Deciphering a world of difference within the Riviera Maya and Quintana Roo

Filed under: Things to know - by Louise Hennessy

Quintana Roo, Riviera maya… What’s your spice?

Just what do the words “Riviera Maya” bring to your mind?

Miles and miles of powdery sand? Rays of sun glistening upon the Caribbean Sea? Tropical beats and margaritas at sunset?

Relax…these aspects are most definitely in abundance. However, for a first-time visitor to the Riviera Maya, what you might not be aware of is that each part of the region, whilst sharing the beauty of the Caribbean, plays to its own rhythm. Definitely something worth thinking about prior to making an itinerary…

Stripping Quintana Roo and the Riviera Maya to its basics, we have Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, and creeping up the charts, Puerto Morelos. Dotted about and nestled around these towns are, of course, numerous other hidden gems and hideaways (such as Xpu Há, off the tip of our tongue), worthy of a mention in their own right. But for this occasion, let’s keep it simple:

With its towering hotels, unashamed  luxury, restaurants with big names, and a strip reminiscent of that of Miami, perhaps Cancun is your cup of tea, for a day trip or otherwise. Seemingly a favorite for many visiting from the States and Canada, in search of familiar brands, family fun, or hard-core partying.

Playa del Carmen, on the other hand, tends to err on the side of petite, boutique hotels, with a more minimalistic, chic perspective on luxury. Unlike Cancun, local life tends to be more mingled into the tourist center. A definite favorite for Europeans and the like, of all ages. Not to mention a heaving night-life for those who fancy.

Or, are you yearning to explore the depths of the Caribbean waters? Cozumel beckons the scuba crowd, even if it is only for a day. Also famous as cruise-line port of call, familiar brands and international restaurants also abound in the town center of San Miguel.

Perhaps eco-tourism is what does it for you…In that case, Tulum must be added to your “to-be-experienced” list. With a focus on fitting in with nature (rather than the other way round), candlelight or generators provide illumination after sunset. Perfect for a romantic getaway or break from stress.

Setting Isla Mujeres apart from the alternatives is exactly that…it’s a true “isla”. Tropical, laid-back and slow-paced, blessed with waters as calm as a swimming pool, and sunrises which only an island can offer, it is popular with couples and families alike. A big hit with the more mature crowd, too.

And how can we categorize the lovely Puerto Morelos?  3 words, tiny, quaint and local. Everything low key, subtle and within walking distance, with a prevailing silence at night-time, making for that perfect beauty sleep.

So, what’s your spice?

Don’t forget that your concierge can help you to organize visits to various destinations in the Riviera Maya and Quintana Roo.

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