Mexico: Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort & Spa, Puerta Aventuras

Located in one of the newer gated communities, Puerta Aventuras, Catalonia Riviera Maya is a small-ish all-inclusive resort built on a reef. As such, the beach is not your typical white sandy stretch but the owners have done a nice job with it regardless. Two smaller beach areas are divided by a lovely boardwalk and get plenty of sun, a fare share of waves, and a healthy variety sea life.

The resort grounds a tightly packed, very green and consist of 2 buffets, 5 a la carte restaurants, and a creperie where you can get fantastic authentic milkshakes. As in any all-inclusive there is nightly entertainment, poolside actives (including a foam party) and occasionally live music in the lobby bar, which also features craft cocktails. The cocktails are average, the food is good and a la carte restaurants are themed, the best dish by far was the mixed grill sampler at the steak house.

This particular Catalonia is fully attached to Catalonia Yucatan, as a result during your stay you can take advantage of their sports bar (pool tables, ping pong, foosball and so on) as well as a nightclub, which really becomes your personal space since it doesn’t really get busy.

A short walk from the resort will take you into the Puerta Aventuras center, mostly wrapped around the marina where you can observe pelicans in their natural habitat, grab some local food and swim with dolphins or feed manatees. There is also a lovely museum, CEDAM, which features articles from the naval history of the island, and more specifically the La Gloria area.

Tip: the rooms near the lobby are noisy, a la carte restaurants fill quite quickly and the beach bar is a small piece of heaven.

Must try: La Caleta restaurant near the marina, the margaritas are great, there is live music nightly and the BBQ smells fantastic.

To see this trip on Instagram look up #xoMexico17.