Travel writer Manty Halliday invites you to come along and experience all the wonders of Mexico’s Riviera Maya in the eco-chic town of Tulum in his latest column,which was published in the UK’s Daily Mail this Oct.
“We’re on the Mexican coast,two hours south of Cancun,” he writes. “Tulum Bay is a three-mile stretch of sand. Once the preserve of backpackers,it now attracts a more chic crowd and bohemian film stars such as Sienna Miller,who wander along the beach.”
Halliday and his traveling companion booked rooms in three different places for their stay in and around Tulum,which provides a nice overview of the different types of properties that are available in the Riviera Maya. Although much of the town is still “off the grid,” the amenities are more than comfortable,in a unique combination that is quickly making Tulum one of the world’s hottest new must-see locales.
Click here to see our very own slideshow of the Top Five Beachfront Hotels in Tulum!
Halliday’s first stop is Papaya Playa,which is a charming enclave of about 100 cabins situated on a stunning private beach,which he calls “primitive,but pristine,like an upmarket gap year.” Guests at Papaya Playa spend their days lounging by the water,sometimes playing games of bat and ball that are interrupted only to enjoy a cold beer at the adjacent bar. But perhaps the best part about staying here is its close proximity to the turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
“It’s the middle of the night,” writes Halliday. “A storm swept in to the Tulum coastline and it’s electric. The cabana we’re staying in is 20 yards from the sea,so we sit outside on the terrace and watch the show.”
For more information,visit www.papayaplayaproject.com or call +52 1 984-116-3774.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Situated just north of Tulum in the Riviera Maya,the Grand Velas AAA Five Diamond resort is ideal for travelers who wish to avoid the smaller boutique hotels and offers a premier all-inclusive experience. Palatial in its design,this property boasts a wide variety of different suites that are positioned on winding paths,incorporating 80 acres of lush jungle,protected mangroves and natural freshwater wells known as cenotes,stretching all the way to the sea.
“It’s so large,the hotel has its own safari car to venture into the undergrowth,where you’ll find birdlife to satisfy even the most practiced ornithologist,” writes Halliday of his stay at the Grand Velas.
For more information,visit www.rivieramaya.grandvelas.com or call 1-855-371-4631.
Coba Residence Hotel & Spa
Halliday also travels to the Coqui Coqui Coba Residence Hotel & Spa,which is located just under one hour northwest of Tulum in the ancient ruined city of Coba itself. This two-tower hideaway is a peaceful retreat that offers stunning views of the surrounding Mayan pyramids,boasting genuine Mayan cuisine in the lush jungle,guests can relax and enjoy being pampered amid the magical atmosphere of this wild and mysterious place.
“Coba was once home to 100,000 people,” writes Halliday. “A scattering of old structures have been uncovered,but 6,500 more are thought to be below the surface.”
For more information,call +52 1 984-168-1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Eat
As Halliday points out,“the food’s not bad,either,” in Tulum,especially if you’re looking for something authentically Mexican,in which case he recommends Simple,which is located down at the south end of the bay on the jungle side of the road.
“Whopping garlic butter lobsters and octopus with pea puree is the norm here,all accompanied by shots of mescal – tequila’s younger cousin,” he writes.
Halliday also visited the famed Coqui Coqui perfumery in Valladolid,which is located inland just under two hours northwest of Tulum. Situated near the Valladolid city center,Coqui Coqui is owned by Nicolas Malleville and his wife Francesca Bonato and is inspired by 16th century Franciscan monks who helped colonize the Yucatan Peninsula and were famous for their herbal remedies and perfumes. Malleville spent years researching the monks’ techniques to create a wide variety of scrumptious room scents,aftershaves and perfumes.
Finally,Halliday urges visitors to make time to explore a few of the many cenotes found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. These freshwater caverns offer a fabulous way to cool off and are actually sinkholes that are formed when the natural limestone bedrock collapses,creating wondrous cave-lakes that are just waiting to be explored.
“For all the man-made wonders of the world,our most exhilarating experience in Coba comes from this purely natural source,” writes Halliday.”A deep pool greets us. As I dive in,the icy sensation shoots from head to toe. It’s an electric grand finale to a thrilling Mexican adventure.”