Category Archives: Central America

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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Los Cabos: Two Oceans, One Paradise

Written by Cristina Buaas

Looking for more than sun & sand on your vacation to Mexico? Los Cabos provides a terrific breadth of experience for people of all ages to enjoy while still offering beautiful beaches to soak up the sun. While it’s best known for golf and water activities like fishing, the town of San Jose del Cabo exudes culture with its many galleries, authentic restaurants, and shops displaying locally made goods. There are a multitude of activities for the adventure seeker including zip lining, swimming with whale sharks, a camel safari (yes, camels in Mexico!), catamaran half day cruise, and other thrilling ventures. For a more relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy a sunset yacht cruise, go snorkeling and paddle boarding, or lounge pool-side at one of many authentic luxury resorts.

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Esperanza was the first stop during my trip to Los Cabos. Secluded and perched on a bluff, this resort offers a relaxed atmosphere with sumptuous accommodations. The resort’s beach area is a cove creating a private space for guests to enjoy. Combined with an ocean-view infinity pool and complimentary fitness classes, Esperanza is a great place to unwind. Whether staying in a guest casita or private villa, you will receive Virtuoso amenities through our preferred partnership.

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The Cape is an eclectic and trendy lifestyle resort, generally for younger adults, with a very modern feel. The beach is great for surfing and you can see the famous “El Arco” from every room! Dining at the resort’s restaurant Manta, created by celebrity chef Enrique Olvera, was an incredible experience. If this fresh take on Los Cabos luxury draws you in, let us know so we can add value to your stay with Virtuoso amenities.

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The Resort at Pedregal sits at the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez, aka “Land’s End.” You will be amazed by the dramatic, chandelier-lined entrance when you arrive through their tunnel that connects from the town of Cabo San Lucas. This property has a great design and sense of place. Each room offers a plunge pool and fireplace, perfect for any season. A wonderful option for younger couples or families with teens who value easy access to nightlife or alternate dining options because of the proximity to town. Don’t miss out on their plentiful breakfast buffet, a complimentary Virtuoso amenity offered here.

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One&Only Palmilla is the most historic property in Los Cabos. Built in 1955, it was the first resort in the region and still has that “classic Hollywood” feel. Providing amazing service with bespoke service touches everywhere, this property truly warms your heart. Spacious rooms, lush grounds, and having one of the area’s only swimmable beaches make One&Only Palmilla hard to beat for couples and families. Romance and renewal abound here, and throughout 2016 the resort is offering exclusive spa experiences for Virtuoso guests.

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Las Ventanas Al Paraiso is breathtakingly beautiful on all sides, offering gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez. Be ready to get pampered whether at the awarded indoor/outdoor spa or being served by the butlers at the infinity pool. Villa guests can even arrange to have the chef prepare an authentic breakfast or dinner in your villa. Beach cabanas are available to rent and include plunge pools on the beach, a wet bar and ample seating and loungers for a group or family. This property is great for couples of all ages looking to relax and enjoy serenity during their stay and of course, we would love to add value through the complimentary Virtuoso amenities.

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In addition to amazing luxury accommodations, Los Cabos boasts of incredible dining from tacos and mescal to haute cuisine. Whether you prefer a local farm-to-table restaurant like the charming Flora Farms or you’re looking for a lively authentic taco dinner at La Lupita, Los Cabos will exceed your expectations. Through my personal experience and knowledge along with our supplier partner relationships, CSB Travel can truly inspire an unforgettable vacation for your family to this vibrant destination.

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A Luxurious Beach Vacation to Remember

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Riviera Maya July 2014 submitted by Cristina Buaas

For our family vacation this summer, we journeyed to the Rosewood Mayakoba in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. Only a 2-hour flight from Houston and a 40-minute drive to the hotel, it was a quick and easy travel day for an international destination. The Mayakoba development houses three beautiful hotels, the Rosewood, Banyan Tree, and the Fairmont, and there is free transport between the resorts so guests can experience the food and beauty of all three while still in the Mayakoba development. If you are looking for a relaxing family vacation or a romantic couples get away in a very intimate, high service level resort, then the Rosewood Mayakoba would be a perfect fit for you. This breathtaking property only has 130 suites (each with a private plunge pool!), which allows for the top-notch service and experiences at this resort. Foodies that we are, my family truly would wake up eager to begin the day with the delicious breakfast buffet serving fresh fruit, pastries, eggs, yogurt, various meats and cheeses as well as a special section for kids serving delicacies such as giant pink marshmallows and Nutella strawberry sandwiches. Aside from this lovely buffet, the food at the resort’s famous Agave Azul Sushi and Tequila Bar as well as the pool and beachside Punta Bonita was extremely fresh, well-prepared, and scrumptious. Honestly, our experience at the Rosewood Mayakoba was exactly what a beach vacation should be like; we were free to relax on the beach or by the pool (while enjoying poolside amenities like popsicles!), enjoy water activities such as kayaking or parasailing, indulge in Sense, the Spa, or work out in the well-stocked gym. Additionally, to add a little action into our relaxing trip, we journeyed to Xplor, an adventure park where you could zipline through the trees, kayak through underground caves, and ride ATVs through the park. This was a fun and different addition to our normal routine and we are all glad that we tried something new- just be prepared to get wet! Although we stayed at the Rosewood, we journeyed to the Banyan Tree as well as the nearby Grand Velas and feasted on delicious Thai food at Banyan’s Saffron Restaurant and divine French cuisine at Grand Velas’s Piaf. After my relaxing, spectacular weekend at the Rosewood Mayakoba, I would highly recommend this property to those who want a safe and easy vacation filled with true five-star luxury, mouthwatering food, and the breathtaking beauty of the beach and Yucatan Peninsula.

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A Perfect Vacation for Everyone to Enjoy!

Playa Conchal and Los Suenos, Costa Rica submitted by Cristina Buaas

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Filled with amazing wildlife, beaches, lush forests, and activities, Costa Rica is a fun-filled vacation spot with something for everyone to enjoy!  From dining on delicious local cuisine to ziplining across the forests to relaxing on the beach, our family truly enjoyed this vacation. We stayed first at the Westin Playa Conchal, an amazing all-inclusive resort an hour away from the Liberia airport then drove south about 4 hours to Los Suenos, where visitors can enjoy surfing in nearby Jaco as well as world class sport fishing departing right from the Los Suenos marina, the sloths and other wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park only an hour away, zip lining nearby and golf and the beach within the resort. Another reason that Costa Rica is on the top of our lists for prime vacation spots? Safety! Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America with its Pura Vida lifestyle, friendly inhabitants, and easy accessibility (there are direct flights from Houston, Boston, and other big cities around the USA!). From the couple that wants a romantic, relaxing getaway, to the adventurous family that loves to be active and on the move, Costa Rica has something for everyone. Pura Vida!

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