TURQUOISE WAVES OF CARIBBEAN SEA, WHITE SAND BEACHES AND HISTORIC MAYAN RUINS; RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
Day 1 – Arrive Cancun
There are direct flights to/from Cancun from USA cities, including Newark, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Huston, Miami and Los Angeles. At the Cancún International Airport we meet our private driver and transfer to our seaside resort.
Day 2 – Riviera Maya Beach
The picture perfect scenery of the turquoise sea, white sand beach, thatched beach parasols and palm trees moving in the wind describes the Riviera Maya coast. The relaxing beach day passes swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea, quietly sunbathing, walking on the beach and lounging by the pool. A beach barbeque of freshly grilled fish, meats, guacamole and salsa offers a lovely lunch setting. Expansive resort grounds, entertaining pool games, refreshing snacks and drinks offer both relaxation and entertaining atmosphere.
Day 3 – Great Maya Reef
The effervescent marine life, crystal clear waters and diverse reef formations paint the underwater scenery of the Great Maya Reef. A morning snorkeling tour includes a transfer from/to our resort and snorkeling exploration at multiple locations. The underwater pathways guide along the multi-colored corals, schools of fish, sharks and turtles. The sun rays beaming through the transparent waters reveal beautiful seagrass beds, differently shaped hard corals and lavender colored sea fans. After transferring back to our resort, we spend a rejuvenating afternoon at the beach. A dinner at our resort includes a live Mexican music and wonderful cuisine from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Day 4 – Chichen Itza, Valladolid
The pyramid of the Chichen Itza, natural creations of Cenotes and colonial town of Valladolid reflect attractions of Yucatan Peninsula. The few hours’ drive from our resort guides to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza. We discover the 365-step pyramid of Castillo de Kukulcan, the spacious Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors and Caracol (Observatory). A short drive to the ecological and archeological park exposes Sagrado Cenote Azul, a natural sinkhole with turquoise waters. A visit to the historic Valladolid town presents colonial architecture, central town square and majestic Convent of San Bernardino. We pause at the restaurant in the square to sample the local specialty, Longaniza de Valladolid. In the evening, we return to our hotel.
Day 5 – Beach Day, Christmas Celebration
The festive decorations, holiday music and Santa Clause in the golden sleigh describe the Christmas celebrations at our resort. We spend the day swimming in the turquoise waters, strolling along the beach, observing resident wildlife and tasting holiday food and drinks. The evening Christmas festivities involve a medley of music and dance routines, representing Mexican, French, Brazilian and Argentinian cultures. The multi-course dinner consists of the Mexican and continental cuisine served in the banquet room. The holiday décor, tropical climate and holiday show create a memorable Christmas atmosphere.
Day 6 – Playa del Carmen
The energetic town, beautiful beaches, pedestrian promenade, and picturesque coastal scenery present Playa del Carmen. A half an hour drive from our resort arrives to the Playa del Carmen, a tourist town with charming downtown, quaint boutiques, lively restaurants and European feel. We slowly explore this chic town and have lunch at the seaside restaurant. In the evening, we return to our resort where we dine at the outdoor patio and enjoy an entertainment of traditional Mexican music.
Day 7 – Tulum
The preserved Mayan ruins, spectacular beaches, dramatic cliffs and beautiful coastal scenery define the allure of Tulum. An hour drive from our resort leads to the historic town of Tulum situated along the Caribbean Sea. Atop the cliff, the scenic El Castillo structure permeates Mayan history and presents its unique design. We continue exploration at the Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of Descending God. We visit the nearby Cenotes and spend time at the white sand beach and swim in the sea.
Day 8 – Cancun Departure
We spend a relaxing half day at the beach before our afternoon flight. At noon, we transfer to the Cancún International Airport for our flight.
Riviera Maya – The endless white sand beaches, vibrant marine life and historic Maya city ruins define the appeal of Riviera Maya. Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo, situated in the eastern part of Yucatan Peninsula, hosts the natural jewel of Riviera Maya. South of Cancun, the Riviera Maya stretches from the Playa del Carmen to Tulum and offers white sand beaches, turquoise sea waters, vibrant marine life and picturesque coastal landscape. Cancún International Airport offers flexible flight schedules and convenient access to region’s high-end resorts, European style mansions, luxurious yachts, white sand beaches and warm Caribbean Sea. Along the picturesque coastline there are all-inclusive luxury resorts catering to couples only and the families. The tourist town Playa del Carmen reveals the European influenced downtown, quaint boutiques, collection of restaurants, access to nearby Rio Secreto Nature Reserve and vibrant coral reef. The scenic town of Tulum presents preserved Mayan ruins, spectacular beaches and beautiful coastal scenery. Tulum’s Mayan structure of El Castillo constructed atop the cliff, overlooks the ocean and creates a picture perfect setting. The important symbols of Mayan civilization are the Temple of Descending God and the Temple of the Frescoes, a historic observatory. The Riviera Maya serves as a central location to explore the Yucatan Peninsula, its beaches, culture, history and cuisine.
Great Maya Reef – The nature enthusiasts, scuba divers and adventure travelers love to explore the Caribbean wonderland filled with beautiful underwater corals, turquoise sea, pristine beaches and mangrove forests. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, also known as the Great Maya Reef, stretches from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The mangrove forests, wetlands and seagrass beds create protective and fertile habitat for diverse marine life and diverse corals, including hard corals, soft corals and colorful sea fans. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef represents the second largest reef system in the world and the largest in the Americas. Mexico’s eastern coast from Cancun to Tulum reveals spectacular underwater life beaming with colorful marine life in the nearly transparent waters. There are abundant snorkeling and scuba diving sites, including coastal areas of Akumal, Puerto Morales, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras and Cozumel Island. A snorkeling excursion organized through our resort includes transportation, refreshments and snorkeling at the multiple locations. During our Christmas visit, the irregular cold front passes through the region resulting in a bit colder temperatures, windy sea, yet seemingly clearer waters. The guided tour follows along the colorful coral formations, diverse schools of fish, fast moving shark and turtles.
Chichen Itza – The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza represent historical, architectural and cultural symbol of the Maya civilization. Chichen Itza, a UNESCO protected archeological site, is situated in the Yucatan Peninsula between Merida and Cancun. Upon entering the site, the majestic structure of Castillo de Kukulcan reflects Mayan architectural achievement, 365-step pyramid that is also known as “sacred mountain”. The spacious Great Ball Court reflects Mayan innovative design enhancing the sound weaves in the open air. The Group of the Thousand Columns represents an impressive complex with aligned rows of columns and integrates the Temple of the Warriors featuring central pyramid surrounded by rows of columns. The structure of Caracol (Observatory) introduces the spiral staircase in the center and educates about Mayan interests in astronomy. The early mornings and afternoons are the quietest times to discover Chichen Itza and we slowly stroll along the spacious grounds and historic sites.
Valladolid – The colonial style architecture, cultural monuments, natural sinkholes of Cenotes and unique culinary repertoire formulate the charm of Valladolid. Located in the Yucatan state in the Yucatan Peninsula, Valladolid exhibits the significant influences of the Spanish colonialism. Francisco Canton Square displays the statue of Mayan woman in the center surrounded by trees, benches and singing birds. The pastel colored houses in the square complement the simple façade of the nearby Cathedral of San Gervasio. Among the country’s religious symbols, the Convent of San Bernardino signifies spiritual and cultural treasure. The frescoes at the Municipal Palace and the Mayan artifacts collection at the Museum of San Roque exemplify Valladolid’s wealth of cultural and historic sites. The Yucatan Peninsula represents a paradise of abundant natural treasures: the Cenotes, also called sinkholes. The Cenotes result from collapsed rock surface exposing the groundwater underneath. The route between Chichen Itza and Valladolid offers convenient access to Sagrado Cenote Azul. Situated in the ecological and archeological park, Sagrado Cenote Azul creates a relaxing setting for tourists and locals to swim in the underground waters. Yucatan Peninsula is known for its wonderful cuisine and we recommend a regional specialty of smoked sausage, the Longaniza de Valladolid.
Mexican Artistry – The majestic archeological sites, colonial style architecture, picturesque town squares and multi-colored exterior façades expose the diverse regional architecture. The colorful costumes, energetic rhythms and expressive styles define the artistry of Mexican music and dances. Traversing the region, we observe the Mexican culture and traditions defined by bright colors through artistic murals, artisan pottery, traditional interior décor and colorfully accentuated regional cuisine. In Mexico, the traditions of handcrafts are passed from generations and enchant visitors with beautiful artisan designs, superior quality and authentic Mexican styles.
Longaniza de Valladolid – The Yucatan Peninsula region is highly praised for its wonderful cuisine, strongly influenced by the European culinary styles. In the town of Valladolid, we stop at the local restaurant and order La Parillada, selection of grilled meats. Our ordered La Parillada consists of tender beef, pork cutlets, chicken skewers and the Longaniza de Valladolid. The local specialty of Longaniza de Valladolid is a smoked sausage flavored with recado rojo (achiote paste). The spice mixture of achiote paste serves as a marinade for the sausage that enhances its savory taste, subtle aroma and unique color. The selected side orders of baked potato topped with grilled onions and fresh green salad with tomatoes, onions and cucumbers lightly drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, complement the flavorful meats.
Secrets Maroma Beach Resort – The turquoise Caribbean Sea, white sand beach, tropical vegetation and spacious grounds paint the setting for the Secrets Maroma Beach Resort. The high-end all inclusive resort creates a romantic getaway destination for couples. The elegant décor, Mexican artistry and spacious design offer luxury, tranquility and relaxation. The thatched beach parasols create tropical setting and the swimming pool offers relaxation, water entertainment activities and continuous flow of snacks and drinks. The upscale restaurants offer inclusive a la carte menu featuring French, Italian and Mexican cuisine. The evening entertainment includes Mexican music, dance performances, comedy shows and live bands performing at the resort’s amphitheater. The weekly bazaar is set at the resort and presents hand-crafted rugs, tapestry, colorful shawls and souvenirs created by local artists. The Secrets Maroma Beach Resort represents a perfect tropical destination with turquoise sea, white sand beach, excellent cuisine and attentive customer service.