After spending our first few days in Cancun, we moved down the Rivera Maya to Playa del Carmen, a popular coastal resort town similar to Cancun. We stayed in the Mayakoba region, which is a beautiful and lush 1,600 acre gated complex surrounded by lagoons, jungles, and one of the largest sugar sand beaches in the area. There are several luxury resorts within Mayakoba, including Banyan Tree, Rosewood, Fairmont, and Andaz. We chose the Andaz as it was the least expensive of the 4, and it was the newest.
The entrance to Andaz blew us away upon arrival with its modern, narrow entryway that opened up into their tranquil “sanctuary”, where we received a personal check in process on one of several lounge areas surrounding the decorative pool in the center.
The rooms were incredibly spacious, with a balcony that overlooks the lagoon. The pools were on point, and even included unicorn and swan floaties for guests to use! There are several restaurants on property, but if they don’t suit your liking, you can always dine at one of the other Mayakoba properties, or ride one of their complimentary bikes or golf carts to the Mayakoba market which has a lovely bakery, a church, ice cream/candy shop, a free arcade, and several restaurants. It even has a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays!
Andaz is also a beachfront property, but we were there at a time when they were having an overwhelming amount of kelp being washed ashore each day, and that made it difficult to swim in the ocean. We saw workers working tirelessly throughout the day to clean the kelp, but it was simply too much to completely get rid of.
Andaz also offers a free nature cruise around the lagoon, and it was probably one of our favorite parts of our stay. We were on a boat for about an hour, cruising through the Mayakoba lagoon that connects the 4 hotels together, and along the way, our captain pointed out so many wildlife for us to see, including baby alligators!
One can probably stay at the Mayakoba and never leave the area, but we did venture out to town one day to have brunch and to stroll around some souvenir shops.
We also took a day trip to Cozumel, which is just a ferry ride away. Cozumel is a popular cruise port destination, and is always filled with tourists, but it boasts of some pretty spectacular coral reefs so we wanted to experience it ourselves.
We drove around the island a bit, and then the girls snorkeled at one of the local beaches while I looked after Brady on shore. The water appeared to be absolutely beautiful, and pristine, but the girls reported back that they didn’t see that much underneath. My sis, on the other hand, went scuba diving with a local tour group and saw an abundance of sea life that she was so excited about!
One last thing worth mentioning is the dinner on our last night in Mexico. We dined at the restaurant Saffron in Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and it was such a lovely experience! Upon arrival to the resort, we were whisked away on a boat that took us to Saffron, which is right on the lagoon, and we lucked out on getting seated at a table that gave us the most beautiful view of the sunset!
The food was pretty good, though very pricey, but the views and the service definitely made it worth the experience. At the end of the night, all you see are these lanterns and their reflections in the water, making it a total “Tangled” moment!