Mayan Influences For Modern Relaxation

By Jenny Peters

About halfway between Cancun and Tulum, the Viceroy Riviera Maya is nestled in a seaside nook of lush jungle. This all-villa property is where you hide away from the rest of the world—and with little effort, find yourself replenished and at peace.

The arrival made it clear that this is no cookie-cutter resort. When the town car pulled up to the outdoor lobby, I noticed a hint of charred herbaceous aroma—part of the ceremonial welcome. I sipped an ice-cold coconut milk tea infused with lemongrass while the concierge reviewed the details for the coming days.

Viceroy Riviera Maya offers 41 villas with a plunge pool and private outdoor shower. The path to the villas is thick with jungle—oversized leaves and countless little waterfalls. On the way to our villa, we were escorted to the spa, where we were welcomed with a traditional Mayan purification ceremony. Once in the room, the soap concierge takes a few minutes to give a tour of our thatched-roof villa, including its private plunge pool and outdoor shower area. Then, she removes large slabs of freshly milled herbal soap from her woven sack and slices off a few bars for us.  

The property offers several culinary experiences, including tequila, ceviche tasting, and a tamale cooking lesson. We opted for the mezcal and taco tasting. We were unprepared for the seemingly endless gastronomical parade of pairings—hearty pours of local mezcal and tacos ranging from suckling pig to crickets (yes, crickets!). All this while watching the waves come crashing in, fresh on the heels of an earlier storm. The resort’s second restaurant, La Marea, is elegant boasting many natural fibers, coastal hued-décor, and impeccable service. After dinner, we again took advantage of the property’s romantic nooks and sat in the oversized soft seating down by the water. We sipped cocktails with freshly squeezed juices and sank deep into the unbridled joy of nothingness.  

Whether you grab one of the beach lounges or reserve a floating cabana, you’ll be treated like royalty. Wayak Spa offers an extensive menu of Mayan-inspired treatments. Do not miss the opportunity to schedule a treatment in the outdoor area with a waterfall. Inside the spa, guests can also schedule use of the soaking and steaming amenities and their series of cold-to-hot full-body showers. After a soak, we scooped freshly prepared herbal scrub into small wood bowls. The scrub’s scent filled the air with an extra relaxation layer. And, of course, it made our skin feel amazing.

In theory, you can leave the resort for some adventure and discover the local scene including the ancient ruins at Tulum. But if you do just one expedition, I recommend the resort’s private cenote tour. A cenote is a water-filled cave. The area is known for them, but the Viceroy Riviera Maya offers guests a tour and snorkeling expedition at a private cenote in the jungle. It’s breathtaking. You can explore the open water areas in the middle—or venture to the far edges of the cave. 

Having spent days drenched in Mayan tradition at the Viceroy Riviera Maya, there’s no question we felt profoundly at peace. 

For more information on Viceroy Riviera Maya,

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