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Mexico: Is It Worth A Trip?

"Sterling to Pesos, please."

"Cancun or Mexico City?"

With 2015 billed the 'Year of Mexico' by the UK tourism board, it's a request that bureau de change cashiers have been hearing a lot of lately - but their assumption on destinations needs updating.

While Brits have usually headed to Mexico in search of Spring Break chaos or the hubbub of one of the world's biggest cities, new direct flights have opened up between Puerto Vallarta and both Manchester and London, an 11-hour flight transporting you to a leafy, elective alternative.

We were invited to take part in the Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf Classic tournament - a fusion of jaw-dropping courses, of both the 18 hole and culinary variety. We were sceptical: isn't Mexico in the grip of cartel wars and questionable political dealings? A weekend of nibbles and tee shots didn't fit with (an admittedly pop culture-fuelled) image of gangs and crooks - but it's exactly this image that the Mexican tourism industry is working to counter.


Puerto Vallarta is situated on the Western coast of the Jalisco state - a region famed for the city of Guadalajara, agave crops, its tequila production and the eponymous town of Tequila. The portal town has long been a haunt of US and Canadian tourists looking to escape for some winter sun - mention that you're from the UK and the locals are thrilled at the notion a tourist has flown all this way to visit their seaside escape. It's homely, hospitable, with a great deal more cultural identity about it than the likes of Cancun.

A half hour drive up the coast and you'll arrive in the neighbouring state of Nayarit - a region that caters to back-packers and A-listers alike. The Kardashians are regulars at the St Regis Punta Mita resort, while the Mexican president is said to be building a holiday home on the same stretch of coast - while world-weary bohemians beat a trail to the surf town of Sayulita

From water sports to golfing trips, coastal strolls to reef dives, it's time to rethink your idea of Mexico. Yes - you'll hear stories of clashes between cartels and local police forces, but these are isolated, seldom-seen events. While we were staying in the region there was a minor incident that saw some US and Canadian tour operators look to cancel cruise liner stop offs, but it was swiftly resolved. 

So don't be put off by the headlines, Tweets or images of burnt out cars - if you've pondered what Mexico has to offer besides its vast capital and Spring Break centre, get yourself to Puerto Vallarta and start exploring. 


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