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Romance Along the Riviera Maya

Dinner for Two
Romance Along the Riviera Maya
Once the dominion of bar-crawling spring breakers, the Riviera Maya has expanded its offerings and is attracting many new travelers—including couples looking to rekindle their romance.
Photo by Franco Larrine
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    Dinner for Two
    Dinner for Two
    As a popular destination for couples, the Riviera Maya has no shortage of exceptional restaurants—Axiote is a prime example—and chefs and waitstaff do their best to provide a romantic experience. At the intimate Latin restaurant Du Mexique, chef-proprietor Alain Grimond and his wife treat each guest like a family member. In Puerto Morelos, the Azul Sensatori resort’s Le Chique all but guarantees a memorable meal thanks to the sexy, futuristic ambience and 30-course Mexican menu that’s prepared in a molecular fashion and presented inside books or set on pedestals or nestled inside shells. For an extra-special experience and first-class service, ask if your restaurant offers a chef’s table.
    Photo by Franco Larrine
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    Catch the Sunset
    Catch the Sunset
    If you’ve been dreaming of sitting on the beach in the glow of a sunset, you may be slightly disappointed. The sun doesn’t set over the ocean here. Instead, Cancún’s spectacular sunsets occur over the Nichupte Lagoon west of the Hotel Zone. While it’s not hard to find a nice spot to watch the day settle into night (Playa Shangri La comes to mind), the mood is even more lively at a beachside bar like Playa del Carmen’s Fusion or the bar at La Zebra in Tulum.
    Photo by Franco Larrine
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    Cancún’s Live Music Scene
    Cancún’s Live Music Scene
    With dozens of resort hotels, each with hundreds of rooms, local and international acts flock to Cancún to play for huge audiences. Consistently billed as one of the area’s top attractions, Coco Bongo isn’t your average nightclub. You’ll party to live music as you watch acrobats and other performers put on impressive shows. The arena at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, another hot spot, has hosted the Backstreet Boys, Enrique Iglesias, the Beach Boys, and Nelly. The City Discotheque is another massive venue; with three floors and nine bars, it attracts 20- and 30-somethings interested in global beats. For local mariachi music, enjoy an evening at Hacienda El Mortero, which also hosts a folkloric ballet performance.
    Photo by Franco Larrine
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    Cooking Classes
    Cooking Classes
    Mexico’s culinary repertoire is vast and includes significant variations in every region. On the Yucatán Peninsula, many traditional dishes are informed and inspired by the Mayan culture. You can learn what that means and how to make the area’s favorite plates by signing up for a cooking class. One of the most popular options is Can Cook in Cancún, run by Chef Claudia García Ramos. Local chef Miguel Mateos also leads cooking classes focused on Mayan cuisine—his specialty is the signature dish cochinita pibil, made of shredded pork. In nearby Puerto Morelos, the Little Mexican Cooking School offers courses on authentic home cooking.
    Photo by María José Flores
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    Charter a Private Sailboat
    Charter a Private Sailboat
    Unless you have a tough time finding your sea legs, there’s no excuse for not chartering a private sailboat if you’re on a romantic trip. A number of companies offer catamarans, yachts, and sailboats for romantic excursions; sunset and dinner sails are particularly popular and generally include beer, wine, champagne, or cocktails. Some charter companies cruise close to shore, and others make the trip to nearby Isla Mujeres. Ask your hotel concierge for recommendations on the most trusted outfitters in the area—the lobster dinner cruise aboard the tall ship Columbus is a local favorite.
    Photo by Diego Berruecos
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    Explore the Deep Blue Together
    Explore the Deep Blue Together
    If you’re certified to scuba dive, you’re in luck: Plenty of outfitters are ready to rent equipment to you and your partner so you can explore the depths of cenotes together. If you’re not certified, introductory courses that get you underwater quickly are also an option. Expect to see coral reefs and diverse marine species; Cancún also features shipwreck sites such as the General Anaya that are accessible to divers. While diving with an instructor and other travelers can be fun, going alone with your sweetheart is even better. Look out for PADI-certified dive shops with bilingual staff.
    Photo by Adam Wiseman
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    Dancing the Night Away
    Dancing the Night Away
    Don’t be fooled by its reputation as a magnet for beach bums—Cancún has no shortage of sophisticated cultural attractions. Among them is the Folkloric Ballet, a dinner and dance event featuring many types of traditional dance styles from all over Mexico. Dance performances are also hosted by Cancún’s Casa de la Cultura arts center. If you prefer to be the main attraction, many of the local restaurants encourage patrons to get out on the dance floor. On Sunday night at Tulum’s La Zebra, a salsa dance party breaks out under the palms.
    Photo by Rita Trejo