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With social distancing a hot topic around the globe, it is only logical that more travelers are looking for uncrowded vacation experiences. As one of the closest international destinations to the U.S., Mexico is especially well positioned to meet the needs of the “new normal,” with unspoiled scenery and accommodations that make it easy to relax, enjoy nature and get pampered — far from the throngs of sun seekers.
Here are three ways to do it.
Hacienda StaysMexico’s historic haciendas once presided over expansive farms and estates around the nation. Today, several have been reborn as sumptuous small hotels that blend remote and beautiful settings with extensive amenities.
The state of Jalisco, for example, features several noteworthy properties. Located an hour from Guadalajara is Hacienda El Carmen Hotel & Spa, a 27-room hotel set in a hacienda that dates to 1727. Guests will not need to leave the property at all if they do not want to, since they will find numerous activities on-site, including horseback riding and spa treatments.
Nearby is Hacienda Labor de Rivera Boutique Hotel, a 16th-century hacienda with 21 rooms, where guests can enjoy bicycling, private dinners and kayaking on the property’s private lake. Travelers looking for an additional dose of history while staying at either hacienda can arrange a visit to Guachimontones, an impressive group of pre-Columbian archaeological ruins that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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In the state of Yucatan, the luxurious Hacienda Xcanatun rebranded in July as an Angsana property, part of the Banyan Tree portfolio. The property has 18 roomy suites set on 4 acres of private gardens, and health-conscious travelers will be happy to know that the hotel follows the guidelines of the Safe Sanctuary Program, a well-being initiative in place at all Banyan Tree properties. Hacienda Xcanatun is a few minutes from downtown Merida but offers enough on-site indulgences — including an award-winning fine dining restaurant and a spa — that it is a pleasure to stay put.
Complete BuyoutsVacationers who feel safest when they are the only guests will do especially well with a full property buyout. A company called Wimco specializes in villa rentals that offer plenty of privacy — as well as travel advisor commissions — at destinations around Europe and the Americas. Among its Mexico properties is Casa Nalum, a five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom villa set within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The villa’s staff can arrange a variety of activities, including snorkeling, sailing and massage therapy.
Punta Mita, in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit region, is home to several independent rental villas. One of the most elaborate choices is Casa Tau, which is an ideal option for larger families and groups, since it has 12 bedrooms. The services of private butlers, chefs and housekeeping staff are all included, and guests do not have to leave the property to enjoy the on-site gym, home cinema, spa features and beach.
For private group getaways on an even larger scale, the beachfront Mar del Cabo by Velas Resorts, on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, recently introduced a new buyout option. Guests can have full run of the property, which has 48 one- and two-bedroom suites as well as a swimming pool, a fire pit, a lobby bar and a gym. The $9,960-per-night price tag is not for the faint of heart, but you get a lot for the money, including a one-hour cocktail party with guacamole bar.
Small HotelsMexico’s big resort-style hotels may be currently operating at partial capacity, but smaller boutique hotels can guarantee an uncrowded experience year-round. In Tulum, for example, vacationers can check into Nueva Vida de Ramiro, a 33-room property where some accommodations have their own small pool, just a few steps from the beach. On the naturally beautiful island of Holbox, meanwhile, Villas Caracol has 15 rooms and offers options such as private dinners for two on the beach and golf cart rentals for guests to tour the island on their own.
The Pacific coast is dotted with well-appointed small hotels, including Playa Viva, an eco-friendly, 12-room, 200-acre resort on the beach in Zihuatanejo. Each room features its own private beach palapa, so there is no need to share beach chairs or other outdoor furniture. The property also offers outdoor yoga on an expansive deck, allowing for abundant personal space.
Even some destinations known for large resorts can provide surprisingly intimate and isolated experiences. In Los Cabos, for example, Acre Baja consists of 12 treehouse-style accommodations set on 25 acres, allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature and distance themselves from other guests.
And in Acapulco, travelers can find a peaceful oasis with midcentury glamour at Las Brisas Acapulco, where the spacious casitas have private pools and guests can rent the property’s legendary pink-and-white Jeeps to get around on their own. Room service is delivered through a box in the wall of each room, so it is not even necessary to interact with staff members at mealtime.
When social distancing is a priority, Mexico offers lots of ways to stay safe — and feel pampered.