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KAHLUA AND
CHOCOLATE

Excellent Mexican coffee becomes dessert when laced with Kahlua and rum, or xtabentún, a Maya liqueur flavored with anise and honey.

Dark Mexican chocolate — sometimes mixed with honey, cinnamon and nuts — goes by the botanical name Theobroma, meaning food of the gods.

When great coffee and chocolate come together, the effect is truly heavenly.

 

 

 

 

 

EXPERIENCE RIVIERA MAYA

Edited HCP/Aboard's inaugural 2010 destination guide, published in partnership with Riviera Maya's hotel association and tourism board, and wrote most of the text. Below are some sample manuscripts.

 


 

CULTURE

Local color

As the pale young boy chases a speedy green iguana up the coral-colored cliffs bathed in warm orange sunshine, his pink-nosed father stares at the steel-gray Castillo, which presides over a brilliant emerald sea under a broad cerulean sky, and he wonders how the small cinnamon Maya could have built such a grand golden city as Tulum.

In 1518 when Spanish explorer Juan de Grijalva first spied Tulum, the great Maya civilization was already 700 years past its peak.

"The Maya are well known for their writing, as well as for their advanced mathematics, astronomy and calendrical calculations," explains Laura Rubio of Blue Pearl Suites in Playa del Carmen. Theories for the decline of their great cities range from natural catastrophes to epidemics, earthquakes, drought and war, she says.

Download a PDF file of the complete story, Experience Riviera Maya 2011, Culture section, main text. Photo above by J Kevin Foltz.


 

BEACHES

Glorious beaches

Pictures cannot capture the brilliant
blues and greens of this Caribbean.

Before Riviera Maya had ancient archaeological sites, fun new attractions, world-class resorts, restaurants or shops — before anyone even coined the name Riviera Maya — there were these glorious beaches. At the intersection of broad, white, powdery sand and brilliant, blue, shimmering sea, lovers of warm winter sun and hot summer fun can choose from 150 km of the world's best.

Beaches run from quaint Puerto Morelos in the north to the private sands of Punta Maroma, über-cool Mamitas Beach to the party vibe in Playa del Carmen, the dive-and-snorkel beaches of Akumal, the languid pace of Punta Soliman, the mystic realm of Tulum, and the natural wilderness of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.

Download a PDF file of the complete story in English or Spanish, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Beaches section, main text. Photo above by Richard Kholer.

 


 

SIGHTSEEING

See and do

Feel the vibe of ancient Maya cities
and bohemian Playa del Carmen.

Singles, couples, friends and families find more fun stuff to see and do in Riviera Maya than anywhere else in the Caribbean.

Sometimes the best things in life are free, like drinking in the bohemian ambience of Playa del Carmen's famous la Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), a pretty pedestrian promenade of strolling mariachis and street performers, outdoor lounges and cafés, chic boutique hotels and unmatched people watching.

The very icon of Riviera Maya is the seaside archeological site of Tulum, which has a new night program. Other ancient Maya sites, Coba and Muyil, also welcome explorers, and the mother of all Maya cities, Chichén Itzá, awaits just a short excursion inland.

Download a PDF file of the complete story in English or Spanish, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Sightseeing section, main text. Photo above from Selvática.

 


 

SPORTS

Get moving

Sporting life keeps you going
above and below the surface.

In Riviera Maya, the sporting life can stretch out as wide as a golf course and plunge as deep as the sea; be shrouded in the mystery of a sacred cenote or as friendly as a chattering dolphin. Fishing, swimming, sailing, flying through the canopy on zip lines — here, no one ever runs out of activities.

Take your best shot at the six exciting golf courses on the riviera, including one that hosts the PGA Tour, plus five more at nearby Cancún and Cozumel. Play a different layout every day.

Dive and snorkel on the Great Maya Reef, spying on neon tropical fish, vibrant coral colonies and graceful sea turtles. Besides the coral reefs offshore, the Yucatán offers hundreds of spooky cenotes inland, carved out by rainwater dripping through the limestone.

Download a PDF file of the complete story in English or Spanish, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Sports section, main text. Photo above by Richard Kholer.

Golf, of course

Eleven challenging courses now make the Mexican Caribbean a world-class golf destination. But just a dozen years ago, few players would have considered Riviera Maya as the place for a great golf vacation.

Today, 10 luxurious courses with 18 holes or more, plus one with nine holes, lure golfistas to the Mexican Caribbean with perennially balmy weather and perfectly sculpted designs by PB Dye, Robert von Hagge, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. In 2009/10, the destination expects to debut two more amazing facilities to make it Mexico's undisputed leader in golf.

Download a PDF file of the complete story in English or Spanish, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Sports section, sidebar.

 


 

DINING AND DRINKING

Season to taste

Riviera Maya cuisine fuses many
of the world's great culinary traditions.

What would you call the gastronomic fusion of Mexican, Italian, Argentine, Maya, Japanese, Thai, French and American food?

"Riviera Maya cuisine," of course. Millennia before there was anything called "Mexican food," there was a strong Maya culinary tradition. It starts with the basics — grilled meats, chicken and seafood — but the Maya's true gift to diners is their improbable combinations of chocolate, honey, corn, chiles, peppercorns, coriander, achiote and cinnamon.

Scan local menus for cochinita pibil, meaning pork in bitter orange and red recado seasoning wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in a hole. Try the frijol con puerco, a stew of black beans and pork. The local relleno negro mixes turkey, ground beef and hard-boiled eggs into a rich black chili sauce. Try anything under mole, a dark rich goo combining chocolate and chiles.

Excellent Mexican coffee becomes dessert when laced with Kahlua and rum, or xtabentún, a Maya liqueur flavored with anise and honey. Mangos and papayas may be served flambéed, in crepes or as ice cream. Dark Mexican chocolate — sometimes mixed with honey, cinnamon and nuts — goes by the botanical name Theobroma, meaning food of the gods.

When great coffee and chocolate come together, the effect is truly heavenly.

Download a PDF file of the complete story in English or Spanish, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Dining section, sidebar. Photo above by J Kevin Foltz.


 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Sleep well

Choose from every style of accommodation
from giant resort to chic boutique.

Each visitor finds the right accommodation here because Riviera Maya offers more than 30,000 rooms in every style of hotel, resort, condo and villa. All exude the famous Mexican Caribbean warmth, charm and hospitality.

Some vacationers choose large all-inclusive resorts with hundreds of rooms, unlimited food and drink in multiple restaurants, and more activities than they could ever schedule, all set on a great stretch of beach.

Others prefer friendly boutique hotels and resorts in town — also called "European plan" or "modified American plan" — tucked between the glorious restaurants and cafés, chic lounges and discos, recreational shopping, and fun things to see and do, either on the beach or just a few steps away.

Groups and families sometimes stay in condos or villas — just like home, except located on the breathtaking Mexican Caribbean or maybe a great golf course.

Download a PDF file of the complete story, Experience Riviera Maya 2010, Accommodations section, main text. Photo above from Mandarin Oriental.

 

 


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Banner illustration by Jeff Borg