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Destination I Do

Finding Magic in Playa del Carmen

Words by John Roark
Photos courtesy of Mahekal Beach Resort

For destination weddings, Playa del Carmen has it all: white sand beaches, sparkling Caribbean waters, adventure and nightlife. Not to mention, the unique spirit you will only find in Mexico. One magical resort stands out among many.

Playa del Carmen is Mexico’s laid-back alternative to the crowds of nearby Cancún. Playa mingles plush Yucatán Peninsula jungle with the glittering beauty of the Caribbean Sea. 

An iconic oasis in an iconic destination, Mahekal Beach Resort takes its name from the Mayan word for “magical.” And it is. 

Following a $10-million re-imagination completed in 2014, Mahekal is the only thatched-roof bungalow resort in Playa. Ranked the “No. 1 Destination in Mexico” by TripAdvisor, this affable haven welcomes you with considerable charms. Choose from a myriad of accommodations – each guaranteed to de-stress even the weariest traveler with decadently perfumed Caribbean breezes and a vibrant palette as colorful as the spirit of Playa. 

The new Aventura section gives wedding guests proximity in penthouse buildings with generous ocean-view balconies. The dedicated honeymoon suite includes a two-room master suite separated by a personal plunge pool. For a true Playa experience, have your rehearsal dinner or reception barefoot on the beach beneath a canopy of colorful lanterns. For added privacy, your guests can also stay at Mahekal’s enchanting adjacent sister property, Hotel Las Palapas. For a truly magical getaway, look no further than Mahekal.

EAT:

  • Cenacolo Playa: Handmade pasta becomes art and brick-oven pizza is a revelation at Cenacolo, winner of the Ospitalità Italiana Seal by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, certifying exceptional food and service quality.
  • La Cueva del Chango: Playa’s most distinctive restaurant/bar, featuring authentic not-to-be-missed Mexican cuisine. We recommend breakfast – the chilaquiles top our list.

PLAY:

  • Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Theme Park: This combines fun for all ages with history and traditions about the Mayan culture and more than 40 exciting attractions.
  • Tulum: Step back in time exploring the ruins of one of the last cities inhabited by the ancient Mayan people. Guided tours include hiking, jungle zipline, snorkeling and cliff rappelling.
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall/Winter 2015 issue. You can order a copy here.
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