Give Yourself a Break

A spring break. One that's way beyond booze cruises and Lauderdale crowds.
By Kathy Ely
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Spring fever is about to kick in, students are hitting the road, and you have a hunkering to take your own break. But the frat party scene at the beach is old hat—you want to literally break out of the winter, and vacation, doldrums. So get original, and spring into action with some refreshingly new ideas.

Celebrate the Equinox: Mexico's Chitzen Itza
It's that special time of year, a time when day and night are evenly balanced, a time when the gods smile on the birds and the bees and the rituals of life. And just 117 miles from Cancun, you can witness those mystical moments, still living on from the foresight of Mayan architects. What better way to celebrate this time of year then at this massive, world-famous Yucatan temple? Watch the shadow of the feathered snake-god Kukulcan march down the pyramid of El Castillo in a once-a-year effect unmatched around the world.
Beyond Cancun: Belize
In the 50s, it was Lauderdale. More recently, the likes of Cancun and Padre Island are bursting with college students looking for endless nights and a good time. But keep on going south for a beach vacation worth your time, with world-class diving and snorkeling on the hemisphere's longest reef. And the partying's not bad either on this English-speaking real-life Temptation Island.

A European Grand Tour
In ages past, you couldn't pass into adulthood without the European rite of passage. The backpacking/hostel path may still appeal (though Europe on $5 a day is pretty impossible these days), but a quick, off-season jaunt can get you a good start on your "education." Get beyond the Louvre and the Tower of London to discover the offbeat: the gothic charms of Prague, Paris' underground catacombs, a crazy king's lair, or the many beers of Belgium.

Save the Whales
The Sea of Cortez is bursting with the sea's megafauna this time of year, ready to head back to their northern homes. Spend a week up close and personal with the blue whale, and an amazing array of other sea life. Watch from the coastline, or climb into a kayak to get up close. The Dominican Republic, an emerging destination, also hosts these high-profile visitors.

Published: 13 Feb 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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Best Hotels in Costa Rica

$83
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Volcano Lodge and Springs
$193
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Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose
$196
Average/night*
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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
$90
Average/night*
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Pumilio Mountain and Ocean Hotel

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