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The Relaxing and Exciting Mayan Riviera

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Written by Garrett Fisher.

Last January, my partner Nathan and I, along with a group of his friends and relatives, traveled to Mexico. On the advice of Joy Thrun, the group picked the Iberostar Tucan resort which is 45 minutes south of Cancun, near the small town Playa Del Carmen.

If you¹re looking for an easy, relaxing vacation, in a beautiful location at an all-inclusive resort ­ with many options for outings and activities — then this the place for you.

The Iberostar is located on the “Mayan Riviera” and looks out over the ocean. The property was designed to take into account its surroundings. Not only is the layout of the property open and welcoming (offering a beautiful pool, a great white-sand beach), but it has preserved the jungle feel. At this property, one can walk a number of winding stone paths, see pink flamingo¹s, monkeys, and a variety of exotic birds and plants. In addition, one can kayak, wind-surf, snorkel.

The resort is a great place to unwind and rest. At the same time, if you venture outside of the Iberostar, there are a number of things to do. On one day, several people in our group scheduled their own sightseeing journey to the nearby Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza. On another day, Nathan and I rented a jeep and explored the coast (a four wheel drive is recommended when driving on these dirt roads), finding several uninhabited beaches, as well as Xel-Ha (“shell ha”), which is a environmentally-aware theme park. While the ticket price was somewhat steep, it was well worth it. The park provides several inlets where you can snorkel, swim next to fish that are almost as big as you are, as well as see fish and other sea life that are of every color of the rainbow. I would recommend purchasing underwater disposable cameras, as we took a lot of pictures of the sea life. We intended to finish the day at the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which overlook the ocean, but we lost track of time snorkeling, and got there a little too late.

On another evening, we walked up the beach about a mile, to the small town of Playa Del Carmen (you can also rent bikes from the Iberostar, or take a taxi). This unassuming little place offered a variety of restaurants and shops, and was a fun diversion. It reminded me of one of those quaint villages that you might find near the Mediterranean.

All in all, thanks to Joy, we had a wonderful visit. Next time, we plan on staying longer!