Mayan Vacation Expedition

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a great place to take the family for some fun in the sun and a cultural education.


Until a few years ago, the Riviera Maya was pretty much an unknown getaway destination for travelers who wanted to avoid the crowded and commercial hot spot of Cancún, a few miles to the north along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. They touted its more authentic vibe, beautiful beaches and sleepy coastal towns. A few tourists to Cancún might have taken day trips to explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, but the region remained relatively below the radar for most vacationers.

No more.

In the span of a few short years, the Riviera Maya has seen tremendous growth in its tourism sector, with several new all-inclusive resorts opening up, along with luxury and boutique hotels. The Mayakobá development alone boasts four resorts: its Fairmont and Rosewood hotels are already open; Viceroy and Banyan Tree properties are due to debut in 2009. Orient Express and Mandarin Oriental opened resorts earlier this year, while the more reasonably priced all-suites, all-inclusive Sandos Playacar Riviera Hotel & Spa opened last month. (This property announced this week a “Romance Package” with rates starting at $123 per person, per night, for couples not yet in the family way or for parents needing a little alone time.)

Unlike most of our previous issue focuses, our Riviera Maya section has been written by several contributors: Cindy Richards, our Chicago family expert, provided the main feature, which includes info on Playa del Carmen and nearby theme parks; a family hotel round-up; and a piece on the Mayan ruins of Tulum, arguably one of the biggest draws for visitors to the region. Leslie Long debuts on TravelMuse with an article on the Mayan adventure tour she and her son recently took. Senior editor Jill Robinson explores the ruins of Cobá in our Offbeat column, then gives the adults something to look forward to with a piece on tequila and where to find the best tastings during your stay on the Riviera Maya.

Cindy Richards also wrote our Colorado dude ranch feature this week. Additional coverage includes a look at family camps, outdoor activities on the outskirts of San Diego, a Back Page column on taking the family overseas, kids events taking place in June, GPS product review for road trips and our weekly list of family deals.

Phew! Another week, another issue. And just as the Riviera Maya has grown in popularity, TravelMuse is beginning to gain traction as well. We’ve doubled our average daily hits since migrating from our test site to a few weeks ago. Granted, the numbers aren’t huge, but hey, we’re not yet in beta mode, so we’re still excited and looking forward to even more growth in the coming weeks.

We’re taking a breather next week, in honor of Memorial Day, but will be back on May 30, with our summer beach issue.

Happy travels!

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director 

Destinations: Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Riviera Maya

Themes: Family Travel

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