This post is contributed by Itzel Greenheck, Marketing Manager at Mexico Insurance Online.

Wondering where to vacation this summer?  Consider driving south of the border to Mexico. Since the US Dollar is still very strong, Mexico is a budget-friendly travel option. These 5 destinations will allow you to experience a different culture, amazing food, and exciting adventures.

Puerto Peñasco

Rocky Point, or Puerto Peñasco, is a popular gateway for Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado residents. Located where the Sea of Cortez meets the magnificent Sonoran desert, it’s just 4 hours from Phoenix and Tucson, and 6 hours from Southern California.

Because of its location and variety of accommodations, Rocky Point offers a little something for everyone. You can relax at one of the many spas and resorts or, if you’re in an adventurous mood, drive a little north to El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve: a breathtaking volcanic system and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Access Puerto Penasco via the Lukeville Border Crossing South of Interstate 8 at Gila Bend.

Ensenada 

Ensenada is a fishing town and marine port located just 2 hours from San Diego, California. Lodging for all budgets, cold beer, and fish tacos are widely available.

Drive south along mountains and cliffs that overlook the blue sea towards La Bufadora, a natural geyser situated almost at sea level. Adventurous types can take the boat from Ensenada and head to Guadalupe Island, an uninhabited volcanic sanctuary located 165 miles southwest of Ensenada. There you can go cage diving with great white sharks.

Access Ensenada from Interstate 5 just south of San Diego.

Valle de Guadalupe

It’s no coincidence that the Valle de Guadalupe was recently listed on Travel and Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2017. Not only are the views in the valley astounding, but the temperature is similar to the Mediterranean: perfect for vineyards. Its 35 square miles of grape crops feed 90 percent of the country’s wine industry. Take a tour and learn about different winemaking processes, from artisanal to large-scale producers. And of course, taste the regional wines.

You can also visit the town’s numerous craft centers, or just relax in either hacienda style or boutique hotels. Don’t miss the area’s new Mexican cuisine: a sophisticated mix of traditional ingredients prepared with modern techniques.

Valle De Guadalupe is located about 25 miles Northeast of Ensenada. From Ensenada take Highway 3 (Carretera libre Ensenada-Tecate) north.

Tijuana / Rosarito

The list of things to do and eat in Tijuana is endless. When you first arrive, stop by the city’s cultural center, Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT). You’ll enjoy the center’s modern architecture and vibe. The center offers exhibitions ranging from art to cultural events.

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The kids will enjoy watching a movie at the DOMO IMAX Movie Theatre and, if they’re the curious type, learning about Baja’s sea life at the aquarium and botanical garden. Shop at Plaza Rio, located just across the street from the Cultural Center, and eat at any of the restaurants on the premises. You can also walk on the famous Avenida Revolución or “La Revu” and take in the street art while shopping for Mexican crafts.

If you prefer outdoor activities, drive south to Rosarito, where you can enjoy surfing, diving, hiking, horseback riding, or just sun tanning at this beautiful, long, sandy beach. After the sun sets and the night has fallen, end your day in style at its trendy nightclubs.

Access Tijuana from Interstate 5 just south of San Diego.

Monterrey

About 150 miles from Laredo, Texas lies Monterrey, the third largest city in the country and an important business and economic center.  Many people who visit friends and family in Mexico for summer vacation take a few extra days’ vacation in Monterrey to appreciate the city and the astonishing landscapes that surround it, like the famous “Cerro de la Silla,” a saddle shaped mountain.

The attractions of the city itself are plentiful and diverse. History buffs will enjoy museums like Planetario Alfa (science and technology), the Museum of Mexican History, and the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art, which, with its striking architecture, is a work of art in itself.

Stroll along the streets of the old downtown and eat at the many restaurants offering traditional dishes such as “machacado” meat, cheese, and flour tortillas. For nature lovers, a visit to the Ecological Park Chipinque is a must. Or, for a less urban experience, drive 40 minutes to the waterfalls at Cola de Caballo (Horse Tail falls), where you can hike, ride on horseback, or bungee jump.

Access Monterrey via Interstate 35 in Laredo.

Plan your road trip to Mexico

Even though these cities are all within easy driving distance of the border, keep in mind you’re headed to a foreign country and plan your trip accordingly. Check the routes, road conditions, and temperatures beforehand, and make sure to purchase Mexico car insurance that includes a travel and roadside assistance package. Pack lots of sunscreen, don’t forget your passport, and be ready to have the time of your life in Mexico!

Itzel Greenheck, Marketing Manager at Mexico Insurance Online, has 13 years of experience in the insurance industry as a broker, as well as an inside and outside marketing representative. Originally from Mexico City, Itzel has 2 kids and loves to laugh, travel, and read.

Travel hacks | Destinations