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Look no further than lovely Playa Mujeres if you want laid-back luxury on the Riviera Maya. This quiet, seaside resort sits just north of Cancun, but the atmosphere couldn’t be more different from its big, bustling neighbour. Most of the accommodation here is in luxurious, all-inclusive hotels scattered along the peninsula. They overlook gorgeous Caribbean beaches of white sand on one side and a wetland nature reserve on the other. You can enjoy a whole range of water sports, including some of the finest scuba diving and snorkelling in the world nearby, thanks to the presence of the Great Mayan Reef. There are scores of fantastic excursions, including island bird sanctuaries and boat trips to the Isla Mujeres, as well as visits to Mayan temples. Plus, the amazing shopping and nightlife of vibrant Cancun is right on the doorstep.

Top attractions

Top attractions

Playa Mujeres is a tranquil resort located just north of the vibrant city of Cancun on the Riviera Maya. A sprinkling of luxurious hotels, many of which are all-inclusive, stretch along the waterfront, with endless Caribbean beaches of white sand on one side and a marvellous wetland nature reserve on the other. Peace and tranquillity reign supreme in upmarket Playa Mujeres, but there is plenty to see and do. You can try a whole range of water sports, including some world-class snorkelling and scuba diving, or take boat trips to the islands of Isla Contoy, a bird sanctuary, or Isla Mujeres, which has charming fishing villages and heavenly beaches. If you’re looking for bright lights and great shops, then Cancun is right on the doorstep.

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Eating out

Eating out

Most of the restaurant options in Playa Mujeres are located in the area’s luxurious hotels. You can enjoy a range of global cuisines, along with delicious local dishes. There is a huge variety of restaurants in Cancun, the largest and liveliest of the resorts of the Riviera Maya, which is located just a short taxi ride away. In Cancun you can choose everything from award-winning gourmet restaurants to cosy, traditional establishment serving home-cooked local dishes. Local specialities that you won’t want to miss include the fabulously fresh lobster and shellfish that is famed around the region, as well as the tasty panuchos or salbutes, tortillas stuffed with a delicious mixture of meat, black beans, vegetables, and avocado. Then there are the endless range of tamales, dough parcels which are filled with meat or cheese, a pop of chilli, and then wrapped in corn husks or banana leafs and steamed.

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Families

Families

Playa Mujeres is a wonderful place for a relaxed family holiday, thanks to its magnificent beaches and fabulous luxury hotels. Many of these have entertainment programmes specially designed for kids, and offer a wealth of water sports to keep older children and teens happy. There’s a dolphinarium in Playa Mujeres, where you can swim with the dolphins in a natural environment, or you could take a boat trip to the little island bird haven of Isla Contoy, which is also a sanctuary for endangered sea turtles. Lively Cancun, right on the doorstep, offers plenty more family fun, from bustling beaches to water parks and an aquarium.

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Action & Adventure

Action & Adventure

The biggest activities on the Riviera Maya are snorkelling and scuba diving, thanks to the presence of the fabulous Great Mayan Reef (also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef). The second-largest reef system in the world, it attracts myriad aquatic creatures and offers some excellent diving opportunities. You could take the ferry to Isla Mujeres and explore this laid-back little island by bike, or take a boat trip to the Isla Contoy, an island bird sanctuary that is also a refuge for endangered turtles. In nearby Cancun, you’ll find a dazzling choice of activities, from water-skiing and parasailing to bungee-jumping and zip-lining.

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Beaches

Beaches

Most of the accommodation in Playa Mujeres is in luxurious, all-inclusive hotels, most of which boast gorgeous beach clubs right on the white sand beaches. Bask in the sunshine or take a dip in the azure seas, or perhaps have a go at one of the many water sports available in the area. Favourites include sailing and paddle-boarding, but most visitors come for the world-class snorkelling and scuba diving. Hotels can arrange diving excursions to the best dive sites along the nearby Great Mayan Reef (officially known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef), the second-biggest in the world. There are more blissful beaches on Isla Mujeres, a short ferry ride away, or you could head to the busy beaches of Cancun, which boast an incredible array of facilities.

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Nightlife

Nightlife

Most of the luxurious hotels of Playa Mujeres boast elegant cocktail bars and laid-back beach bars where you can relax over a couple of drinks and soak up the sea views. But if you’re looking for some serious nightlife, you’ll need to head into Cancun, the biggest and liveliest resort on the Riviera Maya. Most of the nightlife action is centred on the Hotel Zone, where you’ll find the fashionable La Isla shopping mall, which is packed with boutiques and bars, plus a dazzling array of clubs and night spots. Downtown Cancun has plenty more cafés, bars and restaurants, along with a wide choice of live music venues.

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Couples

Couples

If you’re looking for peace, seclusion and luxury on the Riviera Maya, then Playa Mujeres is perfect for a romantic holiday. The upmarket hotels on this beautiful peninsula just north of Cancun offer a range of facilities and activities that will ensure you and your partner have a perfect vacation. You could book a couples’ massage at a spa, play a round or two of golf, enjoy an unforgettable excursion to some of the best dive sites on the Great Maya Reef, or simply lounge and relax on the picture-postcard beaches of white sand. There is all the shopping and nightlife you could want in nearby Cancun, or you could get away from it all and take the ferry across to Isla Mujeres to find even more beautiful beaches.

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Culture

Culture

While staying in Playa Mujeres, you won’t want to miss out on visiting some of the remarkable archaeological sites bequeathed by the Mayans. Cancun’s modern Mayan Museum is a great place to get an insight into Mayan culture, and entrance includes a visit to some small ruins. Some of the most unmissable Mayan sites on the Yucatan peninsula include Tulum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which enjoys a spectacular cliff-top setting overlooking a beautiful beach, and Chichen Itza, which has been voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Excursions to Chichen Itza can be combined with a visit to Valladolid, an elegant city replete with colonial-era buildings.

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