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Ecotourism in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

I flew into Cancun airport three times in 2023 to visit (for site inspections) and stay at several beautifully relaxing properties from Isla Mujeres in the north to Tulum in the south, and it's become one of my favorite regions for a getaway because of the high level of hospitality, gorgeous beaches, enchanting cenotes, and Mayan history and culture to discover.

 

So I'm happy to share that the new Tulum International Airport (TQO) is now open for bookings! Starting on March 28, 2024, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and United Airlines have nonstop flights to Tulum from Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami, Atlanta, Newark, Houston George Bush, Los Angeles and Chicago. Let's get you one of those first seats to explore more of Mexico! 

Excerpt below from 9/10/2019 Virtuoso article by Susan Hanson can found here.

 

Nature, shopping, margaritas – sí, por favor! Ancient Mayans making the pilgrimage to the island of Cozumel would stop in Playa del Carmen, which they called Xaman-Ha, or “waters of the north.” Today, the chic resort town on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula draws water lovers who come to snorkel, sail, and scuba dive in the turquoise sea. A vibrant culture, renowned ruins, and a plethora of posh resorts are even more reason to head there pronto… between mid-October and mid-March, when the temperatures are warm, the humidity is low, and the breeze carries the sounds of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. 

 

Natural Attractions: 

The town’s eco-friendly Xcaret nature park and Cozumel, which is just a short ferry ride away. Also nearby: the wildlife-rich mangroves of Sian Ka’an, a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve that’s home to more than 300 bird species. Yet Playa’s crown jewels are the area’s cenotes (limestone sinkholes). Ancient Mayans threw offerings to their gods into these underground pools, which they considered sacred. Today, the mineral-rich waters are revered by snorkelers and divers, and some cenotes even offer cliff jumping. 


Day Trips and After-Dark Activities: 

Playa’s surf-and-sand days morph into lively, tequila-filled nights. The three-mile-long pedestrian walkway is lined with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs featuring live music, as well as boutiques and galleries that showcase artisan wares. Nature lovers can trek through the jungle, while some of the best-preserved Mayan ruins – Tulum and Chichén Itzá – make for easy day trips.

 

Where to Eat in Playa del Carmen: 

Yucatán cuisine relies heavily on Mayan and European influences. Cochinita pibil, the local specialty, is a dish of pork marinated with orange juice, pungent annatto seed, cinnamon, and other spices; wrapped in a banana leaf; and slow-cooked underground. Additional highlights include fresh seafood caught just offshore, along with tantalizing ceviches and Mayan chocolates.

 

Where to Stay

With six hotels and resorts in the Virtuoso network, Playa del Carmen offers travelers a choice of stylish stays. Hotel Esencia and Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa are two beachfront hideaways. Banyan Tree Mayakoba boasts one of the world’s best spas, highlighted by its Rainforest hydrothermal circuit. The all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya is for families and others who want a myriad of activities, pools, and restaurants without leaving the resort.

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