I'm looking to take a couple days off in March and would like to head somewhere sunny that potentially has a beach and outdoor activities (scuba, hiking). Looking for somewhere "easy" to get to from Seattle, but off the beaten path a little. Any recommendations?
Trip Plan Details
commented on this trip
Whale shark season for that area is May-September. I've heard from locals (and I'm hesitant about letting too many people know for my own selfish reasons of not wanting places to be mobbed during the best diving) that the best time to see them is in August. I've also been told that manta rays tend to follow the whale sharks... so there's a good possibility of seeing them too.
Happy diving and travels!
recommended South Water CayeA tiny sand spit of paradise in a turquoise sea of rich biodiversity wonders. Come here and you'll never want to leave. Amenities on the island are a bit sparse, but who needs more than a snorkel, a ... read morehammock and cocktail in a place like this?Arlo Hemphill
In addition to the spots that others have recommended, here's another "backwater" Belize caye - off the tourist track, perfect, paradise and great diving.
recommended MeridaClassically Yucatan. Not the Mexico of beaches and bars, but the old Mexico of colonial architecture, Mayan pyramids and turquoise blue cenote watering holes. Beautiful historic downtown and the ... read moreperfect base of operations for exploring the inner Peninsula.Arlo Hemphill
Hi Spencer, when most people think of the Yucatan, they think Cancun - but the peninsula is really a big place with a lot more to offer outside the hedonism of party central. Merida is the most traditional and historically preserved of the Yucatan cities. It is close (an easy 15 min to 1.5 hour drive) to most Mayan pyramid sites and dozens of cenotes, offering amazing, crystal clear SCUBA diving opportunities. If you're in the mood for coral reefs rather than freshwater caves, the reefs off the Mayan Riviera are not far off. This is a great spot.
recommended Puerto VallartaPuerto Vallarta is a great beach town with a colonial center and lots to do in and around the city. Think beaches, watersports, nightclubs, restaurants/cafes, and boutique shopping. A short drive ... read morenorth or south of the city will also land you in some laid back surfing towns and fishing villages.Liza Prado
Another great option....
recommended Roatan IslandRoatan is a diver's paradise--surrounded by an amazing, healthy reef and high quality/low cost dive shops. There are a few beautiful beaches on the island too--West Bay being the highlight, with great ... read moresnorkeling too--and sights like botanical gardens, iguana farms, canopy tours, and swimming with dolphins. Most independant travelers stay in the community of West End, which is inhabited by lots of expats. There are a few all-inclusives on Roatan too.Liza Prado
Another great place in the region, especially for diving....
recommended TulumTulum town itself is not much to write home about but its beaches are spectacular--i think they're the best in the Riviera Maya. Plus, the beachfront hotels are mostly bungalow/thatch-roof style--some ... read moresuper high end, others totally basic--but most have a bohemian, laid back vibe to them. All that, about 90 minutes south of Cancun International Airport.Liza Prado
For some activities off the beach, there are a bunch of dive shops in town, a huge (and gorgeous) biosphere reserve just south of Tulum, and of course Maya ruins.... Located about 1 hour south of Cancun International Airport too.
recommended Isla de OmetepeThe island is shaped like the sign for infinity. Two volcanoes have become connected by their lava flows, one is still avtive and the other has a lake inside it. The hike up the active one was a bit ... read moreperilious. We basically went until it got too steep, and thee was no trial (we had a local guide with us), plus the winds coming up the face got quite violent quickly. The surrounding lake holds the world's only fresh water shark.Nomadic by Nature
You got hiking on the islands, and surf and sand on the southern coast around San Juan.
recommended Caye CaulkerSweet spot for divers and beach bums alike. The place has a great vibe, there are no cars so everyone cruises around in souped up golf carts blasting reggae and good vibes. It is considered the ... read moreeconomical option compared to Ambergris Caye and the famous San Pedro, however you can access the Blue Hole from here as well as other famous dive sites alike, and you can easily go snorkel shark and ray allies.
- Sayulita BeachSayulita, Mexicorecommended Sayulita BeachGreat beach. Long white sand, with a couple great surf breaks (beginner/intermediate). Some restaurants along it, and a meeting place for the town. Check out the phosphorescence at night, and some ... read moregood spear fishing off the rocks at the southern end.
- Tobacco CayeBelizerecommended Tobacco CayeYou can walk from one end of the caye to the other in about a minute. It is mainly just an outpost for diving. There are some great reefs, and walls to dive in the area, but otherwise you are ... read morebasically just on a sandbar a ways out from anything else. All the pathways are made of conch shells which provides a nice atmosphere. Great swimming/snorkeling off the docks too.