Many travelers’ first experience of Mexico will be the soft golden sand and turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean. From Cancun to Tulum, the Riviera Maya is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world and an incredible introduction to the rich, vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty of Mexico.
But there is a lot more to see in this gorgeous country than just the Yucatan Peninsula. On the other side of Mexico, the wild Pacific Coast that stretches from Baja California to Oaxaca is packed with a wealth of alternative experiences. The Mexican Riviera is a breathtaking tapestry of verdant jungles, towering mountain peaks, awesome surf breaks, pristine beaches, and a variety of vibrant cultures and communities everywhere you go. It is the perfect place for a solo traveler, a unique combination of excitement and interest, and a great way for adventurous souls to immerse themselves in the heart of Mexico.
So if you love sailing from Galveston on one of the biggest cruise lines going to Cozumel and the Riviera Maya and want to discover another side of Mexico, check out this guide to exploring the Pacific coast like a local.
Puerto Vallarta is a great place to start exploring the Mexican Riviera. The Old Town retains a charming historic feel, but seamlessly blends into the more luxurious, modern resorts that make the city lively and exciting. For full cultural immersion, it is worth spending time exploring the cobbled streets of the Zona Romantic, discovering its charming boutique shops, cutting-edge art galleries, and cozy cafes, as well as the bustling Mercado Municipal for authentic Mexican food and crafts.
Mazatlan is an underrated gem, often overlooked by the mainstream tourist trail, which makes it perfect for the solo traveler. A delightful combination of colonial architecture and maritime charm, it is a great place to explore, from the historic Malecon oceanfront promenade to the splendid historic architecture of Old Mazatlan. Plazuela Machado offers an authentic taste of local life, with live music, local vendors, and delicious food stalls present throughout the week.
Manzanillo offers a perfect laid-back beach experience, with fewer crowds than many other Mexican beach destinations. You can find hidden spots like Playa La Audiencia where you might have the entire beach to yourself! After a day of sun-worship you can hit the Mercado del Mar for some of the freshest and best seafood you will try in your life, caught that very day, and learn a little more about the traditional fishing methods of the region. In Manzanillo, it is a cinch to slow things down and take life at a more relaxed pace, for the perfect solo travel experience.
For nature lovers, the wonder of the great outdoors is perfectly encapsulated in Huatulco, a coastal gem in the state of Oaxaca to the south of the Mexican Riviera. This charming resort town is a delight in itself, but its main draw is as a base to explore the lush jungles, winding mangroves, and stunning mountain trails nearby. Take a boat through the lagoons to discover crocodiles, monkeys, and uncountable bird species, or head out to the ocean to discover whales, vibrant coral reefs, and magical bioluminescence.
A solo adventure down Mexico’s west coast is a remarkable experience and opens a door to the rich, vibrant culture of the country. It is a great chance to explore a little further, beyond the famous destinations like Cancun and Los Cabos, and discover how special and exciting this amazing country truly is.
More Blog Posts about Mexico
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- Best Places to Visit in Riviera Maya, Mexico
- How to travel to Cancun without spending much money
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