Imprevist Resto and Wine – A Cozy Creative Experience you Shouldn’t Dare to Miss!

 

Imprevist Resto and Wine - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenLet’s face it! Food is a big part of vacation. Many of us diet strong weeks before taking the flight, just so we can arrive with freedom to ignore calorie counting for several days in a row.   With that being said, if you are going to give yourself some extra freedom, you mines well use it on, not just any meal, but something truly fantastic!

If you are looking for a great spot to enjoy during your vacation I would like to share with you one of the most special little gems in Playa – Imprevist Resto and Wine!

Located on a quaint and quiet street, IMPREVIST invites you to enjoy a real culinary experience that will surely leave you with special feeling.

Imprevist is a Catalan word meaning “Unexpected”! And here you will truly see how the name fits with its true meaning!

There’s something to be said about Small and Cozy!

Their cozy intimate dining room is inviting! The service is warm and attentive! And the food is simply delicious and memorable!

What I love most about this restaurant is that you really feel good while you are there. Whether you are having date night with your honey, enjoying an evening with friends or having a classic family dinner – Imprevist is a place that accommodates a particular at home feel that many can only find in the coziness of their own homes.

Salmon with Mango Sauce - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenInnovative Menu!

Their dinner menu features classic International cuisine with Chef Juan Diego’s special flare as well as an alternative Asian Fusion menu that will truly give you a twist on the ordinary.

Inspired Culinary Favorites!

My absolute favorites are the chicken risotto, salmon with mango sauce and the chicken Thai Salad (also served with shrimp at your preference). Steak lovers and seafood lovers you are also in for a real treat! And for tuna lovers, let me offer a piece of advice that you will be glad you took – you must experience their famous Tuna Tar Tar which had been a true and unchanged staple on their amazing menu!

Let’s talk Risotto, shall we?

By far the best Risotto I have experienced, not only here in Playa, but anywhere for that matter. Chef Juan Diego has mastered the art of Risotto with sheer grace! The menu features a choice of risottos blending different flavors and using a variety of different meats and seafood to top it off.

The Chef behind all the Magic!

Over the last year I have gotten to get to know Chef Juan Diego Solombrino and have become really interested to understand his style. I can tell you is that Chef Juan Diego puts a lot of love and pride into his kitchen and puts a lot of care in what he brings to the dinner table!

He loves to play with different flavors and aromas which is why you will likely notice seasonal changes in his menus allowing him to take advantage of the seasons freshest ingredients, flavors and colors.

The Best Sunday Style Brunch in the Region!

Really, who doesn’t love a good brunch! Imprevist puts on a great breakfast and bunch social every day! Perfect for early or late risers. The breakfast menu always includes fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, a basket of freshly baked pastries, fresh juice and coffee! For me, this is hands down the best breakfast experience in Playa del Carmen!

Tuna Tartare - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenWhere to find Imprevist!

You can find Imprevist locate on 1st Avenue between 16th and 12th street!

If you visit Imprevist you will most likely be greeted at some point by Christine, Juan Luis or Chef Juan Diego as they are always there to personally insure the best experience for all of their guests.

Imprevist opens for breakfast every day from 7 am to 2 pm. Dinner is served Monday thru Saturday from 6 pm to 11 pm.

I should also mention that the owners of Imprevist, Juan Diego Solombrino along with Juan Luis Wehncke, have also partnered up to create a secondary amazing experience just down the road from Imprevist, called PLANK! If you have the chance to try both during your trip you will definitely be in for a real treat!

Xcaret, Xel-ha or Xplor? Which Experience is Best for You?

 

Xcaret, Xplor and Xel Ha are three of the Riviera Maya’s most well-known excursions, mainly because of the positive reputation of Xcaret Xperiences and also because of rave reviews. It is most likely that your concierge or tour representative will recommend you to visit one of these parks. But if all of them are so wonderful then how to you choose which one is best for you!

I have visited all three of these wonderful parks and can tell you that each of them offers a completely different experience quite unique from one another. There is something for the adventure lover, the aquatic lover, the nature lover, history lover and of course the open bar lover!

Xcaret Xperience

Xcaret - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

 

Xcaret Park is probably the most magnificent excursion that I have done in the Riviera Maya. It is an excursion that can be done over and over and still be enjoyable! That park is so big that actually you may not even cover the whole park in one day depending on how quickly you move along through the beautiful path of nature!

Xcaret is meant to be a full day activity starting in the morning and ending in the nighttime hours as they do have a spectacular nighttime performance in which they are famous for. You don’t have to stay for this but if you are already there it’s truly a must see!

Xcaret is absolutely family friendly but you must be prepared to walk a lot and be prepared for the hot sun by wearing bio natural sunscreen! Everything is done at your leisure so you have plenty of opportunities to stop and relax along the way, grab a bite to eat, drink a cocktail or take a swim in one of the beautiful lagoons or cenotes.

Xcaret combines water activities with exciting nature sites and lessons of the Mayan history. You may also choose to add an extra experience such as swimming with the dolphins for an extra fee!

If you purchase the deluxe package which I highly recommend you do then you will also get to enjoy a 5 star buffet meal in one of their many amazing restaurants along the way (you get to choose one)! On that note: My favorite has always been their Mexican buffet! There are also many stops along the way where you can purchase snacks and drinks!

Xel-Ha Xperience

Xel Ha - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

This is usually the park that mostly gets compared to Xcaret and sometimes people believe that it is the same kind of park, just with a different location however it is actually much different. While Xel-Ha is a nature park it is really is a more laid back experience with a much more aquatic focus overall.

They have various cenotes for swimming or just grab a tube, float and relax. It’s also a beautiful place to snorkel as you can discover colorful fish and other beauties underwater world. There are some mild jump off points for those dare devils as well as other over the water activities like zip lining. I should note, these zip lines are not the adventurous ones flying high above the jungle. Rather they are very kid (and kid at heart) friendly; and are really meant to be a fun way to make a water slide type splash landing in the water.

It is a great excursion for families with younger children (swimmable age) because you spend more time in the water than actually walking around the park site seeing. This is also a very nice and relaxing day to spend with your friends or as a couple. Swim, take a beautiful nature walk or grab a bicycle along the way and take a nice bike ride through the walking and bike trails.

The perk of this excursion is that it is all inclusive with open bar and all you can eat, throughout the entire day! You may also purchase extra experiences such as swim with the dolphins or other unique underwater experiences.

Xplor Xperience

Xplor - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

This park is for all you adventure lovers! Xplor combines an aquatic experience with breathtaking adventure through the jungle! And you can do it by day or by night!

You will be wet the entire time so wear those water shoes and your bathing suit! Even if you are just doing it for the zip lining you will end the circuit with a splash landing in the water so keep that in mind!

You may want to start off your adventure with a swim through the underground river. I won’t give away the surprise but I will tell you that your swim ends with a simply breathtaking site that you will not want to miss!

Your next activity brings you to a 4 wheel drive through the amphibious jungle! During the night excursion, this circuit adds a little bit more mystery! Don’t worry, as there will be light and there are Xplor employees along the way to insure your comfort and safety.

The zip lining is always the main headline of the park, featuring a circuit of zip lines sending you flying high above the jungle! I should note that I have done other zip lining excursions in the Riviera Maya before and this is the one where I have definitely felt the best comfort level! I am a scardy cat at heart but I love this excursion! Once you do the first one you will want to do the rest.

Xplor also features an all you can eat buffet which you can take advantage of all day! Alcohol is not served at this park for obvious reasons.

This can be a family friendly activity but remember that it is a much more adventurous experience!

My Friendly Advice!

Remember at all three of the parks it is highly recommended to wear water shoes (very important in my opinion), proper attire for getting wet, and apply eco-friendly sunscreen!

No matter which of these excursion you choose, it is for sure you will have a great time! While you might not be able to fit in all three in one visit I definitely recommend you trying all of them at some point in time!

Staying Fit is a Way of Life in Playa del Carmen- Even on Vacation!

 

Aqua Tone at the GYM Playa del Carmen - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenWell, for those of you who read my last blog about my very real pizza addiction you would have to imagine that I need to balance it out a little! So here are a few very nice suggestions on how to manage a serious love for food while maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

Fitness is not just a trend it is a way of life! For this reason many people like to continue their fitness routines even when on vacation! Some people will seek out traditional GYM type settings, or look for ways to experience the new environment around them simply by seeking outdoor activities and sports, taking a jog or going for a refreshing swim.

Whatever your thing is, Playa del Carmen has it all for you to stay in shape and, of course, eliminate some of that guilt of overindulging in too many margaritas and guacamole!

Rock that body at the GYM Playa del Carmen

If your hotel does not already include a fitness center or if you are looking for a gym that offers more, the GYM Playa del Carmen offers daily and weekly passes for vacationers. I have been a member of a few other gyms in Playa and so far the GYM Playa del Carmen is where I feel most comfortable, plus has it the best centralized location and, on top if it, includes the most activities inclusively offered with their membership.

Not only do you have access to the most state of the art equipment, you can also take advantage of over 20 different class offerings; ranging from yoga, to Pilates, to creative dance, to kick boxing, to body sculpting and so much more!

There is something for every interest. If you are a Yoga or Pilates junkie, have no fear, vacation will not interrupt your mojo! They even offer outdoor aqua aerobics classes and Yoga and Tai chi on the beach!

If you are a guest of CondoHotels you will receive complimentary access to the GYM Playa del Carmen during your entire stay!

Yoga

Aside from the inclusive Yoga offerings at the GYM, there are also many other opportunities to experience Yoga in Playa. You will run into a yoga studio pretty much on every block. Most studios will offer indoor, outdoor and oceanfront yoga experiences. Or spice up your yoga and do in in the ocean! Yes, I said it! Surf Board Yoga in the water! Oralay!

Running the 5th Avenue in Color - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenGet your Run on!

Let me start off by saying that I am not one of those people who can do the same fitness routine day in and day out. I need to switch it up a bit every now and then. I also LOVE to run but I hate running the same route every time because I will get bored. But in Playa, I never have the option to get bored as there are so many safe and pretty running routes for daily or nightly running, as well.

Let’s start with my number one favorite running route – The Beach! If you live at the beach, if you are visiting the beach and if you are a runner then you will know the invigoration you can receive from running on the beach. Plus, if you are running in the sunlight it’s a perfect and non-boring way to get your tan on as well! If you are running the beach in the evening, the ocean provides sense of calming – especially perfect for runners who run to clear their minds. Go ahead and take those shoes off and just let yourself go!

The 5th Avenue is a classic running route as well. The mornings are the best to run the stretch of the 5th since it is quieter and there is less people traffic. I also should mention that running the mornings in Playa make it more comfortable, as the hot sun can wear you down and dehydrate you during a run. If you are adventurous though, run the 5th in the day or evening. While some people feel it’s too crowded for a calming run, I actually enjoy watching the people and sometimes I even like to think of it as a challenging obstacle course.

Playacar is also quite a delightful route to run! Playacar is so pretty and has sort of a Beverly Hills style neighborhood feel. The whole circuit is a perfect 5k so you can let the time wiz by while you get a good look at the beautiful homes, the golf course and surely the giant resorts. Playacar is a bit more shaded and can be a cozy run even during the daytime hours (still remember it’s hot).

I should also mention that Playa del Carmen has a beautiful field with a running track located on 10th Ave between 28th and 34th Street.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for those road races, as we do have many in Playa and all around the Riviera Maya! If your timing is right, registering for a road race can be a fun way to see the sites and meet new people at the same time! Note: Playa del Carmen also hosts an annual half marathon every fall!

Spinning in the Nature of the Outdoors

Bike riding is also a great leisurely way to stay in shape, but also get to know many of the sites in the area. Playa del Carmen is extremely bike friendly. The central part of the 5th Avenue is closed for cyclists during the day, due to the high pedestrian traffic, however there is a great bike path located on the 10th Avenue. Playacar is also really nice for leisurely cycling as well. If you aren’t a runner, try out the same 5k route on your bike! Different high but same satisfaction!

Many hotels will provide bicycles for free! If not, then ask your concierge or front desk where you maybe be able to rent one!

Fun Session of Beach Volleyball - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenExercise by Accident in Paradise

And when all else fails you can exercise without even thinking about it! Join in on a sweaty session of beach volleyball, rent a kayak – if you don’t move those muscles you won’t be going anywhere; or try paddle boarding – great ab work out and you wouldn’t even believe it! Bring that inner gymnast out and do handstands and cartwheels on the beach! Go for a swim – surely you are bound to spend some valuable time in the water!

Until next time -Enjoy your vacation fit and happy in paradise!

Oh But There IS Good Pizza in Playa Del Carmen! There Really Is!

Many people travel here with the great anticipation of indulging in amazing Mexican food morning, noon and night for their entire stay! But if you are like most normal people, enough will be enough and you will be dreaming of cheeseburgers and pizza!

Well as Miss Liz stated in Eat, Pray Love! “I am in love. I’m having a relationship with my pizza!”

Oh But There IS Good Pizza in Playa Del Carmen! There Really Is! - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

That is probably one quote that I can most relate to in my whole life! I LOVE pizza! I was actually scared to move away from my home in the US thinking that I couldn’t possibly find great pizza here in Playa del Carmen! That and other things! But indeed I have found it all including AMAZING pizza!

I love pizza! All the different things that you can do with sauce, cheese, bread and a multitude of toppings is just amazing to me! And here I am (lucky me!) letting the world know my 2 or 3 cents about where you can find the best pizza in the town that I love the most – Playa del Carmen!

First let me start off by saying that there admittedly are some bad pizza choices in Playa. If you have tried those it may throw you to the assumption that good pizza in Playa is not likely to be found. I’m here to delightfully tell you that there IS wonderful amazing and outstanding pizza here! You just have to know where to go!

Thick Crust Chicago Style Goodness!

Oh But There IS Good Pizza in Playa Del Carmen! There Really Is! - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

I’m going to start off with my current favorite well deserving of getting my number one vote – Don Chendo! A little off the beaten path, on 30th avenue, you will find this hot little Italian American pizza joint serving up the only Chicago style deep dish pizza in the area. The owner is from NY City and learned from the very best to create amazing Sunday Style Sauces and has mastered true Italian cooking with the Bonus of the Deep Dish Pizza! Here I strongly recommend the “Meatball Pizza”! Wow! They do deliver to all residents and hotels in the area as well!

Thin and Perfectly Delicious!

When I am in the thin crust mood I always make my way over to Romeo’s! This little gem can be found not far from the 5th avenue, only two blocks away on 6th street between Avenues 10 and 15! Best classic thin crust pizza in Playa del Carmen (at least in my opinion). So good that even a classic cheese pizza is beautiful enough for me. But if you do want to add toppings I really suggest the Mexican pizza topped with all the good stuff including Jalapeños! YUM!

Culinary Creative and Heavenly!

Oh But There IS Good Pizza in Playa Del Carmen! There Really Is! - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

If you like culinary creativity, which sometimes I do, head over to Plank which is located just around the corner from El Taj on 16th street and first Avenue! There you will find heavenly flatbread selections. My most favorite is the Buffalo Chicken, while my husband is completely taken by a flatbread combination of goat cheese, figs and rocket leaves! There are about 7 different varieties and are all are completely heavenly! If you’ve never tried pulled pork on an artisan flat bread, you absolutely must!

A Playa Del Carmen Fav!

Piola is another great pick for quality pizza and the price is right too! They’ve got a ton of pizza combinations, both typical and creative, or you can create your own. They offer a thin crust style! Dip your crust in their signature spicy olive oil or kick it up a few notches and ask for the Habenera! I LOVE spicy! Piola pizza is fantastic HOT so I would recommend going there to eat it over take out!

Can I have some Guacamole on my Pizza?

Rolandi’s is another great pick as they have a fantastic pizza selection and remarkably tasty pizzas as well! I love the pizza with arugula or try a slightly modified version of the typical margarita pizza – Guacamole Margarita pizza! It’s interesting and fabulous! You can find Rolandi’s at the very end of the 10th Avenue right before the entrance of Playacar.

I Want to Wake up in a City that Doesn’t Sleep!

La Famigla also rings in on my favorite pizza list! While they do sell slices I really think the quality of the fresh whole pizzas is worth spending on! They make delicious NY style large pizzas that will make you wonder what city and it in what country you are really in! My favorite here is the classic pepperoni pizza! My theory has always been that if it’s a quality pizza with the perfect ratio of cheese vs sauce vs crust there is no need to hide it with too many toppings!

I should also note that all of the places I mentioned have wide variety menus and I also rate the rest of the food as being fantastic. So if you are in the mood for pizza and your hunny prefers pasta, salad or even steak you can’t go wrong at any of these places!

Are you hungry yet?

Xperiencing Xochimilco in a Riviera Maya Kind of Way!

Xperiencing Xochimilco in a Riviera Maya Kind of Way! - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenAs if Xcaret Xperiences hasn’t done enough to continuously surpass expectations and make our lives incredibly more adventurous in the Riviera Maya, they have gone and done something else amazing with the recreation of Xochimilco right here in the Riviera Maya!

Before you experience this brand new fun activity you must understand how it came about, as it is actually a divine replica of a place so beautiful and famous! The original Xochimilco, otherwise called the City of Flowers, is a fun natural attraction located close to Mexico City.

There, you can arrive with your friends or family and rent a specially designed boat called a trajinera which will take you through the charming canals of Xochimilco. These brightly painted boats are designed to fit around 20 people, offering bench seating and a full length table running through the mid-section of the trajinera.

Imagine having a unique picnic while floating through a beautiful canal, overlooking the historic and colorful town, which is completely draped in floral.

The original Xochimilco is BYOB and is often associated with a full day of drinking alcoholic beverages with your amigos or a spending relaxing Sunday afternoon with family! If you’ve forgotten your supplies, you will likely find vendors passing by in other trajineras selling all sorts foods and beverages along the way.

This is a day trip that is famously loved by all who live or visit near Mexico City! For this reason, the same makers who brought you Xcaret, and other well-loved parks such as Xplor and Xel-ha, have created a unique excursion like no other – at Xoximilco, Riviera Maya!

Experiencing Xochimilco in the Riviera Maya!

The concept is fairly the same, although it is done in a much more organized fashion, and is actually sold as a tour rather than a hop on hop off kind of thing – with reservations and all! Also, I should mention this one is NOT BYOB, rather is sold as a 5 course dinner tour with open bar, featuring timeless classic Mexican foods; which replicate what can likely be found for sale at the original Xochimilco Canals.

The logistics of the tour are slightly Americanized, only to put order to the booking process and timing, however this one is truly designed to give you a real feel for the country’s traditions and an opportunity to discover authenticity of Mexico.

Once you arrive at the park you will be assigned to a trajinera! Each trajinera is named after an important Mexican state or landmark. While you wait for the boat to be prepared you can enjoy a typical Mexican snack of corn called “esquites” which is traditionally mixed with mayo, parmesan cheese, chili and lime! Soooo Delicious!!! Also you can refresh your taste buds with traditional flavored waters of Mexico including Orchata and Jamaica.

Eat, Drink, Dance underneath the moonlight!

Once your boat is prepared and ready, right around sunset, you will be called to enter the trajinera and start your journey, passing through some of the most pretty and amazing landmark replicas of the real Xochimilco!

During the way you will make multiple stops to visit other trajineras where you will receive each course of your dinner! Due to the idea of authenticity you may encounter some bizarre things (for the brave of course) like fried eatable grasshoppers, which will turn up as an appetizer option at your table. I’m not really a grasshopper kind of girl but my husband had no problem cleaning his plate and mine!

Don’t worry though! If grasshoppers aren’t your thing, you will still have a glorious amount of other selections. All of the traditional foods are amazingly appetizing and cooked with delicious traditional Mexican sauces and ingredients. Get ready to be FULL as you will experience over 20 different selections. You even get a huge dessert plate with an array of Mexican sweets and traditional candies! Oh how yummy!

Aside from the free flowing food and beverages, you receive an earful of history from your ever so entertaining and funny tour guide! You will also encounter wonderful Mexican music and Mariachis, featuring selections deriving from a variety of Mexican states.

There are plenty of opportunities to dance and sing and party! While the tour guides do a fantastic job at keeping the vibe up, I really think that the fun factor on this tour is up to you and your group.  I noticed some trajineras with fairly calm crowds while others who seemed to be having a total blast dancing and making their own party.

Oh and side note: For those who are wondering how they will make it through 3 hours of open bar without a bathroom break – thankfully there is a scheduled stop along the way for that too!

Xperiencing Xochimilco in a Riviera Maya Kind of Way! - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenIt’s all about making memories!

From the moment you arrive until the very end, there are professional photographers taking pretty outstanding photos – completely worth the 49 dollars to purchase the USB stick at the end of the tour. Once you get off the boat you can purchase your photos and other take home items at the souvenir shop. While sometimes considered pricey, my husband and I generally always purchase photos from our excursions! It’s a great way to look back on all of our adventures!

Xoximilco is family friendly, friends’ family and couple friendly! I would highly recommend doing this tour with a large group if you have the opportunity! But if you are taking the tour as a couple or small group it is a great opportunity to meet friends which is always a great thing!

Riviera Maya Bucket List Part 1 – Discovering Small Pieces of Heaven!

Xpu-Ha - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenThe Riviera Maya is a special place that is meant to be experienced and explored rather than just merely seen. The very thing that keeps so many people coming back year after year is the fact that it is a vacation that can always offer a different experience.

There are so many secret places and what I believe to be hidden wonders. If you have visited Playa del Carmen, Cancun or even Tulum you may think that is where it all ends. But in reality that is just where it starts.

In between these well-known landmarks you can find small pieces of heaven! What used to be secret little treasures are now becoming more talked about – but none the less are still must sees while on vacation anywhere in the Riviera Maya.

If you are calling Playa del Carmen your home base for the week and are looking to switch up the scenery a bit (which I highly recommend you do, for your own good!) there are a few of my favorite little wonders heading southward that I always recommend. You can even visit more than one place in one day – offering a more fulfilling experience.

Magical Cenotes

Start your day trip adventure with a stop at one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes which are about 15 minutes south from Playa del Carmen! This is a perfect activity to start in the morning on a really hot day! I always love cenotes on hot days because the water is a bit chillier than the ocean or pool water, and is an absolutely amazingly refreshing way to cool off!

A cenote is literally a natural fresh clear water pool which, on sunny days mirrors like crystal. It’s beautiful and quite an invigorating experience. Some cenotes even have underground cave entrances for those who love to dive and explore.

Two of my favorite nearby cenotes on this south route toward Tulum are Centoe Azul and Jardin of Eden. Both have great cliff jump off points if you like a little extra adventure. This is a great activity for a nice quick swim or to spend the entire day! Bring your towels, bathing suit and your smile! The entrance is about 50 pesos per person depending on the cenote.

If you have the time you may want to wander off to a brilliant new beach! The summer time hours give you plenty of beach time, so even if you arrive in the afternoon you still have plenty of time to enjoy!

The secret place everyone is talking about – Xpu-ha

Only right around the corner from the cenotes, on the other side of the highway you can find one of the most magical places I have encountered in the Riviera Maya – Xpu-ha! My goodness, what a wonderful place! I discovered Xpu-ha after having lived here already for almost 1.5 years! The first time I saw it I thought – “I can’t believe I have been missing out on this heaven all this time”. Well now I am very thankful that this paradisaical place is a regular part of my life!

Xpu-ha Beach is a paradise with soft white sand and crystal clear waters. It is also home to some of the most precious coral reefs! If you like to swim or snorkel this is a fantastic place to discover! You can also enjoy select water sports at a fraction of the cost of what you would spend in Playa! The entrance is 40 pesos per person but if you consume at the beach club, you will get a refund for your entrance upon leaving. The beach club is also highly recommendable with great food and cocktails!

The place of the Sea Turtles in Akumal

Akumal is another paradise not to be missed. It’s about 10 more minutes from the cenotes, still heading south! I have been to Akumal time and time again for relaxing days on the beach and to swim with the very large and exceptionally amazing Sea Turtles! You can bring your own snorkel gear or you can rent for a fee.

Swimming with the turtles can be done as a tour or you are free to go on your own! Aside from the sea turtles you can also swim amongst other well-known sea creatures such as stingrays and an array of colorful fish! It is truly an experience you will be glad you’ve discovered! Entrance to Akumal is absolutely free!

I recommend you try one of the most famous restaurants on the Riviera Maya called – La Buena Vida! It is such a charming restaurant with great food overlooking the beautiful Half Moon Bay of Akumal!

The serenity of Tulum

Tulum - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenNow I bring you to a place where my heart forever lives – in Tulum! About a 45 minute drive away from Playa, Tulum is a place that makes you feel free as soon as you arrive! Its relaxed bohemian vibe puts even the most anxious at tranquility! Here the waves are bigger and the water bright and blue! If you love boogie boarding or riding the waves I highly suggest a day in Tulum!

There is a very pretty jungle road with a string of beach clubs and small hotels – each offering loungers and food and drink service! When I go I tend to always find myself at a place called “Om Tulum”! The stretch of beach is amazing and I always enjoy the service and the great food!

If you happen to be traveling with your dog – Tulum is one of the few places in the Riviera Maya that is animal friendly! You can end your day in Tulum by walking through the little town, shopping and having dinner at one of the many charming restaurants in the town center.

If you are planning a trip to the Riviera Maya use these helpful bucket list items to create your own agenda tailored to your interests. Keep follow us for more must-see beaches and little paradises!

Snapshot – A Brilliant Love for the Riviera Maya!

For the past three years I have lived and breathed almost everything that Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya have to offer. I say almost because every time I think I’ve seen it all, I find myself discovering even more beauty and magic.  Each section of beach, every jungle, every entertainment venue, excursion, and every restaurant all offer a different experience. There is no one section of the Riviera Maya that can even be compared to one another, as they all hold multiple versions of beauty in their own secret way. This is the very thing that keeps me happy and excited here all the time!Snapshot - A Brilliant Love for the Riviera Maya! - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Having been both a faithful returning tourist and eventually a full time resident of Playa del Carmen, I have experienced the region from both perspectives. Perhaps you can say I am an area expert, or you could just say that I am a person who loves the Riviera Maya so much that I feel it is my obligation to share my experiences with the world; in hopes that someone else will have the opportunity to experience the beauties and excitements I have been so lucky to get to get to know.

I have traveled to many different countries, different cities, witnessed different sites and have tasted different foods from all over; but Playa del Carmen is the one place I feel you can wrap so many different flavors of life all into one place! Playa del Carmen is the Caribbean meets the Jungle meets New York City meets the charm of Europe. It is truly a place where there is something for everyone, every age, every taste and lifestyle.

In the coming weeks and months I will share more detailed experiences of my travels and adventures throughout the entire Riviera Maya, but today I would like to share just a short snapshot of every reason why you will fall absolutely in love with this, ever so exciting and artistic, region of the world – that is called the Riviera Maya!

Having the moments to lay your feet in the sand is what I believe is one of life’s simplest pleasures; and one that many long for, and look forward to, when planning their vacation! Follow that up with the heavenly view of sparkling turquoise Caribbean Sea and you feel like you have arrived to paradise – really!

Here you get chance to taste extraordinary international flavors (all wonderful), become involved with nature, drink from a coconut, swim in a natural fresh water cenote, zip line over the exotic jungle, get wet and wild in a water park, snorkel, dive into the deep sea, swim with the sea turtles, play with dolphins, encounter whale sharks up close and personal, get a lavishly spoiling massage on the beach, explore underground caves and the most amazing coral reefs in the world, climb historical Pyramids, shop till you drop, dive off of cliffs, skydive, parasail, get splashed riding a jet ski, visit a crocodile farm, go horseback riding while overlooking the amazement of the turquoise Caribbean sea, dance the night away, marry your sweetheart, have a smashing bachelorette bash, drink fresh juice, learn salsa dancing or even perhaps a new language, take a catamaran tour while sipping your open bar margaritas, watch the sunrise over the ocean while striking a yoga pose or during a serious jog session, and absolutely soak up the amazing sunshine which brings brilliant glow to your skin (with SPF of course) and naturally puts you in a happy state of mind.

The Riviera Maya is a consistently evolving adventure, full of charm and absolute beauty! When traveling on an average one week vacation I recommend creating an agenda which will combine adventure, exploration and relaxation; and please do try as much of the food as you possibly can! Once you experience this beautiful place you will find there are so many reasons to return back time and time again.

Playa del Carmen for Adventure Lovers!

There are many opportunities for adventure lovers in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding Riviera Maya. From sky-diving to cenote diving, from zip-lining to snorkeling with whale sharks and more!

Xplor Adventure Park

There are a few adventure parks along the Riviera Maya, the main one being Xplor, which has zip-lining and underwater cave discovery tours. It’s a great day out for the whole family with a wide range of activities on offer.

Tickets can be arranged through your concierge which include transportation, food and drinks, as well as access to the entire park for the whole day.

Aktun Chen Natural Park

The full day tour of Aktun Chen Natural Park starts with zip-lining over the jungle canopy, then a walking tour of an underground cave system. After lunch, visit some interesting animals such as reptiles and spider monkeys, before snorkeling around a pristine underwater cenote. It is absolutely magnificent and the clearest cenote I’ve ever been in.

Cenote at Aktun Chen Natural Park	 - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Horseback riding at Rancho Baaxal

Why not spend a day horseback riding along the beach at Rancho Baaxal, about 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen? It is a great day out, riding through the jungle then along the beach. The owners of Ranch Baaxal are dedicated to the health and well-being of their horses, which are mostly rescues from other ranches.

Rancho Baaxal horseback riding - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Whale Shark Tours

The season for snorkeling with these giants of the deep is technically May to September, with July being the best time to go. We went in mid August and saw plenty of sharks. Your concierge can organize a tour for your group which includes an on-board lunch at the beautiful Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun.

It is absolutely worth it for this once in a lifetime experience.

Whale shark watching - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

If you are prone to sea-sickness, come prepared for a long boat ride out to the whale’s feeding ground (about 1 1/2 hours).

Cenote Diving

Divers will love diving these caverns filled with fresh water. Most dive centers around town offer cenote dives, and a popular spot is Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) cenote, located 51 KM south of Playa del Carmen, just north of Tulum.

This is a unique experience to the Yucatan and one you are not likely to forget.

Sky Diving

For true adrenaline junkies, try a tandem skydive with Skydive Playa, Playa del Carmen’s one and only skydiving company with over seventeen years experience in the area.

Skydiving Playa del Carmen

Check out my video of the experience here!

Contact your concierge for more information on these adventure-loving activities in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

Riviera Maya Film Festival Fun

There are many interesting and diverse festivals in Playa del Carmen throughout the year, from food festivals to ‘Carnivale’, BPM and everything in between.

Festival playa del Carmen

The one festival I look forward to attending most, however, is the Riviera Maya Film Festival.

Riviera Maya film festival at the beach

Showcasing films from all over the world by renowned directors, the festival takes place over one week in March. Screenings are held in various venues throughout the Riviera Maya, including Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Tulum and our very own Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen film festival

Here in Playa, films are screened in the old cinema located in the Plaza de Pelicanos mall on Avenida 10.

Screenings are free, and have both English and Spanish subtitles. Last year I saw a French animation, a Chinese gangster film and an English drama, all in one day.

The diverse range of films makes it one of the most interesting cultural events on the Playa del Carmen social calendar.

Gala screenings of premier films take place in some beautiful beach-front locations along the Riviera Maya, like Unico beach club in Puerto Morelos. Watch a range of international films from directors such as Spike Lee and Lars von Trier, under the stars on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.

It simply doesn’t get any better than that!

We are very lucky to host a film festival of such caliber, as many of the films have premiered in famous festivals such as Cannes and Toronto.

RMFF or Riviera Maya Film Festival

The ‘RMFF’ website has information on programming, locations and also has trailers of all the films in order to plan your festival timetable.

The 2014 festival saw a great range of both foreign and local films. The great thing about an event like this is that you get to see some great Mexican films you won’t see at the mainstream cinema.

Films exploring the human condition, culture and family show alongside comedies and animations, so there is absolutely something for everyone.

Ladies at the Riviera Maya Film Festival

Film lovers (like me!) will be in heaven for the week of this world-class event, so if your trip coincides with this wonderful free festival, be sure to check it out. You won’t be disappointed and will no doubt be booking your trip again for the following year!

A Day in Puerto Morelos

Welcome to Puerto Morelos, a laid-back fishing village north of Playa del Carmen! Come spend a day with me in this little town and discover what it has to offer.

Puerto Morelos - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Let’s begin the day at one of the cenotes along the ‘Ruta de Cenotes’ just south of town.

Ruta de Cenotes - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Siete Bocas, or ‘Seven Mouths,’ sounds like an interesting one.

Siete Bocas - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

As the name suggests, there are seven openings to this ancient underground river system, filled with cool, clear water.

Siete Bocas - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Jump in or take a ladder down into the cool, dark cave, and discover ancient stalactites through the crystal clear water.

Siete Bocas - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Now that we’ve built up an appetite, let’s head into town for lunch. ‘La Pepita’ is a great spot for whole fried fish served with all the trimmings.

La Pepita - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Pick out your fish from today’s catch and have it weighed to determine the price.

La Pepita - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenLa Pepita - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

After lunch, wander around the main square and pop into ‘Alma Libre,’ the Riviera Maya’s only English language bookstore. Pickup a paperback to read on the beach or one of the many coffee-table books on Mexican food and culture.

Alma Libre - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Head next door to the ice creamery for a well-deserved sweet treat (you’re on vacation, remember!).

Next, we’ll head to one of the near-deserted beaches to soak up some sun. Take one of the many snorkeling trips to the outer reef, or snorkel right off the beach in front of the ‘Ojo de Agua’ hotel.

Beach - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Spot hundreds of fish, large coral and even an under-water cenote which feeds fresh water into the ocean, creating an icy-cold current.

After relaxing on the beach, wander through the backstreets of this quaint town to discover some of the local sights. Like this extra-ordinary house which looks like something designed by Gaudi! It is an art gallery and studio, and is free to walk through. The building itself is the greatest piece of art you’ll see.

Art gallery - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Then head down to the pier and watch local families fish, or settle in at one of the water-front restaurants for a cold margarita while watching the sunset over the Caribbean. You’ve earned it after such an adventure-filled day!

Puerto Morelos - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

I hope you enjoyed your day at Puerto Morelos, and discovered a taste of sleepy, local Mexican life.

Stay tuned for more information on many more activities and adventures around Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, Mexico!