask for? Cruise through the Caribbean and let the salty sea air awaken your (numb?) senses for an energizing day of sun, sea, snorkeling and serenity.

Upon arrival, you will be provided with an exciting opportunity to witness the diverse wildlife of the second largest reef system in the world. Float through the warm, inviting coastal waters and snorkel among the colorful fish and intricately textured coral of the Great Maya Reef. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the tiny (five mile long!) island, and immerse yourself in its slow pace and rustic charm.

Return to Cancun refreshed and energized for another evening of Spring Break madness.

2. Mayan archaeological site (Chichen Itza) tour
Even if your history class attendance has been significantly impacted by the modern institutionalization of Thirsty Thursday (or my personal favorite: Fun-day Monday), you have likely been at least intrigued by the things you’ve heard about the ancient Mayans. By visiting Cancun, you are placing yourself right next to the remnants of one of the most culturally complex societies that the Western world has ever seen.

That’s right, just a short trip away from margarita mayhem is the famous pre-Columbian site of Chichen Itza, boasting the famous, colossal step pyramid temple, El Castillo. A breathtaking window into ancient civilization, here you can explore the advanced astronomical and calendrical features so typical of Classic Mayan society.

Climb some of the temple’s 365 steps (4 sets of 91 steps, with a top platform), as correlated with the number of days in their approximated tropical year. Should you happen to visit on March 20th, 2008, you will gaze in awe as the pyramid’s corner tiers cast shadows on the surrounding feathered serpent sculptures—a moment carefully calculated by Mayan architects to occur on the spring and autumn equinoxes.

But if you are just too hung-over for the big climb, don’t fret. Your afternoon pilgrimage can be as relaxed or active as you please: the tour includes access to the peaceful refuge of a nearby Mayaland hotel and pool.

Oh, and consider upgrading to the “drinks included” package—you know you want to.

ACAPULCO

Presumably, if Acapulco is on your chosen route of debauchery, you’ve already opted for the “classier” of Mexican spring break options (should this concept even exist, given the nature of the beloved tradition).

Or maybe you’ve already overstayed your welcome on the good old MTV Spring Break stage in Cancun…

Either way, for both the craziest of lushes and the most refined of wine sippers, there are many interesting and relaxing ways to experience the city and its natural surrounds.

1. Guided tour of Old Acapulco
Beyond the glistening “Golden Zone” of upscale hotels, tourist shops and beachfront activity lies the heart and soul of Acapulco and true source of the city’s historic celebrity appeal. Old Acapulco, with its bustling local markets, romantic cobblestone streets and picturesque oceanfront vistas is definitely worth exploring through this half day guided tour.

Wander through the zocalo, a charming public plaza and social gathering place, to witness a bit of authentic Mexican lifestyle amidst large shade trees and rustic cafes. Stroll through the sprawling central market for your souvenir fix until you make your way to the striking, white washed town Cathedral, Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Venture towards the coastline to capture stunning panoramic harbor views atop the historic San Diego Fort, and (should you be feeling extra cultural!) even visit the art and history museum beneath for a nominal fee. Your guided tour will end with arguably one of the most memorable and exciting sights in Acapulco, the famous La Quebrada cliff divers. Watch as brave men risk their lives to uphold this age-old inherited tradition.

Of course by this time some of you may be feeling a bit thirsty. Why end an amazing day with a Coco-Loco cocktail at the Los Flamingos Hotel bar? This famous Hollywood haunt was once owned by John Wayne and is still run by one of his former staff members, Adolfo Santiago Gonzalez. Soak in a bit of well-preserved 1950’s charm as you gaze out over the 500 ft cliff at stunning views of Acapulco Bay, as once admired by Roy Rodgers, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra (to name a few).

2. Excursion to Pie de la Cuesta on Coyuca Lagoon
In a city that has become so rapidly commercialized since its romantic, celebrity hideaway days, it seems tough to find a tranquil refuge for an afternoon of beachside relaxation. But nature lovers will be thrilled to learn that a secluded, sparkling lagoon lies just a few mile north of the city, harboring two tiny islands, lush foliage, and a vast expanse of calm, refreshing deep blue water.

Embark on this daytrip to the tiny fishing village of Pie de La Cuesta, nestled just around the peninsula from the tropical flora, fauna and untouched beauty of Coyuca Lagoon. Stop at a quaint, locally owned restaurant for some fresh seafood and refreshing beverages. Enjoy an afternoon of serenity on the golden sand beach, or get active; there are a variety of opportunities for horseback riding, fishing and water sport activities.

Return to Acapulco rejuvenated and ready for a night out on the town!

Now, it’s up to you!

Obviously I cannot spoon feed you a full proof plan—everyone’s experiences and opinions will differ. I can only make suggestions.

I can, however, pretty much guarantee you that a bit of pre-departure planning will allow you to make the most of your upcoming adventure. So hopefully you will take a few minutes and get to it!

So that’s it. Happy planning! May your spring breaks be full of sun, sea and unmentionable forms of fun.

¡Buena suerte!

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Comments


  1. comment by: Catlan on Apr 02 at 15:55

    love it. i really miss fun-day mondays…what else could be more fun than being the only girls (besides some toothless townies) in an empty bar playing some pool and darts with a bunch of somewhat socially awkward, but surprisingly fun frat boys

    …i wonder if there is beer pong in holland?


  2. comment by: College Spring Break 2008: Affordable, relaxing and cultural daytrips. | Spring Break on Apr 27 at 13:00

    [...] Original post by Carrie Daniel [...]

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