There’s something invigorating about spending time in nature. The serenity is intoxicating. Amidst the peace-filled setting, there are no buzzing Facebook notifications, or clamorous construction sites. The only sounds that might break the silence are a chirping bird or a rustling of leaves, and these familiar sounds just enhance the experience.
In our case, as residents of Playa del Carmen, we are fortunate to be lulled by the sounds of rolling surf, awed by the sun rising over the turquoise sea, or fascinated by a couple of howler monkeys swinging from a tree in the back yard. Playa is an excellent destination for those who want to unplug and slow down, even for a week.
It’s completely understandable that many have a difficult time avoiding some kind of stress in this day and age. We are a fast-paced society inundated by popups, job pressures, apps and social media. If you are one of those people that find it hard to disconnect, we invite you to come and explore our 6 tips for renewing a stressed mind, body and soul in the Mayan Riviera!
Photo: Playa del Carmen sunrise taken in Playacar Phase I
- Get up early, grab a coffee or a cold, fresh coconut and head to the beach to watch the sunrise. Imagine sitting on the soft sand, looking out over the ocean as the waves lap the shore. The vibrant shades of pink, purple and orange of the dawning sun are enrapturing.
Exercise is an ideal stress reliever. Why not take a walk or a run along the alabaster coastline while witnessing the spectacular sunrise? Or perhaps you want to get a closer look? Glide towards the sun on a paddleboard. The early morning classes offer an unforgettable connection to nature and are a great way to start the day!
- Book an appointment for a massage, a facial or other renewing treatment at a spa. One of the most appealing aspects about Playa del Carmen is that there is a great appreciation of nature here. It might come from the deep-seated respect for the earth the Mayan culture has instilled in this region. Or it may also be courtesy of the community’s strong environmental awareness and passion to preserve the natural splendor of this fascinating region.
For companies like Bric Hotel and Spa, it is their vision to integrate as many components of nature as possible into their menu of services. The staff tends to their own herb garden on the terrace. Regional ingredients like salt from the sea, chaya leaf, local honey and coconut oil, as well as seasonal tropical fruits like guava and papaya are used in their footbaths and delightful body scrubs. Let their professional therapists relieve the aches and pains, while you unwind and let your stress fade away.
At Xpa Maya in the town of Puerto Aventuras just 20 minutes South of Playa del Carmen, all of their cabanas are within the jungle and feature outdoor bamboo showers, and massage tables set up alongside stunning cenotes. One of their recommended treatments is the Tratamiento Natural Xpa which includes a scrub made from Papaya, oatmeal and honey, a warm bath in water fused with flower petals and even a hair wash made with edible, all-natural ingredients.
- Sail on the glistening, turquoise ocean along the Riviera Maya. There are an abundance of options from catamaran rentals to hiring private boats and yachts to take you for the ultimate day of relaxation in the Mexican Caribbean.
Sit back and soak up the sun with a cold beverage. Dip your toes in the warm, striking green-blue sea. Snorkel around the reef systems in the area, which are teeming with colorful marine life and amazing coral formations. There are few things more magical than the experience of swimming next to sea turtles or above rays skimming across the ocean floor.
- Explore a cenote for the day. If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit one of the thousands of sunken, natural swimming pools in the Yucatan Peninsula, we strongly urge you to do so.
Centuries ago, the region’s underground river system caused the porous limestone bed of the peninsula to cave in, causing cenotes. Each one of these incredible swimming holes is unique, some are open, and some are within caverns. Relish the chance to be a kid again and take a leap off the modest bluffs into refreshingly cool waters. Float on your back and admire blue skies that span as far as the eye can see.
Most of the cenotes are off the beaten path and are amongst breathtaking, verdant settings. Dos Ojos, Eden, Azul and Cristalino are some of the more popular ones near Playa del Carmen.
- Take a day trip or spend a night on the mesmerizing island of Holbox. This rustic destination has no streetlights and no paved roads. Hammocks on the beach present the perfect spot to take an afternoon siesta. The few restaurants that exist are charming and offer exquisite items like fresh catches of the day and lobster pizza. Golf carts are the main mode of transportation, but this laid-back Mexican gem is still small enough to get around by foot.
Holbox is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, which boasts mangroves inhabited by crocodiles and hundreds of bird species. This is the place to witness a variety of creatures in the wild, including turtles, dolphins, whale sharks and flamingos. The island is about 1 hour 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen plus a 20-minute ferry ride.
- Finally, if you ever do visit Playa del Carmen, there is the occasional chance that you will lose your Internet connection. It is one of the few downfalls of living in or visiting this seaside paradise. While most present day establishments have Wifi, there is unfortunately no such thing as high-speed Internet, yet…
For those who need to be online to work, a poor connection can be frustrating, that is for sure! However, we suggest you embrace this temporary inconvenience rather than let panic set in. It is often a short-term issue that if you let it, will truly allow you to unplug and succumb to vacation bliss!
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.