Boutique Hotel Complex with Jack Nicklaus–Designed Golf Course
Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is widely known for its bustling beaches and hopping nightlife in places such as Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Cancún. But the Ocean Breeze hotel is located on a quieter stretch of the Riviera Maya, in between Playa del Carmen and Cancún. The boutique hotel’s deluxe rooms overlook the surrounding jungle foliage; meanwhile, the beach is just a few blocks away.
There’s plenty to do at the resort, and a free shuttle transports guests throughout the complex and to the sister property next door. Feel free to take a stroll through a flamingo, turtle, and crocodile sanctuary, lounge by the pool, or play a round on the 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course.
Ocean Breeze Riviera Maya offers several dining options with à la carte menus. You can partake in a buffet-style dinner under the shade of a traditional Mexican palapa at Restaurant Del Lago. Next door, at the sister property, you can test your buoyancy in a different swimming pool or, for an extra fee, work out in the fitness center.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Trendy Beach Area and Diving Destination
Just across the sea from the island of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen has been called "the hippest city in all of the Yucatán Peninsula" by Lonely Planet. The laid-back beach bars and cafés have a way of converting vacationers into expats, but Playa's most compelling draw might be its cenotes—cavernous sinkholes filled with turquoise pools. The water in the cenotes is crystal clear, particularly at the lily-pad-dotted Xlacah cenote, where you can snorkel among schools of colorful fish.
To the south, you'll find preserved ruins of pre-Columbian cities. Tulum's crumbling temples are situated above a dramatic ocean bluff, and Coba's enormous pyramid rises between two lagoons. For a fun day trip, hop aboard the ferry to Cozumel, which docks 29 miles (47 km) from the hotel at the pier east of Calle 1. There are about a dozen dive shops on Cozumel, and they offer trips offshore to the reefs that Jacques Cousteau declared some of the world's most beautiful.