Palm trees, shaded cabanas, and a stretch of white sand are all that separate Barceló Maya Tropical’s two massive outdoor pools from the Caribbean Sea. It’s a telling example of the resort’s ability to put everything within guests’ reach. All-inclusive privileges grant access to an onsite jacuzzi and mini-golf course along with meals and drinks at several internationally inspired restaurants, a couple of which afford views of the seaside.
Enjoy watersports via kayaks, water tricycles, and windsurfing.
Eight restaurants including two buffet restaurants, two snack restaurants, four specialty restaurants serve a variety of cuisines including Japanese, steakhouse, Mediterranean, and seafood.
Spanish dance classes and water-aerobics sessions are available.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya: Rich with History and Tropical Calm
Just south of Cancún, the Riviera Maya is a nearly 80-mile stretch of Caribbean coastline fronted by towns rich in Mexican culture. For some of the area’s best beaches, clubs, and snorkeling reefs, head to the rapidly growing city of Playa del Carmen. Farther south, Tulum sits on a perch of rocky bluffs and is better known for ancient ruins, including temples and a cliff-side castle. The inhabitants of Tulum—which means “walled” in the aboriginal language—first erected the city’s outer fortress to protect themselves from belligerent invaders. Today, the wall guards the archeological zone, beginning with an entryway of two corbel arches and a limestone house built over an underwater cave.
Swimming in the secret caves isn’t allowed, but a scenic drive south of Playa del Carmen brings you to the Yucatán Peninsula’s legendary limestone cenotes, freshwater sinkholes created by an underground river system. At the Cenote Cristalino, you can jump from terraced outcroppings into an exposed pool or go snorkeling in underwater caves. You can also watch locals expertly flip, dive, and synchronously cannonball into the clear water at this popular weekend hangout.