Heading south of the border in winter

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Best of the Adventure Adviser
Week of December 25-31, 1997

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Heading south of the border in winter
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January getaways around the globe

Heading south of the border in winter
Question: I'm a Northerner who works too hard in the summer to get away and camp. Any good ideas for warm and inexpensive destinations in the winter?

Eric Pfirrmann
Newport, RI

Warm, and often empty, sandy
beaches await the winter traveler

Adventure Adviser: From the United States, Mexico is as cheap as it gets, but you'd better head south of the border before it gets gobbled up by time-share condos.

One part of Mexico that is particularly attractive — but more expensive airfare-wise — is the Yucatán Peninsula. Though you'll have to fly into the hub of all things touristy, Cancún, you can immediately head south down Highway 307 via public transportation to Kailuum, land of empty beaches, turquoise breaking waves, and thatch-roofed palapa huts. You won't even have to bring a tent because there are already 40 walk-in canvas huts with floors, windows, platform beds, thatched roofs, and two hammocks strung right outside the door. The daily rate is about $50, which includes breakfast and dinner, usually consisting of fresh fish cooked over an open fire. Call 800-538-6802 for details.

If you like to fish, you'll want to check out the village of Morelos, a 25-minute drive north. About 40 miles south of Kailuum, you'll find the Sian Ka'an Reserve, a 1.3-million acre tropical forest and mangrove swamp that has preserved the Quintana Roo of yesteryear, full of howler monkeys, jaguar, puma, tapirs, ocelots, and 336 species of birds. To explore the reserve on your own, rent a mountain bike for about $15 per day at Cabañas Ana y Jose (011-52-988-0-6022). Other area attractions include Mayan ruins, charter fishing, and endless sandy beaches. Start checking The New York Times Sunday travel section for discounted airline tickets. The high season doesn't usually kick in until Christmas.

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