Mayakoba Upgrade — A Trip to Riviera Maya

summer squall

For the past several years, my girlfriends and I have taken an annual trip. Our requirements for these getaways have been few — it must be hot, and there must be a cool body of water nearby.

We’d had our fill of Palm Springs this time around, and we were ready for something a bit more, international. After countless hours of negotiating the best deal for flights and hotels, we settled on Mexico.

Riviera Maya to be exact. We got a screaming deal at the Fairmont Mayakoba. Image

We left San Francisco at 4am. A quick layover in Houston, and we arrived at the hotel at about 6pm. Going from the chilling Bay Area Fog to the tropical humidity was a shock — but a welcome one.

Originally, we’d booked two adjoining rooms, but upon checking in, the hotel informed us that they were having a conference. They offered to trade our two rooms for one — the Presidential Villa. We couldn’t believe our luck! The villa had two bedrooms, a huge family room and dinning room, a yard right on the mangrove lagoon, a private boat dock, and the best part? Its very own, private infinity pool.


As you can see, we had no problem taking advantage of this.

It seemed like our luck just continued from there — I’ve been joking that I’m only lucky in Mexico. The trip was just what we needed, incredibly relaxing and a chance to just hang out, talk and enjoy being together in a beautiful corner of the world. I was the only one in the group who had never been to Mexico before, and now I’m dying to go back.



My only complaint was that the trip wasn’t longer. We fit in as much time under our palapa as we could, and we made good use of the hotels many pools.

Our schedule each day was basically as follows:

  • 9am-10am – Wake up, throw on a swimsuit, pack a beach bag
  • 10am – Grab an iced coffee from the hotel cafe
  • 11am-5pm – Park under the palapa, go for a dip in the ocean, read, nap, ocean dip, nap, ocean dip, camouflage + crudites + paloma break, ocean dip
  • 5pm – Head back to the villa to get ready for dinner, but first, a quick swim in our private pool
  • 7pm – Tacos and margaritas
  • 10pm – Back to the villa for more private pool timeImage

On our second to last day, we visited the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. It was definitely a highlight of the trip — it was unreal to see the ancient stone structures set against the turquoise waters and white sand. Not to mention all of the Iguanas wandering the grounds, as numerous as Pigeons in Central Park.



If you’re thinking about a trip to the Riviera Maya area — I would highly recommend the Fairmont Mayakoba. It was about 40 minutes south of the Cancun airport, 20 minutes to the nearest town, Playa del Carmen, and about an hour north of Tulum.

The grounds were incredibly beautiful. The property has three hotels on it, the Fairmont, The Banyan Tree and The Rosewood. Each was clearly honeymoon central, but perfect for a girls getaway as well. We had and incredible dinner at Saffron, a Thai restaurant which was in the Banyan Tree, on our second night. We were seated on an outdoor deck over the lagoon, we could see lightning flashing in the distance, a thunderstorm over the ocean. We even spotted a crocodile floating in the water, not too far from our table. It was a dinner I won’t soon forget.

But what would this post be without a mention of our favorite spot for Tacos? If you find yourself in Playa del Carmen, don’t miss El Fagon! Our one big regret of the trip is that we didn’t find this place until our final night. You’d better believe I’m making it a point to return!


The picture doesn’t do it justice. Best El Pastor of my life! I very nearly cried tears of joy with my first bite.


My friend Lesley, enjoying her tropical beverage.


The lobby of The Rosewood — picture taken from our boat tour of the lagoon.


Hotel rooms over the lagoon at the Fairmont Mayakoba


This is the lobby of The Banyan Tree. THE LOBBY! Can you imagine what the rooms must look like? We were able to boat past some of them. They looked swanky, to say the least.


Sigh. I can’t wait to go back someday.

We know we won’t be able to do a girls trip like this every year, but we were all so thankful to be able to go this time around. The only thing missing was our friend Lauren, who wasn’t able to join us on this one because of work. We drank many palomas in her honor.

And you know that we’re already planning the next trip.

Our final day, we gathered our things, had one more iced coffee at the cafe, and took a shuttle back to the Cancun airport. Being that I’m lucky in Mexico, I was upgraded to first class on the way back home for no discernible reason. I can’t say that I objected in the least. Mexico, you were so good to me!


Adios, Mexico! Until next time!


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