The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a statement this month discouraging spring breakers from heading to Mexico because of continued violence, and the U.S. State Department still has a travel warning to Mexico in place. But student and youth travel companies say that hasn't deterred Mexico from making a comeback with spring break travelers.
Funjet Vacations saw a 15% increase in spring breakers heading to Mexico this March compared with March 2010, with most of the traffic bound for Cancun.
StudentUniverse.com noted that Cancun shot up to its second most popular international spring break destination this year from the fifth spot last year. London ranked first both years.
Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Paris filled out the top five spots this year, StudentUniverse.com reported.
At student travel specialist STA Travel, this year's top three spots remained unchanged from last year's: London and Paris topped the list, followed by Cancun.
"Cancun is still in the third spot, which isn't really surprising to us," said Patrick Evans of STA Travel. "It's a very safe destination."
Evans said STA Travel does not encourage spring breakers to travel near the Mexico-U.S. border and has discontinued itineraries that include border towns.
But the Texas Department of Public Safety warning noted that "various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S citizens often go unpunished."
While spring break is still traditionally party time, culturally rich (and safe) destinations in Europe have grown in popularity the past few years.
Evans said that in tough economic times, "it may be difficult to convince your parents to fund your spring break trip. A lot of kids really are on the college track. They tend to be looking for the more enriching trips."
And for those spring breakers opting to stay closer to home, either for safety or economic reasons, top U.S. destinations include South Padre Island in Texas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles, according to youth travel specialists.
StudentUniverse.com noted that New Orleans made it onto its top 15 spring break destinations list this year.