Swim with the (Whale) Sharks…and Other Mexico Fun

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Luxury thatched-roof huts are the norm at laid-back CasaSandra Resort on Isla Holbox, Mexico.

Mexico is a destination where fun is just waiting to be had. This week we’re making it easy on you—here are our picks for currently trending fun on the Mexico vacation front.

Cancun—Swim with (Whale) Sharks
If you know anything about whale sharks, you’ll know that they’re not dangerous in the least. And due to their annual migrations through Cancun’s coastal waters, fearless swimmers up and down the shoreline get the chance to swim alongside these giant fish.

Not far away from the mainland, and in the direct path of the whale sharks’ migration route, lies the small island of Isla Holbox, home to the 20-suite CasaSandra beachfront resort. Getting to the island requires a 2-hour ferry ride from Cancun, but it’s well worth it: CasaSandra offers a remote haven for romantics, off-beat travelers and nature lovers. Standard features of the property include an on-property gourmet restaurant; massage, yoga and reiki experiences; and Saturday night Noche Cubana (Cuban Night) live music events. And from May to October, the resort also offers its guests an opportunity to get up close to the 50-ft. whale sharks as they swim by.

The CasaSandra Swim with the Whale Sharks package includes 3-night accommodations for two in a Superior Deluxe room, plus free upgrade based on availability; transfers to and from Holbox Ferry and the hotel; daily continental breakfast; welcome cocktail and in-room fruit basket; complimentary WiFi Internet in the hotel lobby and a whale shark tour and transportation. Swim with the Whale Sharks package rates start at $1,092 plus tax and gratuity.

Standard rates start at $260 per night. For more information, call (888) 923-2272 or visit casasandra.com.

Riviera Maya—Cultural Wonderland
For families and adults alike, the All Inclusive Collection’s Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa Palace properties—soon to be rebranded as the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya—are offering free fun in the sun at the nearby Xcaret adventure park.

The Xcaret promotion provides two Xcaret park tickets per room for guests staying five nights or more at either Aventura Cove Palace or Aventura Spa Palace. Xcaret is a culturally themed adventure park offering watersports, zoo animals, authentic Mayan ruins, cultural activities and live shows to introduce guests to the area’s history. Highlights at Xcaret include snorkeling in an underground river, visiting a coral reef aquarium, swimming with dolphins and witnessing the Papantla Flying Men as they perform their aerial routines.

The Xcaret promotion is available for booking and travel through Dec. 15, and can be combined for additional savings with the following offers:

• The Summer Instant Savings promotion provides $200 off per room, per stay for guests staying five nights at any all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico, with up to $300 off for guests staying seven nights or longer (must be booked by Aug. 17 for travel through Aug. 31)
• The Kids Stay Free summer promotion allows children to stay, play and eat for free (must be booked by Aug. 27 for travel through Aug. 31)
• The $1,500 Resort Credit promotion provides guests a $1,500 resort credit per room, per stay when staying five nights or more, or up to $2,500 for stays of 12 nights or longer (must be booked by Dec. 15 for travel through Dec. 23)

Aventura Cove Palace offers 489 family-friendly guestrooms, along with a kids’ club, teen lounge, and daily activities including snorkeling, kayaking, rock climbing wall, basketball court and bicycle rentals. Three restaurants and four bars offer plenty of dining options. Aventura Spa Palace, meanwhile, provides 777 luxury adults-only guestrooms; Aventura Spa featuring 76 treatment rooms, seven couples rooms, and Golden VIP suite; relaxation facilities including yoga hut, meditation garden and labyrinth Zen path; and active features such as the 14-obstacle fitness trail, aerobic studio, tennis courts and golfing amenities.

Standard rates at the All Inclusive Collection’s Hard Rock All-Inclusive Hotels start at $171 pp dbl per night. For more information, call (888) 680-7625 or visit hrhallinclusive.com.

Nuevo Vallarta—Golfers Unite
Encompassing seven luxury resorts—Grand Luxxe, Grand Luxxe VillasThe Grand Mayan, Mayan Palace, The Grand BlissThe Bliss and Sea Garden properties—Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta is home to a spectrum of vacation-friendly amenities, including luxurious guestrooms, daily activities, Brio Spa and Fitness Center and the 18-hole Nayar Course. But its most recent added amenity, a new Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy, is getting a big “golf clap” from the golfing community.

Newly open since July, the academy offers training and instruction for golfers of all levels. It offers tactical evaluation, on-course instruction, mental and physical evaluation and training programs. Even the driving range is designed to resemble an actual course, with bunkers, palm trees and a mountain range in the background. All of this from climate-controlled coaching studios, preventing weather distractions from distracting from your client’s lessons.

Nicklaus Academies’ executive v.p. and C.O.O., Ted Simons, says the new practice area is “a dream come true. The oversized putting green, and the oversized chipping, pitching and bunker areas provide the opportunity to practice virtually any shot you might come across during a round of golf. The practice areas are complete with a variety of uphill, downhill and side hill lies. Anyone interested in developing a solid and consistent short game area does not have to go anywhere but here.”

The properties at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta are operated by Grupo Vidanta and Vida Vacations. The Nicklaus Academy is open to members and guests of Vidanta resorts as well as residents and visitors to Puerto Vallarta. For rates and additional information, visit vidavacations.com.