Revisiting Cancun and Riviera Maya, Mexico by Terry Zinn

One good thing about having travel and life experiences is revisiting them later in life. In my college days I visited Cancun, Mexico and marveled at its prime attraction ~ the clear aquamarine waters. Revisiting that stretch of glorious sandy beach recently, I can attest, it is still there and as beautiful and mesmerizing as ever.

I stayed at the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Hotel, with its own stretch of paradise, and enough amenities you may not want to venture out. With two towers of rooms, with most providing an expansive view of the ocean with stunning sunrises, there are views of several swimming pools and water features, dotted with dining venues. A breakfast indoors or out is an invigorating start to your day at the Vina del Mar. The extensive breakfast buffet includes everything you could desire: pastries, fruits, cereals, juices, hot entrées and made to order eggs. If you are eager to celebrate the day, champagne is available. Lunch can be taken at the Contoy Restaurant, Coral Cafe or pool bars, with restaurants; Isla Contoy, La Joya, or Coral Café, for your evening dining pleasure. The rooms are large and most with a small private balcony lets you enjoy the ocean breeze and stunning vistas, letting you know you have arrived at one of the world’s most desirable locales. If you can, I suggest booking on the executive level where one flight up is a semi private lounge with complementary beverages, snacks and more ocean vistas.
Housekeeping is efficient and prompt. Every large hotel property may present a brief problem and a hotel’s handling of that bump in your stay, is a test to their customer care. I had an issue and it was generously and quickly resolved. Large fresh bouquets of flowers accentuate the welcome to the hotel and its large lobby atrium. Not to be missed is their extensive Gem Spa and its journey through water therapy. There was little need to explore the touristy shops outside of the property, but if it’s your desire to pick up a souvenir or two, shops are conveniently available. As the populous actively seeks your purchases you may have to give your touristy “No Thank You” reply more than you would like.

On my previous visit to Cancun, an hour’s drive south of the city is the area known as Rivera Maya which was just a thought in designer’s mind on my last visit. Today it hosts several upscale and enticing resorts and attractions. One attraction is the cultural park known as Xcaret. On the extensive grounds is an historic hacienda, craft and music demonstrations amid jungle growth. The impressive historical pageant presented in a grand covered arena is not to be missed. Even without knowing Spanish the pageant visually and musically takes you from the life of the original inhabitants, through colonization. A recreation of the “ball game” played by early Mayans is a highlight and a rare opportunity to see the skill needed to succeed at this hand’s off sport. Also you may take in the Aquarium, a Mayan cemetery, underground rivers, Mayan village and sample archeological reconstructions. A buffet lunch with beverages is included with the admission price.
For your future enjoyment Cirque du Soleil Riviera is in the process of creating a unique show, called Joya, to tell the story of Mayan life. For the first time the company is creating its own arena/theatre complex with connections to the Grand Mayan resort. While construction is underway, and schedule for a late 2014 opening, you can enjoy the opulence of the Grand Mayan hotel, and its expansive pools and luxurious accommodations with dining at the Grand Mayan Palace Restaurant. Tickets are now on sale in several price ranges, with and without dinner, for the shows which promise to offer more audience interaction than any other Cirque show. This is not a touring production and will only be offered here in the Rivera Maya. With the forethought and the quality reputation of Cirque, this show in Rivera Maya may become a destination unto itself.
Still in Rivera Maya is the Rosewood Mayakoba resort. If arriving during daylight hours you are greeted with a refreshing beverage as your luggage is delivered to your bungalow, while you are escorted by small private boat through jungle like lagoons to your resort accommodations. Along the way you may spot many varieties of the wild life native to the property. Luncheon might be served in a large palapa like structure next to a sampling of the coastal beach. The buffet dinner I enjoyed was complete with made to order beverages, sushi, pork, side dishes and a selection of sweet deserts. Relaxing on the outside benches, while the sunset was in lingering to dark, and with the accompanying sounds of the surf and salt air, one knows they have sampled a touch of the lux life.
There are many more resorts in Rivera Maya and you may want to peruse the Moon Palace, and the Hotel El Cid Puerto Morelso. For your trip planning be sure and look at: ~