The Riviera Maya is one of the best areas outside of Europe for amazing beaches and exotic resorts. Its sparkling white beaches run from Cancun to Tulum, so you have all kinds of areas to to choose from when it comes to traveling up and down this beautiful coast. It’s the perfect area to spend a few days getting away from it all. Now, just sit back, relax, and close your eyes. You’re about to go on your dream vacation!

You start off your 3 days of vacation perfection in Playa del Carmen, which is just far away enough from Cancun to be only sparsely populated by other tourists. The beautiful air smells of exotic flowers and other natural perfumes, but you’d rather save nature time for later. You decide to visit the Avenida Quintana, the busiest street downtown, to see what kinds of wares are being peddled. There are tons of taquerias, but you wait to have lunch later, after you’ve done some shopping. You buy some new beach sandals, try one of the taquerias, and head back to the beach to try them out. Later, you have drinks under a palapas and ask a local for dinner advice.

On Day 2, you wake up and decide that you need to be in nature. Akumal isn’t far away. Half Moon Bay is full of sea turtles with quirky personalities and wisdom in their eyes. That is exactly what you need today, after spending maybe too much time interacting with humans in semi-crowded areas. Sea turtles don’t try to sell you anything or engage you in a conversation you may not want to be involved in. Sea turtles just enjoy the water and leave you to do the same. The Akumal Dive Shop fits you out with the best snorkeling gear, and you dive into the clear water around the coral reefs. After about an hour, it’s time to take a break with some ceviche and chaya juice. You pick up some insect repellent and decide to venture into town for a little human contact and excitement, as well as more food. You notice La Buena Vida in North Akumal, a restaurant/bar that has fun swings instead of bar stools. This is perfect, as you can have a few drinks, dinner, and then some more drinks before you head back to your guest house for some peace and quiet.

Day 3 may be your last day, but there’s no time to sit around and feel sorry for yourself! You hop in your rental car after a light breakfast and head to the southernmost town of the Riviera, Tulum. You decide to try something new and stop at Dolphinaris Tulum to have a swim with some of the loveliest dolphins in Mexico. They are very happy to see you and you play and interact with them until lunch time. For lunch you have the best enchiladas in all of Tulum at La Picadita Veracruzana. They are amazing and cheap, and you wish you could bring some home with you. Then you head over to the ruins and marvel at how the ancient Maya were standing right where you are standing, breathing the same air, centuries ago. The experience is enlightening and you make a mental note to read more about the Maya when you get home. You have one last hurrah at Divino Paraiso, drinking local cocktails and dancing your heart out to reggaeton, salsa, bachata, and merengue. You collapse on the bed when you get back to your hotel and try not to think about your early flight home the next morning.

By: Sarah-Claire Jordan