Hotel at a Glance: Grand Oasis Tulum
At this oceanfront resort, you can sip cocktails on a beach lit by blazing tiki torches, or dip your toes in the Caribbean's bright blue waters. All-inclusive perks let you sample international fare at the resort's 11 restaurants and watch flicks in the on-site theater.
- Grab a bite at one of 11 restaurants scattered throughout the resort, including a Brazilian steakhouse and an Asian eatery with beachfront seating.
- Grab a drink at one of 10 bars—five indoors and five outdoors.
- Make a splash in one of the resort's three pools; some feature poolside bars.
- Room with a view: Look out onto the Caribbean Sea from your stylish ocean-view room.
- Tee off on the resort's driving range (fees may apply).
- Stay fit: The resort offers a gym and two tennis courts.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Trendy Beach Area and Diving Destination
Grand Oasis Tulum is located about a half-hour south of Playa del Carmen. 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 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.