Viva Mexico! A Taste of the Riviera Maya

Guys. It’s MAY and I only just went on my first international trip of the year. That sentence doesn’t even compute in my own mind. I don’t even know who I am anymore!

The good news is that more fun trips are on the horizon, so before I get too busy opening world class water theme parks and exploring Caribbean luxury over the next few weeks, I wanted to share some photos from my first out-of-country jaunt in 2017: RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO!

I last visited Cancun at the end of 2016 for a retreat with the Travelocity Gnational Gnomads, a small group of traveling brand ambassadors I’m proud to be a part of. And the trip I just returned from was on behalf of Travelocity as well. I joined up with Keryn from Walking on Travels and Eric from Travel Babbo to explore three Barcelo properties in the Riviera Maya: the Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, Occidental at Xcaret Destination and the Royal Hideaway Playacar.

Since I’m always getting asked where to go for a fun, easy getaway, I thought I’d share a few thoughts and photos from the latest Gnomads adventure in Mexico. Enjoy!

Where to Stay on the Riviera Maya Mexico

Barcelo Maya Grand Resort

Where to Stay on the Riviera Maya Mexico


Where to Stay on the Riviera maya

Admittedly, I’m not usually a mega-resort person, but for a big family or someone who wants lots to do and no need to leave the property, the Barcelo Maya Grand Resort is a really good fit. It’s all-inclusive, has a large, pretty beach, an epic seafood buffet (I’ve never seen so many lobsters in one place) and a Flow Rider.

And it has swim-up suites, my new favorite amenity.

Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Where to Stay on the Riviera Maya Mexico


Where to Stay on the Riviera maya

Occidental at Xcaret Destination is another enormous resort, but it has a completely different feel than Barcelo Maya Grand. It feels like a Mayan jungle experience, with monkeys swinging in the trees, wild deer grazing on the actual ancient Mayan road and saltwater pools overlooking the Caribbean. There are also real ruins and plentiful iguanas.

Where to Stay Riviera Maya 8-minI didn’t get to check out the Xcaret park (still on my Mexico bucket list along with Tulum and whale sharks!) but I did see the trajinero (think: Mexican gondola) that takes you from the resort to the park. It’s an ideal property for kids who like to explore… so I’m filing under places to bring my foster kiddos in the future.

Royal Hideaway Playacar

The last resort we checked out was the Royal Hideaway Playacar, a decidedly smaller property on a beautiful stretch of beach near Playa del Carmen. With only 200 rooms, it was the most boutique-like hotel I’ve ever visited in this area of Mexico.

Where to Stay Riviera Maya
The property prides itself on gourmet food and great service, and we experienced both. Between tequila tastings and high tea, I was a happy little (boutique hotel) camper. The Riviera Maya really has something for everyone.
Where to Stay Riviera Maya 8-min

Wanna visit this sweet little Riviera Maya hotel? Click here!


I visited these Riviera Maya properties throughas a Travelocity Gnational Gnomad, and was compensated for my time. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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