Riviera Maya

Tropical fruit cocktail

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Hotel groups, Photos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Franchise operation 100% Natural has a foothold on Fifth Avenue ("Quinta Avenida"), the main drag in Playa del Carmen (between Calle 10 & 12). It serves up veggie pastas & soups, and fresh fish, meat and poultry, which you can eat in their tropical courtyard garden.

Playa del Carmen, March 22nd - photo: Andy BuddChantelle Tucker (a regular in my posts here) shares out all the wholesome goodness in this set of photos.

Just south of Playa is Ikal del Mar, with thirty beautiful, thatched villas, scattered throughout its lush grounds (the hotel prides itself on the fact that no trees were cut down during its construction).

Brighton-based Andy Budd was a guest earlier this month. Andy’s…

Domestic tourism props up Cancún in wake of Wilma

March 29th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News, Riviera Maya

As Cancún continues to rebuild and reinvent itself, a new study sheds some interesting light on how the hurricane’s impact has been felt in the resort.

Overall, the number of tourists staying in Cancún has fallen by 10 per cent since the October storm. But it could have been so much worse.

Playa del Carmen, March 2006  photo: Chantelle TuckerAn article [Spanish] in today’s La Jornada reports that researchers at La Salle University’s Institute of Tourism Research [website not available until April 3rd] in Cancún have identified that Mexicans themselves flooded in to nullify the slump in US visitors, whose numbers peeled back to a third of what they were before Wilma struck.

In the twelve months to January this year, domestic tourism…

Xcaret eco-park

March 16th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Eco-parks, Photos, Riviera Maya

Xcaret dolphin - photo orcagirlChantelle Tucker visited the Xcaret eco-park last weekend.

You can browse her voluminous set of photographs on Flickr, or view them as a slideshow.

Wilma stripped much of the jungle of vegetation, but the park re-opened on December 12th and new growth has brought Xcaret back to life.

Things to see and do include: Jaguar island, the chapel of San Francisco of Assisi, where mass is celebrated overlooking the Caribbean Sea every Sunday at 4:30pm, the birdmen of Papantla, Los Voladores de Papantla, dolphin swim, night performances

Xcaret: virtual Flash map

In brief…

March 12th – According to the Riviera Maya Tourism Board, 97.5% of the 26,209 hotel rooms on the Riviera Maya are now operating fully.

In the first week of March, average occupancy was 85%, only slightly down on the 93% registered for the same period in 2005.

In brief…

Laurence Iliff has put together a pretty balanced article about the region’s ongoing recovery for the Dallas Morning News – March 10th

I’ve been told that Señor Frog’s in Cancún will now re-open next Thursday, March 16th. This updates my February 3rd post.

If you go down to the beach today…

March 7th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen: photo Chantelle TuckerChantelle Tucker, aka orcagirl, captures the weekend buzz at Playa del Carmen beautifully.

Sunday is traditionally a day to head to the beach – even more so last weekend as local families celebrating Día de la Familia mingled with the tourists.

And look at these guys demonstrating their acrobatic skill on the sand and in the water.

Check the status of the hotels in Playa del Carmen.

Caribbean chic boutique

March 3rd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Tulum

South of Cancún, two diminutive hotels that have caught my eye recently are the Básico in Playa del Carmen, and the Mezzanine, close to the Tulum ruins.

Basico photo © Undine Pröhl Both first opened less than two years ago. Both are minimalist in name and style… but you do need fairly deep pockets (doubles at the Básico start at US$150; US$170 at Mezzanine).

Básico has just scooped the best "small hotel" accolade in Travel + Leisure magazine’s second annual Design Awards. The T + L jury singled out the Básico (pictured, right) as "small-scale and casual, slightly unkempt and very chic".

The kind of hotel where "you can throw your flip-flops anywhere."

Further down the…

Wish you were here #3

February 20th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Tulum

Another batch of trip reports from the Riviera Maya…

Playa del Carmen on Feb 15th photo Jonathan ClarkMarsha and Adam Smith painted a serene picture of a recent trip to Cabañas Ana y Jose in Tulum to attend a friend’s wedding.

"The hotel was beautiful (although the restaurant was a little expensive)," Marsha wrote, "but otherwise we really enjoyed our stay there… the beach, the friendly staff, towel art… and best of all, our friends who we don’t see often."

A short distance further south, Jenn saw orange at Amansala, the self styled "bikini boot camp and eco chic resort".

"They had fixed almost everything [by January 3rd] Jenn emailed.

Elsewhere on this blog I’ve written

Wish you were here #2

February 14th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Riviera Maya, Tulum

"A picture is worth a thousand words" sounds trite, but how about these images to infuse some sunshine into your day.

Ms. Sizzle and her party clearly had fun frocklicking in the turquoise Caribbean Sea and relaxing with a good book and a chilled beer on a perfect white powdery Tulum beach.

I’ve also just caught up with Derbyshire couple, Jason and Vicky Bytheway who flew into Cancún on the first post-Wilma Thomson flight out of Birmingham (UK), just three weeks after the hurricane.

Jason had great things to say about their fortnight at the Riu Tequila (Playacar).

"Whenever we recall our time in Mexico, following such a destructive act of nature," he wrote…

Romancing Tulum

February 11th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Riviera Maya, Tulum

Tulum escaped the worst of Wilma’s wrath.

The Boca Paila road - photo > Towle NeuIn fact, the beaches even gained a few more metres of white powdery sand.

A good place then to escape the mid-winter freeze for a long weekend. 

Towle and Cassie Neu stayed at Cabañas Copal earlier this month; a couple of nights in a "Garden View" cabaña (#29), "not the best", according to Towle… followed by a switch to a "much better" "Sea View" cabaña (#17).

A maintenance crew was (still) resurfacing the Boca Paila Road (pictured) on February 6th – the day Towle and Cassie rented bikes.

The Neu’s have since returned to Minneapolis… and six inches of snow.

A few more trip reports…

February 7th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

A summary of the exchanges I’ve had with travellers over the past few days…

Riu Cancun - photo: DimaDima Glushkov took this photo (right) poolside at the Riu Cancún on January 29th… "the colours of the sea were incredible," he says.

Katherine Welton wrote me a long email following her week-long stay at the all-inclusive El Dorado Royale from January 21st – 27th. The resort is located on the Punta Brava beach a couple of miles to the south of Puerto Morelos.

"With the exception of the palm trees, you’d never know that there had been a hurricane," Katherine wrote. 

Earlier in January, Rebecca Lupton stayed at the same resort. She echoed Katherine’s observations: "Roughed-up palm trees told…

Playa del Carmen back in business

January 18th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

A welcome email today from Verena Gerber, a friend who owns Hotel Las Palapas in Playa del Carmen (as well as the Eco Paraíso Xixim at Celestún).

Verena filled me in on their ‘Wilma experience’.

Amazing to compare the photo (right), taken on October 22nd on day two of the hurricane, with the tranquil pre-nuptial scene on the same stretch of beach on December 17th.

Las Palapas re-opened on November 10th with 25 rooms – about a third of its capacity – but were operating normally by December 15th in time for a busy Christmas.

Playa del Carmen was also where Barcelona-based Oliver Hoffmann and his wife spent a week in December.


Riviera Maya: ‘Business as usual’

January 11th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Ellen and Jim Fields returned to the Riviera Maya last weekend. They more or less traversed the same route as on their previous visit at the end of November.

You can read Ellen’s largely very positive report here.

AkumalThe word on Tulum is that things are practically back to their pre-Wilma state.

Ellen and Jim dropped in on Paola Sbrizzi at Hemingway’s. As a measure of the speedy recovery along this strip of coast, Paola has already completely rebuilt her restaurant, which overlooks the Caribbean.

Further up the coast, there is practically no evidence of a hurricane ever passing over Playa del Carmen – at least on the blocks immediately behind the beach. …

Paradise is forever

January 10th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Riviera Maya, Tulum

Saumur-based Celso Flores hopped over from France to visit family in Monterrey over Christmas. Before returning to his PhD studies, he diverted to the Riviera Maya where he spent four days and nights at the breezy Cabañas el Mirador in Tulum.

"The region is recovering," Celso writes, "suffering but recovering."

"The Cabañas el Mirador is one of those little paradises, where one can get back to basics (a hammock, sand floor, no electricity or running water). US$10 dollars a night for your own hamaca. The owners, Maria and Humberto, also hail from Monterrey.

"In short, a great place to encounter some very interesting people."

The beach looks in pretty good shape, too. Many of the beaches around…

Playa “in pretty good shape”, Cozumel “suffering”

January 5th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cozumel, Riviera Maya

A New Mexico resident has posted a pretty good summary of the current situation in Cozumel and elsewhere on the Bill-in-Tulsa.com forum. His experience (sorry, I do not know his name) over the festive fortnight would appear to support most of the other reports coming my way.

Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancún

December 12th, 2005 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya

Riviera palmFlickr friend "Flip" is back in Cuernavaca after her three-day break on the Riviera Maya.

She stayed at the Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancún, which re-opened on November 25th. The luxury all-inclusive hotel is located between Cancún International Airport and Puerto Morelos.

Flip tells me that everyone at the hotel went out of their way to make their stay a memorable one.

The wedding ceremonies have already started, even with some palapas still under repair.