Mexico Uncovered

Mexico really does offer something for everyone - whether you’re looking to roam around tropical forests and ancient ruins, discover underwater worlds at exquisite diving sites, or simply find your anytime warm beach paradise.  

Even in winter, the temperatures along Mexico’s coast rarely dip below 20°C, while the average temperatures in summer, which falls between May and September, is 28°C, and is offset by cooling short rain showers. With a flight time of about 11 hours from most UK airports, you could be unwinding in your resort before you know it.  

Karen Noble, Sovereign Luxury Travel’s Regional Destination Manager, spent several weeks exploring the nation and was blown away by her experience.  

“I’m an avid traveller and I’ve visited many countries over the years both personally and professionally. Never in my life have I booked a flight back to the country before I’ve even left it, but I found myself booking a personal holiday right from the airport lounge. That’s testament to just how fabulous Mexico is!”  

You’ll find resort towns with an abundance of upmarket shopping, bars and restaurants, which are never far from an impressive amount of historic and cultural sites.  

“I’d highly recommend you spend a good chunk of time in Mexico - two or three weeks if you can, hopping between the main resort areas and enjoying the odd day trip”, suggests Karen.  

Located by the Caribbean Sea, Mexico is teeming with coral reefs, caves and shipwrecks and is also ideal if you love diving or are keen to learn.  

“I took a stupid amount of photos of the sea - and that’s something I never normally do,” mentions Karen. “The only place I’ve encountered a similar colour is in the Maldives. Unlike the Maldives however, there are plenty of authentic and cultural experiences to be found in Mexico. Wherever I went, I witnessed people putting their hand over their heart as a way of greeting others. It’s quite unusual to see this ancient ritual in the modern world.”

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Naturally, being in such close proximity to America, there are signs of cultural infiltration, such as the concept of tipping, which is common even for doormen at the local 7/11 stores. “Tipping is not required at the resorts, but I do recommend you take a stack of single US dollars with you, just so you’re covered for every eventuality,” says Karen.  

The cuisine is, as Karen describes, “tremendous”. “Until I first visited Mexico, I think I’d only ever had tex mex. I was expecting it to be hot and meat-heavy, but it wasn’t. I’m a vegetarian and it was absolutely delicious, with proper authentic fajitas and tacos packed with beans, veggies and rice.”  

“Often they serve a little spice on the side, should you wish to add more heat yourself. Dishes come with either a salsa verde or salsa roja enchilada sauce. The green sauce is a little hotter given it’s made with green chillies, whereas the red sauce is milder with garlic and onion.”  

“I’ve not got a sweet tooth, yet a real hit for me is the delicious banana fried in honey you find at breakfast.”  

You can also find plenty of 100% agave tequila to knock back - just be sure that there’s no worm in it, as that’s usually the inferior cousin, mezcal. “Tequila is best enjoyed in a margarita cocktail while you’re lounging on the sands,” suggests Karen.
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Riviera Cancún

Most flights arrive at the International Airport in the lively, stylish city of Cancún, with its swish bars and modern shopping malls. Yet, less than a five-minute drive away you’ll reach the gateway to Riviera Cancún, an area that has a classic Caribbean vibe about it, with its delightful white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and a mesmerising turquoise sea.  

“The colour of the sea is amazing. I found myself sending photos to my friends, saying, ‘Look! There’s no filter on this”, says Karen. "I couldn’t believe the sand either, it’s like talcum powder and gives a little squeak when you walk, it’s that fine.”  
Be sure you take a trip to the iconic Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world, and believed to be one of the largest ancient Mayan cities. Its crowning glory is the 10-storey pyramid-shaped temple, El Castillo, which is believed to have been an astronomy observatory station used for ceremonies.  

“You can do the Chichen Itza Mayan from anywhere around the coast, " says Karen, “as it’s usually just one to two and a half hour’s drive inland. My advice is don’t try to arrange the trip alone - you really need a good guide to bring the ruins to life. You might be put off by the 6am start, but it’s absolutely worth it. You’ll be there by 8.30am when it’s still relatively cool and you can be back chilling by the poolside by 3pm!”  
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The Yucatan peninsula is home to a network of underground water systems in which sinkholes, known as cenotes, make for great natural swimming pools, filled with crystal-clear fresh water and mineral-rich algae. We recommend you visit Yokdzonot, just near Chichen Itza, which offers a traditional Yucatan experience where you can go swimming before tucking into delicious home-cooked food of lime soup and barbecue chicken served by the village ladies.

Meanwhile, golfers will be sure to enjoy one of the newest additions to the area: Riviera Cancún Golf Club, an 18-hole course over dunes, mangroves and lakes, which is topped off with sparkling sea views.

For getting around Cancún, Karen offers a few pearls of wisdom. “Taxis in particular are expensive and so I recommend you ask the bellboy to negotiate for you in advance. In Cancún there's one straight road that runs from north to south and you’ll find these little red buses that are really inexpensive, comfortable and clean and that stop off at all the local markets and main shopping areas.”


If you’re travelling with your family then Moon Palace The Grand is an excellent all-inclusive hotel with incredible facilities for children - from an escape room and bumper cars to a variety of swimming pools. It also boasts the largest spa in Latin America, and exceptional restaurants and bars, including a speakeasy! For a more grown-up experience, the adults-only, all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara offers a la carte restaurants, fabulous evenings of entertainment, and solely sea-facing rooms.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun
  • Adults only all inclusive in Mexico  
  • Every suite enjoys a breathtaking sea view 
  • Range of dining options to suit all tastes

Riviera Maya

Further south of Cancún lies Riviera Maya, home to over 18 miles of pristine white sands and the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef system in the world. You’ll find large resorts here that soak up the sunshine and beach vibes.

Bang in the middle of Riviera Maya, Playa Maroma is considered one of the best beaches in the world, and you can absolutely see why. Only non-motorised watersports are permitted here in order to protect the fragile environment.
To explore, you can head to the ancient Mayan city of Coba, which dates back to 50BC. If you're feeling active and brave, you can climb up 130 temple steps to be rewarded with amazing jungle views.  

You can also venture to the tiny island of Cozumel, just off the coast of the Riviera Maya. While thick with mangrove forests, its coast boasts gleaming white beaches, which are an inviting spot for snorkelling.

Part of the Riviera Maya, Playa de Carmen is one of the trendiest towns and home to large luxury beach resorts. By day you can go shopping in all the exclusive boutiques and markets of 5th Avenue, or tee off at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Club, home to a beautiful course that’s ensconced by mangrove forest, jungle, and the sea. At night, there’s an incredible choice of haute cuisine for your evening meal.
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Fabulous family-friendly experiences can be found in the many eco parks along the coast from Cancún to Riviera Maya. These are adventure and activity parks inspired by the natural landscapes of rainforest, wild coastline, and the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula. Xcaret, Xenses, and Xplor are just an hour’s drive south of Cancún, while Xelhá is further south.

Xcaret is the most popular eco park and is themed around Mayan culture. You can go river rafting and tubing, swimming and snorkelling in underground rivers, and ziplining under jungle canopies. You can spend a full day here or just get tickets to the popular evening cultural show. “All the Mexican people I spoke with agree that Xcaret hosts the most authentic show that respects and honours the Mayan culture,” adds Karen.

Xenses, meanwhile, is based on the senses, where you’ll find a child-friendly waterpark, mirror labyrinths, mud baths and light games.


There are several luxurious all-inclusive beach resorts in Riviera Maya that Sovereign Luxury Travel recommends, all of which will appeal to different guests. There’s Grand Velas Riviera Maya, a Leading Hotels of the World member, which comprises three zones including an adults-only area. Then there’s the strictly adults-only all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, which is so sophisticated it even hosts a martini bar in the lobby! While most resorts in this region are large, the boutique resort of Viceroy Riveria Maya is a little oasis of privacy and serenity with just 39 rooms.  

Alternatively, choose to stay on a secluded strip of Playa Maroma at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancún. This all-inclusive low-rise resort is adults-only and incredibly romantic, with spacious grounds offering a calm ambience, gourmet restaurants, and all the suites boast at least one Jacuzzi!  

If you wish to stay in Playa del Carmen then you can stay at the lively and all-inclusive Secrets Moxche, which is also adults-only.  

Grand Velas Riviera Maya
  • All Inclusive luxurious resort set on a white sandy beach near Playa del Carmen in Mexico 
  • Fine dining and casual restaurants serving local and international delicacies 
  • The world-class, award-winning spa facility offers traditional and advanced treatments 
  • The resort comprises three exclusive zones: Zen, Grand Class (Adults Only) and Ambassador 
a house surrounded by water
Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
  • Laidback, adults only resort
  • In the beautiful Riviera Maya of Mexico
  • Exceptional warm and welcoming service
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
  • A luxurious resort located one of the most celebrated beaches in Mexico 
  • Includes six gourmet restaurants and a state of the art golf course
  • A world class wellness facility offering a variety of relaxing and therapeutic treatments
  • The resort’s suites come with a Jacuzzi bathtub and a balcony or terrace


“Mayakoba is unusual in that it is neither a resort or a town, it’s just one massive, gated area with four luxury hotels and a fabulous, award-winning golf course,” explains Karen.

There are an impressive number of world-class places to eat and drink in Mayakoba, with over 30 restaurants and 50 bars, whether you’re seeking authentic Mexican or international fayre. There’s also several pampering spas. Regardless of the hotel you pick, these facilities are available to all guests, which you can use by simply signing for them.
Speaking of accommodation, every hotel has both a lagoon and beach side, which adds to the charm, as Karen explains. “The resorts are built among the mangroves with meandering waterways and so the hotels’ have their own fleet of electric boats that quietly take you around from A to B. You get to hear all the birds and wildlife being alive!”  

“Mayakoba has been a real success story for ecotourism and is a great example of how travel can help benefit the local environment,” adds Karen. “The area has protected the local mangroves and enhanced the diversity of native flora and fauna from 1,000 species 15 years ago to an incredible 4,000 species today. I highly recommend you take the 90 minute nature tour with the guides here as they are fascinating.” 


Sovereign Luxury Travel offers two of the four hotels, both of which are beautiful five-star offerings, Fairmont Mayakoba, and The Banyan Tree Mayakoba, which is particularly ideal for Jewish guests as they offer specific kitchens to cook kosher food.  

Fairmont Mayakoba
  • A family friendly resort in the heart of Riviera Maya 
  • Optional all inclusive so you can enjoy everything the resort has to offer 
  • Interconnecting rooms perfect for families and groups 
Banyan Tree, Mayakoba
  • Beautiful, peaceful location on the Caribbean coast of Mexico
  • Personalised touches and attention to detail throughout
  • Plenty of dining options to suit every taste


Tulum is an upcoming coastal town with a trendy bohemian vibe, and is filled with independent shops and yoga studios. “It reminds me a bit like how Ubud in Bali was decades ago,” says Karen. “I suspect over time it may become a victim of its own success. It’s quite a lively place during the American spring break.”  

One of the most exciting experiences in Tulum is the unusual archaeological Mayan walled city found here.  

“If, like me, you think of Mayan Ruins as hidden somewhere inland in the jungle, then you will love the surprise of the Mayan Ruins in Tulum,” says Karen. “These ones are located right on the cliffside by the coast, topped off with a gorgeous sea breeze.”
Ideal for nature-discerning guests, the small town of Akumal near Tulum has several protected bays that make up part of the Mesoamerican Reef, which lies close to the shoreline. You are almost guaranteed to witness sea turtles nesting in their natural environment all year round. “This isn’t just a breeding programme,” adds Karen, “it’s sea turtles’ habitat and it’s incredible seeing them bobbing around or protecting their eggs.”

There’s also an interesting monkey sanctuary in Akumal that shelters rescued primates, including the iconic spider monkey and lemurs. Or you can enjoy swimming in cenotes at nearby Ka’an Luum Lagoon.


Voted the top resort in Mexico by Condé Nast Traveller, the one-year old Conrad Tulum is a hidden gem, set in a stunning cove in Tulum. Even though it has almost 350 rooms, it feels like a chic boutique hotel, and offers the perfect sanctuary with its striking architecture, first-class amenities, and a luxurious spa.  
Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive. Photo by Victor Elias Photography
Conrad Tulum
  • Luxurious property close to Tulum in Mexico 
  • Modern facilities and striking architectural details  
  • A hidden gem in a stunning cove
“Our presence in Mexico is continually growing,” reveals Karen. “One place that I’m really excited to be launching in the near future is a little off-grid, car-free island called Holbox, right at the tip of Mexico. It’s the only place in Mexico with bioluminescence, and you’ll see schools of dolphins just off the shore. There’s a really unusual hotel that we plan to add to our collection in the next six months, so watch this space!”

For more information, call our Personal Travel Planners on:

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