Thursday, March 8, 2012

Paradise. Riviera Maya.

I've never died and gone to heaven. Ok, I've never died. But I have had the absolute pleasure of staying at Maroma Resort in Mexico's beautiful Riviera Maya, which must be the closest thing to heaven on earth. 

I live in California. I’ve been to beaches before, but never like this. The Mayan Riviera is on the eastern coast of Mexico touching the Caribbean Sea. The ocean here is like bath water with a dash of salt. The sun toasts your skin like a marshmallow over a fire and you feel so ooey-gooey happy that nothing else in the world seems to matter. It’s hard to put into words - the bliss that a paradise like this evokes. Maybe this will help...

Compared to the behemoth monster hotels popping up along Mexico’s Caribbean coast catering to Cancun’s spring breakers, Maroma is a world away. Technically, it’s 45 minutes away, but it may as well be on another planet. The hotel tops off at 65 rooms, which means even at capacity you can always find a bed on the beach. (And I do mean an actual bed. On the quiet beach. Mojito in hand. I’m making myself jealous.)

The resort sits on 25 acres of beach on a 500 acre coconut plantation; way more beachfront property than most of the newer resorts in the Yucatan Peninsula that live inland with limited coastal access. Once you arrive at the Maroma entrance, the actual hotel is another 10 minute ride through a jungle of plants and animals (keep your eyes peeled!) before arriving at the pearly gates of paradise. 

If I had to pick my favorite time of day at the resort…no, I can’t decide. Though, I will mention the morning and evening. Breakfast can be eaten in the restaurant on the beach or on your private balcony. Outside of this vacation, starting the day in a robe drinking coffee and eating a mole poblano vegetable omelette on your balcony overlooking a canopy of tropical trees with birds singing in harmony only happens in a Cymbalta commercial. The evening is equally magical as the garden pathways are lit with lanterns and glowing blue lights to guide your way. Rows of candles and a sweet treat are waiting for you back at the room.

Your heart rate is so relaxed by now, your body thinks you’re dead. Get the adrenaline going and take advantage of the resort’s complimentary snorkeling excursion. It’s a nice boat ride on the water and if you’re lucky you may get to see some pretty fishies! (I looked into the stone cold eyes of a sting ray and showed him who’s boss. Unfortunately, there are no witnesses to confirm.) The Tulum ruins and a bunch of fresh water cenotes are about an hour away. I definitely recommend a tour guide to learn more than meets the eye, especially for non-Spanish speakers like myselfo.

Everyone is so nice at Maroma and in the Mayan Riviera in general. You'll be saying 'hola!' long after the airport - only no one says it back. 

Wait! There’s more:

1. Bring plenty of sunblock. You’ll need it. And one bottle in the resort’s shop costs $35!

2. Let the hotel hail you a cab and visit Playa Del Carmen, a nearby town 20 minutes south. There are restaurants and shops to do any souvenir or duty-free shopping.

3. The bed sheets at Maroma smell like freshly baked donuts. This is irrelevant, but it sure is nice. 

Here fishy, fishy, fishy. Maybe they don't speak English...