There is no denying that Mexico is a magical place. Conjuring images of powdery beaches, ice-cold margaritas and mysterious ancient cultures, the colour, flavours and warmth of this alluring country is enough to spark an infatuation with anyone who steps onto its shores. Once home to the America’s most sophisticated early civilisations, the ancient ruins here are world-famous, and offer an irresistible bridge between the past and the present that any traveller will treasure.
With ancient ruins encrusting the jungle-clad interiors, the pre-Hispanic history is simply fascinating – and just as enticing as the sizzling dishes of spicy food and golden beaches that bask in the sun! In fact, it is this seductive blend of old and new that ensures there is something for everyone, whether snorkelling in the eye-wateringly clear waters, exploring the crumbly remains or simply lying back on the beach.
Boasting some of the finest five-star luxury resorts along its coastline, Mexico offers a fantastic opportunity for a combination holiday, where you can split your time between enjoying the sumptuous pleasures of this exquisite beach destination before being immersed in the country’s captivating mix of Spanish and Mexican heritage. With their hopes very high, two of our expert Travel Consultants, Alison and Anna, and Personal Assistant, Siobhan, recently went out to explore magnetic Mexico for themselves, basing themselves first on the coastal area of Mayakoba, before venturing inland for an authentic Mayan adventure.
Bliss on the Beach
Flying into Cancun Airport, it is an easy twenty-minute transfer to the beautiful resort of Mayakoba, which perches on the cusp of one of Riviera Maya’s favourite cities, Playa del Carmen. Stretching down the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula, Riviera Maya can boast some of the most sought-after luxury spots in Mexico, with impressive five-star hotels offering guests a much envied location along the stunning beachfront.
If you are looking to take it easy here, the adults-only Viceroy, Riviera Maya features a fantastic spa, where treatments are based on authentic Mayan rituals. Soak in a tub carved from a Zapote Tree infused by medicinal herbs harvested from the garden, or be enveloped in the effects of purifying copal mud and welcome a deep state of relaxation. Stopping by Rosewood Mayakoba, our Travel Consultants were initiated into the art of Tequila-drinking with a fun tequila and sushi-tasting night – first produced around the city of the same name back in the 16th Century, sampling this snappy national drink is a must while you are here!
This area is also a fantastic spot for diving. Back towards Cancun, the MUSA Museo Subacuático de Arte is a stunning place to venture underwater, where over five-hundred life-size sub-aquatic sculptures line the sea bed. Alternatively, those staying at Banyan Tree Mayakoba may wish to jump aboard the resort’s traditional trajinera boat, named Ixchel, which translates as ‘Moon Goddess’. With either breakfast or a romantic dinner served on board, explore the stunning canals and mangroves of Mayakoba, where over two-hundred species of bird and turtles make their home! With something for everyone, families will love staying at Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, where the excellent Discovery Club & Adventure Camp offers children aged four to twelve years adventures in the jungle and lessons in traditional Mayan craft-making. Couples, meanwhile, will love the beachfront Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, where you can spend your day indulging in the pampering facilities, starting the day with a yoga session and ending it in the traditional temazcal sauna.
A perfect partner to a relaxing beach stay, heading inland into authentic Mayan Mexico is essential to making the most of your trip. Our Travel Consultants went to stay at our newly featured Luxury Collection haciendas: Hacienda San Jose, Hacienda Santa Rosa and Hacienda Temozon. These lovingly restored historical sites offer a one-of-a-kind experience that celebrates and supports the local environment and people, with a boutique experience nestled in lush jungle surroundings. While here, our Travel Consultants tried their hand at a traditional cooking lesson, which became a highlight of their stay! Here, they learnt the process of making traditional Cochinita Pibil – after being rubbed in spices, pieces of pork are wrapped in banana leaves before being buried in an underground oven. The result is a deliciously succulent dish, that tastes all the better for its honest cooking process!
Staying here, you will be ideally based for getting out and about to some of Mexico’s must-see archaeological sites. The fascinating Chichen Itza, one of the new ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ and second most visited archaeological site in Mexico, is a reasonable drive away. These sturdy, grey stone pyramids are approximately one-thousand years old, and reveal the magnitude of the sacred sites of the great Mayan civilisation. Izamal, the ‘Golden City’, is also nearby, where pre-Hispanic and Colonial history can be seen in tandem. In ancient times, the town was a centre for the worship of the Mayan sun god, Kinich-Kakmó, while later, Spanish colonists built their own impressive looking monastery in its centre. Striking for its unique yellow painted walls contrasting with the blue sky above, this sleepy and authentically Mexican town, and capital of Yucatan, makes for a great cultural excursion.
For more information on your luxury holiday to Mexico, a quote or to make a booking, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 991.