Mexico is an amazing destination during European winter. But it has a negative reputation due to Narcos and mass tourism destinations like Cancun. The Yucatan and Riviera Maya experience can be completely different to Cancun, when you know where to go.
Just imagine rainforest blurring into quiet Caribbean beaches. Exceptional and new boutique hotels, not crowded resorts. The authenticity of Mayan culture, beautiful marine life, good spas and private pools.
This is a safe and exciting holiday destination for couples and families with older children. You’ll come home with incredible stories after a very relaxed one or two weeks.
This is a wonderful balance of a beach leisure holiday with exploration. Here’s a great winter holiday itinerary to get you started.
Day 1 – Beach Time at Chable Maroma
The only good thing about Cancun is the international airport. From Prague, the best one-stop flights are via Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Paris Charles de Gaulle. Touch down and it’s only 40 minutes by road to Chable Maroma, where all the villas have private pools.
Chable Maroma is very different from Yucatan’s well-known Mayakoba resort area (here we prefer Rosewood Mayakoba). It’s serene and calm, with no golf course, no choice of pools or dozens of restaurants. It’s very private with the feeling of being undiscovered.
Day 2 – Beach & Spa Time
Start your day with some beach time. Enjoy a traditional Mayan ritual in the spa, then dip into the sauna and jacuzzi. Relax. Relax some more. Surrounded by jungle and sea, Chable Maroma feels like a private island escape. So take your time and embrace solitude in the Caribbean.
Days 3 & 4 – Snorkelling & Cenotes
Cenotes are natural sinkholes connected by underground rivers. They provide freshwater to the entire Yucatan region, helping the Mayas to thrive here, over 1000 years ago.
Visit at least one of these sacred places and swim in its cooling water, deep in the jungle.
Everybody knows that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest in the world. The world’s second largest reef runs along the entire Yucatan coastline. So allow yourself some snorkelling time – the warm, shallow waters are great for inexperienced snorkelers and older children.
Day 5 – Chichen Itza to Chable Yucatan
It’s a four-hour drive from Chable Maroma to Chable Yucatan. Chichen Itza, the World Seven Wonder is exactly halfway in between. Chichen Itza is overrun with tour bus crowds from 11am to 3pm. So either make a very early start and explore the old Mayan capital in the morning. Or have a lazy morning and discover the magnificent temples after hours.
Day 6 – A Mayan Jungle Experience
The Mayan capital is a good introduction to Chable Yucatan, a restored 19th-century hacienda with its own Mayan history.
This hotel is not on the beach, it’s in the jungle, surrounded by cenotes and wildlife. Each of the hotel’s 40 stand-alone casitas have private pools.
Day 7 – A Mayan Spa & Renewal Ceremony
Chable Yucatan’s spa has regularly been awarded as among the very best spas in the world. It’s located in a natural cenote and has excellent hydrotherapy treatments. An option is a traditional temazcal “steam house” purification ritual.
The highlight is a Mayan renewal ceremony, a sacred rite based on Mayan medicinal philosophy.
Day 8 – More Mayan Connections
There’s a lot to try at this spa hotel in the jungle. Learn to cook Mayan cuisine with a local grandmother. Or do an contemporary cooking class with the property’s highly regarded chef. Create your own chocolate bar by starting with cacao beans. Spend an afternoon tasting tequilas on your terrace. Visit other Mayan ruins and cenotes. Or explore Celestun Reserve, a coastal wetland dominated by flamingos.
Day 9 – Returning Home
Cancun International Airport is a four-hour drive, which is a disadvantage of this itinerary. However, you can opt to fly out of Merida, only 30 minutes away. Merida to Prague is typically a three-leg flight via Mexico City and a major European hub. Another option can be returning to Chable Maroma for the night, where you’re only 40 minutes from the airport.
Make This My Holiday
Your Mexico Holiday
We love Mexico because it can be many different holidays in one. It’s a great winter sun destination with outstanding beaches. There’s the culture, both old and new, plus many outstanding sites to discover on day trips. And the vibe is one you will cherish.
While the Maldives are number one if you demand heightened privacy and doing nothing, Mexico is a really fun destination with new properties that can match those in the Maldives.
Will Mexico be your winter holiday destination?