Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Cancún + The Riviera Maya Travel Guide

Get your fix of Mayan criollo chocolate—bitter and complex, with hints of fruit, smoke, and vanilla, a “food of the gods” that’s exponentially richer than the forastero cacao used in 90 percent of blends.

Located at the beachfront Azul Sensatori Hotel, this 14,000-square-foot spa provides a variety of treatments in a Zen-inspired environment, decorated with skylights, fountains, and handcrafted tile mosaics.

The bar and restaurant on the ninth floor of the new Hotel Wynston has panoramic views of the harbor, the town center, and the sea. In addition to the usual spirits, the bar stocks an extensive wine list to complement the restaurant's Mediterranean-Asian–fusion menu.

The 11th-century walled city's 15 pyramids are illuminated in shades of red, blue, and amber for 45-minute nighttime tours.

Divers shouldn’t miss an excursion to see the first phase of artist Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculptures series, a collection of 400 sunken works off the Caribbean coast.

Try to nab a couch in front of the aquarium wall—a dramatic backdrop to lantern-lit cabanas and dining palapas rising from a lagoon on stilts.

Many cenotes—sinkholes in the subterranean rivers that riddle the Yucatán—are either limited to divers or overrun with crowds, but not this 15-by-130-foot pool, fringed with fan palms on a rocky bluff.

Cozumel is a duty-free shopping zone. The collection of luxury products found in this enormous store runs the gamut from perfumes and Baume & Mercier watches to Montblanc pens, and even includes a Lacoste boutique.

Modest compared with those on the Yucatán peninsula, Cozumel's Mayan ruins are still distinct. San Gervasio, in the interior, was occupied by the Maya for more than 1,300 years and served as a trading hub as well as the worship center for the goddess Ixchel.

An ecological theme park, Xcaret has a plentiful roster of activities and attractions focused on the surrounding natural environment and Mexico's cultural history.

Tall, blond southern boy Rory Dunaway might not seem the obvious choice to unravel the secrets of Mexican gastronomy, but the new recreational kitchen’s chef de cuisine has a way with a flan pan.

On an unassuming side street, this little shop run by two sisters—owner Beatriz Urtuzuastegui and Victoria Lemus, the attentive but unobtrusive manager—stocks fun-but-unfussy styles perfect for the beach or a romantic dinner: affordable ($20 and up) cotton dresses, halter tops, and guayaberas, lo