Valle de Bravo, Mexico
The area's top hotel, the Rodavento Boutique Hotel (Km 3.5, Carr. Los Saucos–Valle de Bravo; 52-726/251-4182; doubles from $120), has 28 stylish—and affordable—tented suites and a Japanese onsen–inspired spa, complete with bamboo furniture, burning incense, and serene fountains. Don't miss the 90-minute Shaman Healing session, which includes an energy-balancing massage.
The cobblestoned town is chockablock with colonial-era sites, including the 17th-century Temple of Santa María Ahuacatlán (Colonia Santa María). The church's fire-blackened Black Christ (Cristo Negro) sculpture is said to perform miracles and attracts thousands of Mexican pilgrims each year.
Valle de Bravo sits just above the shoreline of the man-made Lake Avándaro. Take a tour on a J-24 racing sailboat with expert guide Tito "El Chino" Benítez from Valle la Revista (Embarcadero Municipal; 52-726/262-2400; $50 for up to six passengers). Race other crafts around the lake or lazily explore the area, stopping for a dip under one of three waterfalls. At night, take the three-hour sail on the triple-decker Yate Fiesta Valle (Embarcadero Municipal; 52-726/262-0558; from $12), where locals dance to salsa music and sip cocktails.
Nowhere are the town's Mediterranean influences more apparent than in its love of Italian food. At Dipao Pizza y Vino (100 J.A. Pagaza; 52-726/262-2965; lunch for two $28), a wood-burning oven delivers crispy, thin-crust pizza. For a Mexican snack, head to one of the stalls on Plaza Principal and try a taquito dorado—filled with meat, grilled onions, sautéed squash blossoms, and rajas (poblano peppers).
Get a bird's-eye view of Valle's pine forests and mountains with a paragliding lesson from FlyMexico (800/861-7198; flymexico.com; from $120). You'll leap off the 7,300-foot-high Peñón de Temascaltepec, then touch down at restaurant Boga Boga (311 Cinco de Mayo; 52-726/262-7361; lunch for two $15) for grilled trout and a margarita.