Monday, April 9, 2007

Not Cancun

Long before someone coined the term ‘Mayan Riviera,’ Puerto Aventuras beckoned with open-air breezeways instead of enclosed halls, the ocean’s roar rather than the roar of Cancun crowds, and pristine talcum-powder beaches interspersed with rugged rock shoreline.

The smell of fresh paint lingers in the hotel, as future retail shops rise from newly poured foundations. Luscious bougainvillea and feathery palms dot verdant lawns that morph into quiet coves. Iguanas as long as your arm dart across random boulders and then pause to bask in sticky summer heat. Dolphins glide upright through the water, playfully taunting vacationers eager to grab a fin and hitch the ride of a lifetime.

At 7 a.m., sparkling pale turquoise water – agua turquesa - enfolds you in refreshing 70-something warmth. By 7 p.m. you’re sitting, barefoot, in a grass-roofed restaurant, while devouring gargantuan crayfish. A waiter delivers another round of ice-cold margaritas as sunset ignites the sky and high tide crashes into the beach.