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Spring break: It's Mexico, Miami and Vegas for party people

March 02, 2012|By Jane Engle | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Cancun, Mexico, tops the list of most popular spring break destinations, a student travel company says.
Cancun, Mexico, tops the list of most popular spring break destinations,… (Elizabet Ruiz / EPA )

What’s “in” for spring break this year? Some U.S. spots are luring more of the party-hearty, based on bookings with a top travel agency.

Cancun, Mexico, remains the most-booked destination, Miami moved from No. 7 to No. 3 this year, and Las Vegas held on to the No. 10 slot that it hit last year, said Patrick Evans, Dallas-based spokesman for STA Travel, which bills itself as the world’s largest student travel agency.

Of course, some things haven’t changed. Sun, fun and beaches rule, and tough times aren’t spoiling the festivities, Evans said.

“Despite the economic situation, spring break is still pretty strong because it’s the iconic thing students know they’ll do each year,” Evans said in an interview “It’s the one area of travel that we haven’t really seen take a hit due to the economy.”

Cancun’s affordable party packages help keep it on top despite State Department travel warnings about drug-related violence in Mexico, Evans said. Other Mexican resorts — Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas — also made the Top 10 list.

“People realize where the violence is located and are avoiding those areas but not the entire country,” Evans said.

Las Vegas got a boost last year when MTV set up shop at the Palms Casino Resort as its “official” spring break destination. “MTV still has a role in dictating what is cool for spring break,” Evans said. The 2009 release of the movie  “The Hangover,” a comedy about drunken misadventures in Sin City, didn’t hurt either, he added.

Spring break may not be as huge for colleges in warmer spots, such as California, as it is in frigid Boston or Michigan. And when California students get away, they often drive to nearby resorts. When they do book with STA Travel (generally when they need flights), they head for Hawaii, Costa Rica, Europe, Cancun and New York, in that order, Evans said.

And now, the Top 10  spring break destinations for 2012, brought to you by STA. Are you in or out? Wherever you are, start planning in August or September for spring break 2013 because deal-seeking students are booking earlier these days, Evans said.

1. Cancun, Mexico

2. Punta Cana,Dominican Republic

3. Miami (South Beach)

4. Panama City Beach, Fla.

5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

6. Acapulco, Mexico

7. Montego Bay/Negril, Jamaica

8. Nassau, Bahamas

9. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

10. Las Vegas

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