Playa del Carmen

10.26.2019 – 10.30.2019 || Playa del Carmen| Mexico

We touched down in Cancun around 11am, grabbed our luggage and made our way through immigration in less than 30 minutes. We arranged transportation ahead of time (see tip below) and 40 minutes later we arrived at the Fairmont Mayakoba, situated in a gated community that comprises four hotels and over 600 acres of lagoons, jungles, and beaches.

Upon arrival we received a welcome drink (hibiscus iced tea with rosemary) which I want to recreate at home. We were then driven in a golf cart to the beach area while our room was prepared. Golf carts (and bicycles) are the main modes of transportation to navigate around the Fairmont’s expansive property. This is the only picture I have of David but he helped us make dining and spa reservations and arranged golf cart transportation if we needed it during our stay. Gracias, David!


We booked a beach area casita (suite) for four nights and were steps away from the beach, a pool, and a restaurant.

Our suite had a rooftop pool where we spent late afternoons lounging and floating on the 4-in-1 raft that I bought on Amazon.

The backside of the suite faced the lagoon and was great for shade in the morning and watching the sunset in the evening.

The Fairmont Mayakoba is not an all-inclusive resort but you can customize your stay and select the all-inclusive plan at the time of booking. We had no plans to leave the resort so we selected the all-inclusive option and were not disappointed. Breakfast at Brisa’s beachfront restaurant was my favorite – quesadilla with an egg on top; avocado toast with smoked salmon, a poached egg, and kale; egg white frittata with whipped egg whites so fluffy they looked and tasted like meringue.

We visited during a slower time and generally had the beach mostly to ourselves.

We spent most mornings and afternoon at the beach.

We had a mid-day break at the beach hut.

The beach hut was a great place for lunch, a break from the sun, and a chance to swing at the bar while taking in the views. The highlight was the food though – various options for tacos, guacamole, ceviche, and more!

Curious to see what was happening outside of the beach area, we borrowed two bicycles and rode the mile long path over the lagoon and through the jungle to the main resort area one afternoon.

We found a mostly deserted, adult only pool that had a view over the lagoon.

One morning we headed to the beach to watch the sun rise.


The sky looked like cotton candy in both directions.

Even with a selfie stick we struggle to take the perfect picture. Send help.

So we went back to watching the sun rise.

Breakfast at the beach didn’t start until 8am so we biked to a restaurant called La Laguna at the main part of the resort for a buffet breakfast.

After breakfast we had massage appointments (see tip below) at the Willow Stream spa. Like the beach and pools, we had the spa amenities to ourselves and enjoyed the rooftop pool and jacuzzi after our appointments.

While we mostly ate at Brisa’s or the beach hut, we also enjoyed the restaurants in the main part of the hotel. I would advise making a reservation when there isn’t a special party or buffet so that you can order off of the menu (see tip), especially at El Pureto which is located in the lower level of the main part of the hotel. The lobby bar and restaurant occupies the upper level and has lighter fare throughout the day.

One morning after the spa, we checked out the main pool but decided that we preferred the beach area for the view and service so we ended up taking a golf cart back to the beach.

It does’t get much better than this.

Breakfast at Brisa’s was definitely a highlight. The day of our departure, one of the servers named Hugo made us a “to go” cup filled with our most liked/asked for breakfast pastries – a pumpkin zucchini bar for me and a chocolate croissant for RJ.

It rained off and on that morning but the storms quickly passed and left beautiful rainbows over the beach area suites.

Before heading to the airport for a late afternoon return flight to Washington, DC we soaked up every last minute in our rooftop pool.

That’s a wrap for how we spent four nights and five days in Playa del Carmen. I could have stayed longer but this was enough time to recharge our batteries. We hope to return one day soon…

Where we stayed:


  • To save money and time it is recommended to book private transportation from the airport to your hotel, including the return trip in advance. We used Meet Playa and they were excellent. A representative was waiting for us outside of baggage claim with a sign that had our name on it. He went over our booking details while we waited for the driver to pull up. We had an entire air conditioned van to ourselves, free wifi, and a cooler of bottled water for the 40 minute drive.
  • If you plan to stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba, join the loyalty program, Le Club AccorHotels to receive a 10% discount on booking direct, a spa credit, and more.
  • Spa appointments are 50% off before 3pm. With a spa appointment you have access to the entire spa until 8:30pm, which meant you could use the amenities before and/or after your appointment. The only catch is that the all-inclusive package is not valid for food or drinks at the spa.
  • Be sure to check in with restaurants before you dine to see if they are having a special party that would enforce buffet style dining for everyone – e.g. Saturday was a Mexican themed party at La Laguna and Tuesday was an Asian themed party at El Puerto.  The food was much better a la carte.

Question: Have you been to Riveria Maya or Playa del Carmen? Did you do any activities outside of the resort?

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