The Mayan Riviera

Written by Katie Boydston Rollins

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I figured I would share some of the hottest spots to seek silky sands, authentic experiences and yes… Tequila!  If you love the outdoors you will love Mexico, especially the Yucatan’s northern Caribbean coast.  The Riviera Maya offers stunning beachfronts, hidden cenotes, Mayan ruins, a PGA tour golf course, Xcaret and Xplor Adventure Parks.  Another great thing about traveling to Mexico; the short flight!  In just 10 to 40 minutes, you can have your toes in the sand at one of these authentic luxury resorts…. Arriba, arriba!  Andale, andale!

NIZUC Resort & Spa:  This stunning resort is just minutes from Cancun, yet you could not feel more removed from the frantic pace.  NIZUC is a standout and I will certainly be back to visit on a personal vacation.  The resort has a Mexican heart and a Mayan soul and the natural elements of a hotel reach a level of serenity not typically found in resorts near Cancun proper.  There are 6 restaurants offering international menus and the pools face the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.  It’s the perfect place for even a 3-4 night getaway.  I promise that you will be transformed to a state of bliss!







Viceroy Riviera Maya:   This is a little “Gem in the Jungle.”  The resort is Mayan inspired and very exclusive, intimate, private, sexy and ideal for couples.  The rooms are beautifully decorated and have heated plunge pools, outdoor showers, and hammocks.  The restaurants serve authentic, local cuisine and both dining venues are resort casual.  The resort is very small so you are always steps from the ocean and activity, but the Yucatan foliage allows guests to enjoy the ultimate privacy.  When you visit, you have to try the pineapple margarita!


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Hotel Esencia:  You will immediately feel like you have been welcomed into someone’s home.  In fact, it was originally built as the private home of an Italian duchess.  The hotel grounds feel organic, chic, laid back, and authentic.  Hotel Esencia attracts the most discerning traveller.  Here luxury is defined by its intimate and relaxed ambiance, which is what brings guests back year after year.  The proximity to Tulum allows for easy access the ruins as well as many restaurants including the famed Hartwood, bars and clubs.

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Rosewood Mayakoba:  The perfect balance between the best in service and a quiet getaway.  What’s unique about the Mayakoba development is that the accommodations are built within the lagoon’s mangroves so upon arrival, guests are transported by boat to their sanctuary.   It is incredibly peaceful and quiet.  Your room has a heated plunge pool where you can sit and look at crocodiles.  Yes this is a warning, do not go swimming in the lagoons!  There is one fine dining restaurant, a beach restaurant and a sushi + tequila library where you can sample Mexico’s finest.

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba:  The Riviera Maya meets the Orient at Banyan Tree Mayakoba.  You are always a bike ride away from the ocean but between the lagoon and your spacious villa, guests can enjoy the ultimate privacy.  A sanctuary for the senses, this renowned spa is not to be missed but neither is the Pad Thai at Saffron, Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant.  On my next visit, I will certainly immerse myself in the Mayan customs and cuisine at HAAB.



Grand Velas Riviera Maya:  Grab the family and head to Grand Velas!  Although this indulgent resort comes at a price, there is truly something for everyone— kids, teenagers and adults!  This all-inclusive product is one of a kind, offering a unique vacation experience where passion, luxury, and exceptional service merge to create lasting memories.  I had just mustered up the courage to try the fish spa but then had to leave… next time!

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Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa:  An authentic slice of paradise and the most stunning beachfront in the Riviera Maya!  This resort is an old coconut plantation offering genuine Mexican hospitality.  With only 63 spacious guest rooms, you can enjoy a haven of well being.  The Kinan Spa is consistently voted as the Best in Mexico & Latin America.

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Thompson Playa del Carmen:  The newest addition to the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen, this flirty, vibrant, social, and luxury lifestyle hotel is an urban experience.  I know one thing is for sure, that rooftop is all that it’s talked up to be!  Where is the bachelorette party??  The Beach House is it’s bohemian sister with only 27 rooms and a more relaxed beachfront setting.  This is for those in there 20-30s or just youthful minded and playful adults!







Are you thinking ‘Wholly Guacamole’ what’s the best fit for me?  Don’t worry!  Through my personal experience and knowledge along with our supplier partner relationships, CSB Travel can truly inspire an unforgettable vacation to this vibrant destination.  Our clients are granted exclusive amenities such as early check-in and late check-out, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast for two (see below yummyyy) resort/spa credits and more depending upon each property.  

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