Never Leaving the Resort in Playa del Carmen

 

Riviera Maya Resort Hacienda Tres Rios

Waking up to paradise

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest at the Hacienda Tres Rios in Playa del Carmen. It was a very last-minute trip planned for my Mom and me. I know that I had just visited the Riviera Maya a month prior, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to spend more time on the beautiful crystal clear shores of Playa.

This visit would mark my ninth trip to the area, and for the first time, in a long time, the plan was to do nothing but enjoy the resort and relax. No crazy excursions, no to-and-from, no nightlife… Nothing but savoring every minute in paradise with good company.

Let me start by saying, that not every resort is the type of resort where you could spend 8 days straight and not go stir-crazy. Luckily, Hacienda Tres Rios is one of those resorts. It is located within their own 326 acre eco-park of mangroves, which makes it  unique to any other hotel in Playa del Carmen. Remember my post “How to Choose a Hotel in the Riviera Maya“? Well, if you plan on not leaving the resort, you’ll want to choose one like Hacienda Tres Rios.

Here is what we filled our days with:

Rise and shine! Everyday we woke up early for  yoga and stretching. I had never done yoga before in my life, but in this setting, how could I refuse?

Yoga in the Riviera Maya
If there was one thing we absolutely couldn’t get enough of– it was the food! We both spent weeks dieting before vacation, but while we were actually on the vacation we were trying to look skinny for, we just completely let go. How could you not? Being waited on at any hour of the day, regardless of where you are, with lots of yummy options (6 restaurants). Whoever said “Food doesn’t taste as good as skinny feels” has obviously never been to an all-inclusive resort before!

 

While we’re on the topic of food, our absolute best experience was at the Chef’s Table. Now this was out of the all-inclusive ‘deal’ but the hotel kindly invited us and so glad that they did. I’m a hotdog and hamburger kinda girl, so I was nervous for a seven course gourmet meal of things that sounded extremely frilly, but yum, it was delicious. I even enjoyed the raw tuna and I hate raw fish. Bonus? Chef Mario is a cutie!

Chef Mario Hacienda Tres Rios

Raw tuna

 

Cenotes kept us feeling young. No seriously, cenotes are thought to be sacred by the Mayans and have healing properties! The resort has nine cenotes in its eco-park and there are a couple that you can swim in!

Cenotes in RIviera Maya at Hacienda Tres RiosCenotes at Hacienda Tres Rios

 

Getting to know the eco-park via bicycle rides! Although it was kind of short, we took a ride into the mangroves and learned about different types of flora and fauna that the property has.

Bicycle Tour in Playa del Carmen

 

I spent lots of time hanging out at the breathtakingly beautiful beach that is “private” just for “owners”. Unfortunately, Mother Nature took away most of the beach access to resort guests only leaving “the pretty part” to the timeshare owners. Being the rebel that I am, I went and used the other side anyways. Since it was low season, and there was tons of vacancy, it seemed to be okay.

Private beach in Hacienda Tres Rios

Near the beach on one of the many bali beds is usually where you could find me. I myself prefer the ones without shade; I slap on some SPF and take several naps throughout the day.

 

While interesting to navigate through one of the riviers thorough the mangroves, I found out  one day that kayaking isn’t for me. I prefer photographing them instead!

I yi yi yi, canta y no llores. I could listen to mariachi day and night — and I did!

Mariachi Music in Playa del Carmen

 

The most eccentric thing we did was the sense adventure,  a ‘tour of perception and exploration‘. I’m super into the universe all-mighty and holistic experiences so thought this was a really cool, and completely unique tour that I was happy to have the chance to participate in.

hacienda tres rios senses tour

 

We also went to a Mole Cooking and History Class. Mom had just been introduced to the delicious flavors of Mole Poblano on her previous Mexico trip and fell in love, so getting to taste this delicious chocolate/chile sauce was a super treat! 

 

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Hacienda Tres Rios for inviting me to be a guest at their resort. For more pics and info during my week at HTR, check the hashtag #TresRiosResort  on instagram, twitter, or pinterest!

 

Choosing a Hotel in the Riviera Maya

Dreams Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive

Maybe this Riviera Maya hotel near Tulum?

Before becoming completely enamored with Mexico, I knew I wanted to work in tourism– I truly wanted to help people spend their recreation/vacation time to the maximum. Now that I’ve established myself as Mexico savvy, between my large network of personal friends combined with the followers of Mexican At Heart, every month I get inquires on the who, where, when, and hows of Mexico travel, and the truth is, I don’t mind one bit helping people!

Most of the time people just come out and ask about what hotel to stay at in Cancun or the Riviera Maya — mostly honeymooners (yea, I’m at that age where all my friends are getting married!). That is a complex question that varies on the likes and dislikes of the traveler. I always ask: Are you active? Are you going to do excursions? Are you going to hide in your hotel all week? etc.

Usually a majority of people have lived the Cancun experience, so I rule it out, because Mexico is much more than a Mexican-style Vegas…But then comes this dilemma: Riviera Maya is a big chunk of land, stretching all the way along the coast for hours, so in order not to waste precious vacation time driving all around, to and from, I’ve come up with some questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding to pick between the Riviera Maya’s million gazillion hotel options.

How to Choose a Hotel in the Riviera Maya:
1) Are you active at the hotel or a complete beach bum?
2) Do you want adults-only or family friendly?
3) Do you want a nightlife outside of the hotel?
4) Are you going to stay in your hotel or venture your surroundings?
5) What excursions are you going to be doing?
6) What is your budget? Do you want all-inclusive?

Beaches in Tulum

Not all of Riviera Maya has crystal clear waters like here at Dreams Tulum

Privacy in the Riviera Maya

Dreams Puerto Aventuras

An overall theme I found was that most lovebirds around my age wanted a romantic getaway, but not boring. In addition to lovey-dovey amenities, they wanted activities and entertainment. Okay so that answers questions 1 and 2 –try to look for a hotel that has a wide selection of restaurants, an entertainment staff, night shows, and things like complimentary use of kayaks.

Question 3 and 4 deciphers whether you should stay right in the town of Playa del Carmen or if it’s okay to stay somewhere else like Puerto Aventuras or Tulum. If you plan on partying every night, or wanting to shop and eat at fancy restaurants, you should stay near Playa del Carmen (like in the Playacar area). The last thing you want is to choose a hotel an hour away from Playa del Carmen and be shuffling back and forth every night.

Question 5 I think is super important because I know no vacationer wants to waste hours and hours of vacation driving around the whole dang state… plus, transportation costs are extremely inflated. If you plan on swimming with dolphins, visiting Coba, Tulum, cenotes or Xelha, I recommend staying south of Playa del Carmen — starting at Puerto Avenuras extending to Tulum (including Akumal). You will chop off lots of time sitting in a taxi when you could be outside enjoying your vacation.

Once you figured out 1-5, you can pretty much pick exactly what hotel is right for you based on your answer to number 6. A overall good choice for a vacation to the Riviera Maya is choosing a property at Secrets, Dreams, or Now Resorts. They have several properties that will cover your needs based on your answers. I recently had the chance to stay at Dreams Puerto Aventuras and Dreams Tulum and was thrilled with my choices. It was right in the location we needed to be! Eddy and I were there on our anniversary and were treated as so but even better, they catered to both me (the beach bum) and Eddy (the active one). Secrets Resorts offers the same, but is adults-only and Now Resorts is aimed at being trendy for young adults. There is something for everyone in the Riviera Maya!

Dreams Tulum

Is a super mega resort your style?

Views from balcony at Dreams Puerto Aventuras

This is what vacation is all about for me!

What hotel in Riviera Maya

It doesn’t take hours of research or deep Mexico knowledge to decide what hotel you should stay at in the Riviera Maya!

XelHa or Xcaret

Want to know the difference between Xelha and Xcaret?  If you’re like me and find yourself short on money and/or time on your upcoming trip to Cancun and can only choose one eco-park,  let me help you pick!

Beautiful Xcaret

In the last ten years,  I have had the pleasure of visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya a total of seven times. I always called it “Mexico’s Gateway Destination” and after a three year break of discovering other places and beaches in Mexico,  I finally returned to the crystal blue waters of the Riviera Maya. One thing that was on my to-do list was to visit one of the several eco-parks, something I had never done on my many spring break trips. I knew I wanted to see either Xelha or Xcaret , but I couldn’t decide which one or tell the real difference between them. I found myself asking the same question I am sure many vacationers strapped for time ask themselves, “Xelha or Xcaret?”

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