Mexico, Jamaica, The Bahamas ... they're all going to be rocking this Spring Break, as usual. But maybe this is the year to go someplace unusual. World Nomads has a few suggestions for international Spring Break destinations where you'll find a killer beachside party - just don't expect to see too many of your classmates there.
No, not Panama City Beach, the overrun Spring Break destination in Florida. We're talking the actual Central American country of Panama. The capital, also known as Panama City, is a cosmopolitan mix of modern and colonial, but head to the Pacific shore for tropical-flavored beach time. Farallon and Playa Blanca have become the hottest beach-resort areas in the country; there's even a nearby international airport so you can maximize your beach time.
In the 1980s, Spring Break in Nicaragua might have referred to a ceasefire between the government and CIA-backed rebels. Nowadays, this Central American country is fully in the tourism game. And if surfing is a priority for you this Spring Break, gain some serious cred by checking out the breaks around San Juan del Sur. Set on a horseshoe bay near the Costa Rica border, colorful San Juan del Sur was named by Men's Journal as one of the world's 15 best beach towns.
Aruba! Even the name sounds like a call to party arms. This small island (just 20 miles long and 6 miles across at its widest point), located not far off the coast of Venezuela, is known as the Las Vegas of the Caribbean thanks to its numerous casinos. Unlike Vegas, though, the minimum gambling age here is 18. Aruba's west coast, in particular Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, is where you'll find most of the resorts, clubs and casinos - as well as opportunities for snorkeling, parasailing, kitesurfing and water skiing.
With its volcanic peaks and lush tropical foliage, St. Lucia (pronounced Saint Loo-sha) has some of the most dramatic scenery in all of the Caribbean. Rodney Bay Village offers a cluster of bars and clubs, plus a casino. And adjacent Reduit Beach (pronounced Red-wee) offers a mile of golden sand and plenty of rollicking fun. Every Friday the Gros Islet Jump Up gets the street party rolling with music, local libations, and vendors selling barbecued fish and chicken. English is the official language here.
From Bieber to De Niro, the Eastern Caribbean island of Anguilla (pronounced an-Gwill-uh) has long been a destination of choice for A-listers. And even if you're not a celeb - and on a budget - you can still soak up the old-school charm and chill out on what Conde Nast Traveller calls "hands down the finest beaches in the Caribbean." No cruise ships dock here, there are no casinos that rattle and hum; it's just low-key, laid-back good times with a surprisingly impressive food scene and an ever-present music culture that rivals Jamaica's.
Wanna party on my yacht? Not too shabby as far as pickup lines go. So go ahead and play Master and Commander with your own yacht charter. With outfits like The Moorings, if you're over 18 you can charter a boat with or without a crew, cruise around the Caribbean, and drop anchor at some awesome beaches. And speaking of crews, when you bring a posse of your own, you'll end up spending about as much for your charter as you would if you stayed at a resort.