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Mexico offers more than Cancun for spring break 2011

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Mexico's beauty on the west coast is simply breath takingMexico’s spring break destinations are diverse but all of them have something to offer. Cancun might be the go-to choice for many college students, but other cities on the west coast of Mexico are exotic and filled with spring break fun.

Acapulco is a city famed as a destination for the jet-setting crowd.

Acapulco, the southernmost tourist destination in Mexico that hosts spring break festivities, lures college students with temperatures that rarely dip below 80 degrees during the day.

Besides the large nightlife scene, beach parties should keep students occupied during the day. However, students may want to take a break to explore some of the exciting activities Acapulco has to offer.

Head over the La Quebrada to witness some spectacular cliff-diving. Students can watch divers fly into the waters below from the top of a huge 140-foot rock face. Students can walk to the viewing area in less than fifteen minutes taking La Quebrada, the road behind the cathedral in the main square, says Frommer’s guide to Acapulco.

Visit the Acapulco Historical Museum to get to know the area’s culture a bit better. The museum is located inside the Fuerte de San Diego, a fort originally built in 1616. The city’s history is filled with pirates, conquistadors and trade with Asian nations, so history buffs should take note of this attraction.

Art lovers will marvel at Diego Rivera’s mural painted on the house of Dolores Olmedo in the downtown area. The full wall mural depicts Aztec deities and took over 18 months to complete.

Acapulco is definitely in style right now, as designers have based some of their recent collections on the resort city. Discussing her new bathing suit collection, designer Trina Turk said she was, “drawing inspiration from the city of Acapulco in the 1960’s & 1970’s, an era known for glamorous getaways by Hollywood’s rich and famous and the international jetset.”

Further up north, Puerto Vallarta sits in a bay that is renowned for its beauty. This resort town offers pristine beaches that college students should find inviting and relaxing.

Travelers who enjoy classic Hollywood tales will be pleased to know that Puerto Vallarta was the backdrop for the classic Ava Gardner and Richard Burton film, “Night of the Iguana.” Elizabeth Taylor came along to keep her romance with Burton alive causing quite a frenzy with the paparazzi since both stars were still married to other people at the time.

Try a zip-line adventure in the jungles nearby to see some of the ecological diversity in the area. Students can also sail on a boat to the nearby coral reefs where dolphins and manta rays glide along with swimmers exploring the underwater scenery.

The Malecon seaside boardwalk is perfect for a stroll at sunset. Mariachis serenade visitors to the tropical paradise as waves crash softly on the sand nearby.

Infamous for its late-night parties, Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife has one of the largest club scenes in Mexico. Bars, clubs and restaurants in downtown beckon students on spring break as DJs blast music and thump the bass.

Called the “Pearl of the Pacific”, Mazatlan is a welcoming city for students with its mix of old culture and modern accommodations.

Recently, the city underwent a massive restoration to bring pueblo viejo (old town) back to life. “Here, against a backdrop of cobbled streets, crumbling edifices and an ever-increasing number of newly restored gems, you’ll find a cultural renaissance under way,” describes Lonely Planet.

For fun, students can climb up El Faro, arguably the second-highest lighthouse in the world, to get a view of the city and coastline. Take a walk around Plazuela Machado and soak up the culture of the area by stopping in one of the many cafes, shops and theatres that embody the city.

Nearby, the Mazatlan Cathedral, built from 1875 to 1890, displays some fantastic architecture that will take the breath away of any student on college break.

The beaches are best along the coasts that lie north and south of old town, near many of the hotels where spring breakers stay, so don’t worry about having to go far to get some sun and surf!

A great tidbit to know about Mazatlan is how much bang you can get for your buck! While many tourists come to visit the city, the area is relatively new and unknown as a destination so prices are reasonable.