Exploring the Yucatan

Beach in the Yucatan Mexico

I took my second trip to the Caribbean area in a year, this time with my cousin and her four-month old son to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Seven days and three resorts later, I knew this was a unique destination that I would be visiting for years to come. The sugary-white sand and blue Caribbean Sea sure does make an indelible impression.

Of course we were drawn to the beautiful Tulum Ruins. The unbelievable Mayan city built between the 13th and 15th centuries, was even more stunning in person than in the many photographs I've seen. 

Our first resort was the Occidental Grand Xcaret, perfectly located next to Xcaret Eco-Archeological Park, a must see theme park for any adventure-loving traveler visiting the Playa del Carmen area.  

When we got to the resort you are struck by the stunning mix of Mayan culture, Mexican rainforest and modern facilities. This all-inclusive resort instantly became one of my favorites when I saw the black howler monkeys swinging in the trees above the walkway as we walked to dinner on our first night there.

The Bali beds on the private cove beach were a great way to relax and have a rum punch by the sea.  We were amazed at how many old ruins they had on the property. You don’t even have to leave the resort to see well preserved cultural landmarks. One of these is most popular as a background for a destination wedding.

We visited Sandos Cancun next, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Nichupté Lagoon on the other. We were greeted with a smile, a cold cloth and champagne. While we waited for our room we were invited to have lunch at the modern Zango restaurant, where the staff lovingly nick-named the baby Bonito, and came by to see him each time we were there.

The next day at Sandos I decided to treat myself to Spa del Mar, recognized as one of Cancun’s top European-style spas. I enjoyed my first experience with hydrotherapy. So tranquil it was hard to believe I was right in the middle of  Cancun's hotel zone.  Lunch by the pool afterwards, overlooking the white sand beach, and then dinner at the Teppanyaki Table rounded off a perfect day.

My last resort visit was Banyan Tree Mayakoba, which is included in our Signature Hotels & Resorts program and at which we offer exclusive amenities.

The first thing I did when I got to my room was open all the doors leading out to our private pool and hammock.  I sat at the edge of the room with my feet in the pool. I could have stayed here forever.

There was a beautiful crib waiting for us in the room with baby bath supplies. Should we wash him in one of the beautiful Talavera sinks or in the outdoor tub? The large walk-in closet inside the large bathroom was amazing. It’s remarkable how this small touch can most certainly help make it a luxury experience.

When I woke up the first morning and walked down to a small pier for an eco-boat tour along Mayakoba's mangroves. Surrounded by beautiful clear water, we saw alligators, ducks, iguanas, baby turtles and many birds.

Saying good-bye to Mexico was hard. Everyone we met was so friendly. The local people are so warm and welcoming. Everywhere we went we had to stop so someone could say hello to the baby. Now the hardest decision is if I want to go back with the whole family, kids and all, or a romantic getaway with my husband. Either way I will be back.

Heather Kim