Whether you're a honeymooning couple, family taking a winter vacation, or college student on spring break, Mexico has likely made your where-to-travel list. Not only does the country offer all-inclusive packages along some of the world's most pristine beaches, but there are bustling metropolises with thriving culture and culinary scenes. From popular tourist-laden towns to hidden-gem spots, there's a place for every type of traveler -- and budget. Though Mexico is a notoriously affordable destination thanks to inexpensive flights and cheap eats, the hotel options run the gamut from budget hostels to out-of-this-world luxe properties. Take a look at six of the most popular destinations in Mexico and where to stay based on your budget.
Hotels in this story
Hearing “Cancun” may conjure images of booze-filled spring breakers and hordes of tourists, but that’s just one aspect of the Yucatan Peninsula city. Loads of honeymooners, friends, and retirees head to Cancun for its classification as one of the best beach destinations in the world (think strips of white sand, turquoise waters, and great snorkeling). Local culture in the downtown area, a thriving nightlife, and direct flights under $300 from most major U.S. cities is just the cherry on top of the daiquiri.
- Budget: The Mezcal Hostel opened in 2014, giving it more contemporary interiors than most value properties. A small pool, free breakfast and dinner, and both dorm and private rooms make this property an excellent pick for those who don’t mind being a bit far from the beach.
- Mid-Range: Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites has a gorgeous setting along the beach in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, plus a sizable pool, two restaurants — one buffet and one a la carte — and spacious rooms. Some rooms overlook a parking lot, but rates are extremely competitive for its location.
- Luxury: True to its name, the Beloved Playa Mujeres receives excellent reviews for its quiet setting north of Cancun, stunning and ample facilities, and huge suites with elegant decor. However, it’s an adult-only property, so some families should look at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, instead.
There are two sides to Los Cabos: The culturally authentic and peaceful San Jose del Cabo and the tourist-heavy Cabo San Lucas, which has a party atmosphere, ample resorts, and the well-recognized Land’s End rock formation. No matter where you stay, though, you’ll be close to the beautiful beaches, a plethora of water sports, historic sites, and delectable Mexican restaurants.
- Budget: Tropicana Inn is a quaint property in San Jose del Cabo, offering a well-known restaurant, pretty courtyard pool, and pleasant rooms with free Wi-Fi.
- Mid-Range: Villa la Estancia is in a mini-compound of three sister resorts, and features a solid list of amenities that include a large, zero-entry pool, two restaurants with alfresco dining, and a broad stretch of beach.
- Luxury: The One&Only Palmilla earns its five-pearl rating with personal butlers, massive rooms, two lovely pools, fine-dining restaurants, and a host of other top-notch facilities.
A vibrant, historic, and cultural metropolis, Mexico City has finally made its way to the top of travelers’ bucket lists. Though the sprawling layout means it’s not easily walkable, the array of museums, trendy boutiques, and fine-dining spots make it worth the metro rides. Check out our list of 9 Things to Know Before Going to Mexico City for a seamless getaway.
- Budget: Hotel Casa Gonzalez is a charming and historic property near the British and American embassies. It has clean and cozy rooms, a high-quality restaurant, and free Wi-Fi.
- Mid-Range: Hotel Geneve Ciudad de Mexico is a historic hotel in the heart of the lively Zona Rosa neighborhood. There are museum-like displays, attractive rooms, and live music at the restaurant and bar.
- Luxury: The 35-room Las Alcobas Mexico DF is a jewel of a luxury boutique hotel in the exclusive Polanco neighborhood, thanks to its two gourmet eateries, sophisticated designer rooms, and stylish spa.
The laid-back Playa del Carmen is located about an hour south of Cancun by car. Its traditional Mexican culture hasn’t been lost to tourism, plus there’s great shopping and beaches where topless sunbathing is allowed. Travelers are also a quick 50-minute drive from the Mayan ruins in Tulum. One thing that may detract from its charm, however, is that cruise ships dock here daily.
- Budget: Luna Blue Hotel is an excellent, low-frills option centered around lovely, lush grounds just half a block from the hopping La Quinta Avenida strip. Rooms lack TVs and phones, but they come with in-room safes, mini-fridges, and coolers.
- Mid-Range: A boho-chic, beachfront property, Mahekal Beach Resort has 196 rooms with garden or ocean views, though they also lack TVs and telephones. Features include four swimming pools, three bars, three restaurants, and a spa with a gym.
- Luxury: The Rosewood Mayakoba is a gorgeous, peaceful retreat set on a mile-long stretch of beach. It has upscale restaurants, a spa, and 128 suites with high-tech amenities and private outdoor plunge pools.
Situated along the Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is known for its lovely beaches and waters ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and parasailing. Aside from being notably LGBT-friendly, the city has fun nightlife that includes salsa clubs and flea markets with Mexican crafts — not to mention, the Sierra Madre Mountains encircling it. Beware of beach vendors and jellyfish during the fall season.
- Budget: The ruggedly charming Casa Anita y Corona del Mar offers sweeping views of Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay, and the enticements of Old Town Puerto Vallarta are close at hand. Amenities are few and steps are steep, but all of the suites are spacious and equipped with kitchens.
- Mid-Range: A big and bustling all-inclusive resort, Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Great Moments is right on the beach, with pools for adults and children, four restaurants, three bars, and a spa.
- Luxury: The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit sets the bar for what all-inclusive resorts should strive to achieve. Every room here is a suite, offering extra living space, a balcony, and ocean views. Impressive features include an infinity pool, decadent spa, kids’ club, and five restaurants with excellent food.
An hour-long flight from Mexico City, or a 15-hour drive south of Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco became a well-known hot spot for the Hollywood elite in the 1950s. Though it has since suffered from gang violence and drug trafficking, many tourists and Mexican nationals still head to the city for its gold-sand beaches, buzzing nightlife scene, and delicious restaurants with ocean views.
- Budget: The oceanfront Hotel Restaurant Quinta Karla Pie de la Cuesta has a lovely setting with great sunset views, a tasty Mexican eatery, and basic rooms with mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and cold-water showers.
- Mid-Range: Fiesta Americana Villas Acapulco is located in the city’s Golden Zone, within a five-minute walk of the many dining and entertainment options. Its pool is large and the 324 simple rooms have ocean-view balconies, but the beach is crowded.
- Luxury: The Hotel Encanto is a one-of-a-kind property with an ocean-view infinity pool, chic and sleek rooms with balconies, and a restaurant run by well-known Mexican chef Mónica Patiño.
Now, watch our video on amazing destinations in Mexico that aren’t overrun by tourists.
You’ll Also Like:
- Where to Go in Mexico: A Cheat Sheet to the Top Destinations
- 6 Amazing Destinations in Mexico Not Overrun by Tourists
- The 10 Best Magic Towns in Mexico
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