One of our readers from the UK recently enjoyed a holiday in the Mayan Riviera region of Mexico. She wrote to us about her trip, with some tips to share with you all.
In the dreary month of February it is a great idea to find some winter sun. This year we opted for a beach holiday at Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort in Mexico. Situated on the Mayan Riviera, on the eastern coast of Mexico and about 1 hour from Cancun, this is an all-inclusive resort with hotel accommodation plus all food and drink paid for within the package. There were five restaurants, one of which was buffet service and which offered just about anything you could think of for breakfast as well as a variety of dishes at lunchtime and evening. The other restaurants had waiter service and the cuisine varied from one to another. The food was generally good and the wine better than expected – all included remember, and they were not stingy with it either.
The hotel was popular with families taking advantage of the swimming pool and private beach – ideal for swimming and snorkelling. There was also an ‘adults only’ area with additional swimming pool, although a few adults who used the pool bar liberally throughout the day proved to be more noisy than the children! On the whole, we found the atmosphere on the beach much pleasanter and fresher and as the weather was excellent every day, we spent much of the time simply relaxing and watching the world go by. Weddings seem to be a popular feature here – 4 couples all got married together on Valentine’s Day. TIP: it is impossible to walk elegantly over sand!
It has to be said that there was very little to do outside the hotel. Apart from the 3 or 4 hotels situated around the bay, the gated community of Puerto Aventuras consists of a marina, a number of apartment blocks and a few shops and restaurants. Trips further afield though proved fascinating. We visited Tulum and Coba, both sites of ancient Mayan ruins where our excellent local guide explained the history and culture of the original inhabitants of the area. We also visited the theme park of Xcaret and spent the evening watching a spectacular show of music, dance and tableaux depicting the history of Mexico. This really was a super event and a ‘must see’ for anyone visiting this area.
You could really pack light for this kind of holiday as the weather remained around 30 degrees centigrade every day. All we really needed to wear were swimwear, shorts and tee shirts. A cap or sun hat was also essential and of course plenty of suncream. On our trips a firm pair of shoes/trainers proved better than sandals as we were walking over dirt paths and rough ground. In the evenings, the smart/casual dress rule required men to wear trousers (or long pants as the Americans say) and sleeved, collared shirts (short sleeves were fine). The ladies of course could bring out their best summer dresses or floaty tops and skirts. A wrap is useful in case the breeze gets up. TIP: sitting outside was usually warmer than inside the restaurants, as the air conditioning could be quite chilly.
Overall this turned out to be a very enjoyable and interesting holiday. The hotel was well maintained and clean and the staff unfailingly friendly. The all-inclusive package proved good value for money and meant we spent very little once we were there. We had taken local currency (Mexcan Pesos) but brought most of it home again. It is worth noting that it was still winter in Mexico. In the summer, temperatures can rise 10 degrees or more above those we had and it becomes much more humid. But as an escape from the British winter, this is a really great destination.
Have you been to this area of Mexico, or perhaps you've travelled in less tourist-oriented areas of the country? Do let us know about it and any tips you have on what to pack – you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.