Beaches, Vineyards and Frida Kahlo: There’s a Mexican Getaway for Every Budget
Need a stunning change of scenery but don’t have the wherewithal to plan a complicated trip with multiple flights or significant jet lag? Take a quick trip to Mexico, where the options range from sporty beach getaways to sophisticated urban stays, with great food and drinks no matter where you land. We’ve sketched out a range of loosely budgeted trips based on airfare from Los Angeles (or in the case of close-to-the-border destinations, car trips). In the spirit of mutual understanding between countries and an escape from the humdrum (and yes, envy-provoking social media posts), may we present...Mexico.
Around $5,000: A Week in San Miguel de Allende
You want the best of everything, so you’ve chosen an exquisite town of baroque and neoclassical architecture that’s been colonized by artists whose world-class work is sold in the sprawling Fabrica La Aurora. The town’s centerpiece is the pink stone La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel; you can see its Cinderella Castle—like spires from the best hotel in town, the Rosewood, where the concierge will make sure to prep a candlelit bubble bath for you or arrange a cooking class with a local chef.
Around $3,500: A Week in Mexico City
Use whatever excuse you want (it’s a four-hour flight, the thin air takes some getting used to, etc.), but you need to stay a full week in Mexico City to see even a slice of this most populous city in North America. Stay in the minimalist Downtown hotel in Centro, a great shopping and dining neighborhood. Spend a day exploring Chapultepec Park (it’s twice the size of NYC’s Central Park). Sleep in after a night spent with various tequilas in the trendy Condesa neighborhood. And don’t miss the Museo Frida Kahlo in the blue house where she lived and worked.
Around $2,000: A Long Weekend in Valladolid
You’re flying into Cancun, but you’re having a more sophisticated time than the usual beachfront hijinks because you’re headed an hour away to Valladolid. This colonial town combines the flavor of its Mayan heritage (crafts, cuisine) with the European flair of its Spanish conquerors (architecture and, again, cuisine). Stay at Mesón de Malleville(from $300 per night), the former home of the family behind the lust-worthy Coqui Coqui fragrance. Spend a day at the National Sculpture Museum, take a day trip to the ruins at Tulum or Chichen Itza, and wander the charming colonial streets dotted with posh shops and spicy, Mayan-style chocolate.
Around $1,500: A week in Tulum
This little fishermen’s village 90 minutes from Cancun became jet-set popular in the ’90s as an inexpensive fashion-world hangout. Today it’s less insider-y, but still as beautiful. Stay at the mid-century modern Hotel Tiki Tiki (week-long specials for less than $1,000) and spend your nights in Tulum town sipping tequila and your days diving into the dramatic and icy cenotes (limestone sinkholes).
Around $1,000: A Weekend in Todos Santos
This little surf town still has a bit of an undiscovered feel, unlike the fancy resorts an hour north in Los Cabos. Stay at the funky, 32-room Hotel San Cristóbal Baja, where you won’t know what to Instagram first—the colorful blankets, the view of the distant mountains, the long beach or the patterned tiles. For around $350 a night (and about that much on airfare), you’ll have a dreamy weekend you’ll remember long after summer’s over.
Around $1,000: A Weekend in Mexican Wine Country
A 90-minute drive from the San Diego Airport (use the CBP Border Wait Times app for faster entry), you’re in the Ruta del Vino, Mexico’s wine country. Stay at Encuentro Guadalupe, where shipping containers have been turned into modernist luxury accommodations (about $300 per night) with sweeping views of the vineyards and a pool. Your hosts will direct you to other vineyard restaurants (don’t miss TrasLomita) and remind you that, per U.S. Customs, you can only bring one liter per person back home over the border (so drink up while you can).
Around $500: Two Arty Days in Tijuana
Begin your trip with a visit to San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which has an impressive collection reflecting the recent artistic flourishing of its urban southern neighbor just 17 miles away. Then, cross the border and check out the Tijuana Cultural Center, where you’ll look backward (historic exhibits) and forward (ask what Tijuana galleries have going on). Drop your bags at One Bunk (around $100 per night), a tiny hipster hotel off Avenida Revolucion. Want to know where the cool artist parties are? Make friends at Estacion Federal, a combination of art gallery, work space and coffee shop.