The Mesoamerican Reef, the second longest in the world, begins a few miles south of Cancún near laid-back Puerto Morelos. Once you’ve slipped into the silky aquamarine water, you won’t regret your quick room-service breakfast and half-hour journey to the national reef park.
Snorkeling in the shallow waters between the reef and the shoreline is nearly effortless. Fat Nassau groupers duck behind fragile purple sea fans as humans hover above the white sand. Spanish grunts and French angelfish swim amid brain coral, while silvery barracuda flash by on swift currents. The sea creatures seem unperturbed as snorkelers float through their fragile habitat, and the water’s so warm and clear, time seems to fly by. After such a strenuous morning, a spa treatment is in order—the frangipani wrap at Le Meridien’s Spa del Mar
nourishes salty, sunburned skin.
Begin your evening at the Museo de Arte Popular
, one of the finest folk
art museums in Mexico. A recorded tour leads you through rooms filled with masks, toys and figurines—the yellow tiled kitchen may make you want to rush home and redecorate. The museum shop is a top place to purchase fine folk art—scope it out before visiting crafts markets.
Stroll past the taco stands and trinket vendors in downtown’s Parque de las Palapas before dining at La Habichuela
, where replicas of Mayan gods and carved columns oversee tables set amid twinkling lights in a flower-filled courtyard. The menu has a Caribbean flair—the cocobichuela (a coconut shell filled with curried lobster and shrimp) is unbeatable. End the evening at Azúcar, where couples salsa dance like pros. Multi-piece bands keep the crowd pulsing to Latin beats; sip a few mojitos and you’ll feel right at home.
This article has been adapted from the original, which was published by MSP Communications.