Last year we went to Punta Cana because of safety issues in Mexico, but this year we decided that Maya Riviera - which we usually visit once a year - was ok. We took our normal vacation, hiking through the jungles, climbing pyramids, scuba and snorkeling and exploring caves, and found so many new things to do that we are already planning next year's trip. We feel EXTREMELY comfortable in the Barcelo resort complex on the Maya Riviera and have stayed in the Colonial and Tropical.
We were very disappointed to note that apparently someone neglected to put their money in the safe when they left their room and were victims - HOWEVER - we have the OPPOSITE STORY. During our trip from July 26-August 4 - we inadvertently left the safe OPEN when leaving the room to catch a tour pickup. I have to admit, I fretted about that all day long, but when we returned that evening I was delighted to discover that: 1) the housemaid discovered the problem and placed a note at the safe, reminding us to store all valuables in the safe and close the safe, etc., and 2) she put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door so no other hotel staff would enter the room and be tempted. We had our passports, some cash, cameras, etc. in the safe and the maid's honesty was rewarded the next day, and we left generous tips the rest of the week! This is one reason we feel so comfortable at this resort. Not everyone is so honest, I would assume, but everyone we have met there on our several stays has been friendly, earnest, and honest.
So what did we do this trip? Well, we went snorkeling at Xel-Ha for half a day, which was more fun than I expected because I'm a scuba diver. We hiked and swam in the exquisite caves at Rio Secreto which is only about 20 minutes away from the hotel - they have three routes open and one is always kept closed for a month to let the caves "recharge" and to avoid stressing the fragile ecosystem and wildlife (blind fish, bats, spiders, etc.). Take some extra money to buy the photos, which are not cheap but are really dramatic!!
Spent a day on the Rio Lagartos tour - not really a river but looks like it - Rio Lagartos is actually a series of lagoons adjacent to the Gulf - saw a crocodile, lots of flamingoes, birds, and as part of the same tour, we climbed the Acropolis at Ek Balam, one of the best preserved and most recently excavated pyramids/complexes in the Mayan Yucatan. We climb a different pyramid every trip and this was a real thrill, a bit dangerous, breathtaking view, etc. When you are above the jungle, you can see what look like green mountains or hills in the distance - these are some of the 100,000 sites that have not yet been excavated.
We ate in the seafood restaurant a couple of nights, the steak restaurant once, mostly ate in the buffet. We are not picky eaters and always found something really tasty to eat. We avoid foods that are too watery, so we seldom encounter problems with digestive effects. In about 10 trips to Mexico over the years, I think I've been sick twice, and always the last day of the trip, but not too serious.
We got some GREAT computer wallpaper photos at Ek Balam and many other places, including everything from pyramids to flowers and animals. I snapped lots of wildlife photos on the tours and got some great shots of birds around the Barcelo complex - too many photos to include here but I add a few shots I took of various types of animals. The sereque (see photo) looks like a rodent on stilts, we also saw a large paca once that ran across our path - the paca which looks like a pig with a rat's head. Lots of iguanas and those frilled basilisk lizards that run on their hind legs - so funny!
I'll include a few photos. My wife and I like adventure trips and being in the Mayan Riviera gives us access to most of the best locations, so we're never bored, and the tour operators and hotel staff make everything convenient. It's especially nice to be able to go out and adventure and return to an all inclusive luxury hotel. My wife had a facial in the spa.
We love the Barcelo complex and will return again next year.
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Tropical Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Maya Tropical Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico