My wife and I visited the Riviera Maya from April 15 – 22. 7 relaxing days away from our beautiful but rambunctious kids. This was the first time away from our youngest baby so my wife had some jitters plus it was her first time out of the country. This was an all inclusive deal, again a first time for the both of us.
We had a 4 PM direct flight from Indianapolis. We flew Frontier Airlines. All Frontier jets come with a LCD with 30 different TV stations all included. Plus they serve a nice sandwich and chips during the flight. The plane was half full so the crew was very relaxed. They get an 9 out of 10 from me. We arrived in Cancun at 7 pm their time. The flight home was uneventful which is good thing for air travel.
Cancun Airport + Transportation
Cancun airport is crazy, they do get you thru customs pretty quickly, but man what a shell shock. My Spanish was rusty but I didn’t realize how rusty. An airport worker got us to our private transportation. I sent an email to Cancun Transfers asking for a nice SUV - they delivered, a brand new white Ford Explorer. Our ride their was awesome, our driver was great. However our ride back (again Cancun Transfers) was a nightmare. I swear the guy almost killed us at least 5 time, speeding like crazy. It’s at least a good hour trip to the Catalonia Riviera Maya from the airport.
We stayed at the Catalonia Riviera Maya. It’s basically two hotels together that act as 1. Check in was a breeze and we were given a room on the Riviera side, next to their newest building. Before we left I dropped them an email explaining this was our belated honeymoon and if they could do something special for my wife. In our room was a bottle of Champaign and chocolate covered strawberries in a nice arrangement. The “Cat” as returning guest call it, has 5 total restaurants, 5 pools, and 2 swim up bars. The grounds of the hotel are absolutely beautiful and really kept up. The beach was crowded but my wife and I always found a couple of chairs (people do play the chair game). The Cat is situated in a mini cove with a small reef and has really good snorkeling – they give you snorkel equipment for an hour use per day, plus other water activity equipment. We snorkeled everyday. The hotel guest are mix of family’s, retirees, and couples. It’s not a party crowd but people are drinking and having a good time. The rooms are basic, and clean. Our bathroom was very nice, dual shower heads, marble. We had a king’s bed that was a little stiff. The cat doesn’t have ocean front views (it’s right on the ocean but the hotel is turned in on angel), but our room did a have a ocean side view. It really feels like your in the Corona commercial on the beach.
Let’s just say I became real good friends with a couple of the bartenders at the swim up bars. Between tequila poppers, green ice shots and strawberry banana daiquiris we drank to our hearts content and more. Nothing like a tequila sunrise at 10 am, on the Riveria Maya. They’ll make them as strong as you want, just ask. I hit up the sports bar a few time to catch some scores, rum & cokes, and had a good time in there too. They serve dos equis on tap.
The Cat features 2 buffets (they serve the same food, one is open air, the other is enclosed), 1 Mexican, 1 Italian, 1 Steak a la carte restaurants where you have to make reservations. The buffets are good, not great, they have a different dinner theme ever night. Breakfast was good there. During the day the steak restaurant is a grill serving hamburger, hotdogs, chips, salsa, plus more, a real nice selection. After a few drinks in the morning we pigged out here everyday, my wife was a huge fan of the place. This is the place you make reservations for the a la carte’s too, so make sure you get your reservations in early. We ate at the steak restaurant first. I had baby back ribs, my wife had a ribeye. My ribs were great, a different type of rib then most American ribs. The ribs were smaller in height, same length though. In fact I noticed everything was smaller then in America, chicken, bacon, etc… Must be the size of the livestock. The Italian was fabulous, I had plenty of house wine. The Mexican was also good. The secret gem of the hotel is an ice cream parlor where you can get banana splits, crepes, and more. We made sure to hit this place every night.
The service in the hotel is top notch. From the waiters to the bartenders we could not ask for better service. We always tip a little although it’s not expected. It’s almost a shock to come from America where most customer service lacks to a place like this. We never got the animal towels from house keeping but they did their jobs and we did not have an issue with anything missing, although we did keep our valuables in a locked suit case just in case.
We did the all exclusive here, snorkel equipment, locker, all you can eat buffet & drinks at Xel-Ha. I would recommend going here if your hotel doesn’t have good snorkeling. The underwater rock formation is amazing. We did the lazy river (which unlike the water parks in America, is a real river). It’s a cool place to go once but I don’t think we would go a second time.
Playa Del Carmen
The shopping & night life here is awesome, a must go. You can barter some real good deals. We got our 4 year old a soccer outfit that was originally $35.00 but ended up paying $5 for it. I also got some fat Cuban cigars here. We felt generally felt safe here but I wouldn’t roam alone late at night.
This is a gated community that Cat resides in and we used the Cat’s bikes to ride there. It’s a cool place that has a dolphin adventure, a few shops and restaurants. You can see what the local fisherman bring back too. We totally felt really safe here.
The entire time it was sunny, highs between 88 – 92. It was the best weather you could ask for.