Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Destination: Mayan Riviera, Mexico.(Business of Life).

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GO: About 20 miles south of Cancun lies a strip dubbed the Mayan Riviera, known for its white-sand beaches, wealth of ruins and ample opportunities for beach-combing, scuba-diving and snorkeling. While the entire area is well-stocked with restaurants and luxury resorts, hot spots for tourists include Puerto Morales to the north, Playa del Carmen halfway down the strip and farther south, Akumal and its famous Half Moon Bay, site of nesting sea turtles. Most good hotels offer excursions to ruins, islands and nature preserves up and down the Riviera, so exploring from a base city is entirely possible-if you have enough vacation time.

DO: Playacar Golf Club in Playa del Carmen offers an 18-hole, 72-par, Robert Von Hagge- designed course with jungle on one side and ocean on the other (www.palace-resorts.com, $180 for 18 holes). A coral reef 1,800 feet off shore offers breathtaking diving and snorkeling; a dive shop in Akumal offers both (dives from $40 per tank, 719/359-9672, www.akumaldivecenter.com). The ancient ruins at Tulum are famous for their breathtaking seaside location; night tours are also available (52-983-837-2411, admission $10).

STAY: Paraiso de la Bonita, a luxury all-suites hotel in Puerto Morelos, offers a fourth night free with three paid nights; stays include a bottle of tequila and a beach bag (52-998-872-8300, www.paraisodelabonitaresort.com, ocean-view suites from $900). All-inclusive Iberostar Tucan, in Playa del Carmen, is nestled in a wildlife-filled jungle; rates include three meals and access to sports facilities (52-984-877-2000 www.iberostar.com, doubles from $948). Las Villas Akumal offers beachfront cottages with kitchens, plus hotel amenities such as linen and maid service (52-984-875-7050, www.lasvillasakumal.com, three-bedroom cottages from $429).

DINE: In Puerto Morelos, John Gray's Kitchen, headed by a former Ritz-Carlton chef, offers an eclectic menu, from grilled seafood with fruit sauces to Thai curry, in a New York-feeling setting (52-998-871-0665, entrees $15 to $25). Maya dishes such as pork-stuffed banana peppers and chicken in spicy sauce are on offer at Yaxche in Playa del Carmen; the restaurant's decor features reproductions of artifacts from famous ruins (52-984-873-2502, www.mayacuisine.com, entrees $8 to $36). Que Fresco, at the Zamas Hotel in Akumal, offers Caribbean-spiced seafood, wood-oven-baked pizza and potent margaritas in a casual setting; the visiting chefs program invites world-famous cooks to prepare beachside dinners (www.zamas.com, entrees $15 to $25).

FOR MORE INFO: Visit www.rivieramaya.com for hotel packages and general tourism info.

Source Citation
"Destination: Mayan Riviera, Mexico." Crain's Chicago Business 20 Oct. 2008: 45. Popular Magazines. Web. 5 Jan. 2010. .

Gale Document Number:A187699597

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