I just got back from a trip to Cancun and had a blast! We stayed in Playa Mujeres at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort for the first part of the trip and for the second half, we stayed in Riviera Maya at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya. We also spent the day on the island of Isla Mujeres, went scuba diving in Cancun, had a blast riding ATVs and ziplining in Riviera Maya and got to see a Cirque du Soleil show called Joya! In this blog, I will identify the destinations within this region and uncover a plethora of activities that make Cancun a great vacation spot for singles, couples and families.
Playa Mujeres is a newly developed, gated community and is the perfect romantic hideaway. This area is known for luxury and offers some of the best resorts with miles of beach to walk along. Here you will find numerous all-inclusive, adults-only resorts as well as family-friendly resorts, all offering luxury and tons of amenities. We stayed at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, which is a newly built, family-friendly property. It has gorgeous rooms, a lazy river (with exclusive use for Preferred Club guests only), water slides for the kids, a kid’s club and pools that seems to go on for miles, just to name a few. When staying at Dreams, adults only have complimentary share privileges at Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, an adult-only property located right next door. Click here to view photos of Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort and click here to view photos of Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort.
Playa Mujeres is located about 45 minutes from Cancun Airport and about 20 minutes from the Cancun Hotel Zone. It’s easy to take a taxi or rent a car for the day to enjoy the shopping, restaurants and bars in the Hotel Zone. Another wonderful place to visit when you are staying in Playa Mujeres is the island of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres, Spanish for The Island of Women or Women Island, is a wonderful place to explore for the day by golf cart. We rented a car and drove to the ferry terminal, Gran Puerto, which was about 10 minutes from Dreams. If you are not up for braving it with a rental car, you can also take a taxi. The ferry ride was roughly $16/person, round-trip. If weather permits, I recommend that you sit up top for magnificent views, ocean breezes and live entertainment. To view the ferry schedule, click here and look for UltraMar Service from Gran Puerto.
Renting a golf cart on Isla Mujeres will cost you between $35-50 for the day. There are several vendors that offer golf carts, and most are just a block or so away from the terminal. You can rent one when you get there, or some companies will let you book one in advance, but not in the high season. While on the island you can eat and shop in the downtown area, explore all around the island on your golf cart, enjoy a wonderful lunch at a beach club, stop by the unique, above ground cemetery, visit the Turtle Farm, play at Garrafon Natural Reef Park or enjoy swimming at North Beach, just to name a few. If you travel the island all the way to the end, you will find yourself at Punta Sur where you can shop, eat, see the ruins of Ixchel temple and if you’re lucky, you will see iguanas, sunbathing on the cliffs! There are a few hotels on the island. You will find small, boutique style hotels and bed and breakfast hotels. There are a couple of all-inclusive resorts, as well. Below are photos from our visit. For more information on visiting Isla Mujeres, click here.
Cancun Hotel Zone is a wonderful place to stay if you are looking for the action, and there are plenty of daytime and nighttime activities. Where is the Hotel Zone? If you look at a map of the Yucatan Peninsula, you will see a section that looks like a “7”, with the Caribbean Sea on the right and a lagoon on the left side, this is the Hotel Zone, a.k.a. Zona Hotelera. There are tons of bars, restaurants and shopping in this area. You will find an abundance of high rise, all-inclusive resorts fronting gorgeous beaches, which is great for taking long walks. Since this area is the nightlife hub and more well-known, it tends to be more crowded. If you are in search of a quiet, secluded retreat, this would not be place for you. Getting around the Hotel Zone is super easy. There is a local bus available to take you up and down the “7”, for a nominal fee. If you are in the mood for upscale shopping, I recommend you head to La Isla Shopping Village.
Riviera Maya is a region that encompasses various towns along the Yucatan Peninsula coastline. The region starts just South of Cancun at Puerto Morelos and ends at the Sian Ka'an Biosphere, just past Tulum. Depending on where you are staying in Riviera Maya, the distance from Cancun Airport is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Riviera Maya is known for its lush and tropical landscaping, where resorts are tucked away from 307, the main highway. Staying in this region puts you closer to the most sought after outdoor adventure activities, i.e. ziplining, swimming in the cenotes, Mayan Ruins, ATVs, etc… Some popular places to spend the day are Xcaret, Xplor, Xenotes and Selvatica, to name a few. You can also head South to Tulum National Park to check out some Mayan Ruins. In addition, you have the option to take a ferry from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel for the day and/or shop around the streets of Playa Del Carmen.
During our trip, we rented a car and drove from Playa Mujeres to Riviera Maya and during our drive we stopped for shopping at La Isla Shopping Village, a luxury shopping village. Since there is only one main highway that runs from Playa Mujeres to Riviera Maya and the highway is full of signage, navigating was not too difficult. After a two-hour drive, we made it to Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and this resort did not disappoint!
Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is an adult-only, all-inclusive resort tucked away in a tropical forest. The landscaping is so lush and dense that it feels as though you are literally in the middle of the jungle. The decor throughout the property has a Moroccan vibe, which lends to the very rich feel of this property. This vast property offers something for everyone; three size-able pools, great dining options, amazing snorkeling right from the beach and a gorgeous spa facility, just to name a few. The rooms are comfortable and inviting and feature a huge whirlpool tub for two in the bathroom. Click here to view resort photos from our visit.
While in Riviera Maya we visited Xplor for the day. This jungle adventure park has a variety of activities, which include:
Lastly, we went to see Cirque de Soleil’s Joya. Joya is a whimsical show that offers aerial performances, acrobatics and death-defying stunts that will have you in awe! The theater is intimate and there are several types of seating options available. You can do dinner with the show, or champagne and canapes with the show, or you can just see the show. We decided to do the champagne/canapes package and it included some good bites. I recommend you arrive early, as there is a nice bar and restaurant in the theater complex. Here are some photos from our visit:
I hope this posting has given you a good understanding of all the Yucatan Peninsula has to offer! This destination continues to expand and evolve and has a variety of activities for couples, families and singles. It’s very large and one trip will not even begin to uncover all the wonders of Cancun and beyond. Please contact me if you would like additional information and/or are interested in booking a vacation!
Stay tuned for more travel tips and tricks with Explore Travel Planners!
Angie Conger Hinds
I have a true passion for travel and I want to share my travel knowledge with you. I hope this blog gives you inspiration to EXPLORE the world!
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