Cancun is Mexico's party capital. By day it's all about lazing on the beach and at night it's all action and then some.
About an hour south of all that, Kelly Landry found a little oasis with stunning beaches and resorts but not as crowded. It's Playa del Carmen.
Playa, as it's known, is in the Mayan Riviera on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It's comparatively low-key and more favoured by European holidaymakers than American. It is the cultural, artistic, shopping, dining and nightlife hub for the area.
Fifth Avenue has a bohemian flavour and an eclectic collection of sidewalk cafes, boutiques, galleries and clubs.
Playacar Palace on a pristine and beautiful beach on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen is the place to stay. The all-inclusive deluxe resort has 209 rooms, all with a double jacuzzi and most with an ocean view and balcony. The comfortable Palace Bed is guaranteed to give you the most restful night ever.
There's a pool with swim-up bar, water sports centre with motorised equipment, spa with sauna, fitness room and tennis court. It's the perfect base for exploring the Mayan Riviera from Xcaret to Tulum.
They hold theme parties and activities for fun mornings and afternoons. Nightly shows add some spice after dinner. The Caribbean Sea will entertain you with sailing, jetskiing, snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing and canoeing.
Guests are given a wristband at check-in and that's your entree into the property's three restaurants Mexican, Italian and Asian and bars, ordering room service and all drinks, including use of the minibar, without paying another peso.
A fun-filled 40-minute ferry ride will take you to Cozumel Island. It was relatively unknown until the 1960s when Jacques Cousteau went there, saw what was in the water and told the world. He dived the world's second largest barrier reef and if you have a dive ticket, you will see one of the planet's top dive sites. Snorkelling is pretty rewarding as well.
The combination of great diving, snorkelling and fishing on the west coast, lovely isolated beaches on the east and a thriving city full of shops, markets and restaurants make Cozumel a fantastic spot for a day trip from Playa del Carmen.
As well as having a stunning coastline and beaches, Cozumel has a Mayan history dating back more than 2000 years.
Related: The real Cancun and Sophie Monk's Cabo wabo in Mexico
Playa del Carmen, 45 minutes from Cancun Airport in Mexico.
Playacar Palace Wyndam Grand Resort starts at around $175 per person a night. Five-night packages are around $875 per person twin share and are available until December 23, 2010. Rate includes fine dining, snacks and drinks. If you stay five or more night you will receive US$1500 credit towards golf, spa treatments, room upgrades and day tours.
V Australia has flights to Los Angeles from:
- Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane $1249
- Adelaide $1549
- Perth $1849
Valid for sale until September 17, 2010, and for travel between October 1 and November 30, 2010. Conditions apply.
Connections to Cancun are available.
Prices correct at September 9, 2010.
For further information
Level 7, Suite 702
28 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills 2010
Ph: 1300 300 713
Fax: (02) 9211 0500
Fraccionamiento Playacar, Bahia del Espiritu Santo
Esquina Abraira de Arriva
Playa del Carmen, Q Roo
Ph: +52 984 873 4960
Ferry to Cozumel Island
Ph: +52 998 881 5890
Coastal Avenue Km 3.5
Ph: +52 998 848 8327