The Tulum Mayan Ruins are one of the most visited touristic attractions in the Cancun and Riviera Maya areas of Mexico. There’s plenty of reasons for this: they’re relatively close to most hotels (20 minutes from your Riviera Maya hotel or 55 minutes from your Cancun hotel); they’re beautiful, majestic and extremely well preserved; the price is very accessible ($5 per person); the food and drinks sold in the area are moderately priced and on the premises there are plenty of Mayan-made arts and crafts that you can buy for next to nothing, and that will look great on your wall back home.
The Mayan city of Tulum was perched on a privileged cove in the Riviera Maya’s coastline, and those Mayan guys really knew what they were doing, because it has a breathtakingly beautiful small beach and marine turtle nesting grounds that are second to none in the whole world. The Caribbean Sea waters are even more turquoise there, and the sand is finer and whiter than anywhere else in the Riviera Maya. From time to time you can see dolphins surfing the waves just yards from the beach, and seagulls and pelicans fly over the swimmers. Another beach, much bigger and grandiose awaits the visitor just 10 minutes walk away, with a huge stretch of sand, but I guarantee you’ll always remember the small beach off the Mayan Ruins of Tulum.
One of the most important Mayan cities in the whole Pre-Hispanic world, and quite a significant trading post, Tulum will give you a good insight into the culture that inhabited this area of Mexico, and will also make for a wonderful day of sun, sand and knowledge. Be aware, though, that the best time to visit the ruins is early in the day, or past 4PM even in winter time, since the sun can be pretty intense, and shade trees are scarce. Spend the hottest hours of the day at the beach (it is partially shaded by a massive wall of rock), touring the small town of Tulum (adjacent to the ruins) and enjoying the great seafood. Lobster, shrimp and fish are the freshest and tastiest in the region.
For its cultural baggage, magnificent pre-hispanic buildings and beautiful secluded beach, we give the Tulum Mayan Ruins a 5 star rating.
Part of the Royal Resorts, Cancun’s The Royal Islander, is an expansive resort that is interconnected with two of its equally impressive counterparts, the Royal Caribbean and Royal Mayan, so guests can enjoy the amenities and facilities of all three, without having to get out of the compound.
Located on Kukulcan Boulevard Km 17.5, The Royal Islander is secluded and away from the hustle and bustle, yet is close enough to the center of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, where you’ll find top of the line shopping, fine dining and even finer drinking, and of course, lots of Mexican handicrafts, typical clothing and those infamous Cancun t-shirts that your friends at home will really love you for.
With a huge system of pools catering to family members of every age, the privileged Caribbean waters right by your toes (mostly if you get a beach front room), and more restaurants that you could eat at during a week’s stay, the Royal Islander has it all. There is a dedicated lap pool, a couple of kiddie pools and a regular pool for you to lounge in. On the restaurant front, you’ll find every cuisine covered, with fish and seafood restaurants, Mexican food eateries, a great French cuisine venue and even an Asian restaurant.
Most of the rooms are spacious without being overbearing, although we found the standard rooms to be quite small. All other rooms and suites were just fine.
In general, the hotel decoration is geared towards comfort while maintaining a touch of luxury and the spaces are well thought and even better utilized. This ample hotel will make you feel at ease and give you plenty of room to enjoy yourself.
The staff is friendly, from the convenience store clerk all the way to the coffee shop lady, they’ll all go out of their ways to make you feel right at home.
In a nutshell The Royal Islander in Cancun is a very desirable resort with a soothing décor, plenty of things to do, good food, and even better beaches. The only drawbacks are the high prices of the restaurants (really overpriced for Cancun), and the fact that the regular bedrooms are quite small.
The Ritz Carlton hotel in Cancun is a magnificent place geared for those with a discriminating taste. Although the outside of the hotel itself is not very impressive, the inside is, with a classical architecture and decoration in the style of the best hotels in New York City. Think The Plaza but with a great beach!
As it is to expect, the Cancun Ritz Carlton gives its visitors the most flawless services, and one can say its staff anticipates your every wish and makes it a reality. Accommodations are perfect to a fault, with the rooms lavishly decorated in a grandiose style that you won’t find anywhere else in Cancun. Not only are the furnishings elegant and stylish, but the pillows are real dawn, the mattresses are as soft as clouds and the bathrooms are a unique combination of luxury, comfort and state of the art appliances.
Every tour or excursion you’d like to take in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area can be booked directly from the hotel’s concierge desk, where they’ll give you accurate information on what’s available and more importantly, what’s recommendable or not.
The hotel has several restaurants, each as luxurious as the next. Those nights when you feel like dressing up, put on your best gown or suit and dine at their Italian restaurant, while on nights when you’re in a more relaxed mood, The Cafe (which in all reality is a sumptuous Jazz piano bar and restaurant) will cater to your every wish with their international menu. In the mood for beach front dining? Head for their seaside cabanas and enjoy the most amazing dinner under the stars, while the gentle waves of the Caribbean crash near your feet.
Yes, the Ritz Carlton is the place to go in Cancun if you want to be served hand and foot and have the money to afford it.It’s obviously not an inexpensive place, but the name Ritz Carlton has never been a synonymous for cheap. Au contraire!
We highly recommend this place for its excellence, spotless services and accommodations. We are certain any of our readers will enjoy the Cancun Ritz Carlton hotel as much as we did, and will leave with the best unforgettably positive memories!
The Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya (Cancun vicinity) is an impressive compound with a unique geographical feature: it boasts the only open rivers in the state. All rivers in the Yucatan peninsula are underground, and so were the ones in the Mayakoba resort, but the hotel owners opened the surface of their rivers, to give its visitors and guests a truly amazing areal view. In addition to their one of a kind waterways, the lush gardens and ecological paths are among the most beautiful in the Cancun-Riviera Maya area.
The Mayakoba is actually three hotels in one: the Banyan Tree, the Rosewood and the Fairmont, all very different from each other but all offering the same level of comfort. All of the Mayakoba hotels are rated 5 stars and they truly offer 5-star worth service and accommodations. Upon arriving you will be warmly welcomed by their friendly staff, and you can feel comfortable leaving your suitcases and valuables with their bellmen; nothing will be missing. Enter the grand entrance of your hotel of choice and you’ll feel that you’ve finally reached the tropical paradise of your dreams. With an abundance of woodwork, natural raw materials and an intricate architecture, these hotels are beautiful, unique and simply magnificent.
Even though we all expect all 5-star hotels in Cancun to have soft comfortable beds, that is not exactly true in all cases, but the Mayakoba hotels, especially the Banyan Tree, have the kind of bed that invite you to jump on them, and land face first into their supple, soft, inviting mattresses. I’m sure the hotel owners won’t appreciate me saying this, but do jump on their beds, it’s an experience worth living!
The food at all the Mayakoba hotels is quite good, but once again, I’d like to recommend you take the time to visit their Safron restaurant in the Banyan Tree hotel. This Thai food restaurant is one of the best in the region, and you’ll be hard pressed to choose among their delicious variety of exotic, perfectly prepared dishes.
Finally, I want to mention the abundance of swimming options in this resort. Being beach front, in one of the world’s best renowned beaches, you’ll love their pristine beach with its white sand and tiny tropical fish. For a different experience, go for a swim at one of their open rivers, or if you want to be more traditional, swim in one of the numerous pools that dot the Mayakoba’s landscape.
For the beauty of its uncommon buildings, the superior taste of their food and their immaculate beach and rivers, we give the Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya an enthusiastic 5 star rating. By the way, if you fall in love with this resort as much as we did, and you’re ready to live in paradise, consider buying one of the villas they have for sale.
The Riu Palace Hotel in Cancun is indeed a palace. The most amazing and magnificent hotel ever in the entire Cancun, this spectacular place will leave you breathless, and will awaken both the sense of luxury and uniqueness in you.
Perched on a small hill, with a breathtaking beachfront location, the Riu Palace is close to everything. Just a few blocks walk to the center of the action in Cancun’s famous hotel zone, you can be in Hard Rock Cafe, Chilis or even Coco Bongo in less than 10 minutes. The beach is one of the best not only in Cancun but also in Mexico and the whole world. The facilities are top of the line and second to none, and no matter what kinds of luxuries you’re accustomed to at home, the Riu Palace hotel will top them off. This is a superb hotel and you will love it, guaranteed.
With 5 restaurants on the grounds, there is plenty of variety to choose from, and there is even the option to eat a la cart or buffet style. The food has its moments, probably due to rotating chefs. During some of our stays, we enjoyed terrific food that was from out of this world, while some other times, we were presented with unimpressive rather boring dishes. During our most recent visit, we loved everything we had to eat, specially their Japanese food. Hopefully they’ll stick to their better chefs from now on.
Speaking of chefs and therefore staff, we were served hand and foot, and were pampered beyond our wildest dreams. The staff is extremely helpful and very accommodating but if you’re used to the friendly Mexican helpers that do everything with a broad smile, you’ll notice right away that this is not the case at the Riu Palace in Cancun. Yes, the employees will smile at you, and will go out of their way to help you, but they lack that down to Earth friendliness you find in other Mexican hotels. These guys are more along the lines of the French or English butlers, a little stiff and extremely professional and efficient.
In a nutshell, the Riu Palace hotel is a place fit for royalty, and you will be treated as such. Its prices are also royalty-like, but if you’re looking for an exclusive hotel where you’ll rub elbows with celebrities and wealthy businessmen, this is the place to go to in Cancun. For its magnificence and beauty, its extremely cleanliness, its beautiful beach and supreme service, we give the Riu Palace a 5 star rating.
The Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa is not the only Fiesta Americana hotel in the Cancun beach area, but it is indeed the best of them all. This is a Mexican-owned hotel chain, so some of their standards are not what we’re used to in the US, but it is a nice resort nonetheless. Very spacious, with a great beach and centrally located, the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach is a good choice for those who are looking for a 4-star hotel that has it all: beach, pool, spa, good restaurants, good bars and roomy accommodations.
The best feature the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach has to offer is its beach, which is sandy, generously sized and not crowded. The pool is great, very clean and has a kid-area that families with kids will be thankful for.
The staff is friendly and helpful but won’t go out of their way for you. The hotel is nice and the rooms in the newly renovated wing are quite luxurious (whenever you stay at this resort insist on the West wing, since the East wing is still in dire need of repairs). The food is very good, mostly their Mexican specialties, but it is seriously overpriced. In a nutshell, this is a place where you can have a good relaxing time, but is not a hotel for the picky traveler. For all this, we give the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort in Cancun a 4 star rating.
The Le Blanc Spa Resort is located in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, and is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in the area. It is indeed white (“blanc”) as its name indicates, and it is the best portrayal of a resort in the entire Cancun. Very chic, sophisticated and modern, yet quite peaceful and tranquil, this place will leave you speechless and you’ll want to come back for more year after year.
With a expansive white beach, a network of sparkling clean pools, top of the line restaurants and a sober elegant architecture, Le Blanc Resort is a delight to stay at. The rooms are extremely ample, the towels are soft and perfumed, the mattresses are soft as clouds… Its prices are quite steep, but in this place you do get what you pay for, mostly if you opt for their all inclusive packages. The food is delicious, the drinks are generous and well prepared, and the presentation is second to none. Heck, their food is so pretty that you won’t want to eat it so you don’t ruin its gorgeous decoration!
But something tops off Le Blanc Spa Resort’s awesome food, drinks and facilities, and it is its employees. A very young staff indeed, but obviously with lots of experience, these are the guys and gals that go the extra mile for you with a big smile on their faces, and leave you wondering with all other hotel employees in Cancun are not like the ones at Le Blanc. If you need a cab, they’ll run to get you one; if you need a refill, they’ll rush to it and come back with two; if you need extra pillows or blankets, they bring you a whole selection so you can pick the ones you like the best. The best part about the staff at this place, is that you get your own concierge, who will tend to your every need. Like of like in Dubai, but with a nice beach to go with it.
For its divine beach and pools, its second-to-none staff, its freshly cooked more than delicious food, perfectly prepared drinks and spotless buildings and open areas, we give Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun a well deserved 5 star rating!
One word can summarize the Belgian Waffle Restaurant in Malecon Americas in Cancun: YUMMY! This small, quaintly decorated, beautiful restaurant specializes in gourmet Belgian dishes, also including some classics to its abundant menu.
The moment you step into the Belgian Waffle Restaurant, you’ll be transported to a typical Belgian village, with its exuberance of flowers, rough-iron lamps and delicious food. Sit on one of their comfortable elegantly upholstered chairs and watch people walk by through their oversized glass windows. Within minutes you’ll feel yourself unwind and relax in this unique atmosphere. And just wait until your food arrives! You’ll be instantly transported to the heart of Europe and its tastiest culinary creations!
Although the Belgian Waffle Restaurant also offers chicken and steaks, these are cooked an unconventional way, sometimes rolled around a cheese stuffing, others baked to a perfect crisp. But the piece de resistance is their variety of waffles, crepes and fondues. No matter what you’d like in your crepes or on top of your waffles, this place has it! Cheese, ham, chicken, chili peppers, spinach, olives… you name it! Their variety is amazing and the flavor is overpowering.
Having mentioned the perfect atmosphere and more than perfect food, we must now talk about the service. The staff is efficient and helpful, but it will not go out of their way to please you, and in some cases, the waiters don’t even smile, which is a shame, because otherwise this place would get a perfect score from us. Therefore, thanks to its delicious and refreshingly unique food, its enormous variety of dishes and its distinctive atmosphere, and despite the run-of-the-mill service, we give the Belgian Waffle Restaurant in Malecon Americas in Cancun, a 4.5 rating.
UPDATE: We went back to the Belgian Waffle Boutique Restaurant for a second night of fondue and waffles, and this time we were served by a waiter named Julio. This guy was exquisitely polite, friendly and very helpful. Based on this last experience and how pleasant it was, we are upping our rating to 5 stars. Highly recommended!
Chances are you know the Beach Escape Villas by their previous names of Kin Ha Villas or Ambiance Villas. I have no idea why, but this quaint beach place keeps changing names at the rate of a new one every 2 years.
But no matter what it’s called, the Beach Escape Villas is an affordable, clean and very cute little place nested in one of Cancun’s best beaches: the Kin Ha beach (yes, there are several beaches along the Cancun strip, and not all of them are made alike). Living in Cancun, we always have visitors and sometimes there are too many to fit in our house, so we end up putting them in a hotel, and Beach Escape is usually our choice for this.
A complex of 4 or 5 buildings a mere three stories high, Beach Escape offers regular rooms and suites, all spacious and comfortable. They are sparingly decorated, but with their big balconies and wide sliding doors, one soon forgets about this and falls in love with the place. For long stays, it is highly advisable to splurge on a suite (usually $20 more per night), since they’re full apartments, with a fully functional kitchen, big living room and dining room and a master bedroom and bathroom with plenty of closet space.
Due to its intimate design, Beach Escape is NOT setup to offer All-Inclusive plans. They have a full service restaurant and a bar and snack tiki bar right on the beach, which serves full meals starting at 1PM. The food is quite tasty and their prices are reasonable. A full buffet breakfast is served every morning for about $11 per person, which plenty of hot and cold choices, freshly squeezed orange juice and an enormous selection of fresh fruit.
The piece de resistance at Beach Escape Villas is their beach. The whitest and cleanest in all of Cancun, this beach was voted one of the world’s best a few years back. Dotted with coconut trees and with a generous sand bar, it expands for over a mile, and its waters are so clear that you can clearly see your toes inside the water and the little swirl of sand they create with every step you take.
We recommend Beach Escape Villas for its wonderful beach and crystal clear waters, their oversized pool and relaxed atmosphere. But be prepared for its simple decor, older buildings and blah furniture. Despite this, we give Beach Escape a 4 star rating.
Secrets Maroma Beach Resort is a breathtaking beach paradise located in the Riviera Maya. Just 35 minutes from Cancun and 20 from the Cancun Airport, it’s not only conveniently located, but also far away enough from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Secluded, safe and all natural, Maroma Beach was voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches just a few years ago, and by golly, nothing has changed! It remains as unspoiled and pristine as if Colombus had never set foot on our continent.
Secrets Maroma Beach is an adults-only resort, but don’t read between lines… this is not a clothing optional place! They simply cater to couples who want to relax in their beautiful beach without having kids running around, and specialize in honeymooners.
We had the opportunity to spend 3 glorious days at Secrets Maroma Beach and enjoyed every second of them. The hotel is big and beautiful, with a Caribbean-inspired architecture. Rooms are very spacious, gorgeously decorated, with a well-thought design, and the beds… oh, the beds are so comfortable that you won’t want to get up in the morning! No matter where we looked, the hotel was extremely clean, and at all times of the day we saw staff taking care of the cleaning of both the beach and the buildings.
In addition to its splendid beach and cleanliness, there is another aspect that separates Secrets Maroma Beach Resort from the rest: its food. Yes, it is an all-inclusive hotel. No, the food will NOT disappoint! I don’t know where they got their chefs at, but kuddos to the person in charge of their selection, and to the chefs themselves, because their food was among the best we’ve had in Cancun and Riviera Maya, let alone at an all inclusive resort. Drinks are also included, and they’re plentiful and well made. They use only original liquor from the top brands (including real Cuban rum), and they’re not shy when pouring it into your mix drink. We drank plenty the first night of our stay and the following morning we had to sign of a hangover or a headache, something that is guaranteed to happen when your bartender uses substandard liquor. So go hungry and forget about your diet for the length of your stay, and drink plenty, because variety and quality go hand in hand at Maroma!
Speaking of bartenders, the staff at Maroma was extremely friendly, and they’ll go the extra mile to accommodate your requests. They anticipated our wishes, and made them come true within minutes, always with a smile.
As far as prices go, yes, Secrets Maroma Beach Resort is a little expensive, but you do get what you pay for, so why spoil your vacation staying at a median priced place that will leave you with a bittersweet taste, when you can have the vacation of a lifetime at Maroma? Also, their slightly higher price guarantees a more exclusive clientele.
For the beauty of their beach, the comfort and cleanliness of their hotel and the friendliness of their staff, we give Secrets Maroma Beach an enthusiastic 5 star; for the quality of their food and drinks, we’d love to give them a 6 star rating, but sadly 5 is our maximum. To put it in less words, grab your spouse and your appetite and go to Maroma, you’ll love it!
Photos of Secrets Maroma Beach Resort: