Riviera Maya Journals

Adventures in the Riviera Maya

A June 2007 trip to Riviera Maya by kathyjohanna

Mayan Palace Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico More Photos
Quote: My husband and I took our first trip to Mexico. We loved every minute of the Riviera Maya.

Adventures in the Riviera Maya

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Overview

Mr. Sancho's Photo, Cozumel, Mexico
Quote:
The Riviera Maya is simply the Caribbean coastline south of Cancun to Tulum. The 81-mile stretch is filled with a mix of resort towns, nature parks, all-inclusive resorts, Mayan Ruins, and sprinkling of roadside attractions. This area appeals to both the adventurous traveler and the vacationer who wants to kick their feet up and relax. I tend to fall into more of the first category, I jam packed my six-day vacation with the ruins of Chichen Itza, the authenticity and rich culture of Valladolid, the Spider Monkeys of Punta Laguna, Snorkeling among the tropical fish of Yal Ku (this one was my favorite), exploring the cenote of Aktun Chen, wining and dining in Akumal, the Mayan ruins of Tulum, shopp...Read More

Mayan Palace

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Hotel | "Mayan Palace - Riviera Maya (Grupo Mayan)"

Mayan Palace Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
We stayed at the Mayan Palace in the Riviera Maya. The Mayan Palace and the Grand Mayan share a facility and together form the Grupo Mayan. So when looking for the hotel, keep you eyes peeled for the Grupo Mayan, or you just might drive by a few times before realizing that it’s your resort. A couple months prior to leaving for our vacation, I received a letter saying that there is a lot of construction going on at the resort and to be prepared for some minor inconveniences. I’m pleased to say that the construction was no inconvenience. We heard no noise while in our room.The best part of the Mayan Palace is the POOL. It’s gigantic. I swam around the edge of the pool at a moderate speed...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Mayan Palace
Riviera Maya
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
52 9842064000

Turtle Bay Bakery

Restaurant | "Turtle Bay Café & Bakery"

Turtle Bay Bakery Photo, Akumal, Mexico
Quote:
Akumal only has a handful of restaurants but we enjoyed the Turtle Bay Café and Bakery. Everyone in my party (4 of us) all had different meal, and we all loved our food. But even better than the food were the smoothies. The smoothies were so delicious, fresh, and refreshing the in the summer heat. Prices were very reasonable around $10 for the meal and $3/$4 for a delectable smoothie.

The atmosphere is the typical relaxed Mexican style. Everyone was hassle-free and casual. And who doesn’t love eating a tranquil lunch in a hut, near the Caribbean Sea, in Mexico?

Turtle Bay Café and Bakery, is found near the Akumal Dive Shop, is good for breakfast or lunch.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Turtle Bay Bakery
Akumal
Akumal, Mexico
+52 (984) 875-9138

Ruins of Chichen Itza

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Attraction | "Chichen Itza - Mayan Ruins"

Ruins of Chichen Itza Photo, Chichen Itza, Mexico
Quote:
Chichen Itza is one of the most impressive sites I’ve ever seen. There is a lot of hype that surrounds this particular site, but without a doubt it lives up to it. The city was built by the Mayans as a political, religious, and military center. The city flourished from 300 to 900 A.D. Chichen Itza is 4sq. miles and takes most of a day to see all the ruins. The most famous and impressive pyramid is El Castillo. Besides that pyramid there are many other sites to see including the Ball Court, the North Temple, 3 cenotes (nothing too spectacular), the Temple of Warriors, Market, and the Observatory. Besides all of the ruins, there are endless artisans selling crafts. After a little negation t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Ruins of Chichen Itza
Tinum
Chichen Itza, Mexico

Punta Laguna

Attraction

Punta Laguna Photo, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Quote:
Punta Laguna is little (okay, actually a lot) off the beaten path. For a small fee you can go into the Jungle and see Spider Monkeys or Howler Monkeys in their natural habitat. We also paid about $40 for a one-hour guide (English and Spanish speaking guides are available). The guide was very good at spotting the monkeys and he knew exactly what trees the monkeys were in. The Spider Monkeys and the Howler Monkeys each have their own territory and stay away from each other. The one hour guide only took us to the spider monkeys and he said that we would have to pay for another hour to see the Howler Monkeys. Overall, I really enjoyed Punta Laguna. The monkeys were really active and fun to watch. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Punta Laguna

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Yal Ku

Attraction

Yal Ku Photo, Akumal, Mexico
Quote:
Yal Ku is a lagoon and also my place in Mexico. My husband and I love snorkeling but he isn’t a strong swimmer, so Yal Ku is prefect. The lagoon is a fresh water lagoon that combines with water pouring in from the gulf (so if you get some in your mouth, it doesn’t taste as bad). Plus, the water is completely calm. We spent hours in the water, and I didn’t need a life jacket or even get tired. As we slowly swam around, schools of fish swam all around us. We saw fish of all different sizes, colors, and species. This would be the ideal place for kids to snorkel (or weak swimming husbands – whatever). A few things to know…..The lagoon is a little tricky to find, but it’s at the end of the road in ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Yal Ku

Akumal, Mexico

Aktun Chen

Attraction

Aktun Chen Photo, Akumal, Mexico
Quote:
A bit beyond Akumal we found Aktun Chen Nature Park. Aktun Chen means “cave with an underground river inside” and that’s exactly what it is. We paid $17 for a guided tour through the property. First they showed us a number of wild snakes that they’ve caught in the park (and if that doesn’t make you stay on the trails I don’t know what will). Then they took us through a couple caves. Each cave is better than the last, and you’ll get more than a few “Kodak Moments”. The guide does a very good job at providing a balanced amount of information about the stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations without getting overwhelming. The final cave is a 40 foot cenote with clear blue water. (A cenote is a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Aktun Chen

Akumal, Mexico

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Attraction

Tulum Mayan Ruins Photo, Tulum, Mexico
Quote:
Tulum was a Mayan “fortress-city” built over the most rugged part of the coast. When exploring the ruins it is clear that builders of Tulum were interested in trade and defense. The ruins are in the perfect spot. The beautiful site faces out over the Caribbean. On the city’s other three sides they constructed shorter – more solid walls with watchtowers. The ruins at this site were not built with the same precision that other sites were, but Tulum is set apart from the other ruins because of its beautiful combination of nature and architecture. The most important building in Tulum is a large stone structure above the cliff called “Castillo”. On the beach below, where the Maya once came ashore, ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Tulum, Mexico

Parque Punta Sur

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Attraction

Parque Punta Sur Photo, Cozumel, Mexico
Quote:
Punta Sur Ecological Reserve is a large area that encompasses the entire southern tip Cozumel Island. The area is a ecological reserve but it feels like a park. When entering the park you see a few small Mayan Ruins and a lagoon with crocodiles and a lookout tower. Farther down the road you’ll come to the lighthouse which you can climb for a spectacular view. You’re required to park near the lighthouse (unless you’re on a special tour from the city of Cozumel). From the lighthouse you can take an informative wagon ride past some mangroves to a beautiful beach. At the beach you can relax in a hammock or under an umbrella (no extra cost). Or you can rent snorkel gear and venture out to the reef. ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 26, 2007

Parque Punta Sur
Costera Sur Highway Km 27
Cozumel, Mexico 77600
No phone available

Valladolid

Story/Tip

Valladolid Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
After we left Chichen Itza we stopped in the city of Valladolid for a late lunch. We were really impressed with authenticity and rich culture this town had, that other tourist city lacked. The prices for lunch were extremely impressive (4 people had sandwiches, french fries, a few drinks, and a good tip for $16). We walked through the main square or Plaza Principal and enjoyed the atmosphere. A few artisans lined the edge of the Square with their crafts. We didn’t have time to enjoy some of the other items Valladolid had to offer, but we were told that there was “Ek Balam” some smaller ruins, A couple Cenotes, and a number of colonial buildings. Be aware that with authenticity and a le...Read More
free shots! Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Playa del Carmen is the most happening place on the coast with one of the best stretches of beach. Most of the restaurants and nightlife are on 5th Ave. The 5th Ave. is a pedestrian street (no driving on it). The atmosphere is casual and comfortable. The local architecture has elements of native building (i.e. rustic walls and thatched roofs). Playa del Carmen was a little more a tourism city than I anticipated. More and more mainstream resorts are moving in, we were hassled about see timeshare presentations, and most restaurants had American menus. The shopping on 5th Ave. was great, but the merchandise gets a little repetitive. On 5th Ave. you can find anything you want. You can take the f...Read More

A Day in Cozumel

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Story/Tip

scenic drive Photo, Cozumel, Mexico
Quote:
We rode the passenger ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. We arrived in Cozumel at the Muelle Fiscal dock, which is one block from the town’s main square. The trip took about 30 minutes and the round trip ticket was $16 a person. From the moment we stepped off the ferry we found ourselves among the hustle and bustle of Cozumel. There were crowds filling into the shops and restaurants, lots of traffic in the streets, and tourists everywhere. There were a few cruise ships docked in the island and a lot commotion everywhere.The island of Cozumel is 28 miles long and 11 miles wide. Driving a car was relatively easy (besides that we got stuck with a stick shift that looked as if it was ...Read More