The flight wasn’t too bad only 10 or eleven hours and I was on my adventures again, with 29 colleagues, all top performers, and the destination was Mexico.The Banyan Tree at Mayakoba on the Maya Riviera is a luxury hotel, everyone gets a villa with private pool, lots of outside seating to chill and listen to the birds talking to each other, it was paradise. Each villa gets a bicycle for each occupant, or alternatively pick up the phone and an eco friendly buggy will come and pick you up!A welcome dinner had been prepared for us, interesting were the bread rolls filled with a cream cheese, unusual but tasty. The fish was very fresh and cooked perfectly, it looked like Stone Bass but whatever it was, it was damn good,
These trips are full on, the itinerary is jam packed and on this one, I had added a couple of extra’s, a cookery course that I have already posted about, and a trip to the ancient site at Tulum, an important historical port which was on my bucket list, and now ticked off.
Breakfast at the Banyan Tree was nuts but in a positive way as the choice was endless. I opted to go local and was glad I did, a cookery station prepared various options each morning, if you wanted Sausage, Bacon and Eggs that was available on the buffet station. The fruit was delicious, fresh, nicely prepared and extremely tasty with lots of variety. Unusual, but very good was the Bacon Wrapped…………Banana with the Eggs. Nice!The first activity was ATV’s (All Terrain Vehicles), followed by some history on the Mayan Civilisation and a dip in a Cenote. The morning flew by and it as soon time for lunch, hurray.
Lunch was at La Fondita, part of the Mayakoba complex where we were staying and was to be a real treat. We were presented with numerous ‘Tostadas’ laden with delicious toppings such as Ceviche Mixto (Mixed Seafood, Tomato, Onion, Avocado, and Black Habanero Salsa) and Atún con Chicharrón (Tuna, Habanero, Avocado, Lime, Red Onion, Crispy Pork Rinds) which was particularly good and I managed more than one! There were Meat, Chicken and Vegetarian options and they were all FAB.
A ‘nice swim at my villa’ was just what was needed after the mornings activity as I had not dipped completely in the Cenote, but just dangled my feet. Those little fish that nibble your toes in the various resorts around the Med were a natural phenomena in the pool of water so I got my feet tickled by their nibbling instead! The evenings activity was to be a ‘meal in a cave’ and ‘Chaak’ the Water God was one of the statues that were to great us as we walked up to our evening venue, Rio Secreto.I have never eaten in a cave before, we were 50 metres below the surface in a beautiful cavern, and entertained by a Mayan ritual dance which was extremely energetic, as we were served a combination of Mexican and International Cuisine.
The main course was fine but for me the standout dishes were the starter, a Tamale, filled with Cream Cheese and served with a mild Pepper Sauce and the take on a Cheesecake which was delightful, a crisp shell with a sweet cheese filling, very tasty and a beautiful light finish. Time for bed, #Stuffed.The following day was free time, I had booked on a cookery course, it was awesome, see the previous post for details as I learned the proper techniques to prepare Mexican cuisine and was taught by the lovely Karla, who really knew her beans 🙂 After a welcome rest we were off to Cancun to Rosa Negra, a ‘hip’ goto restaurant with a reputation for food and entertainment.
They must have been having a very off night, there are loads of reviews saying this is the best restaurant in Cancun, oh dear! The beetroot starter was MASSIVE, way too big, ugly in fact. It was completely un-balanced and from what I saw, most plates where sent back with at least 1/2 the food uneaten. The concept was fine, but reduce the Beetroot by 2/3’s and increase the Goats Cheese Mouse by 400% and you would have a fantastic dish. The fish was style over substance, apparently there was Hoisin Sauce but the Salty Soy was so strong you could not taste it. The Carrot Cake was sweet, sweet, too sweet, much too sweet! Sorry this was my worst meal of the whole trip which was a shame as a little attention to detail and it could have been amazing, I guess the head chef had a night off!
The following morning was our last before moving on to Tulum, breakfast was a delicious Blue Corn Quesadilla stuffed with Courgette Flowers and Oaxaca cheese, yumm. After a few hours on a 44 Foot luxury Catamaran and a light lunch we were ready for dinner again! This time it was ‘CATCH’ in Playa del Carmen.
Catch was amazing, the food was amazing, the views over the town were also very good, fireworks kicking off as we ate course after course after course! Standout dishes were the ‘Hellfire Rolls’ (spicy Tuna Two ways, Green Apple and Balsamic), ‘Catch Ceviche’ (Crab, Caribbean Lobster, Shrimp, Scallop, Mango and Orange Ponzu), ‘Wagyu Short Rib Taco’s (Huitlacoche Aioli, Guacamole, Mango & Serrano Relish), in fact, it was all bloody delicious! Next Stop Tulum.
What can I say about Tulum………traffic jams, slow traffic, building, Taboo Beach Club, Casa Malca and some historic ruins (about 30 of them just down from Mayakoba) 🙂 Its a hip place and our stop before reaching our hotel was the beach club. It was slow, lazy, relaxing and just the thing after a few busy days. Lunch was fantastic, probably the best Seabass (Branzino) I have ever eaten, it was beautiful. The Ceviche starter was delish as was the Ricotta Orange Cheesecake.
We all relaxed for a few hours, taking in the atmosphere, the DJ was amazing and the Saxophone player, walking around and amongst the guests was extremely good, it was a really delightful afternoon and it was soon time to book into our hotel, Pablo Escobars’ old hideaway, now a boutique hotel Casa Malca, about 20 mins away
Almost done, phew, I’m nearly full up. Casa Malca has a style of its own, eclectic, eccentric and hip. Previously Pablo Escobars hideaway it’s now a boutique hotel owned by an America art dealer which makes for some interesting items spread around the property. This was our last location before flying back to the UK.
Evening dinner was very pleasant, the restaurant has a new chef and the food was exemplary if not that Mexican. After getting up early to go to the ruins and feeling somewhat hungry (I have no idea why, after the previous few days), breakfast called and a interesting cup of tea (which was very nice) and a freshly cooked Omelette, which was the tastiest I have ever eaten and beautifully presented. This was not quite the finale to this epic adventure. We had one last stop for lunch at Mina, another Beach Club, Burritos and Pizza which were nicely cooked, the kitchen very open plan.
…………………………..Until next time…………….L8ers……………………
I should quickly mention that on our return journey we spent a few hours at a school for disadvantaged children, donating a load of food for breakfast, for some the only meal they get each day. We also played and watched them smile with beams of happiness, that we would spend time with them, it was a wonderful end to the trip.