Where to stay in the Riviera Maya

During two separate trips to Mexico, I have stayed at Hacienda Tres Rios outside Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in the Riviera Maya. On the occasion of my first visit in 2009, just after HTR had opened – I found the resort luxurious and restorative in the all the very best ways. That first visit was all too short and I believe I actually shed a tear when driving away! When I returned this February, Hacienda Tres Rios was a resort slightly changed not just in my memory but in reality as well.

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After my first trip I would have recommended HTR to couples seeking romance, luxury and an environmentally conscious attitude present in the operation of the resort. Following my second visit, I still believe HTR is at the forefront of environmental practices in Mexico and they have been awarded as such. Yet now the resort is a place that caters more towards families and event groups. In fact, during my visit they were hosting the New York Red Bull soccer team. Muy caliente let me tell you! Downside: when my friend Andi and I wanted to have a quiet night at the hot tubs with wine and a good sunset … we couldn’t hear one another over the roar of the children packing the pool area and all three hot tubs. No amount of wine dulls the irritation of a child splashing boiling hot water in your face if you’re in need of a relaxing evening.

So, while I can still very highly recommend Hacienda Tres Rios as a wonderful place to stay in the Riviera Maya – I’m going to classify my recommendation. This is the place to go in Mexico if you are bringing children, traveling with a group, celebrating a family reunion or simply looking for the best in environmental practices in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. If this is you, I believe you will truly fall in love with Hacienda Tres Rios and never want to leave. You wouldn’t be the first!!

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During my most recent 5 days at the resort, I was privileged to take a tour of the nursery and cenote as well as enjoy a kayak trip down the cenote’s river ending at the ocean. Every day, I made time to visit the lagoon area of the beachfront. I spent time talking to the staff who emphasized the resort’s environmental stance that they back up with an extensive conservation program. Honoring its name, which means “Three Rivers”, HTR is rebuilding an area once ravaged by tropical storms and repopulating the property with only native species of plant and wildlife. Throughout the resort you see signs and placards asking you to respect the environment. There is also an emphasis in your room on conservation, asking guests to only accept maid service when needed – rather than opting for a daily change of all linens and towels. This conserves water and other resources and while it is not unique to HTR it is still somewhat rare amongst hotel properties in Mexico in my experience. It’s a movement which I hope to see become the standard and certainly HTR is determined to lead that movement in the Riviera Maya.
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I’ve already written about the amazing sunsets I witnessed while at HTR (the shot of the pool is straight out of my camera, unedited) and the culinary offerings at the resort can be truly equal to those of a five-star restaurant. Head Chef Oscar ensures the resort uses local ingredients and respects the culinary history and traditions native to that area of Mexico. The guest rooms are simple and modern but no less comforting. Many mornings I woke up with no desire to leave my bed, thinking it was so comfortable I’d just read all day and take my breakfast without moving from the sheets.

For families, there is ample choice of restaurants on the property which will should make all family members happy from the pickiest eater to the most enthusiastic foodie. There’s also a buffet that includes vegetarian options so everyone can eat together and still enjoy their favorite foods. The beachfront features cabana beds (my favorite), hammocks and lounge chairs. There are four pools (one for adults only) and three hot tubs. Rooms have flat screen televisions and DVD players and there is a library in the lobby with ample supply of both adult and kid-friendly films. For the ladies, there is a spa on the property with a full range of services from manicures to facials to massages. Activities beyond the cenote and kayak include bike tours, Sense Adventure, sweat lodge, tequila tasting, snorkeling, catamaran sail and many others. Rooms with a jacuzzi on the balcony are available but not standard.

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Hacienda Tres Rios is still a place where luxury can be found and by all means moments of peace can be had. When I took this photograph, laying in a hammock with the sun beating down on my tan skin … I assure you I felt my sanity being restored.
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However, I maintain after two visits that HTR is now a place best suited to families and groups. If you seek romance or solitude, there are other properties in the Riviera Maya better suited for romantic or solo travel. As Mexico is a great destination that shouldn’t be discounted simply because of the biased news reports one tends to see in America, I hope you get the chance to experience it soon no matter where you stay! Mexico truly is a wonderful country. Additionally, I recommend venturing beyond the gates of a resort to experience “the real Mexico” as I did during my most recent visit.

Hacienda Tres Rios is located in the Riviera Maya between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Access to the resort is gained via a flight into CUN, usually found for under $500 out of NYC. Shuttle van service is part of an all-inclusive package and taxis will run approximately $60 USD should you decline the all-inclusive plan. Rooms begin at $250 USD. Become a fan on Facebook or follow the resort on twitter for regular deals and specials. Yucatan Holidays also books vacation packages for guests of Hacienda Tres Rios and regularly runs contests allowing guests to earn discounted stays at HTR.

Disclaimer: A press trip to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico was made possible by Yucatan Holidays and Hacienda Tres Rios. However, thoughts and opinions in this post are strictly my own and I was not compensated for a favorable review.

Please consider: 1) Buying one of my travel photos, 2) following me on Instagram, or 3) on Twitter. If you enjoyed this post, please show the love by sharing it!
  • http://www.katieardnerblog.com Katie Ardner

    I love this post and the photos are amazing! And it also made me realize I need a vacation!!

  • http://www.emilyinchile.com Emily

    It looks absolutely gorgeous. I think I could get over the family aspect for a view like that.

  • http://www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com crazy sexy fun traveler

    HTR is an awesome places, so are your shots!

  • http://www.theroadforks.com Akila

    Stunning shots. Love, love that bright blue ocean!

  • http://100mileshighway.blogspot.com/ Katherina

    It looks so relaxing and calm… loved the cenotes!
    Great shots as always :)

  • http://www.as-photography.co.uk/blog/?feed=rss2 Andy @ Wedding Photography Buckinghamshire

    I want to be in that hammock right now.

  • http://notinthepink.com Ceri

    It does look like a stunning place. I can’t wait to go to Playa del Carmen – it’s where I’m applying to study to become an English Language teacher.

    I absolutely love your photographs. You turn anything and everything into something beautiful.

  • Pingback: Sunset Sunday at Hacienda Tres Rios | Kirsten Alana: Travel & Life Photographer

  • Nancy Burelo

    Wow! Now I really want  to go there!

  • jorge

    What a wonderfull  place !!  I love the nature, excellent place to go and anjoy the wild life, and relax as a king…

  • Pingback: Sunset Sunday at Hacienda Tres Rios | Aviators and a Camera Home of Aviator-wearing Photographer Kirsten Alana

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