A lone fishing boat anchors on sugar-white sands, a swim into azure waters is so crystal clear you can spot the markings on tropical fish, and back on shore romantic nooks are toes-in-the-sand luxury by day and twinkly light oceanfront dining by night. On that sublime strip between Cancun and Tulum, Mayan Riviera and Playa del Carmen holidays are all about plush hotels tucked behind grand entrances, boutiques stacked up with designer swimwear, ecological parks filled with natural lagoons and teppanyaki tables where smoking hot wagyu steak is just the start of an extravagant meal.
Super swish suites come with swim-up pools, jungle-style resorts put you in the heart of a unique nature reserve and cobalt waters are made for paddling out to tiny islets, searching for elusive whale sharks and watching sea turtles chomp on grass beds. That extraordinary barrier reef is a dream for seasoned snorkellers and if you’re new to the underwater world you’re in prime position for a warm welcome to marine life at the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Há where protected areas of the ocean are accessed via stairs into the sea. It’s easy to get lost in a spectacular world of beaches and sea for your whole stay, but equally, holidays to the Mayan Riviera and Playa del Carmen take you off course to a land of ancient Mayan civilization at the spellbinding cliff-edged pre-Columbian Mayan walled city of Tulum and the lesser-explored ancient pyramids and sacbes of jungle-clad Coba.
Back among hibiscus-scented spas, rooftop bars and huge infinity pools, the only choice you need to make is whether it’s a long walk on the beach with a salt-rimmed margarita or a private cabana complete with Champagne and sweeping views of the coast.