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Maya Riviera: Where Maya Ruins Meet Megaresorts

Maya Riviera: Where Maya Ruins Meet Megaresorts

Old Jan 8, 06, 9:36 am
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Maya Riviera: Where Maya Ruins Meet Megaresorts

Maya Riviera: Where Maya Ruins Meet Megaresorts

The Maya Riviera - a roughly 80-mile strip of land below the commercialized spring-break cornerstone of Cancún - used to consist of a string of untrammeled towns like Tulum and Akumal. The coastline generally offered travelers various options in beachside thatched-roof cabanas, or small huts.

Although they appear idyllic, these cabanas can be a disaster in the making for parents of small children (including mine, three typically finicky and squeamish souls between 1 and 7). Some lack floors, few lack lizards; hot water, electricity and workable plumbing are never a given; and many have hammocks, with luck sheathed with minimally torn mosquito netting, instead of beds.

Let's not even broach the subject of sensitive young stomachs and nonfiltered water. And though the price for these cabanas can range from a few dollars a night to more than $1,000 a week at a place like the Maya Tulum - a well-regarded 25-acre resort on the water known for yoga offerings and higher-end cabanas - they have always been better for the hippie-trail backpacker than for the Kate Spade diaper-bag set.

Now, however, families have some attractive options. Catering to the less hardy population in recent years is a selection of all-inclusive resorts, and the number (as a glance at the construction cranes along the coastline will attest) is growing by the day. Cancún is a three-hour nonstop flight from New York, and the drive from Cancún's airport to the midpoint of the Maya Riviera is about an hour, a straight shot south. The area - with its Maya ruins (some seaside), dozens of cenotes (natural swimming holes) and water parks-cum-aquariums, a 1.3 million-acre preserve and the clear, calm warm waters of the Caribbean - is almost made for a family interested in swimming as well as sightseeing...

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