Wellness By Jonathan Hermann

Hola in Relaxation

WHY MEXICO IS THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION TO CHILL OUT

All-inclusive resorts, balmy weather, sugar-soft beaches, friendly locals and close proximity to the U.S. - Mexico's appeal is easy to see. The country's coastal towns and villages have long been popular vacation spots, particularly for budget-savvy travelers looking for an inexpensive getaway. But thanks to a recent influx of five-star resorts, world-class golf courses, lavish spas and a blossoming culinary scene, Mexico has emerged as one of the top luxury travel destinations, especially for those who simply wish to relax while surrounded by the spoils of paradise.

Each region has a decidedly diverse flavor. In the Riviera Maya, where towns like Playa del Carmen and Cancun hold court, you can swim in the crystal-clear Caribbean and explore ancient Maya ruins. The Riviera Nayarit on the Pacific Ocean is home to colorful, slow-paced towns framed by rugged coastlines. Chic restaurants and iconic geological formations take center stage in Baja California, attracting celebrities and locals alike.

Within these differing landscapes and vibes, the core cities are rife with soothing experiences that help you reset your body, mind and soul. Here are a few special experiences you can look forward to on your relaxing Mexican vacation, when the time is right to visit safely.

CANCUN

This tropical hotspot is not just for spring breakers and families anymore, though who could blame them for coming here? Nowadays, this 15-mile stretch of some of the softest white sand you'll ever sink your toes into is filled with upscale resorts that replace keg stands and loud crowds with thatched-roof palapas, Bali daybeds and private beaches.

When you're not out exploring the ancient Maya city of Chich?n Itz?, a sprawling ancient complex hidden nearby in the jungle, or taking a refreshing dip in the Yucatan's most famous jungle sinkhole, the Sacred Blue Cenote, you can relax your days away in a myriad of ways. Whether it's shopping for international brands at La Isla Shopping Village and Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall, chartering a private yacht - complete with captain, crew and cooks - and cruising around Isla Mujeres or indulging in a traditional Maya massage in the spa, the choices are numerous and unforgettable.

So many rooms with amazing sea views
Pausing for a fun photo opp

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

The friendly people of Playa, as Playa del Carmen is locally known, think their sun-drenched coastal city is more sophisticated than Cancun due to its chic style and European ambiance. And while you're snorkeling over massive coral reefs mere steps away from the beach or strolling along the 20 blocks of shops and restaurants on pedestrian-only Quinta Avenida, you may agree.

You'll also agree that this town has a tranquil vibe that is easy to soak in. You can spend many blissful hours here putting your photography skills to the test at Tulum, the Maya walled city built atop a cliff facing the Caribbean, collecting birdies at the Greg Norman-designed El Camalen golf course or simply enjoying a private beach cabana on your resort's exclusive stretch of beach.

Private beach cabana in Cancun
The dreamlike Cenote Suytun near Tulum

CABO SAN LUCAS

More relaxing experiences await in Cabo San Lucas, a dramatic desert-like dreamscape that takes the serene settings of Scottsdale or Palm Springs and adds a breathtaking Pacific Ocean view. While the beaches here are not the best for swimming, thanks to steep drop-offs and strong undertows, they do provide the ideal backdrop for kayaking and windsurfing, as well as yelling "Four!" into the wind at any of the dozen or so designer golf courses here.

After a fabulous morning spotting sea lions lounging on the rocks and wide-winged pelicans swooping overhead at El Arco, the famous rock formation in the Sea of Cortez, you can tour the surrounding area on horseback or on your own Harley-Davidson, spotting whales while cruising on a 150-foot-long mega-yacht or rubbing elbows with celebrities at one of the town's many trendy lounges. Is that George Clooney sipping his signature tequila in the corner?

Private cruise around El Arco
Colorful houses in Puerto Vallarta

PUERTO VALLARTA

Further down Mexico's western shore from Cabo, nestled serenely between the palm-covered foothills of the Sierra Madres and curvaceous Banderas Bay, you'll find Puerto Vallarta. Made famous in the 50s by celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, today the town attracts sun-worshippers, sunset lovers, beach aficionados and other celebs that your kids will definitely know better than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Time is yours to savor however you wish in PV. Aimlessly stroll along the Malecn, a 12-mile seaside boardwalk filled with street performers, local artists and charming cafs. Cheer on as turtle hatchlings bravely take their first steps towards the mighty sea. Hire a private driver to take you to local estates for authentic tequila tastings. Enjoy the manicured gardens and dedicated orchid house at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Or even spot some blue-footed boobies and bathe in the warm waters at "Hidden Beach," a spectacular collapsed sea cave, at Islas Marietas National Park.

The following hotels provide a place for relaxation as you discover the diverse experiences of Mexico. Plus, you'll enjoy the bonus amenities available through Tzell SELECT.