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.

Why get married at the Riviera Maya?

While I was waking down the shore, I was surprised by a lovely wedding right on the beach. A couple meters later I found another one, so I started thinking about how many couples were getting married by day, week, month here at Playa del Carmen.

If this was a trend to get married on the beach or if it was cheaper?

Today, 15 percent of couples tie the knot at — actually on — a tropical location, as opposed to the more traditional, walk-down-the-aisle-inside-the-church wedding. There are wonderful, memorable benefits to getting married on a beautiful beach strand, and here on Playa del Carmen, we have the most beautiful beach around. So if your big day is on the horizon and being a bride on the beach sounds good to you, here are some things to consider as you’re kicking off your shoes.

“The turquoise sea, the perfect background”

Weddings on the beach tend to be a whole lot (40 percent!) less expensive than those held elsewhere. Very little money needs to be spent on decorations; the sea, the sand and the setting sun are your backdrop. You don’t have to buy shoes — well, maybe flip-flops — and you can plan to have a weddingmoon — a combination wedding and honeymoon, which will save you money on traveling.

"At the end of the ceremony, all the guest throw flower petals to the bride and groomPlaya del Carmen is located over sacred Mayan land so is pretty common that couples are choosing to have a more spiritual and interactive Mayan ceremony, you might think that a Mayan Wedding will be involved with face painted man wearing feathers, jumping and dancing around among drums.

But is a ceremony right in front of the sea in balance with Nature, with the 4 basic elements (Fire, Earth, Water and Air) and the Universe. The Shaman will bless your union setting an altar for the Mayan gods with flowers, fruits, seeds and fire.

But saving some dough is secondary when compared to the memories, the photographs, the fun, the adventure and the pure romance of saying your vows with the echo of the surf in the background. Interested? I’m Just need to find the perfect prince charming!

Top 10 Things To Do on the Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen is located on a pristine stretch of coastline on the eastern Yucatan peninsular, known as the Riviera Maya. The Riviera Maya offers world class accommodation, unique natural wonders, beautiful beaches and historic treasures which make it a popular vacation destination for people from all over the world. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Things To Do to assist you with you next visit.

1. Experience the Unique Vibe of Playa del Carmen

Riviera Maya Playa del Carmen

‘Playa’ as it is known by the regulars, is a cosmopolitan town on the Caribbean Sea, securing a special place in the hearts of all who visit. Sparkling waters, fantastic restaurants, lively night life and friendly people are just some of the possible reasons why this town is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Riviera Maya.

2. Swim In a Cenote

Natural, geologically formed pools filled with cool clear fresh water are scattered all along the Riviera Maya. Known for their refreshing, healing qualities, swimming in a cenote is an absolute must for visitors. Our favorites are Cenote Azul, Cristallino and Dos Ojos (Two eyes).

3. Snorkel with Sea Turtles

Riviera Maya Akumal

The protected bay of Akumal is the feeding ground for a number of sea turtles. All year round, these majestic creatures feed on grasses growing from the sandy sea floor and don’t seem to mind inquisitive visitors watching them eat. Snorkel gear can be hired onsite.

4. Step Back in Time at Coba

Riviera Maya Coba

The ancient Mayan city of Coba makes a great day trip from Playa del Carmen. Take a guided tour and learn about ancient Mayan prophecies, hire bicycles to explore the vast grounds, then climb to the top of the main pyramid and imagine yourself as a powerful Mayan king surveying a great kingdom.

5. Chill out in Tulum

Riviear Maya tulum

The beaches of Tulum are famed for their underdeveloped shores and turquoise waters. Grab a good book, spread out a towel and soak up the laid back vibe.The Mayans who inhabited the city in ancient times certainly had good taste in real estate!

6. Dive the World’s Second Largest Barrier Reef

The waters off the Riviera Maya are home to one of the world’s most spectacular reef systems. Most dive companies are located in Playa del Carmen or the nearby island of Cozumel, and can arrange a tour to suit you.

7. Celebrate the Day of the Dead at Xcaret

Day of the Dead Playa Del Carmen

Xcaret is an ecological themed park offering excellent activities all year round, but its ‘Festival of Life and Death’ in early November is not to be missed if your visit coincides. Funerary exhibitions, ghoulish face painting, excellent theatrical performances and a variety of food stalls are just some of the highlights of the festival to mark the famed ‘Day of the Dead.’

8. Discover Untouched Natural Treasures at Sian Ka’an

South of Tulum, discover ‘Paradise on Earth’ at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a protected area of untold natural and ecological beauty. Take a boat ride through the lagoon to discover manatees, dolphins and unique bird life, then feast on fresh lobster at a water front restaurant in the tiny town of Punta Allen.

9. Become a Beach Afficianado at Xpu-ha and Xcacel

playa del carmen beach club

Discover the lesser known beaches of Xcacel and Xpu- ha south of Playa del Carmen, then decide which is your favorite. Is it the natural, rugged beauty of Xcacel, or the laid back beach bars and aquamarine waters of Xpu-ha? You decide.

10. Slip into ‘Mexico time’ in  Puerto Morelos

Riviera Maya Puerto Morelos

A sleepy fishing village just north of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos retains a relaxed atmosphere whilst offering great restaurants and one of the best English book stores on the Mayan Riviera. Pick out a great book then read it over fresh ceviche or seafood tacos and forget about having a ‘To Do’ list at all.

For more information on transport options and tours for the above activities, contact our concierge service.