The family-friendly perks at this Gulf coast resort in Mexico make it a top value all-inclusive getaway for Southerners.
Tampico is a vacationer’s paradise, and, as of late, one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. During the first half of the 20th century, Tampico was such a Mecca for international celebrities that during the 1950’s bandleader Stan Kenton had a number one hit titled “Tampico,” in honor of the once-hotspot resort area. It’s situated on the calm Gulf of Mexico – a few miles north of Veracruz and a few hundred miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Unfortunately, not long after Kenton penned “Tampico,” a hurricane blew through destroying historic structures, restaurants, bars, hotels and casinos. Adding to the demise of tourism was the booming oil industry expelling putrid smells that wafted across the once pristine beaches. Now with stricter environmental laws in place, the Greater Tampico Area including the city of Tampico and the towns of Almira to the north and Ciudad Madero to the south, are experiencing a renaissance of sorts.
A New Beach Resort Rises
Built in the mid-1990s, the all-inclusive Club Maeva Miramar Tampico (800/739-0113) is situated on four acres facing La Playa de Miramar on the Gulf in Ciudad Madero, just 10 minutes from Tampico-Tamaulipas International Airport. The resort has become a catalyst for growth. Future beachfront developments promise more shopping, restaurants, condominiums and boutique hotels. This resort is favored by many of the Tampaulipas’ own residents.
Club Maeva Miramar is a superior resort with 180 brightly decorated rooms and suites, many with an ocean view. All rooms come equipped with telephones, air conditioning, satellite television, in-room safe and balcony. Non-smokers and those who go to bed early are forewarned that some of the nicest rooms allow smoking and overlook a large patio and stage dedicated to loud, lively nightly entertainment. Alternatively, guests can rent a small private villa with a garden view.
Golf & All-Inclusive Family Packages
Be sure to visit Maeva’s Lagunas de Miralta Golf Club’s 18-hole course in nearby Almira, just a 20-minute drive from the resort. Pull carts, golf carts, golf clubs and lessons from the golf pro are available for rent. Tee times must be booked upon arrival at the resort, but the supervised children’s program provides plenty of opportunity for parents and grandparents to play.
“This golf course is rock solid. It is tough enough for even a world-class player, but at the same time from the regular tees it is guaranteed to be an enjoyable day on the course. The putting greens are fabulous, big and contoured. The golf course is designed by one of Mexico’s prolific architects, Joe Fingers, who has designed golf courses all over the United States. The course is walkable, but I highly recommend renting a golf cart because of the heat,” informs Andrew Penner, a Calgary, Alberta-based golf pro and author of the new book, “One Flew Over the Caddyshack.”
After golf, have lunch or dinner at the Blue Seagull Restaurant, or at the gourmet French/Mexican fusion dining room. This is where many locals dine when celebrating a very special occasion. Please note that children under 12 are restricted from dining at “Juana Cata,” reserving it for a special parents-night out.
After dinner, stay out for a while to listen to the nightly entertainment. Teens will like the resort’s disco, and parents the wine and delicious local drinks, including the ever-so-popular Margarita, a sweet, frozen libation created in Mexico.
Good to know — rates are reasonable compared to the better-known Mexican resort areas and, for most of the year, a child under 12 can stay free when sharing a room with an adult.
Land & Sea Activities for Big Kids, Little Kids
If beaching is more your thing than golfing, there is plenty to do without leaving the resort’s property. Activities include tennis, soccer, beach volleyball, water aerobics, water polo, tabletop games, swimming and fun games and contests throughout the week at the pool and the Tropical Hut. The resort has a wading pool for the kids, two family pools and an adult-only pool called the Solarium with a swim up bar–a sanctuary for those who want a little solace under the sun. For an extra fee you can go pony or horseback riding, jets skiing, snorkeling, diving, take a tennis lesson, or for those who don’t get seasick – try your luck at deep-sea fishing.
Added to the resort experience recently is the El Temascal – an ancient indigenous purifying bathhouse warmed with fire, which the bather enters, followed up with a relaxing massage – therapeutic for the both the body and the soul. Also on offer are excursions to Rancho Calavera, a working cattle ranch in Veracruz, where you can be a cowhand for the day, then be treated to a BarBQ as the sun sets.
Club Maeva Miramar’s guests can quench their thirst or read a novel at the Happy Hut by the Beach Club, while their youngsters, from 2-12 years of age, are at play at the Mini Club. Not only do these kids have their own separate buffet, but they are supervised by a specialized nurse and Maevamigos, the resorts’ high energy staff. The Maevamigos also act as official greeters and activity instructors by day, and by night, transform into a talented group of entertainers who really reminded me of a cruise ship’s tightly-knit and cheerful staff.
Insider’s Guide to Tampico’s Top Places To See
Gifts & Crafts – Los Asombros – Av. EjÃ©rcito Mexicano 101
Shopping Center – Centro Comercial Tres Arcos – Av. Hidalgo y Regiomontana
Movie Theatre – CinÃ©polis-Prol. Av. Hidalgo 5107 Tampico
Bowling – Bolitam – Av. Loma Real y Calle 2a
River and Lagoon Tour – Barco Sagrario – General Heriberto Jara 1000 Col Morelos
Ecological Park – El Solito – Del Puente Tampico
Excursions in the Region
Club Maeva Miramar Tampico works with the ground destination management company Centro de Reservaciones Internacionales to arrange tours to the historical city tour of Tampico, which include a trolley ride to the central market and malls, the neo-classic architecture of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Pyramid of the Flowers. This unusual structure was created from sand, mud, seashells and ceramic, and covered in mortar, lime and sand. Tampico’s Liberty Square is reminiscent of Jackson Square in N’Awlins, Louisiana.
If you are up for a long day’s journey, then make sure to visit one of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites – El Tajin in the state of Veracruz. Here the Totonaca people once lived, and, according to some archaeologists, inhabited the area as far back as 1000 BC. El Tajin means “City of Thunder.” Among the ruins is the seven-story Pyramid of the Niches with 365 altars cut into the surface representing the calendar year. It is believed that El Tajin is where the sacred ball game originated, where being sacrificed to the Gods was the reward of the winners. Older children will be fascinated by the 17 ball courts are adorned with stone carvings that tell of the lives and ceremonies of the Totonaca.
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Club Maeva Miramar|
|Seasonal Rates:||$$ – $$$|
|Choice of Activities:||B|
|Quality of Amenities:||B|
|Bonus:||Supervised programs for baby’s in diapers are a boon for new parents.|
|Note:||The kid’s club has its own training potty.|
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