Girlfriend Getaways: Riveria Maya, Mexico

By Melanie Nayer

mexico-380What’s better than palm trees, pina coladas, beach-side massages, sun-soaked days and tequila-filled nights? All that, with your girlfriends.

It’s no secret 2009 was the year of the travel deal. Thanks to economic conditions and threats of swine flu that swarmed their world, airlines and hotels dropped prices almost daily in an attempt to lure travelers to a new destination. But one country suffered the severity of the economic conditions – Mexico went to extremes to generate tourism dollars in 2009. Despite the economy, Mexico grabbed a bad rap thanks to swine flu and drug wars, and one unfortunate hijaking hoax that took place in Mexico City. Admist all the bad news coming from the country south of the border, there was a silver lining: record-low resort rates and cheap flights to Mexico.

Given the pressures of work, life and marriage (or lack thereof), three girls set off to escape to Mexico. We threw swine flu to the wind, packed our antibacterial gels and boarded a flight to Cancun where the Casitas Suites on the beach awaited us at the El Dorado Royale, a Karisma Hotels resort in Riveria Maya, Mexico.

A few key points about traveling to Mexico:

1. Cancun airport can be very overwhelming. Always book your hotel transfers before arriving in Cancun. You’ll likely be accousted by cab drivers and tour operators when you leave customs but fear not – it’s not dangerous, just overwhelming, and as soon as you find your selected transportation official you’ll be on your way to your resort.

2. Mexico is on the same voltage system as the United States, so you can leave all your adapters and converters at home (and have a little extra space in your luggage).

3. Mexico runs perfectly fine on the U.S. dollar so you don’t have to worry about exchanging currency, unless you’re taking day trips to some of the remote villages. Resorts accept the US dollar and tips are welcome in US currency.

Now that you’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to plan your girlfriend getaway.

This particular getaway was focused on relaxation and rejuvenation (as opposed to tequila shots and channeling Spring Break’s of our youth.) As thirty-something adults, we are accustomed to long hours at work, endless board meetings and last-minute deadlines. We needed a place we could lay our heads, relax in hammocks and take in the fresh ocean air.

We chose the El Dorado Royale because of its all-inclusive options. Included in the room rates are all meals, alcohol, and resort events. The resort has multiple room options for all budgets – garden views, ocean views, and suites, so depending on your price range, you can easily find a room that works with your price range. The Casitas Suites offer a little more exclusivity than the regular resort rooms, thanks to private balconies and swim-up pools (but the reality is that you can get the same attention and amenities on the main property).