Sitting atop a massive slab of limestone bedrock, Mexico’s Riviera Maya has long attracted a decidedly different and more Continental crowd than its Yucatan Peninsula neighbor, Cancun. Now, even as Mexico’s top tourist spot has shed its spring break fever, the Riviera Maya still holds a decided advantage for tourists looking for a more active and elegant beachside retreat. Centered in the town of Playa Del Carmen, less than an hour from the Cancun airport, the 81-mile-long Riviera’s abundance of outdoor adventures is attracting more and more attention, and a growing number of American visitors are finding out that there’s a lot more to do than sit on the white beach with a rum drink in hand.
Hosting the first PGA Tour event in Mexico (the Mayakoba Golf Classic, February 23-27, 2011), it’s obvious that the golf is good at the El Camaleón Golf Club. The course is an adventure of every sort, beginning with the large cenote in the middle of the fairway on the opening hole (just one of the many underground freshwater lakes that dot this section of the Yucatan) and going through the mangrove forests to the seaside par-three 15th.
However, golf at El Camaleón is just the canopy over a jungle of outdoor activities best accessed with the Fairmont Mayakoba as your basecamp: From snorkeling and diving in the cenotes to touring ancient Mayan temples; from fly-fishing for bonefish, tarpon, permit, jack and barracuda in the protected waters of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve to shopping along Playa Del Carmen’s La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue); and from relaxing in a growing number of grand spas to dining in as many different restaurants.
The Fairmont opened along with the El Cameleón course four years ago, and later this year, it will be one of four properties at the Mayakoba resort—the 128-all-suite Rosewood property; the first Banyan Tree resort in the Western hemisphere (which opened last spring) and a Viceroy resort (scheduled to open this year). Guests at any one of the resorts will be able to dine at all of the restaurants, book treatments at any of the spas and enjoy the beaches, yes, with a rum drink in hand, at any of the resorts. That is, when they aren’t golf, fishing, diving, shopping and exploring the rest of the Riviera Maya.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Fairmont Mayakoba, fairmont.com/mayakoba
El Camaleón Golf, mayakoba.com
PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, mayakobagolfclassic.com