Region Guide

Travel and villas by Sheldon James

That (Mayan) Riviera life is calling

by Angela | Jan 29, 2024

The Riviera – the Mayan Riviera that is – is all about that laidback lifestyle, where the stress of the daily grind slips away. Think flip-flops all day, bathing suit cover ups as lunch wear, and slow meanders to the beach for sunset (and sun-up, if you’re keen). The Sheldon James team recently spent a glorious few days exploring the region from tip to tail and have a few important memories to share with you!

A Filter-Free Day in Tulum

Tulum is Instagram famous, but it’s much more than a few fleeting moments captured on film. On our recent trip to Tulum, we went #filterfree on glorious Tankah Bay, a quiet strip of luxury homes and boutique hotels just north of the main town. We sipped rose on Villa Zama’s daybeds all day, but when you want a little less privacy, venture into town and check out one of the clubs in the southern half of Tulum. That’s where Tulum’s see and be scene is currently as hot as the Mexican sun.

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One Night in the Biosphere
A day at Casa Cantarena

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere starts at the southern edge of Tulum, but a few minutes within its gates down the gravel roads and you may as well be a world away. We were treated to the best of barefoot biosphere living at Casa Cantarena, one of our newest villas and an amazing retreat surrounded by jungle and bordered by the sea on one side and the emerald green lagoon on the other. Casa Cantarena may be off the beaten path, but there’s nothing remote about its service, with skilled local chefs, a knowledgeable and attentive manager, butler service, housekeeping and more inclusive with the rental. Ocean breezes temper the hot weather here, and it’s easy to while away the hours staring at the waves from your private pool. If you can tear yourself away, we recommend a sunset cocktail on your private lagoon dock, followed by a five-star dinner among the trees.

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A delicious 5 ⭐️ meal in the jungle
The Perfect Margarita Exists, and It’s Here

The skilled bartenders who work in the Playacar neighbourhood of Playa del Carmen know how to make a margarita that packs a punch. Of course you should book a villa (we love Kan Aah!) and travel there, but in the meantime, get in the mood with this tried and tested recipe for an authentic Mexican margarita. The perfect drink for a warm summer day:

  • 1.5-2 ounces 100% blue agave tequila blanco, depending on how strong you like it!
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
  • ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice – only fresh juice will do!

Add to a cocktail shaker with lots of ice and shake 10 seconds. If you like a sweeter drink, add a teaspoon of agave syrup before shaking. Serve in a classic margarita glass with a salted rim, or a Tajin rim for something a little different.

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