While we've seen that Spring Break in Mexico does not necessarily mean you need to be trapped in the all-inclusive drunken world of Cancun, perhaps a week in Mexico is starting to feel overdone. Maybe it's time for something more adventurous or perhaps go explore a new culture.
Although tourism is rapidly increasing all over Latin America, there's still what seems to be untouched territory--virgin beaches that haven't been colonized by chain hotels, cities where there's still a vibrant local culture and mucho sazón Latino!
So if you're looking for a more off the beaten path vacation this Spring Break, we sugget these 10 alternative Spring Break trips in Latin America and the Caribbean:
For an <a href="http://thecostaricanews.com/top-5-must-do-activities-during-your-costa-rica-adventure-vacation/10742" target="_hplink">outdoor adventure</a> during Spring Break, Costa Rica is the place to visit. The Central America country is <a href="http://thecostaricanews.com/top-5-must-do-activities-during-your-costa-rica-adventure-vacation/10742" target="_hplink">a hot spot for surfers</a> and other wildlife fanatics. Deemed as the ideal place for<a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica" target="_hplink"> "adrenaline junkies"</a> by Lonely Planet, Costa Rica is for those who like canopying, zip-lining, visiting active volcanoes or doing coast-to-coast mountain biking. And, of course, <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica/entertainment-nightlife" target="_hplink">there's great partying too!</a>
Belize might have been all the rage now that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/03/britain-prince-harry-belize_n_1318307.html" target="_hplink">Prince Harry visited the country </a> but when royalty is not around, the tiny country of Belize is more of a secret paradise. Three of Belize's beaches have been<a href="http://www.reporter.bz/index.php?mod=article&cat=General&article=5592" target="_hplink"> rated the 7th, 8th and 9th best beaches in Central America.</a> English is the oficial language of Belize so that makes travelling easier for anyone coming from the U.S. Unlike the hectic beaches and tourists spots in Mexico, Belize's beaches have a more relax vibe with fewer tourists around. There's also an abundance of <a href="http://www.capebretonpost.com/Living/Travel/2012-03-19/article-2934250/Mayan-ruins-in-Belize%3A-Treasures-more-undiscovered-than-in-more-famous-sites/1" target="_hplink"> undiscovered Mayan treasures</a> in the Central American country.
In the last five years, Cartagena has made it's way into every "must-see" list in tourism guides. And while the Colombian coastal city is bustling with tourists during high season, the beauty and romanticism of it's streets is still unparalleled. Lonely Planet describes Cartagena as an <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombia/caribbean-coast/cartagena" target="_hplink">"addictive place that can be hard to escape."</a> With it's beautiful cobble stone streets, Caribbean smell and eerie churches, "La Ciudad Vieja" ("The Old City") -- Cartagena's downtown colonial neighborhood-- feels like an imagined location straight out of one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' magical novels.
While some parts of Dominican Republic (particularly the all-inclusive Punta Cana) suffer from the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/mexican-perspective-of-spring-break-in-cancun_n_1341878.html" target="_hplink">"Spring Break syndrome"</a>, the majority of the island offers a rich cultural experience for your vacation. Dominican culture is vibrant in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The city breathes life from <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominican-republic/santo-domingo" target="_hplink">men playing domino on street stools to the blasting sound of merengue and chaotic traffic on the streets.</a> It's charming colonial architecture and Caribbean heat make Santo Domingo the perfect spot for a week of fun.
The Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/bocas-del-toro" target="_hplink">consists of six densely forested, mostly uninhabited islands</a>. Although it is one of Panama's hottest tourist attractions, the slow development has allowed for the archipiélagoto retain it's Caribbean authenticity. Given the lack of big hotel chains, it's ecosystem remains pretty much intact. It's natural coral reef system is home <a href="http://www.latinexcursions.com/boca-del-toro/" target="_hplink">to exotic species of marine turtles and thousands of different species of fish.</a>
Elaborate processions take place in Antigua Guatemala between Palm Sunday and east Sunday during <em>Semana Santa </em>. On Good Friday the streets of the city are covered with colorful carpets where locals will walk during the procession <a href="http://trans-americas.com/blog/2011/05/semana-santa-processions-2/" target="_hplink">re-enacting Jesus' crucifixion. </a> The <a href="http://www.sailing-diving-guatemala.com/guatemala/easter-week.php" target="_hplink">centerpiece of each procession is a lavishly decorated float depicting Jesus.</a> While clouds of incense fill the streets, locals wear purple during the march and other participants dress up as Roman soldiers
Part of the Jamaica's unique character <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/jamaica" target="_hplink"> stems from the inherent 'African-ness' of its population.</a> From it's food--jerk seasoning-- to it's popular reggae music, nowhere in the Caribbean are the African roots as palpable. Indulge in the chill Jamaican vibes and head over to Negril, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1293416/Jamaica-holidays-Beaches-Negril-makes-perfect-family-getaway.html" target="_hplink">known as the 'capital of casual'</a> for it's friendly locals who, before hotels started taking over the coast, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1293416/Jamaica-holidays-Beaches-Negril-makes-perfect-family-getaway.html" target="_hplink">used to welcome visitors into their own homes.</a> And, in the west end of Negril lays Little Bay, famous for being a former <a href="http://www.jamaicans.com/tourist/articles_travel/toptennegril.shtml" target="_hplink">"hangout"</a> of Bob Marley. Who wouldn't want to spend a week in a beach listening to Bob Marley? Don't forget to try a coffee from Blue Mountains when you visit. <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/jamaica" target="_hplink">Arguably the best coffee in the world! </a>
Whether in Spring Break or any other time of the year, Machu Pichu is a must see in Latin America. The Inca site, recognized as a <a href="http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/mesoamerica/g/MachuPicchu.htm" target="_hplink">World Wonder </a>in 2007, was voted as the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/1000-places-to-see-before_n_1122062.html" target="_hplink">number one place in the world to see before you die</a>. The best-known archaeological site in South America is an ideal week-long trip. Peru's Inca Trail can be done in four days and three nights. Don't go in the rainy season though. Slippery hikes can be dangerous!
Forget the beautiful beaches, hip night life and delicious food (although Puerto Rico has all of that too in case you're interested!) the Caribbean island is a great spot for diving. With an abundance of coral reefs, caves, sea walls, and trenches, divers have plenty to explore. The isles of Desecheo and Mona to the west and Culebra and Vieques to the east feature world class dives. And, since you're diving in the Caribbean, temperatures are more than ideal.<a href="http://www.scubapuertorico.net/diving_in_puerto_rico.html" target="_hplink"> In Puerto Rico, the ocean temperature is of 80ºF and up.</a> And if you're lucky enough you might be able to see an endangered manatees or a humpback whale!
Rio is mostly known for it's stunning views, beautiful beaches and gorgeous women. But the Brazilian city is also a hot spot for surfers. In the 1950's, <em>cariocas</em> started taking on the sport and since then have become <a href="http://www.surferm.ag/surf-articles/history-of-surfing-in-rio-de-janeiro" target="_hplink">the pioneers of surf in Brazil.</a> Today some of the most surf aficionados, travel to <a href="http://surf.transworld.net/1000144210/photos/go-there-rio-de-janeiro/" target="_hplink"> Barra da Tijuca, </a> Rio's longest beach, to catch some great waves. Surfing in Rio is also a nice way to get integrated in the <em>carioca</em> culture as it fits well into the beach and health conscious lifestyle of the city.