Thinking of a vacation to Mexico but want to go somewhere different off the beaten path? Here are some ideas for destinations in Mexico that will take you beyond Cancun or Puerto Vallarta.

Isla Mujeres, located only eight miles across the bay from Cancun, is a tiny island only five miles long and about a half mile wide. Translated, Isla Mujeres means the “Island of Women”. No, it is not a hidden commune filled with females but it is a charming and tranquil fishing village. It has shops, restaurants and about a dozen or so small hotels where you can rest your head.

With a downtown area consisting of only four or five blocks, this makes Isla Mujeres everything that the big tourist areas in Mexico are not. Surrounded by white sand beaches on all sides, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular in the crystal clear turquoise waters. Kayaks, snorkeling gear, and other water toys can be rented on the beach and fishing, sailing and even swimming with dolphins is available here. Isla Mujeres has something for every one of all ages and is a great place to explore the natural wonders of Mexico.

Another great Mexico vacation spot that is often overlooked is Cabo San Lucas. Its location at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, gives it an ideal climate of about 78 degrees year round. Once a tranquil fishing village, Cabo has evolved into a wonderful spot for vacationers but remains small and charming. Small however does not mean boring, there are many things to do in Cabo.

Deserted beaches, on both the Pacific coast and along the shoreline of the Sea of Cortez, make Cabo San Lucas an awesome beach vacation. If you enjoy water sports, boating, marlin fishing, horseback riding and golf, you will enjoy Cabo. Golf has become very popular in the area and there are five championship golf courses already here and more on the way.

Cabo San Lucas is a perfect vacation spot for those looking for something different. It can be quiet and relaxing for a romantic getaway or it can be a place where you will keep going till you drop with the whole family.

Another one of Mexico’s jewels is Tulum. You will find Tulum about an hours drive south of Playa Del Carmen on the Mayan Coast. Tulum is best known for its Mayan ruins. Small but impressive, the ruins are perched high on top of limestone cliffs that offer a breathtaking view below of the sparkling Caribbean and a romantic coastline.

The little town of Tulum is slowly expanding and there are several very good local restaurants and a few on the beach in the smattering of hotels in the area. Accommodations range from five star boutique hotels to rustic cabanas.

Tulum offers the perfect mixture of tranquility, relaxation and seclusion but still gives you the option of exciting nearby attractions. Day trips in the area are always a good choice and the Eco-tourism experiences are limitless.

It is a much slower paced vacation and a combination of 3-4 days in Playa Del Carmen and 2-3 days in Tulum is a great way to combine the best of both worlds in these treasured spots.

Ricardy Banks