Experience a taste of the exotic, from the colourful culture of Mexico to the lush landscapes of the Dominican Republic.
Relaxing on the Riviera
There is something ever so enchanting about Mexico's Riviera Maya region. With numerous all-inclusive resorts sprinkled along this glorious section of coast, what better way to wake each morning than with the gentle hush of the sea? Your own soundtrack for contentment, better still, you don’t have to worry about a thing, as food and drinks at your hotel are paid for.
Outside your hotel room door, the Riviera Maya has so much to offer. Combine your chill out time with some spa sessions and some laidback local attractions to extend the relaxed holiday vibes.
A step back in time
First up has to be Chichén Itzá - one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Book a guided tour and discover how the ancient Mayan civilisation lived.
Sacred to the Mayan culture, the stepped pyramids and temples reveal much about the Mayan people's perception of the universe.
The Mayans were great astronomers and built the imposing Temple of Kukulkan with 365 steps - one for each day of the year. Visit during the spring or autumn equinox to witness the shadow of a serpent’s body work its way down the temple to join the stone head at its base.
An urban trade hub for centuries, Chichén Itzá met a mysterious end when its inhabitants moved into the jungle, leaving behind magnificent wonders for us to cherish today. Rather mythical, the experience leaves you to draw your own conclusions.
Mark the perfect end to a perfect day by discussing your own theories over a tropical cocktail or two, and get those fanciful ideas flowing.
There are a huge variety of beaches to choose from in the Riviera Maya, fringed by calm and inviting waters.
Close to the Mayan ruins is Paraiso Beach, a better option for avoiding the crowds. Relax under a palapa, armed with a good book and a refreshing drink, and admire the cobalt blues and aquamarine scenes where the clear skies meet the Gulf of Mexico.
If you like a little more buzz, Mamitas Beach is your best sandy option with lots going on, particularly in November when it hosts the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. You'll find an eclectic selection of bars and restaurants to escape the midday heat, or simply find a place to relax with a sundowner before dinner back at your resort.
Magic of the Mayan
A world-class spa experience awaits you to boost the chill out factor. Spa treatments here use ancient Mayan rituals featuring indigenous herbs and healing therapies. To really revive yourself, a temazcal (a traditional Mayan steam house) should come top of your list. It's a vigorous two-hour treatment but with some staying power, you will reap the rewards of rejuvenation.
Practised for centuries, the temazcal promotes physical and mental wellbeing. You enter a darkened stone igloo which is filled with fragrant herbs, including rosemary and peppermint to aid relaxation.
With the chanting sounds of a shaman (a member of the Mayan community), you are eased into a state of total calm, with herbal tea providing much-needed refreshment. After your two-hour session, you will leave feeling revitalised, invigorated and lighter in mind and body.
De-stress in the Dom Rep
It may seem impossible to follow up anything as marvellous as Mexico, but the Dominican Republic (DR) has a bountiful treasure chest of gems waiting to be discovered within its lush landscapes.
Most all-inclusive hotels offer indulgent spa experiences which are a much-needed cure after a day of exploration. To blend bliss with your sense of adventure, book an intensive spa experience onboard a boat with Ocean Adventures Punta Cana.
Completely pampered and enveloped in the cool breeze from the spray and ocean air, spa goers are invited on board the double-decker boat for three hours of rejuvenation, including lunch. A place where you can literally get away from it all, treatments include a full body massage, a pilates session, foot exfoliation and a floatation experience out on the ocean.
During the unusual experience, natural fruit juices and snacks are served to boost the wellness effects, along with a well-deserved glass of chilled wine at the end of the trip. Pure heaven and a world away from dry land!
Explore the historical offerings of Santo Domingo with the Chu Chu 45-minute history tour for a bite-sized taste of the city.
The atmospheric Colonial Quarter is brought to life by your tour guide, uncovering 500 years of history in and around the quaint cobblestone streets. From the impressive architecture to stories of the region’s most interesting inhabitants, the history of the European city of the Americas will open your eyes and heart to the island’s heritage.
A sedate yet rich introduction to your sightseeing, once the tour ends, explore your favourite spots on a leisurely stroll, before a spot of lunch and shopping.
A show of colour
You have seen the postcards, only now you get to star in them with a day relaxing on Playa Bávaro Beach in Punta Cana. Powder white sands stretch for miles, interrupted every so often by slender swaying palms. This is a place you can safely call paradise.
If sun worshipping is not your thing, take to the water with a spot of snorkelling to observe the superb coral reefs up close or book a boat trip, as there are a few kiosks along the beach to entice you with their water sports offerings.
For a finale of colour, the Bravissimo Show at Ocean World in Puerto Plata reaches a whole new level of vibrancy. Dazzling dancers perform to Caribbean lilts and you will be drawn into the flamboyance as you journey through the cultures of the world. With dinner, unlimited rum, beer and wine, plus a casino and a disco, prepare for an unforgettable experience.
Whether you select the golden glow of Mexico or the dazzle of the DR, there will be a heady cocktail of colours waiting to be discovered.
To immerse yourself in the world’s most colourful cultures, explore the RCI Resort Directory to book your next fantastic holiday…
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