World ? Caribbean & Central America ? Mexico

Mexico: The Best Active Vacations

  • Scuba Diving in Cozumel & along the Yucatȥn's Caribbean Coast: The coral reefs off the island, Mexico's premier diving destination, are among the top five dive spots in the world. The Yucatȥn's coastal reef is part of the second-largest reef system in the world and affords excellent diving. Especially beautiful is the Chinchorro Reef, 32km (20 miles) offshore from Majahual or Xcalak. You can also dive in the clear, cool water of the many caverns and cenotes (sinkholes, or natural wells) that dot the interior. Other excellent dive sites are in and around Puerto Vallarta and off Los Cabos.

  • Fly-Fishing off the Punta Allen Peninsula: Serious anglers will enjoy the challenge of fly-fishing the saltwater flats and lagoons of Ascension Bay, near Punta Allen.

  • Hiking & Horseback Riding in the Copper Canyon: Miles and miles of beautiful, remote, challenging canyon lands are paradise for the serious hiker or rider. Canyon Travel (tel. 800/843-1060 in the U.S.; www.canyontravel.com) can set hikers up with a Tarahumara Indian guide, who can take you deep into the canyons to places rarely viewed by tourists. Doug Rhodes of Paraȷso del Oso (tel. 800/884-3107 in the U.S.) leads tours of experienced horseback riders on a 12-day ride that tests a rider's skill in mountainous terrain. It has to be the most challenging ride in North America.

  • Golf in Los Cabos & Puerto Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta, with its seven championship courses, is the new destination for golfers to watch. Added to the appeal of golf here are courses within easy driving distance along the Pacific Coast at El Tamarindo, Isla Navidad, and Manzanillo. The Corridor between San Josȳ del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas is one of the world's premier golf destinations, with seven championship courses open and a total of 207 holes slated for the area.

  • Surfing Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido: This world-class break is a lure for surfers from around the globe. It challenges the best in the sport each September and October, when the waves peak and the annual surf competitions take place. Other noted surf breaks in Mexico include Sayulita, Punta Mita, and Las Islitas Beach near San Blas (all north of Puerto Vallarta); Playa Costa Azul, on the outskirts of San Josȳ del Cabo; and "Killers" at Todos Santos Island in northern Baja.

  • Sportfishing in La Paz: Billfishing for magnificent marlin and sailfish is a popular sport throughout southern Baja, and La Paz pulls in the most consistent share. Fishing is also excellent in Los Cabos, Mazatlȥn, Manzanillo, and Zihuatanejo.

  • Sea Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez: From Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, and continuing north, the Sea of Cortez is a sea kayaker's dream. It has dozens of tiny coves and impressive inlets to pull into and explore, under the watchful gaze of sea lions and dolphins. Professional outfitters provide gear, guides, and instruction for novices.

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