Spring is just around the corner, as are a handful of festivals in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. If you’re looking for a break, but want to avoid typical Spring Break destinations, here are the spots to hit in late March through early May:
The BVI Spring Regatta lures sailors and landlubbers to the British Virgin Islands to watch sailing vessels tear across the warm Caribbean waters. This year’s regatta, held March 29 to April 4, adds the BVI Windsurfing Championship to the mix. Every night, the Regatta Village features beach parties and cookouts, calypso bands and limbo jump-ups.
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated in many Latin American countries in the week leading up to Easter (April 4). Notable celebrations are in Antigua, Guatemala; Popayán, Colombia; and Ayacucho, Peru.
The Feria Nacional de San Marcos in Aguascalientes, Mexico, is the country’s oldest fair. Dating from 1604, it runs for three solid weeks—from April 17 to May 9, 2010—and is focused around the town’s San Marcos Gardens. See some of the best bullfights in Mexico, find a souvenir from the roaming vendors, get serenaded by a mariachi band, or sample all the gastronomic delights. Be sure to hang in for the evening firework displays.
The Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) celebration in Puebla, Mexico, honors the Mexican victory over the French army in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. It’s not the country’s Independence Day (that’s Sept. 16), but Puebla’s celebration includes a gigantic parade, mariachi bands as well as more food and drink stands than you can possibly visit. Don’t miss the parade; with the Mexican Army, cultural icons and music bands, it’s the most important part of the day’s festivities.