12 Dec La Tierra Azteca has our travel tastebuds tingling
Disney / Pixar has just released its latest, critically-acclaimed animated offering just in time for Christmas. Coco is a heart-warming, tear-jerker of a fable surrounding the Mexican holiday “Dia de los Muertos”, which translates into English as “Day of the Dead”. And, with a Latino cast, Mexican music, culture and folklore, this musical must-see celebrates all things Mexico. The filmmakers headed to La Tierra Azteca to discover all about Mexican cultures, traditions and environment. With our travel tastebuds tingling for a trip to La Tierra Azteca, we got in touch with Ana, local expert and villa host for this stunning home on the Riviera Maya, for some on the ground ideas of what this area has to offer. Warning: Stay One Degree cannot be held responsible for how hungry you feel if you read on!
For the foodies:
“We are close to some really exclusive restaurants, Cocina de Autor at the Grand Velas Resort (Mexican/Carribean) is very popular with guests, as is Saffron, the Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant serving up mouthwatering, contemporary Thai cuisine. In Playa there are countless options, we love Catch at the Thompson Hotel rooftop – great ambience, food and view. Don’t miss Axiote, the best Mexican food in Playa (wow!), owned and managed by the Chef Xavier Pérez Stone who won the Iron Chef in 2014. Visit not so touristy restaurants, such as Aguachiles for seafood, or Perla Pixan also Mexican, but more typical. Live the local experience at Loncheria Doña Mary, really cheap and local food but delicious!! You MUST eat a “Marquesita”, one of the most delicious creations to come from Yucatan – a crispy crepe, rolled up and traditionally filled with melted shredded cheese and a sweet filling of your choice, these are sold in the street from small carts. There are many places for great cup of coffee or tea, our favourite being Choux Choux bakery and coffee shop.”
For the adventurers:
“Scuba diving and snorkelling is a must. The warm ocean and the stunning variety of coral, tropical fish and larger sea creatures make it an underwater paradise. One of the best places to get started is on the beach at Akumal, a nesting ground for turtles. Those who already hold an open water qualification will find no shortage of scuba dive excursions leaving from locations up and down the coast. You may catch sight of bull sharks, turtles, whale sharks, coral reefs, tropical fish, stingrays. Sail in the caribbean sea in a private yacht or catamaran, make a stop in Isla Mujeres or Cozumel for a wander. Above water paddle board, kite surf and bodyboard, thrill seekers can even skydive over the beach and land on the white and soft sand of the Riviera Maya or brave the jungle for ATV fun and treetop ziplines.”
“If you are looking to know more about the Mayan culture, you must visit the ruins of Chichen Itza, the stories, legends and history behind the temples will fascinate you. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. The ruins at Tulum have a glorious setting atop a sea cliff, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Coba is a huge site, the biggest in the area, however much of it has not been uncovered and restored. It is the only Mayan ruins site to be set in the jungle, which gives it a real “Indiana Jones” feel, especially as you look out over the jungle from the top of the 136-ft Nohoch Mul pyramid, which you can still climb. Ek Balam, not too far from Chichen Itza and like Coba, you can still climb the pyramid here. It is the least crowded of the four, and perhaps the best preserved as well.”
For all the family:
“Visit the Monkey Sanctuary where you will have the opportunity to interact with a family of primates. You will also get to meet and greet with goats, boa constrictors, macaws and many more rescued and donated species. Go to the museums :The 3D Museum of Wonders, the Frida Kahlo Museum and MUSA (an underwater museum in Cancun) located off the coast of Isla Mujeres. Rio Secreto is underground river with thousands of dramatic stalactites and stalagmites. More than 50 different attractions await in Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park for everyone. Xel-Há is an all-inclusive park where you can enjoy water activities, ecological attractions, restaurants and the best scenery to admire while you relax. Playa del Carmen is brimming with beach clubs – Xpu-ha, Akumal, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, Puerto Morelos, Maroma beach to name a few. Cenotes is a natural pit or sinkhole, surface connections to subterranean water bodies, usually with clear water. In some of them you can dive, snorkel or swim.”
“Vibrant and full of character, Playa del Carmen’s nightlife is something to behold. While neighbouring Cancun is well-known for its party scene, Playa del Carmen offers something a little more refined, without losing a resounding sense of fun. The most popular nightclubs include Coco Bongo, where entertainment is comparable to the glittering shows of Las Vegas, Madala, Club 01, Diablito Cha Cha Cha and Abolengo. If you’re not into nightclubs, take some salsa lessons at Zenzi bar right on the beach or try Kitxen or Fah Bar, with local rock bands playing every night. For some true local flavour, and not for the faint-hearted, try the Mezcal at La Verbena or Perla Pixan or go one step further in La Cantina No 20 with Mexican music, drinks and food in which you’ll find edible bugs…Maguey worms known as “chinicuiles”, grasshoppers “chapulines” and ant larvae “escaroles”. I know, it might sound weird but believe me, those are delicious and a great source of protein!”
Thank you Ana for your fabulously comprehensive rundown of how we can keep busy in Rivera Maya. With no limit to the amount of indoor/outdoor spaces to curl up in or socialize with your party, an in house chef, pool, jacuzzi, private squash court and gym, make sure you leave enough time to relax at home.
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