Hi loves, we are in the middle of a very very very bad cold spell up here in Connecticut and rather all of New England/the East coast. I don’t know when it will get better, but I’m sure hoping that it gets better soon. With such cold temperatures around, I thought what an ideal time to share some sunny happy photos and my Riviera Maya Mexico Travel Guide.
This past October, Scott and I took our first trip to Mexico to celebrate our 14 year wedding anniversary. We didn’t want to stay in a very populated place such as Cancun because we typically stay at finer boutique hotels when we travel and we felt Cancun would have more of a party vibe. We wanted to relax and unwind … adult style.
We chose to stay in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. This part of Mexico is humid, lush and has a more tropical vibe vs. the west coast of Mexico (i.e. Cabo) which is more dry and desert-like. Although, we do look forward to traveling to that side one day.
We stayed at Unico 2087, which is in Solidaridad, Riviera Maya. We had a beautiful ocean view room with luxurious amenities and even our own butler! Unico 2087 had been open for a little less than a year when we went and I can see why they had such a renowned reputation among travelers already. The staff was friendly, helpful, and accommodating no matter the request. The restaurants served everything you could imagine from sushi, to Italian, to steak. If I were to be honest, breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. Only because I’m such a brunch girl and we had brunch every morning, instead of a typical breakfast menu. The resort is all inclusive so when we say we wanted for nothing, we mean nothing. They had multiple pools and outdoor jacuzzis, but I especially loved that they had two sides, one was more lively with music, tons of outdoor bars and snack spots, the other was a more quiet and intimate experience. The spa was wonderful and the fitness center was well equipped. They have the quaintest little coffee shop that I visited every morning to enjoy a Mexican Mocha and later in the evening a sweet treat. The property is well maintained and the staff was accessible and considerate. Without even asking, upon returning to our room on the night of our anniversary, champagne and a bubble bath with rose petals was waiting for us on our outdoor patio. Imagine our delight!!! We were very happy to have been able to stay at Unico 2087 as our resort of choice to celebrate this special milestone in our marriage.
Upon entering the lobby, we just knew what a wonderful and beautiful resort we had chosen
The cutest little coffee shop! I went every morning and the barista came to know me well.
This was the quieter side of the pool that we frequented.
The Riviera Maya region begins to cool down in October, the average temperature is in low 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We found that in October the temperatures were ideal- not to hot, not to cold. The humidity was lower than I expected. Majority of the days it was sunny all day, with a little rain sprinkled on in the afternoon.- perfect for a siesta! If you go in October be prepared, but it doesn’t last long.
I wish we had a little bit more information about whether or not it would be easy to access US currency. Fortunately, our hotel was able to trade our US currency for Mexican pesos. However, if you decide to go sightseeing/shopping/touring, please be aware that not all ATMs are the same. Most ATMs will give you Mexican pesos cash, others will dispense only American dollars (signified by an American flag on the machine). If you can, plan to exchange most of your money into Mexican Pesos when you arrive.
The Riviera Maya Area is on the eastern side of the country and there is one main road, Highway 307, its one of the biggest highways in all of Mexico. Many of the resorts are located behind HUGE gates along this highway. If you want to rent a car, which we did from our hotel, once you hit the highway, go right or left and you are bound to end up to where you are looking to go. There are taxi cabs that are easily accessible and will take US or Mexican currencies. If you want to take the bus that is an option as well. Rental bikes were also readily available in various spots.
EAT and SHOPPING:
One of the hottest destinations in the Riviera Maya area is called 5th Avenue. It’s about 20 blocks long and has lots of shops and restaurants to choose from. You can find authentic Mexican cuisine that you will be talking about for years to come. Also there are many little independent restaurants all over the area, so finding a good place to grab some lunch on the go won’t be a problem.
The ruins at TULUM are an absolute must see. They are even more beautiful in person, and I love how they tell the story of the native people. TULUM has a beautiful beach, with white sands and beautiful blue water. We didn’t know there was a beach at TULUM and were quite jealous of the people frolicking on the beach there. Don’t forget your bathing suit! Pack a lunch and enjoy the day. There is also a nearby spot for you to take a boat ride and you can see the ruins from the ocean. Don’t forget sunscreen and a sunhat as the space is very open and not many trees to protect you as you walk to each of the ruins. If you don’t want to walk far you have to find one of the companies that offers parking closer to the ruins. If you aren’t able to get parking, be prepared to walk a very long and uphill walk. There are taxis that are readily available outside the exit of TULUM ruins if you need access to one to get back to your hotel. Another must see if you have time would be Xcaret Park, an eco-archaeological adventure park. This place is perfect for families with children.
After walking around the ruins, we took a boat ride to see them from the ocean.
There are nearly 7,000 cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula (where the Riviera Maya region sits). They are beautiful underwater caves and caverns. These secret underground caverns are formed when limestone caves in, leaving a hole in the earth that leads to a pool of gorgeous turquoise water. Some cenotes (pronounced cey-NO-tays and derived from a Mayan word for “well”) are part of a massive underground network of rivers and caves that remain, for the large part, unexplored. Others are just afternoon swimming holes or cave-diving destinations. We went to one that was more like a swimming hole that wasn’t underground, called Casa Cenote (which is located off of Highway 307, between Tulum and Playa del Carmen). Casa Cenote is part of the Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich, which is an extensive water channel and cave system made up of 36 cenotes. What I liked most about this cenote is how small it was and the people running it were so nice. The water was beautiful and refreshing and the colors are just dreamy. No two are the same. Entrance is 50 pesos and locker rentals are 50 pesos.
If you’ve never been to the Riviera Maya area of Mexico, do yourself a favor and add it to you bucket list. It’s absolutely worth the trip.