Quick Trips: Plan The Most Relaxing Four-day Vacation To Mexico

Kick Back With A Short Vacation Cruise.

By Cynthia J. Drake | Published on July 5, 2022

When the stresses of work and everyday life wear you down, a short vacation getaway is just the thing to refresh and recharge you. By tacking on as little as one or two extra travel days to your weekend getaway, you can create a short vacation to Mexico with a cruise from Galveston, Miami, or even Los Angeles to visit the Baja California peninsula. Traveling along with your partner or a few friends on a Mexico cruise can quickly create the perfect balance of excitement and relaxing fun.

Journey through the Western Caribbean for equal parts relaxation and fun on your four-day vacation.

The Restorative Appeal Of Sea Days

Spa Couples Massage
Couples Getting Massage at Vitality Spa

The best part of cruising is that the vacation starts as soon as you climb onboard. Most four- and five-night cruise itineraries incorporate at least one day at sea before you head to your ports of call. Take advantage of these long days on the sparkling ocean waves to lay out with a book on your balcony or on the top deck. Write in your journal, or book a spa treatment and set your intention for unplugging and relaxing on your vacation getaway.

Because of the abbreviated timeline on a shorter vacation, I prefer to jump right into reset mode on the first sea day. If I can plan ahead, I pre-book an onboard facial or massage appointment to ensure that the best appointment options are open. And if you're traveling with other adults or your significant other, check out the restorative adults-only spaces onboard your cruise ship, or reserve a private cabana to set up camp.

Royal Class Room Service Breakfast
Room Service Breakfast Served on Balcony
Your cruise should make things easy. When was the last time you sat down and relaxed with lunch, instead of shoveling food in between conference calls? The simple pleasure of a multi-course lunch served in the main dining room can be enough to signal to your body that you are officially on vacation. Then, kick date night up a notch and indulge in an adventure for the palate with a dinner at one of the indulgent onboard restaurants overlooking the glistening water.

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Spend a blissful four days at sea on a cruise from Miami, Galveston or Los Angeles.

Soak Up Some Beach Time

Woman Swimming in the Ocean, Tulum Mexico
Woman Swimming in the Ocean, Tulum Mexico

Depending on where you set sail from, your Western Caribbean cruise may call on one of the many Mexico ports, such as Ensenada, Costa Maya or Cozumel. Each port offers a variety of unique experiences. On a quick trip, you get to create the vacation that's most nurturing to you. For me, that means heading toward the beach.

You'll find postcard-worthy beaches in every Mexican port, and most only require a short walk or taxi ride to get there. For just a few dollars, I took a taxi to the beach in Mahahual from the port of Costa Maya, which gave me a chance to see the cute beachside village along the way. Once there, you can purchase a day pass to the Pez Quadro Beach Club, which includes alcohol, food and Wi-Fi access. Stake your claim on the perfect patch of sand, or reserve a chair or cabana at one of many local resorts. (The Shore Excursions team can help to advise you on where to book in advance.) Then, spend your day soaking up the sun and inhaling the Caribbean ocean breeze. Or, if you want to kick off your vacation with a massage, you can arrange to have one right on the beach as the ocean waves lull you into an ultimate chilled-out trance.

If, like me, you enjoy showing up to an ongoing party with minimal effort required, check out a beach resort fiesta. These beach fiestas are legendary for their bounty of delicious food and free-flowing beverages. One of the most famous is Mr. Sancho's Beach Club in Cozumel, with an all-you-can-eat buffet, refreshing drinks at the pool bar and good music. Float in the clear-blue water, enjoying the music and laid-back ambiance, cold drink in hand. Relaxing, indeed.

Ceviche Tostada by the Beach, Ensenada, Mexico
Ceviche Tostada by the Beach, Ensenada, Mexico
Meanwhile, in Ensenada, nibble on a ceviche tostada from one of the beachfront vendors and head to San Miguel beach to watch the surfers rip through the waves — or head to see the marquis attraction, La Bufadora. This famous blowhole is the second-largest marine geyser in the world. It's caused by waves being forced into a submerged sea cavern. The build up of air and water pressure result in an outstanding natural show, as the geyser can shoot water up to 60 feet into the air. Needless to say, prepare to get wet!

Set Up A Whale Watching Or Snorkeling Day Trip

Whale watching is a popular excursion to take on the western side of Mexico, and it's available in most ports of call. Depending on the season and where you are, you may spot gray whales or whale sharks making their migration. There's nothing like sitting back, taking in the ocean spray and letting the tour guide point out groups of whales. Grab your binoculars and try to spot these magnificent fish yourself.

Mexico Cozumel Snorkeling Whale Shark
Mexico Cozumel Snorkeling Whale Shark
If a whale watching tour inspires you to get below the water, try out a snorkeling tour. Snorkeling is one of my favorite relaxation activities in Mexico. While you'll get quite the workout snorkeling, it's actually very soothing due to your even breathing and the awe-inspiring sights you'll see. You'll be amazed by how calm and clear-headed you feel afterwards. Cozumel is the ideal place to snorkel as the barrier reef is part of the second-largest reef system in the world. Booking a snorkeling excursion typically includes a catamaran trip out to a reef and a few hours spent exploring the underwater ecosystem, plus as a post-swim lunch or snacks either back on the boat or on the beach paired with generous servings of margaritas, soft drinks and beer. On a recent snorkeling trip in Cozumel, my group and I had a wonderful afternoon. We admired a garden of starfish and then lounged on the boat nibbling on freshly prepared ceviche as a stingray nonchalantly swam circles around us.
Because of the abbreviated timeline on a shorter vacation, I prefer to jump right into reset mode on the first sea day.

Explore The Natural Beauty Of Mexico

View of Ancient Mayan Ruins Called Chicne Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
View of Ancient Mayan Ruins Called Chicne Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
Sometimes, getting your blood pumping can actually be relaxing, especially when traveling the natural beauty of Mexico with a good meal or celebratory drinks to look forward to afterward. On the Yucatán Peninsula, you can explore the 3,000-year-old Mayan ruins shrouded in jungle. Slow things down and admire the preserved beauty. You can even climb to the top of Gran Basamento for stunning views of the forest. Sit for a while and contemplate the beauty in front of you.
El Salto waterfall dropping into the natural set of turquoise water pools in Huasteca Potosina. Mexico.
El Salto waterfall dropping into the natural set of turquoise water pools in Huasteca Potosina. Mexico.

Challenge yourself in Ensenada with a hike to El Salto Canyon, where you can sit and listen to the stunning waterfall's thunderous roar. Not only is this a popular spot for rock climbing, but the area is also part of the Valle de Guadalupe wine region. Mexican wineries are beginning to grab the international spotlight, with some calling it the next Napa Valley. Head to one of the many small-batch wineries and see for yourself. A post-hike glass of wine will make you glad you packed your hiking boots.

When you need to slow things down, X'Kanha in Cozumel is an intriguing holistic vacation retreat right in the middle of the jungle. The experiences are private and personalized, making them wonderful for a couple. You can partake in yoga and breathwork, or arrange for a temazcal (a sweat lodge experience) followed by a meditative walk through the jungle to the on-site cenote. Enjoy the natural environment as you take a dip in the refreshing water.

Take Your Relaxing Vacation Home With You

Back onboard, make the most of the cruise amenities all the way home. Try some interesting foods or a fun activity that has always interested you, such as line dancing or wine tasting. These onboard classes and events are hosted by experts who make the experience fun and as interactive as you want it to be. Taking time to learn something new in a calm environment will expand your knowledge and give you a refreshing, new perspective to take home with you. You'll likely meet some new friends to make memories with, too.

The end of your four-day vacation will be bittersweet, but relaxing throughout the returning cruise and reflecting on the incredible experiences of your trip will rejuvenate you as you head back to real life ... until it's time for your next vacation getaway!

Written By

Cynthia J. Drake is an award-winning freelance writer in Austin, Texas, whose work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Wine Enthusiast, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Cruise Critic, AAA, Texas Monthly, and others. She specializes in writing about food, cruise travel, family travel, and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

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