Director of Technology
For those of you unaware, spring break is almost upon us. Some will be sticking it out back here in Michigan. Others will take short trips nearby. But, for those of you heading for the little latitudes, the week after next means warm weather, blue skies and adventure.
Where are you wandering? Cancun? Cozumel? Cabo San Lucas? A cruise maybe? Do you know what you’re going to do when you get there? Here’s a few tips that will make your trip even more memorable, even if you don’t plan on remembering anything.
A classic choice for the cooped-up college student. Beautiful beaches, bountiful bars and all the other good things that start with the letter “b”. Depending how you get there, whether by plane or by cruise ship, there is plenty to do that is designed for Spring breakers.
If safety and security are a primary concern, I suggest Cozumel over Cancun. It is an island that prides itself on being free of much of the crime concerns of its Cancun counterpart. There is a little bit of everything for everyone.
Beer and tequila will run you about $1 (US) a drink, and sometimes will be offered for free by merchants, as an incentive to get you to come into their shops. The public beaches may be crowded, so if that isn’t your thing, hire a taxi to take you to one of the smaller beaches farther away from the population centers.
You do not want to drive on the island, as it is treacherous and best left to the professionals. If you do rent a vehicle for an excursion, a word to the wise, do not pick a convertible, or anything that doesn’t have a roof. The desert areas have a tendency to be dusty and you can become dirty quite quickly on the roads if you aren’t careful.
Taxis are relatively inexpensive and remember that nearly all prices are negotiable.
Haggling is a generally accepted practice with smaller shops. The waters are great for swimming, snorkeling and SCUBA diving, and are usually warm and clear by Michigan standards even this time of year.
Cabo San Lucas
On the other side of Mexico, way down on the Baja Peninsula at land’s end lies the legendary Cabo San Lucas. An oasis in the desert, Cabo is always a good time. The bar and club scene can’t be beat, and the beaches are nothing to scoff at either, especially when they are connected to each other. Shopping, fishing charters, wildlife adventures, dinner cruises and epic scenery. You can even shop without any effort, as merchants will bring their goods to you on the sidewalks and on the beach for your consideration. In the evening, you may be offered other opportunities. It’s completely acceptable to respectfully decline.
During the day, where you want to be is a little place called the Mango Deck. Great food and drinks, and an atmosphere that caters to the college students. No cover charge, just wander up from the beach. There’s always something going on it seems. Fire dancers, wet t-shirt contests, drinking contests there’s never a dull moment.
During the night, make your way to the club district downtown. El Squid Roe, The Pink Kitty, and a handful of other clubs and bars are all in very close proximity to each other, and make for a perfect barhopping experience. There are many tiny bars and cantinas that dot the landscape that can be every bit as entertaining as the larger clubs. If you go, it is almost mandatory that you visit the fabled Cabo Wabo Cantina for a drink and live music. And don’t miss the opportunity to take a trip around land’s end to see the arch.
Despite recent events, cruises remain a very safe and economical way to have a great time Spring break. It’s not impossible to book a three to five day cruise in the Caribbean for under $400 per person. Cruises provide you with plenty of opportunities to have fun both on the ship and on land. Food is typically included in your ticket price, and often unlimited.
Bars, casinos, restaurants, spas, hot tubs, dance clubs, sports courts, arcades, pools, karaoke and even theaters are common attractions on most cruises, with other ships boasting such amenities as water slides, rock climbing walls, and fireworks shows. Often cruises will make stops at numerous tropical destinations. The Bahamas, Cancun, Cozumel, Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, Haiti, Key West, Miami, the list goes on.
They are a great way to fill up your passport book with stamps on a budget. Cruises will also offer plenty of shore excursions for while you’re in port, so there is hardly a dull moment. There are some things that are not covered in cruise fare that one should keep in mind, to keep from running up a big bill. Alcohol and soda pop are not typically included in the price, as well as casino bets obviously, so if you avoid the pop and opt for lemonade instead, you’ll do just fine.
Be sure to explore everything your ship has to offer, you may be surprised at what you can do that others are unaware of. Age restrictions are not to be overlooked when it comes to cruises. Some cruise lines will not allow passengers under the age of 21 to travel without a parent or guardian, or without parental permission. Other cruise lines will allow travelers who are at least 18 to travel as long as they share a room with a passenger who is at least 21. Be sure to determine a cruise line’s age policy before booking.
No matter where your Spring break travels take you, whether it is in two weeks or two years, be sure to be aware of any passport requirements your travels will require. Be sure to apply or renew earlier than later, to avoid the Spring break last minute application rush. Give yourself a few months of lead time. Book early and get the best rates. If you book early enough, often you can get price guarantees or payment plans to make sure you can dedicate as much of your hard earned money to fun as possible.
Don’t forget to bring a towel!
Spring break for Western Michigan University is officially March 4-8.