The Magic of Mexico… on the Mayan Riviera…
An invitation we couldn’t possibly turn down. A four-day quick get-a-way to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera and its beautiful beachfront city Playa del Carmen situated on the Yucatan Peninsula. Playa, as the locals call it, with its beautiful beaches is a casual, yet sophisticated city. A charming and exhilarating downtown offering up suburb Mexican fare and fine cuisine alike. Although a little less rambunctious than its neighbor to the north the city of Cancun, here too there is a bustling nightlife scene. As well as loads of great shopping a la NYC 5th Avenue. The center of town actually is on 5th Avenue, “Avenida 5” where all of the above and more can be enjoyed.
If one is in search of a premium resort accommodation the Riviera Maya easily obliges on that front too! For our last minute quick trip we booked at the El Dorado Seaside Suites, by Karisma, about 25 minutes south of the centre of Playa del Carmen. This is an all inclusive adults-only spa resort, with one of the largest spas in Riviera Maya, where we settled in for some of the best R &R we have had in quite some time!
Here are a few of the highlights we experienced on this all too brief visit to the Riviera Maya.
As we arrived at our destination the El Dorado Seaside we were overtaken with the anticipation of a few days of enjoying the sea, the sun, some delicious fresh food, delectable cocktails and some fun. The resort turns out to be beautiful, covered with lush tropical gardens and towering forests of palm trees and a private beach that spans over a mile with pockets cordoned off due to nesting turtles, a protected species. Our accommodations suit us just fine, tastefully decorated, in the new section, on the third floor overlooking one of five pools, equipped with a swim-up bar where we come to meet a diverse group of fun loving fellow vacationers.
Where to dine? Three nights and up to seven restaurants from which to choose our fave turns out to be the Klay Talay Oriental Cuisine, which we enjoy on our final evening.
Here we are seated in a private enclave where we have a full view of the action, while enjoying the ambiance and comfort of our private dining quarters. The restaurant is very hip and sleek while still warm and inviting.
A splendidly plated, generous “boat” of sashimi, sushi and assorted condiments is placed before us by our server who goes on to describe the various specialties we are about to enjoy. Our glasses of perfectly chilled Chilean Sauvignon Blanc arrive promptly, and are carefully attended to, with a continuous flow. We are feeling very special to say the least. The mains are presented equally as artistic and are sublime in flavor. Truly a delightful experience from the pre-dinner tequila cocktail at the thatched roof bar adjacent to the restaurant, to the supurb dishes and service, we give Klay Talay a resounding two thumbs up!
When it comes to local spirit, and local spirits there is no shortage here! At one of our favorite bars, we’ve come to know our bartender Jesus quite well and quite quickly where he routinely shakes things up showcasing his talent at mixology.
Here we enjoy a plethora of tasty cocktails with the starring act being of course the signature drink of Mexico tequila! Cuervo tequila is being poured, apparently the first producer of tequila in the world. We are chatting now with a “tequila aficionado” who has this to share on both Jose Cuervo and the story of tequila in general.
“Tequila my friend, can only be called tequila if it comes from one of five states in Mexico. The most important being in the west central region of Jalisco” we are told. “And do not be fooled, it must also be made exclusively with the Blue Agave or Agave Azul plant. No agave grown outside this region, including other countries can be used for any product labeled as ‘tequila’. We go on to learn that the blue agave plant, takes six to twelve years to mature. That each plant is harvested only once. The harvesting of the blue agave is arduous work, which is done by the caretakers called “jimadores”. They first must chop off the leaves, thick spiny leaves that can grow to eight feet tall, followed by the core the source for the sap that can weigh up to 200 pounds!
We are on to the popularity now of tequila and the positioning it enjoys on top shelves in prestigious bars and restaurants around the world, not unlike Cognac and Scotch. Jose Cuervo is one such tequila, which we come to be quite well acquainted with and are happy here to share.
Jose Antonio Cuervo was the first producer of tequila in the world having been awarded the rights to cultivate a parcel of land from the King of Spain in 1758. Today Cuervo owns the largest holdings of agave in the world.
The Cuervo family has been making tequila for over 250 years now with recipes handed down generation through generation. They pride themselves on using the best agaves, and finest methods producing some of the world’s finest tequila, and are in fact the world’s best selling tequila.
We enjoy the Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila first, neat, and then both on the rocks and in this delectable cocktail!
Especial Silver Tequila (In our market $33.95)
It is clear in colour, has an aroma of citrus and touch of mineral. Dry and with a lime flavour with a smooth warm finish.
On another afternoon we enjoy a wine tasting, featured among other vinos, a couple that hail from Mexico! Yes, from the region of Baja California. The weather here is most suitable for wine grape growing including the noble varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah. L.A. Cetto is one we enjoy with a fine selection of cheeses, fresh and dried fruits.
But we did more than indulge in fine tequila, the occasional glass of wine and delicious dishes all day long. We partook in classes of yoga, in karaoke singing and rounds of Black Jack, and we took to the water in motor boats and kayaks.
The resort was top notch, with so much to embrace, the sea, the sun, the wonderful food and drink and the people. And Playa still beckons, the shops and the cafes and bars, it’s not goodbye, simply so long for now, we will be sure to return.
As read in Power Boating Magazine.