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By Glenn Arnette, lll


A country of south-central North America. Southern Mexico was the site of various advanced civilizations beginning with the Olmec and including the Maya, Zapotec, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec cultures. Mexico was conquered by Cortés in 1521 and held by the Spanish until 1821. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican War (1846-1848) awarded all lands north of the Rio Grande to the United States. Mexico City is the capital and the largest city. Population: 104,000,000.

Stop the world and drop me on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. There is a paradise and it is very close to the United States. The Riviera Maya is an amazing place where the sea meets the sand and where the palms wave in the soft winds of the evening sunset. It is an explosion of color creating a magnificent canvas painted by the gods. It is where time stops and the harmony of life saturate your entire body. You have arrived at Riviera Maya!

The Riviera Maya is located on the Caribbean Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It stretches for approx. 100 miles from Cancun to the famous archaeological zone of Tulum.

Large tourist developments are next to beautiful natural coastal zones and forests. It is where the visitor can find anything from water sports adventures such as diving in underground rivers, snorkeling and scuba diving in cenotes and caverns. You can enjoy beautiful beaches, bays, inlets and travel back in time at the Mayan archaeological sites.

The Mexico I once knew is no longer the Mexico I was afraid of because of the food and water. Now the food is extravagant, delicious, beautifully prepared and the water is filtered. The entertainment and attractions rival those artificially created by Disney and Universal. There is a purity that is sweeping the country and the “green thing” is real and the environment is of the utmost importance to all of the Mexican people.

History is alive in Mexico. You have hundreds of years of history being relived and performed everyday through shows, tours and lectures. Everything is created to tell their phenomenal story of their place in the history of the world. It is truly a “rediscovered top vacation destination “and one of the most reasonable opportunities available to all of us today.

My flight on Jet Blue Airlines was the most comfortable in their nice leather seats with the extra leg room and the free snacks and soft drinks offered to all.

From Orlando, Florida the flight was only an hour and a half and we landed right on time just outside of Cancun. With just an hour ride, we arrived at our host hotel, THE SANDOS PLAYACAR BEACH RESORT AND SPA.

This all-inclusive resort offers everything from disco to beach and every other concept of entertainment and food you could ever imagine. It is a Paradise offering beautiful beaches and exceptional weather year round. Each room is professionally appointed to accomplish every need for each guest. Once there you are given an I-D bracelet and from that moment on, you can put your wallet away. Room rate can run from $75 a person up to $351 a person depending on the time of year and location on the property. Even during the peak season, this is one of the best vacation values I have seen in years. Remember, it is “all-inclusive” and everything including top shelf drinks is available anytime and anywhere. You will be amazed at the number of restaurants and bars located throughout the property including buffets and fine dining. You will never be hungry! There are more swimming pools then you can imagine, including four large exotic pools and many small pools for the private villas! There is one pool strictly for adults with outdoor lounge beds and hammocks while sunning the “body beautiful”. If you have family, you can relax and the kids are taken care of while you party! No water sport or game is left out, including a spectacular evening show in the outdoor covered theatre. From gift shops to hammocks, this is really my kind of vacation. The beach alone offers crystal waters of blue, tortoise and greens accented by the bluish sky and hot orange clouds of beauty as the sunsets. What else can I say? Pack your bags and play your trip to this paradise just a short flight away.

My personal thanks go to Itzel Olvera Mejia, in Public Relations at the Riviera Maya Tourism Board. She made this trip the real experience and a Mexican dream come true. GO MEXICO

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Over next few articles, I will be telling you about the exciting adventures you can enjoy while along the Riviera Maya in Mexico. You will have the opportunity to do things you’ve only dreamed of over the years. From the Maya ruins in Tulum to underground caves at the Rio Secreto, ATV adventures to float tours combining the ancient Mayan culture, flora and fauna, you will be amazed! Awesome is the word! You will not believe how different the parks are in Mexico as compared to the United States.

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