Unlike some target places for snowbirds like the US and South America, Mexico offers a vast variety of exotic regions with hot weather that makes it attractive to tourists, especially during certain seasons of the year. According to Statics Canada (2019), between 300,000 to 375,000 people are known to be Canadian snowbirds that travel to the US and take vacations in Mexico.
During the winter, snowbirds from the highest parts of North America travel to southern destinations to enjoy some fresh air. While the big U.S. cities are the golden destinations, Mexico has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. The most common travelers include Canadian snowbirds and retired workers, but U.S. tourists are also part of this population.
Whether you choose to travel by plane or drive your own car is a wholly anticipated experience that so many people experience year after year. Before you travel to Mexico, be aware of what you can take advantage of to make the most of your vacations. This includes attractions; law, finance, and travel considerations; and suggestions depending on your type of trip.
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This Is Why Snowbirds Travel to Mexico
There is no doubt that Mexican weather and destinations are the main reasons why snowbirds go down there more frequently than in the U.S. However, there are other key points to mention if you want to experience this in Mexico.
The distance between Canada and Mexico is reduced by the high demand for charter flights between several destinations in these countries. Indeed, these flights are not normally expensive and are available almost any time you want to travel. Looking at the budget, the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar against Mexican pesos is more favorable than the exchange rate between this currency and the U.S. dollar.
The culture is a major attraction for vacationers in Mexico. The colors, flavors, and joys are very interesting to watch, and you can spot them around every corner. According to the Mexican Secretariat of International Relations, Mexico counts with almost 2,000 historical monuments, 111 magical towns, and the cities declared Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, among other attractions that include beautiful landscapes.
The stay will not take up too much of your budget if you are looking for a simple trip due to the food expenses and all the activities that are available. Whether you are planning a cross-border trip or a flight, tourists have the chance to be on vacation in Mexico for at least 180 days — that is to say, six months. Then, by going into snowbird mode to enjoy your vacations in Mexico, you can avoid the extended paperwork of getting a residential visa while you can choose a long or short stay.
Even if you cannot drive without having car insurance in Mexico, you can still take advantage of Canadian or US medical insurance or certain travel coverage regarding your trip details. This, of course, is less expensive in Mexico than in the US.
Another reason to go on vacation in Mexico is the specific types of tourism, these include medical tourism, family visits, spiritual travel, or even trips to learn Spanish. In fact, snowbirds have increasingly been traveling around the country for medical purposes and for buying properties and resort packages. Furthermore, language is not a problem because the country receives so many visitors; a large part of the locals speak English and try to enhance the tourism experience by showcasing local products and traditions.
Security is also a major concern for travelers, but the truth is that in Mexico the most touristy destinations are the safest ones. Police patrols tend to make more rounds or have a permanent presence in strategic areas. Traveling to this country has more pros than cons, especially for people who are looking for affordable and relaxing vacations.
The Most Popular Vacation Spots in Mexico
Snowbirds have probably already been named some of the most popular places to vacation in Mexico. We decided to divide these spots by region, so you can decide whether to go to one destination or to drive with car insurance in Mexico across these different spots close to each other. Know what you can do all over the Baja California peninsula, the Pacific coast, the Yucatan peninsula, and the interior of the country!
Baja California Peninsula
For cross-border trips, a few spots in Baja California are ideal. While the peninsula allows retired people driving their own vans or RVs to have car import permits and insurance in Mexico, it also offers warning breezes and cliff views throughout the entire route. If you are considering making a medium-term trip to multiple destinations to relax, this is your choice.
In the region also known as Baja, snowbirds can travel to popular spots like San Felipe, La Paz, Ensenada, Los Cabos, Cabo San Luis, San Jose del Cabo, and Mazatlan. Whether you drive your own car or rent one of the surrounding areas, cultural centers, great fish dishes, and turquoise landscapes are common attractions.
In the northern part of Mexico, Los Algodones is also popular for its services focused on medical tourism rated at lower prices than its neighboring US cities. Driving further south, between Mexicali and Tijuana these types of trips are very common, but English is the most spoken due to their proximity to the US border.
Here you can enjoy challenging sports or relaxing activities like hiking, biking, fishing, or just taking beach walks and boat trips. If you come to this region in the summer, you can still enjoy various musical and cultural festivals that are held throughout the year.
The Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico encompasses several tourist beach destinations in which snorkel, windsurf, and bungee jumping are the most common activities. The Mayan Riviera represents an exotic underwater scenario for the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea that extends from Merida and Cancun to Playa del Carmen and Tulum to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, you can stay in one place and drive with a car insurance app or make tour trips to visit all these places.
The indigenous people, natural landscapes, and mixed cultural wealth are some of the major attractions for enjoying vacations in Mexico. Alongside this, snowbirds will enjoy shopping, quiet places, and a friendly environment due to the large number of tourists who travel there year by year. Within these destinations, visitors can play golf, tennis, watersports, waterparks, boat rides, tours, spas, and more.
Visiting this region, you cannot let go of your travel plans, the magical cenotes, which are natural turquoise, and the Mayan pyramids with over 500 years of history. If you are traveling for medical reasons, there is a good medical infrastructure with well-known, qualified professionals, and a good environment for a complete recovery.
The Pacific Coast
On the other side of the Mexican coast, the towns and cities spread out over the Pacific Ocean offer warmth, indigenous and colonial history, great cultural variety, and beach and mountain views. From boardwalks to pyramids, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Riviera Nayarit are the most popular, with the first being the ones most visited by Canadian and American snowbirds. But if you prefer calmer places, Manzanillo, Oaxaca, and Puerto Escondido also offer you paradisiac destinations to visit during the Northern Winter and Summer seasons.
Among the popular activities to do on the Mexican Pacific Coast, surfing, fishing, walking through villages, and taking tours provide high levels of relaxation while snowbirds enjoy exotic seafood and drinks. Resort activities to follow include golf, shopping, and yacht rides; however, do not miss seeing the panoramic sunrises and sunsets and assisting the masses at the cathedrals to learn more about Mexican culture.
From Mexico City to nearby cities and towns, the “magical towns” offer a peculiar set of gastronomy, history, architecture, and handicrafts that you can visit during full-day tours.
While in San Miguel de Allende you will see Spanish architecture in colonial buildings and cathedrals and local art, Cuernavaca is known for its relaxing activities such as spending a day in its hot springs and hiking in the volcanoes and mountains.
Other popular destinations further to the north that you will find are Monterrey and Guadalajara. The first is commonly known for its medical services and calm lifestyle; the second is characterized by its weather and cultural heritage with many festivals throughout the year.
This part of Mexico is the preferred location for cultural variety encompassing cobblestone streets, Aztec and Mayan pyramids, and museums. But activities such as ecotourism, sports, tours, and nights out are the most popular.
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General Considerations and Recommendations for Your Vacation in Mexico
There are some things that you must know before planning your next trip to Mexico during these cold months. The first stage is to confirm that you are in good health and have a medical endorsement to travel. We suggest that you purchase travel insurance, even if you are going for medical tourism, to be prepared for any inconveniences.
As we mentioned, you do not need a resident visa to have a long stay, but you will get more benefits if you have one. In fact, while the majority of Canadian snowbirds still live in their country, property buying in Mexico as the second residence is increasing due to the snowbirds (Statics Canada; 2018). However, to enter Mexico, you will need to show authorities your round-trip tickets, travel by plane, hotel reservations, activity itinerary, and your budget.
Language and currency differences are not a huge problem either: Most tourist destinations require visitors from all parts of the world. Some locals speak English, others offer their services as hosts to translate phrases or explain local aspects, and they even accept international payment methods.
It is important that you have cash access because not all stores and vendors will accept cards; this could be a major headache regardless of where you visit. Take also into consideration that the closer you buy things from tourist centers, the more expensive they will be; but the closer you get to these centers, the better prices you will find.
As an advice, we suggest that you do not need to be in an expensive place to enjoy all of Mexico’s beautiful Mexican landscapes, as there are nearby towns where you can stay and travel distances of a few hours for less money. This is a good option, especially in Baja California and the Yucatan peninsulas.
But the truth is that you must look at the distances to choose the correct places to move around and visit every spot that you want to. So, if you are considering driving across the country, as we mentioned, you must purchase car insurance from an agency or online service provider. It will likely be from Mexico as the legislation establishes it.
We suggest that you cover this detail before you arrive at your destination. While you can get car insurance online or go to an agency, a car insurance app will provide you greater comfort in terms of time and paperwork. With this tool, you can purchase any item at any moment, check and change details in real-time, and have 24/7 customer attention.
We also suggest you quote car insurance online and do your own in-depth research regarding your needs and the car insurance requirements, so you can compare prices and features to choose the one that suits you best.
If you want to cross the border driving a van, RVs, or regular car, you can do so as well. To get on the road, you must have a Mexican temporary import permit available on the SAT website by first registering for and mentioning insurance in Mexico.
For an enhanced travel experience in Mexico, get your car insurance and make it your ally through the solution’s highly customized options that the car insurance app offers.