It's easy to while away an afternoon on the sand in front of Mosquito Beach Hotel, located along the Caribbean Sea on the southeastern tip of Mexico. The romantic boutique resort prizes intimacy, offering private beach access. Yet Playa del Carmen's bustling Fifth Avenue, lined with restaurants, specialty shops, and bars, is only two blocks away. This duality—a beachfront escape with proximity to nightlife—makes the hotel an ideal landing spot for savoring the best of both worlds.
The hotel's 33 guest rooms and suites feature chic, european decor including minimalist furniture and maroon-hued blackout curtains. Each room offers outdoor access to the pool or garden walkway, which leads to the beach. At the casual beachfront restaurant, chefs craft Mediterranean-style dishes with local seafood and produce.
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 del Carmen'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 about a mile 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.