Mexico: Riviera Maya. Mayan history and culture with its impressive art, architecture, mathematical and astronomical systems made this trip very special… I´m back from the Mexican Riviera!
Mexican Riviera/ “Riviera Maya” is a great choice for all those who´d like to combine lazy beach time with adventures and historical sightseeing. No need to say: the Mayan cultural heritage is impressive. You could read all about it and watch thousands of documentaries – but only at the Mayan Riviera you get the feeling you´ve really stepped into the history. And in the meantime, white sands and blue waters remind you of your actual location – the magical Caribbean.
Why I loved Mexico?
It is simple: The Mayan heritage + Caribbean paradise. Mexico is an ideal choice for those who seek to combine cultural exploring with a lazy beach get-away. The “Riviera Maya” is like an oasis of tourism: full of international shops, hotels and parks. Yes, you´re in Mexico – you could try typical foods, see the sights, experience flora and fauna, get bitten by fearless Mexican mosquitoes [lol]… But I couldn´t help the feeling that this life was far from the real one in Mexico. So I, honestly, have mixed feelings about this trip. On the one hand I was totally smitten by the multiple historical sights and The Mayan heritage, but on the other hand everything was so touristic that I, probably, was not able to discover the real modern Mexican culture.
Resort or not?
As it was my first trip to Mexico, I went for a classy resort stay: comfortable, safe and carefree vacation. In other words in this trip I went from level “traveller” to level “tourist”, which made my inner explorer and adventurer quite disappointed and my inner lazy-life-lover quite happy.
Riviera Maya is full of awesome resorts for any taste and budget. Mexicans claim this part of the country to be safe, so even if you choose a resort stay, you take a mini bus, called “collectivo” (they stop nearly by every resort entrance), and move around. As I´ve already mentioned – Riviera Maya is an oasis of tourism and it´s easy to blend in.
First thing you´re told after your airport pick up are the safety issues: where not to go and what not to do. It is true you can´t move around Mexico the same way as you do in Europe or USA. So, resort stay is definitely the safest option, when you are not familiar with the country. But at the same time some of my friends travelled around Mexico, stayed in hostels and it was all completely fine.
Who´s been to Riviera Maya? What do you think?
- Chichen Itza , one of the Seven Wonders of the World (always crowded, yet a must see)
- Tulum (amazing views when the weather is good: if it rains – there is no place to hide, take an umbrella)
- Cenotes (visit at least one: cenote diving is awesome)
- Playa del Carmen (for bars, clubs and night life)
The Perks of Being a Tourist
Even if you don´t get to see the authentic face of the country, being a carefree tourist might also feel great. My resort choice for this Mexican vacation was Bahia Principe Sian Ka´an. It shares territory with other 3 hotels: Coba, Akumal and Tulum. Sian Ka´an was “adults only”, therefore the most quiet one. Within the Bahia resorts complex we had multiple activities and restaurants, Hacienda Doña Isabel for shopping, TAO and SPA for wellness and yoga. No wonder, most people never leave resorts. It is the whole mini-world there with everything you could possibly need.
What I loved: the food was amazing (!8 types of fresh squeezed juices for breakfast!) and TAO wellness center, gym in jungle, motivated me for working out on vacation (which honestly, never happens [lol]).
The only drawback: the beach was average – a lot of seaweed (they clean it constantly, but still..). I was told by some locals it´s been quite an issue in the Mexican Riviera. The government did some petroleum or oil extraction works nearby and this caused this excess of seaweed. True or false? – Don´t know. But the fact is the fact: the beach was far away from the perfect one.
By and large, this vacation was quite different from my typical trips full of intense sightseeing. I absolutely loved everything about the Mayan culture and history. At the same time I got a nice tan, read some interesting books and added a couple of sizes thanks to their amazing meals. That´s what I call “vacation mode on”.