Spring Breakers head to Mexico despite drug wars

While drug war violence has sent Mexican PR into a whirlwind, spring breakers have been unswayed by the persistent safety warnings and bad press. According to the AP, spring break reservations to Mexico remain resilient in the face of such setbacks, even growing slightly over last year. The big three of the Yucatan peninsula – Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya, are the top destinations according to reports.

The students, party-monsters, and brus hit these resort communities for good reason and with high confidence. With patrolling guards and a resort safety buffer, a city like Cancun is likely safer than St. Louis. While the resort areas in Mexico are generally quite tame, Acapulco is a recent example of how bad things can get. Acapulco, the original Mexican beach destination on the Pacific Coast, saw a string of gruesome gang violence earlier this year in the form of 14 beheadings. There is no priceline deal to Acapulco that can fill the void left by that kind of press. Predictably, travel to this region has lapsed dramatically.

The beautiful beaches, low prices, and an 18 year old drinking age form an alliance of desirability that many students adore. This spring break, grenade horns will sound and tank draped bros will mockingly shout “Cabs a’here” at every feasible opportunity, but there will almost certainly be no gang violence in tourist areas. As with all travel, as long as vacationers exercise caution and stay in the resort comfort zone, all will be fine. In fact, I will be visiting the Mayan Riviera in June, and my only concern is whether I will have time to go swimming with Whale Sharks.

flickr image via PriceTravel Pictures’

Daily Pampering: New Year, New You at Tides Riviera Maya

Think that 2011 is going to be “your year” … you know, the one where you embrace your inner yogi, go car-free and finally learn Mandarin? Sure, we all say that … for about a week. But with Mexico‘s Tides Riviera Maya‘s “New Year, New Your” package, you might actually set up the foundation to continue your healthy-living, culturally aware ways all year long.

The resort, voted as one of the best in Mexico by both Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast, is offering a three or five-day package ($3,250 – $5,215+) to jump start your 2011 resolutions.

The package includes a six-hour detox program for body or soul, a daily healthy breakfast, private yoga on the beach and a healthy cooking class. You’ll also enjoy a choice of a cultural or adventure excursion to places like Tulum and Coba or diving in Cenotes, a Spider Monkey Biosphere tour, or boating trip as well as a recreational activity like horseback riding, scuba diving, or biking. All visitors will also enjoy a traditioanl Tezmacal cemony, an ancient spa detox ritual, as well as a Le BootCamp three-month trial subscription so you can continue the wellness journey at home.

We’re just wondering if we can figure out how to bring a beach, hotel suite and staff of trainers/chefs home with us to continue the journey all year long …

Iberostar Hotels taps Antonio Banderas as new spokesperson for brand

The scene: Two women lying on a perfectly combed white-sand beach, waves crashing in the background and sun shining directly on them. The mood: seductive. The setting: luxurious. Remarking that things couldn’t possibly get any better, one woman turns to the other and says, “All I need now is Antonio Banderas to show up on a shiny black stallion.”

Enter: Antonio Banderas on a shiny black stallion.

The “On Vacation Everyone is a Star” marketing campaign from Iberostar Hotels & Resorts was launched during an international press conference at the brand’s Grand Hotel Paraíso in Riviera Maya, Mexico. According to the agreement, all print and broadcast advertising will feature Banderas (and his shiny black stallion) and to add a little more sexy to the game, guests will hear Banderas’ voice when they access the hotel’s site online and take a virtual tour of one of Iberostar’s properties.

Banderas said at the press conference: “This partnership has developed in a very natural way: Iberostar is a brand with a large international presence and corresponding prestige. I share their values, their philosophy, and, of course, their understanding of vacations, which at the end of the day is most important.”

Iberostar has resort properties on some of the most remote beaches including those in Mexico, Jamaica, South America, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

[via Hotels Magazine]

Tweet and win with the Valentin Imperial Maya Resort

Blast your thoughts in 140 characters or less, and you could find yourself under the sun in Mexico. The Valentin Imperial Maya Resort is launching a new contest, “Follow Valentin & Win,” so if you’re a Twitter ninja, this is a user you want to follow – by the end of the month.

The Valentin’s goal is pretty simple: the adults-only resort on in Riviera Maya wants to reach more than 1,000 followers. Make yourself one of them, and you have a shot at being one of the three guests to receive a free three-night stay at the resort. The Valentin will pick three secret numbers. If one of them corresponds to yours (i.e., as the Xth follower), you’ll be on the receiving end of a relaxing getaway which includes a 45-minute Primax swim with the dolphins, round-trip transportation to the resort and a DVD of your experience.

There is a catch … there always is. Each winner will be asked to keep a “Valentin Journal,” documenting the stay. These journals, along with photos and videos, will be popped onto the resort’s Facebook page, showing the experience through the eyes of a fellow vacationer.

The contest closes at the end of April, and the winners will be announced on May 3, 2010. You can follow the resort at @valentinmaya.