The Best Winter Activities in Mexico
Did someone say winter beach vacation? If you’re looking for a reason to escape from the cold, let us entice you to book your winter vacation in Mexico. Here, winter is full of sunny days without the heat and humidity of summer weather. Come to experience the ultimate balance of tropical relaxation and adventure. Whether visiting Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Cancun, or Loreto, there are an array of exciting winter activities you can take part in before retreating back to the comfort of your suite or refueling at your home resort’s on-site gourmet restaurants. This list of recommended activities will help you to plan the winter vacation of your dreams.
The temperature in Los Cabos is perfect during the winter months and full of sunny skies and delightful balmy weather. The average winter temperature from December to March is 80°F. There are several winter activities that you can enjoy in Los Cabos that range from whale watching to joining the local art scene. While you won’t be playing in the snow, you can enjoy a totally new winter experience full of sunshine and vitamin sea.
1. Art to Table
There is no better tour for lovers of food and art than the Art to Table tour. This is a one-of-a-kind tour that will immerse you in art and delicious cuisine. The tour starts at 4:30 pm and lasts for five hours. Ask your Pre-Arrival agent or onsite concierge to book the tour for you and to include roundtrip transportation. The assigned driver will pick you up at the resort and take you to visit the quaint and picturesque old town of San Jose del Cabo. You will get out of the vehicle and take a 10-minute stroll through the historic downtown before getting back into the car and driving across the bridge to the new San José, where you will board a beautiful yacht in Puerto Los Cabos. The yacht will remain anchored while you enjoy a selection of canapés and a glass of champagne before taking a walk along the promenade that borders the marina. During the next part of the tour, the guide will share information about surrealist painter, Leonora Carrington, while you view the bronze sculptures and watch short film clips on 50 different screens about the life and work of this famous painter adopted by Mexico.
Then, your driver will take you back to old San José and drop you off at La Revolución restaurant. Your waiter will offer you the “Mezcal Revolución” drink and then the fun begins when Walton paints the canvas with 10 strokes and Chef Alex interprets the work and turns it into a four-course tasting menu. As each dish arrives at your table, the chef will explain the inspiration behind the dish as inspired by Walton’s strokes. Each course will be paired with Mexican wine from the Valle de Guadalupe region.
The evening concludes at 9:00 pm and your driver will be waiting outside the restaurant to take you back to your resort. This tour will charm all art and foodie aficionados. Food and drinks are included in the cost of the tour.
San Jose del Cabo is approximately a 35-minute drive or 20 miles from Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas and Villa La Estancia Cabo. From Villa La Valencia, it is approx. a 14-minute drive or 2.5 miles.
2. Ride A Camel in the Outback
Another great activity to do in Los Cabos in winter is take a camel ride and explore the Baja California Sur outback. Several tour companies offer an array of experiences in the outback such as zip lining, ATV tours, and horseback riding, but for something truly different, hop on the back of a camel, which will give you extra height to take in the stunning views of the cactus-lined desert.
The roundtrip camel tour lasts anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours depending on which tour company you book through and is for ages 5 and up. Afterwards, most tour companies have a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal or a snack. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothes and sunscreen.
The distance depends on the tour company you choose, but expect the journey to be approximately a 25-minute drive or 12 miles from Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas and Villa La Estancia Cabo and from Villa La Valencia, approx. a 20-minute drive or 5.8 miles. Ask the concierge to book the tour with roundtrip transportation and they will pick you up at your home resort.
3. Go Bar Hopping
Cabo San Lucas is as famous for its natural beauty as it is for its nightlife. Venture into town and feel the dynamic vibe that Cabo offers. In the downtown area, you can have a good time drinking, dancing, and listening to live music in one of the many famous clubs: Cabo Wabo Cantina, El Squid Roe, and Mandala. Mango Deck is also a highly recommended place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset because it is located right on the beach. Plaza Bonita Mall is located next to the marina and there you will find very nice shops as well as several restaurants and bars that are part of the attractive nightlife of Cabo. The downtown area is just nine blocks away from the marina, so you can easily explore both and we recommend bar hopping and visiting a few different places, so you can experience the full extent of Cabo’s exciting nightlife. During the winter season, the average nighttime temperature is 60°F, so you may want to bring a light sweater unless you plan to dance the night away.
Downtown Cabo San Lucas is just a 5-minute drive and less than a mile from Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas and Villa La Estancia Cabo. From Villa La Valencia, it is approx. a 25-minute drive or 12 miles.
Winter is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta because the weather is spectacular with average highs of 80°F and average lows of 55°F from December through to March. You’ll be spoiled for choice with a range of activities that will make your winter break extraordinary. Get close to nature with one of the many eco-adventures on offer ranging from luxury sailing and snorkeling to hikes through the jungle. There are also a range of cultural activities to enjoy. In December, holiday spirit fills the air. If you plan to visit during the first 12 days of December, don’t miss the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a popular event that takes place from December 1st to 12th. During the festival, there are processions that come from all different directions of town as they make a pilgrimage towards The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to honor Mexico’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe. The downtown streets fill up with performers such as pre-Hispanic dancers wearing traditional feather headdresses and there are vendors all along Calle Juarez. The fun doesn’t stop there! There are so many exciting activities to truly enjoy your winter break. No matter what you decide to do, the sunshine and gorgeous weather will rejuvenate you.
1. Explore the Markets
There are a few markets that you will want to check out if you’re planning to buy some souvenirs or even just to try some delicious local and international food. On Thursday nights, head to Marina Vallarta from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm during the winter season for the Art & Market. This is a unique night market full of gastronomic delights, entertainment including mariachi and folkloric dancers, and several merchants selling handicrafts made by local artisans. The best part is the atmosphere as it takes place all along the marina where the twinkling lights from the city and from the boats docked there add an extra special ambience. Marina Vallarta is a 25-minute drive (11 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos and just a 10-minute drive (2.4 miles) from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta.
On Saturdays from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, visit the Olas Atlas Farmers Market in the Romantic Zone. There you can enjoy live entertainment; peruse local artisanal goods including clothing, crafts, and jewelry; feast on a variety of gourmet international dishes at the food court; and take home a great selection of fresh produce and baked goods. The market is held on Calle Lázaro Cárdenas and is a 45-minute drive (16 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos and a 20-minute drive (3 miles) from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta.
2. Snorkel at Los Arcos
Few things are more awe-inspiring than snorkeling among tropical fish on your winter vacation. Los Arcos Marine Park is a protected nature reserve where you can swim, snorkel, and dive with tons of colorful fish and other marine life. You can spot Los Arcos from a mile away due to its large granite islands that shoot up from the ocean. The easiest way to get there is to book a tour with a local operator. Ask your Pre-Arrival agent or concierge team about the best options.
Los Arcos is just over an hour’s drive (37 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos and a 40-minute drive (10 miles) from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta.
The Riviera Nayarit is full of hidden gems to discover. From visiting the Marietas Islands and Hidden Beach to hiking up Monkey Mountain or surfing at La Lancha there are several tropical adventures worth exploring. You will definitely want to check out the region’s number one dinner show and a breathtaking orchid garden by the sea.
1. ALMA, by Rhythms of the Night
Embark on an inspirational journey in the heart of the jungle and enjoy world-class entertainment and an all-you-can-eat gourmet feast at Rhythms of the Night. There are few things that beat this unique dinner show offered by Vallarta Adventures. The evening starts sailing across the Pacific Ocean where you can enjoy an open bar. Then you will arrive at Las Caletas, a cove that is only accessible by boat, where you will be welcomed by tiki torches and jungle creatures (actors and dancers) hiding in the foliage. Then you will be guided to one of the many little restaurants in the heart of the tropical rainforest, where you will enjoy a Mexican-style buffet dinner and open bar. After dinner, you will be guided to a mystical amphitheater where the show takes place. Expect a Cirque du Soleil style show full of acrobats, fire jugglers, and special effects.
If you have been to Rhythms of the Night before, ALMA is a brand new show! The previous show was SAVIA, about the legend of the 5 Suns. ALMA celebrates our spirit connection with nature, animals, and our ancestors. The minimum age to participate in this tour is 6 years old. It is recommended that you take a sea sickness tablet one hour prior to boarding the boat.
Vallarta Adventures has two departure locations. If you are staying at Villa del Palmar Flamingos, you will depart from Vallarta Adventures Nuevo Vallarta at 5:30 pm (approximately a 15 minute drive or 4 miles from Villa del Palmar Flamingos). If you are staying at Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta, you will depart from the Vallarta Adventures office located at Marina Vallarta at 5:30 pm, approximately a 10-minute drive (2.4 miles) from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta.
2. Tropical Garden By the Sea
If you are a nature lover, one of the best things to do in the Riviera Nayarit is visit Lo de Perla Jungle Garden located in the town of Las Lomas (close to San Pancho). This tropical garden by the sea boasts a beautiful orchid garden with 65 species of orchid plants and other exotic flowers. Admission to the garden costs 500.00 MXN (approx. $25 USD) for Adults and 250.00 MXN (approx. 13 USD) for kids aged 12 and under. The price includes transportation to and from the Las Lomas meeting point, a 3-hour guided tour, and water. During the tour, your guide will lead you through beautiful jungle trails and point out the flora and fauna native to the area. The tour is both fun and educational.
The gardens are open daily (apart from Mondays) from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Lo de Perla Jardín de Selva is located on Av. las orquideas 3000 Punta Monterrey, Las Lomas, approximately an hour ‘s drive (21 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos.
Cancun is one of the best destinations for a winter beach vacation. With so many can’t miss activities, you’ll have trouble deciding which ones to cross off your list. From exploring ancient ruins to stunning cenotes, there are endless wonders to discover in Cancun. From December through to March, Cancun has the best weather with an average daily temperature of 84°F. Below is a list of our top winter activities.
1. Jolly Roger Pirate Ship
The Curse of the Golden Fleece pirate show aboard the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship is a must while visiting Cancun with your family. Fun for all ages, this swashbuckling dinner cruise features pirate games, theatrical performances with acrobatics, hilarious entertainment, and a gourmet buffet dinner aboard an authentic pirate galleon. There are three dinner menus to choose from. The Deluxe Menu features Surf & Turf and Grilled Lobster; the First Mate’s Menu includes New York Steak and Grilled Salmon; and the menu for little pirates offers pizza and mac and cheese. Tickets start from $99 USD for adults and $49.50 for children. Ask your concierge for more information about departure location and times.
2. Visit Chichén Itzá
One of the best winter activities to enjoy in Cancun is visiting one of the seven wonders of the world: Chichén Itzá. During your tour around this fascinating archeological site, you can connect to an ancient civilization while gaining insights about the culture and way of life of the Maya.
Chichén Itzá is approx. 3 hours or 130 miles from Villa del Palmar Cancun, so you will need to plan a full day trip. You can either rent a car and go on your own or there are several tour operators that provide transportation with pick-up and drop off at the resort, a guided tour, and lunch. Ask your concierge or at the on-site travel agency next to Palmita Market & Deli about the best options for you and your group.
3. Go Whale Watching
Cancun is a favorite destination in the winter for whales as well as humans. Every winter between December and April, hundreds of humpback whales migrate to Cancun to mate and give birth to their young. Sightings are not guaranteed, but they are incredibly common and if you are lucky enough, you will be able to spot these giant sea creatures breaching out of the water. Whale watching is only available during the winter months, so make sure you add it to your bucket list of things to do. There are several tour operators that offer whale watching trips. Check with your Pre-Arrival agent or concierge team about the one that’s right for you.
Winter is a wonderful time to visit Loreto. The temperatures drop to the low 70s and the days are full of clear skies and sunshine. There are plenty of adventures to discover in this beautiful seaside town and with the mild temperatures, you can spend your days doing outdoor activities such as hiking, paddleboarding, and golfing.
1. Go Hiking
The Tabor Canyon Trail Hike is one of the most popular hikes near Loreto. The trail is just under a mile long and the trek is considered moderately difficult. You will enjoy an incredible climb towards the Sierra de la Giganta ¨Sierra of the Giant¨ that should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete and along the way you will have a chance to swim in natural pools at the Big Rockfall waterfall. Make sure you bring a good pair of hiking shoes and don’t forget your insect repellant or your camera! You can opt for a self-guided tour and hike at your own pace or take a group tour to benefit from the local expertise of the guides and meet other travelers.
The Tabor Canyon trail head is approximately a 17-minute drive (9.5 miles) from Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto.
2. Go LED Paddle Boarding at Night
Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto has always offered complimentary paddle boards during the daytime, but even better than that, guests are now able to go LED Paddle Boarding at nighttime, a truly one-of-a-kind experience where you can paddle in the moonlight and look up at the millions of stars. To book this tour, arrange it with your Pre-Arrival agent or onsite. The best part is that you don’t even need to leave the resort to participate in this tour. The Twilight Paddle Boarding tour takes two and a half hours and an experienced guide will accompany you. You will also be given head lanterns and flashlights along with a life jacket. Participants must be 10 years or older.
This winter, escape the cold and come to Mexico to enjoy endless sunshine and fantastic adventures. Whether you choose to ride a camel, go whale watching, or see a spellbinding dinner show, nothing beats winter by the beach. We hope you will add some of these winter activities to your travel bucket list and we look forward to welcoming you soon!