- North America,
- Riviera Maya
Tulum 'stars' vacation is a Mexican Vacation Trip package for people interested to enjoy safely Mexico and discover its rich biodiversity as its culture but who wish to stay in one comfortable hotel away from massive tourism resort. Forget the itinerant travel, choose your comfortable boutique hotel in Tulum beach (2009 best Central America Beach Award)and enjoy a great family selection of tours that you will alternate with free time. Eco tours and boutique hotel... www.mexicokantours.com
See + Do
Beaches in the Riviera Maya, Mexico
Hotels and theme parks now claim many of the Riviera Maya's finest beaches, but there are still a few spots where sandy roads lead to crystal-clear caletas (coves), and where the fish outnumber humans. Yalkú, just north of the town of Akumal, has a barefoot beach restaurant, a gorgeous cove where snorkelers swim among darting angelfish, and a small nearby campground. There's also a small hotel and RV campground along the half-moon cove at Paamul; walk a few yards down the beach for blissful privacy (Carretera 307, Km 85; 52-984-875-1051; www.paamulcabanas.com). In Playa del Carmen, hip beach clubs where DJs spin beach and Latin house music for sun-worshippers are clustered along the sand north of town. Mamita's started the trend and is still going strong (Calle 28 Norte; 52-984-803-2867).
Tulum has the best beaches of all just south of the Mayan ruins. Spread your towel near Mezzanine and watch the kiteboarders sail above the afternoon waves, or slip into calm coves beside Zamas (location of ¡Que Fresco! restaurant) and the Ana y José hotel. Sea turtles nest in summer and fall in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, where they're safely protected from bright lights and human hordes.
La Casa del Agua, Mexico
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Tel: 52 984 803 0232
This tasteful aerie overlooking Playa's Fifth Avenue is a welcome escape from the youthful cacophony at street level. In the evening, pierced tin stars glitter beneath a peaked palapa, and candlelight illuminates the linen-draped tables. The sophisticated Euro-centric menu offers pulpo gallegaoctopus with paprika and boiled potatoesand Hungarian goulash with spaetzle to diners who prefer their conversation sans shouting.
Open daily 11:30 am to midnight.
¡Que Fresco!, Mexico
Tel: 52 984 877 8523
Worship the sunset with a frosty margarita while nibbling on feather-light chips with lime-infused salsa. Segue to shrimp rubbed with achiote (a pungent yucatecan red spice similar to a curry) and flash grilled over a wood fire. Better yet, start the day with homemade yogurt over papaya and pineapple, and return for as many meals as possible. Renowned for its toes-in-the-sand simplicity, this deceptively rustic restaurant at the Zamas Hotel in Tulum serves some of the finest inexpensive meals in the Riviera Maya. Wood tables and chairs painted bright blue, orange and yellow balance on uneven floors indoors and sink into the sand beneath a grass awning beside the sea. A revolving display of handcrafted jewelry and textiles amuses diners awaiting a seat (pre-wedding parties and other large groups are commonplace at dinner). Check into an oceanfront hut for a few days, and you can work your way through the extensive menu from wood-fired pizzas to fish tacos, veggie-packed salads to grilled lobster.
Open daily 7:30 am to 10 pm.
El Tábano, Mexico
Tel: 52 984 134 8725, Tel: 52 984 125 7172
Spice up the chips-and-guac routine with a trip to El Tábano, a welcome addition to the comida-starved southern end of Tulum's hotel zone. Homemade bread and avocado salad make delightful stand-ins for the region's more ubiquitous starters, while other local treats—airy jalapeños rellenos or ceviche con mango—are sexier versions of street-cart fare. The flavors may be refined, but the atmosphere is undeniably homey: Silverware emerges from a battered wooden dresser; diners sit at mismatched tables under the stars; and the modest open kitchen is housed under a simple palapa roof. Offerings on the oversize chalkboard menu change weekly, but standbys include albóndigas (Mexican meatballs) seasoned with tamarind, a delicate vegetable lasagna with tortillas in place of noodles, and clay-pot chicken with apples and avocado leaves. Reservations are a must.—Alison Baenen
Open Mondays through Saturdays 8:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Tel: 52 984 804 1452
Tulum meets Ibiza at Mezzanine, a too-cool restaurant/bar/hotel overlooking white sand and azure sea. DJs spin lounge music while bikini-clad escapists sip mango smoothies under soaring kitelike awnings. The chef's spicy beef salad with mint is a treat on a hot afternoon after a leisurely dip in the sea, while the more substantial shrimp pad thai and green curry go well with martinis during Friday night lounge parties. (The bar's signature cocktail is the "Mezzquito," made with Absolut Citron, Thai basil, Cointreau, lime juice, and raw sugar.) Local devotees drive from as far as Mérida to take part in the scene, and sometimes crash in one of the four hotel suites before sunrise.
Tel: 877 528 3490 (toll-free), Tel: 52 984 873 4835
The entrance to this peaceful hideaway lies on a jungle path off an unmarked sandy road. It's hardly the place you'd expect to find a striking white Italian-style villa. But the Duchess of Ferrari had the home built in the early '90s to entertain world-weary friends, and it's since been transformed into a 29-room high-end hotel. Set on 50 acres of wild land and a broad white-sand beach, white-on-white rooms are split between sea-view suites in the original buildings and newer private cottages facing tropical gardens. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, elaborate sound systems, and electronically controlled shades, making a high-tech contrast with the artful arrangements of driftwood and primitive carved bowls. The best villa rooms are on the second floor and have large balconies overlooking the pool and sea. Families will prefer the multibedroom cottages, which have private pools. Guatemalan chef Bernardo Garcia focuses on local ingredients and indigenous cooking methods. The Aroma Spa also takes cues from local culture, using precious stones, heated rocks, seaweed, and cacao to help melt away stress and balance energy flow.