Talc-white beaches, reefs teeming with life, ruined temples in misty rainforests – the Riviera Maya offers a family or romantic beach holiday with a dash of Indian Jones adventure.
Recommended place to stay:
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico|www.izlahotel.com|
Official star rating:
Sunset over the ocean? It’s hard to find on the Mayan Riviera. All the rooms on the mainland face East. But not on Isla Mujeres.
The Izla sits over one of the island’s semi-private white-sand beaches, poised for sunset: sinking orange over the turquoise sea and distant Cancún from the balcony-jacuzzi-baths, the al fresco restaurant or the adults-only rooftop infinity pool.
Rooms sit in a blocky horseshoe of concrete that looks very Miami Beach. Interiors are clean and sparse – in wood laminate, white palettes and wall-high glass. And as it’s all about the views consider splashing out the 25% extra for an upgrade from the tiny standard deluxes to a spacious Superior Ocean front – with that Jacuzzi on the balcony.
The hotel sits over a tiny white-sand beach in front of a long, mangrove-line lagoon. It’s a serene setting, but there’s little on the doorstep. Alternative restaurants, bars and beaches are a minimum fifteen-minute golf cart ride away.
Fringed with reefs at its southern end and tapering to a long, sandy beach at its northern, Isla Mujeres island is a popular day trip destination and a low-key, relaxed alternative Riviera Maya base to Cancun, 30 minutes across the water.
The island is tranquil and tiny – just five miles long and less than half a mile wide. There are no proper roads: streets are tiny and most transport is by golf cart or bike. There is good snorkelling in the glassy-clear tranquil sea – over reefs and submerged art in the MUSA Underwater Museum, and strings of boutiquey hotels.
Isla Mujeres is a boat ride away from the mainland – one on hand, that makes it a little more challenging for active sightseeing, but on the other, it keeps you removed from the crowds.
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