DAY 1 —Cancun, Puerto MorelosMORNING Choose a carrier that has non-stop service from your gateway. Virgin America has three weekly flights (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) to Cancun from two west coast gateways. Continental Airlines has non-stop flights from several east coast gateways. Avoid connecting flights in Mexico City, which often involves a 4-hour layover. Getting There Virgin America 877.359.8474 Continental Airlines 800.523.3273 AFTERNOON Rent a car at Cancun International Airport.
The National counter is outside the baggage claim area. Check the tires. Jungle roads are often rutted and unpaved.Transportation National Car Rental 877.222.9058
EVENING Stay at award-winning Zoëtry for two nights. This boutique, all-inclusive resort, set on the white-sand Bahia Petempich beach, has 90 two-room suites, all facing the sea. The vacation experience here is a mix of swimming, sailing and formal dining. The resort is a 30-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, north of Puerto Morelos. Lodging Zoëtry Paraiso del la Bonita Chetumal-Cancun Hwy Km. 328, SM 31 Bahia Petempich, Puerto Morelos Quintana Roo, Mexico 77580 +52 998 872 8300 888.496.3879 U.S. toll free View Map
DAY 2 — Puerto MorelosMORNING Have a Janzu water massage in a therapeutic sea-water pool. In a series of gentle movements, you are gently rocked, stretched, pulled and submerged. The physical sensation is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Hydromassage is a speciality here. Spa Zoëtry Thalasso Center & Spa
AFTERNOON Sail along Bahia Petempich on a catamaran.
EVENING Have a special celebration dinner at La Canoa. This is the night to dress up and order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. La Canoa has the largest wine cellar in the Riviera Maya. The French chef uses the spices and chilies of several tropical countries to create fusion cuisine. Try the gazpacho and the spice-rubbed yellow fin tuna. Restaurant Zoëtry La Canoa
DAY 3—Riviera MayaAFTERNOON Check into Maroma Resort for two nights. This resort has one stunning amenity: its location on one of the last wild Caribbean beaches in Mexico. Pathways glow each evening from hundreds of candles. Located 30 miles south of Cancun. Lodging Maroma Resort & Spa Hwy 307 Km. 51 Riviera Maya Quintana Roo, Mexico 77710 +52 (998) 872 82 00 866.454.9351 U.S. toll free View Map
AFTERNOON Snorkel in an underwater oasis. The world’s second largest barrier reef lies right offshore and offers prime-time entertainment. The water is shallow and it’s fun to watch cobalt blue damselfish dart among sea fans. Polyps wave feathery tentacles to catch plankton. The parrot fish, its scales a bright iridescence, tear at the coral with snapping jaws. Year-round water temperature of 77 degrees to 82 degrees adds to the pleasure. Sports & Recreation Maroma Resort Marina EVENING Have a private dinner in a lookout tower. Atop the Mirador observation tower, you have an unbroken view of the sea. Dining under the moon and stars piques the appetite. Try the lobster enchilada with mole sauce; soft shell crab with achiote, habanero, avocado and citrus salad; or braised short ribs with tamarind. Restaurant Maroma Resort El Restaurante
DAY 4—Playa del Carmen, CozumelMORNING Catch the early morning ferry to Cozumel. The crossing takes 30 minutes in the plush seats in the inside cabin. You have to take the 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. ferry if you want to catch the 8:30 a.m. dive boat. The schedule varies by the season. Check timetable of departures on the website. The ferry terminal is in downtown Playa del Carmen, about a block and a half from the main square and Plaza Playacar. Transportation UltraMar Cozumel Ferry Main Pier, Playa del Carmen Quintana Roo, Mexico 77710 +52 (998) 881 5890 View Map
MORNING Dive Colombia and Palancar reefs. The kaleidoscope of multi-colored marine life in exceptionally clear water makes Cozumel a diver’s dream spot. Moray eels, sea turtles, nurse sharks, giant anemone, great groupers, queen angel, hermit crab, parrotfish, giant sponges, cactus coral, gorgonian fans are some of the sea life you encounter at more than 40 dive sites. Sports & Recreation Aqua Safari Dive Shop 3 blocks south of the ferry dock Av. Rafael E. Melgar #429 Cozumel Quintana Roo, Mexico 77600 +52 (987) 872 0101 View Map EVENING Taste traditional Maya cuisine. Tucked in among the street stalls on the pedestrian thoroughfare is this gem of a restaurant that serves old-world Maya cuisine. Two dishes to sample are blackened turkey simmered in burnt pepper sauce, and fish fillet stuffed with plantain and corn and wrapped in chaya leaf. Restaurant Yaxche Maya Cuisine Restaurant 5th Avenue and 22nd Street Playa del Carmen Quintana Roo, Mexico 77710 +52 (984) 873 30 11 View Map
DAY 5—TulumAFTERNOON Check into Dreams Tulum for two or three nights. At the southern end of the Riviera Maya, this is the best all-inclusive resort. The resort sprawls like one of Mexico’s famed silver cities, with a grand manor, botanical gardens and town square. Scattered among the colonial-themed districts are restaurants, shops, and hacienda lodging. The party scene is at the pool with the swim-up bar. Maya ruins and freshwater cenotes are nearby. Lodging Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa Hwy 307 Km. 236.7 Tulum Quintana Roo, Mexico 77760 +52 (984) 871 3333 866.237.3267 U.S. toll free View Map
EVENING Experience a Maya healing ritual in a Temazcal.
Steam blossoms inside a domed sweat lodge as a shaman ladles herb-infused water on fiery rocks. Thick vapor and muted chanting fill the stone enclosure. The shaman continues to shake rattles and chant, inviting everyone to focus on the healing they wish to receive. Spa Dreams Tulum Spa
DAY 6—Coba, Riviera MayaMORNING Explore the ancient Maya city of Coba.
Coba has the only pyramid that you can still climb to the top. After the 138-foot hike up Nohoch Mul’s steep face, you reach the precinct of the Maya priesthood. The prize is the unbroken view of the Maya jungle from the top altar. The ball court is a corridor between two stone walls. The players used only their hips and elbows to get a ball through a hoop. Because the excavated parts of the city are scattered throughout the park, you may want to rent a bike. Coba is 44 km (26 miles) northwest of Tulum. Go at 8 a.m. when the gate opens to avoid the tour buses from Cancun.Sight Coba Coba Archaeological Park Coba Hwy. Coba Quintana Roo, Mexico 77740 View Map AFTERNOON Swim in a cenote. The refreshing crystal-clear water of the cenotes deep in the Maya jungle offer a once in-a-lifetime experience for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Look for the Dos Ojos banner on the west side of Hwy 307. The entrance is 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) north of Tulum. You can also rent snorkel gear. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday, the cenote is run by the Maya community. Sports & Recreation Dos Ojos Hwy 307 Riviera Maya Quintana Roo, Mexico — CT Editors. Photography by Donna Peck.