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Travel Economics - A Guide to Budget Weekends in Northwest Mexico

"Travel Economics - A Guide to Budget Weekends in Northwest Mexico"
Economic Therapy- Visit Mexico -Best Bang for your Buck
By Anita Kaltenbaugh

In economic times, stress levels reach an all time high. Why is it in these hard times we push back on the stress relief therapies that are so needed? Instead of trying to make the stressful situation better by taking some time off for ourselves and our families, we keep pushing harder. Ironically, if we just stop ramming forward and take some time for ourselves and get away, everything will seem better. Treat the problem. Take a few days off. Try some “Economic Vacation Therapy”—travel to a place that is close, yet feels exotic, international, worlds away and, yes, definitely budget friendly in these economic times.

Picture this, beautiful, sunny, warm beach, clear skies and with your eyes closed you hear the sound of waves rolling in and soft music in the background. The beach is not very crowded, the water is sparkling blue and behind you is a jewel of a beachfront hotel with spa services, swimming pool and even a swim-up bar if you’re so inclined.

Today, you’re not worried about the city traffic, rush hour or even getting in a car. Anywhere you want to go, you will walk, better described as “a casual stroll down the beach.” I once heard Freedom is not having a schedule. Your freedom is abundant. You may do a wine tasting tour of a beautiful winery, go fishing, hike a 10,000-foot mountain or perchance enter a horseshoe tournament. The choices are vast . . . sailing, kayaking, body surfing, shopping, horseback riding, parasailing, kiteboarding, the list goes on and on. Sounds magnificent, relaxing, exciting and adventurous, a true destination spot. But, how far away is this magical location? And the bigger question, how much will it cost? . . . Oceanfront condo, massage, international cuisine, wine tasting, fishing? You’re thinking, “There’s no way I can afford that.”

But wait! What if you could stay in an oceanfront hotel or a marina condo for under $99 a night? A B&B on the bay (breakfast and taxes included) for $115? Add to that a refrigerator and a microwave in your room to keep some food and free bottled water. At lunch you may spend $4 on a few tacos and the beer you bought is only $1 each. The massage, yes, there is a special for $35 and, to top it all off, enjoy International cuisine for under $10 for a family of four.

As far as free activities, the list is endless—beachcombing (shells and sand dollars galore), sunbathing, swimming (ocean or pool), beach volleyball, whale watching, bird watching, snorkeling (oh yeah, you brought your own mask and fins), window shopping in an enchanting seaport town, and so much more.

If you live in the West or Southwest part of the United States, getting to Northwest Mexico is easy and quite a beautiful adventure. From the major cities in Southern California to the desert of Arizona, in less than a day’s drive you can arrive at several beach town destinations. If you hail from another part of the U.S., do not fear, a quick flight to Phoenix or San Diego will provide you with the same proximity and the delightful journey. Additionally, a number of flights are available into several Northwest Mexico cities from multiple U.S. cities.

Five beautiful beach towns are all less than a day’s drive from either San Diego or Phoenix.

Rosarita Beach, with 20 miles of white sandy beaches, is only 22 miles south of the border.

Ensenada is 70 miles south of the San Diego border, and wineries are within 10 miles.

San Felipe, featuring the highest mountain in Baja, is only 118 miles south of the border.

Puerto Peñasco is approximately 60 miles south of the border, and offers several sandy beaches and abundant sea life.

San Carlos, which is the most southern in Northwest Mexico, offers great sail fishing and diving, and is approximately four hours from the border and also has easily accessible flights on US Airways.

Yes, it is true; just south of the U.S. border, the soft sandy beaches of Northwest Mexico are whispering your name with promise of sunshine, romance and great food. Not only will it heal the body and soul, but it may also provide therapy to your wallet—great exchange rate, cheaper gas prices, budget luxury accommodations, fishing, boating and, best of all, unbelievable weather.
Discover Northwest Mexico!

Prices quoted are in U.S. dollars and may vary according to the time of year and the current exchange rate. Sources: Trip Advisor,, and www.

Top Picks for Budget Travel this spring and summer in Northwest Mexico

Rosarita Beach
Las Rocas Resort and Spa—Ocean view with private balcony for $59 on Expedia
Rosarita Beach Hotel and Resort—Suites with refrigerators, oceanfront balconies, under $99 on Expedia

Wine tour packages—Visit 4–5 artisan wineries with our wine writer, Steve Dryden. He'll customize a special tour, lunch available with several lodging options. (646) 118-9801, or
Hotel Coral and Marina—Large rooms face ocean and marina, spring packages available for 2 spa treatments, 2 nights stay, breakfast for 4, and suite that sleeps 4 for under $375

San Felipe
Baja Palms Hotel—Newest hotel in town. $30–$65
El Cortez—Average year-round price $75
San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa—Weekday packages for 2 under $99 (weekend $109), free drink, spa and food discounts

Puerto Peñasco
Peñasco Del Sol Hotel—Swim-up pool bar, beach lounging, ocean-view rooms for under $99 on weekdays; around $140 weekends
Casa Monica Cholla Bay B & B—Bay front room, taxes and breakfast $115
Laos Mars or Vina Del Mar—Average year-round price under $80
Many houses/condos are available for larger familys for $150–$300 a night. Contact Rocky Point Reservations.

San Carlos/Guaymas
Hotel Fiesta Real—Average year-round price $87
Paradiso Resort & Beach Club—Average year-round price $120
Best Western Hacienda Tetakawi—AAA or Seniors $60 a night or $70 no restrictions on Expedia