Manhattan Bride Home

 

On The Mexican Riviera

Let the beauty of Cancún inspire your love for life, nature, & each other.

More: Destinations | Honeymoon Contest | On Their Honeymoon | Winning Stories | Locations | All Bridal Resources / Vendor Selection Guide


You lounge underneath a palm umbrella on a pristine white beach sipping a tropical margarita. He places his hand on your sun-kissed leg and whispers, "Let’s go build a castle." As the ocean water licks your knees, you cup the grainy sand and begin your creation, but soon you are playing in the waves, laughing like children. Afterwards you rinse off and go for a quick dip in the enormous pool, before heading back to your honeymoon suite where your private jacuzzi awaits.

Here on the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula at the Hilton Cancún Beach and Golf Resort, your terrace opens to a brilliant view of the sea and the sky. Immediately you are reminded of a Mayan legend you read in your guide book. Skilled fishermen and architects, these spiritual people inhabited the peninsula three thousand years ago. In the beginning of time, they believed there was nothing at all but the sky and the peaceful sea.

Then one night two parts of a single god came together. The Creator, "Tepeu," and the Maker, "Gucamatz," met in the calm waters and spoke the first words. In the morning man was created and shortly after so was the "Heart of the Sky" filled with gods, as well as the Earth, mountains, valleys, and rivers.

Your husband wraps his arms around you as the two of you gaze down at the emerald-colored Nichupté Lagoon surrounded by Mayan ruins. In the days to come you’ll explore "El Mundo Maya" and its inseparable combination of archeological treasures and carefully guarded ecological wonders.

Gateway to the Mayan World
As the scarlet sun sinks below the horizon, you sit together atop the highest ruin and look out over the ancient village towards the sea. You are the only ones at Las Ruinas del Rey, the most extensive archaeological site on Cancún, dated to the late post classic period (1200-1550 A.D.). As you cuddle on a stone bench and contemplate the passing of time, you imagine Mayan fisherman and traders working along the sparkling Caribbean coast.

Excavations found the ruins sprinkled with basalt grinding stones, flint knives, arrowheads, obsidium stones, and jade and quartz pendants. These days iguanas inhabit the mysterious constructions, sitting still in the eerie silence like ghosts of a deserted village.

Once a stucco road connected the site to Tulúm and Chichen Itzá (one and three hours away, respectively). Visit them by car or bus to continue your exploration of the peninsula as it was long before the invasion of the Spanish and the tourists.

Surrounded by an ancient wall, the stone-built city of Tulúm is a Mayan port which illustrates the commercial activity of the region hundreds of years ago. About 100 miles away, the world-famous Chichen-Itzá covers an area of six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. El Castillo, the most sacred of all structures, boasts a serpent head stairway where the shadow of a legendary snake can be seen during the equinox.

Heading down the road back to the pyramid-shaped Hilton Hotel, you pass cacti and leafy uba del mar trees indigenous to the region. Your husband, inspired by the ancient worshippers of goddesses and nature, plucks a sweet smelling wild flower, gives you a soft kiss on the cheek, and places the magenta blossom behind your ear.

Relaxation & Recreation
Entering the luxurious resort, you notice there’s no official door or distinct separation between outside and inside. As one finds throughout Cancún, there’s a pleasant co-mingling of exterior and interior space. Open air hallways lined with tropical garden beds invite natural breezes and sunlight while you admire the colorful murals and Mexican art that bedeck the walls of this elegant marble-floored hotel.

Treat yourself to a blissful massage at the spa before challenging your husband to a game of golf on the largest course in Cancún. Or visit the watersports center for snorkeling, sailing, or windsurfing on the resort’s breathtaking beach.

At dusk, take a walk along the well-manicured paths frequented by playful peacocks. Spend an intimate evening together or venture out to downtown Cancún where 500,000 people live in El Centro. Along Tulúm Avenue giant mercados are filled with vendors where you and your husband can find a handful of brightly painted masks and Mexican ornaments.

Back at the resort, head to Galileo Lounge for live music and tropical drinks. To the cheers of a friendly crowd, perform your very first karaoke duet as husband and wife, before retiring to your master suite where a plate of delicately carved Mexican chocolates has been graciously left behind.

X-caret: Caribbean Eden by Day...
A pair of beautiful monarch butterflies flutter in circles above your head as you stand still as a tree. Suddenly one flies off into the green distance, while the other hovers gracefully before landing gently on your husband’s shoulder. “Shh, don’t move,” you whisper, as you both stare in awe at its spectacular luminescent wings.

In the middle of a lush tropical forest, you might feel as if you are the only human beings on the island, but in reality you’re within the protective area of the pavilion at X-caret where butterflies are bred and kept safe from predators. Here, just 35 miles south of Cancún, both ecological and archeological treasures are preserved and celebrated in an incredible park rebuilt on the ancient site of a Mayan ceremonial center and seaport.

Winding paths lined with exotic plants, endangered species, crystalline pools, and ancient ruins are open for your persual. Nearby is a Mayan city model museum, as well as a botanical garden, orchid nursery, mushroom farm, and a spectacular aquarium showcasing exotic fish and coral.

In your self-guided adventure, you come along deers, macaws, turtles, and toucans — but the most entrancing creature is the green-eyed jaguar who struts and hisses on his private island surrounded by waterfalls. As he prances about his dark black fur glistens in the sun, and he stops to stare you in the eye. You hold your husband’s hand tightly and at once sense the animal’s ferocious yet regal nature.

Later, while lunching underneath an open air hut, you hear your breath against the soft pitter-patter of a light spring rain. A bird sings in the distance, nearby horses neigh, and slowly you begin to feel the natural rhythm of the forest. Soon colorfully-clad mariachis join in with guitars and serenade you with Mexican love songs. As the music of the forest and of man become one, you feast on a refreshing cactus and tomato salad, followed by enchiladas. The fresh salsa is as hot as the fiery reds, pinks, and oranges of the serapes, tiles, and brilliant Mexican paper ornaments that decorate the restaurant.

Just as you cool down with a pitcher of ‘chaya,’ a refreshing local water drink lightly flavored with lemon and herbs, the sky opens and the hot sun returns. Inspired by the bougainvillaea-lined path, the two of you decide to walk up the hill to the open-air chapel where there are fantastic views of the jungle top and ocean beyond. It’s the perfect spot to recall your vows, or even get married. Built around an old tree shaped and carved into the body of Christ, the thatched-roof construction is an inversion highlighting nature as its sacred interior. In place of pews are carved logs, in place of windows are breathtaking views, and in place of man-made features are nature’s formations, like the beautiful shell which serves as a baptismal basin.

... History & Culture by Night
At twilight, follow the sound of the mariachis and make your way to the horse pen where sombreroed caballeros swing their lassos to the cheers of a jubilant crowd. As you walk through jungle paths and caves lit by luminarios and scented with incense, the night show begins with mystical Mayan rituals performed live by elaborately costumed dancers .

Next is a re-enactment of the famous Mayan ball game where you feel the timelessness of rivalry, competition, and veneration for physical skill. To the beat of methodic drums, the muscular participants try to hit a heavy rubber ball into a ring with their hip. Overseen by a shaman, the game is played authentically, with the exception of the final moment — in ancient times the winner was sacrificed for his victorious performance.

Topping off the day, traditional folkloric dances are performed beneath a celestial canopy. You leave X-caret underneath the stars with a new understanding of the area’s mystical and cultural past. From ancient Mayans, to Spanish colonization, to modern Mexican states, you sense the warmth of a culture as diverse and as beautiful as the plants and animals of its jungles and seas.

Isla Mujeres
While swaying to the rhythm of the ocean breeze in a beachfront hammock underneath a coconut tree, you enjoy a cold beverage as the sun sets on your private thatched-roof hut.

Your day trip to Isla Mujeres, a charming island just a short ferry ride from Cancún, has proved to be most peaceful.

Hundreds of years ago, the island was named by the Mayans for the sacred fertility goddess Ixchel, which is why it’s dotted with female statues placed for ancient worship.

At the most famous beach, Playa Norte, the ocean is as clear as glass, tranquil, and extremely shallow. As the current gently sways, walk arm-in-arm down the long stretch of aqua blue.

Later on, take a leisurely bike ride to the other side of the island to Punta Sur where steep cliffs overlook the vibrant sea, offering dramatic views of Cancún and the Caribbean. Here you can explore the remains of a Mayan Temple or swim with dolphins at Garrafon, the famous marine park.

Complete the day with a romantic, candlelit dinner at a quaint seafood restaurant. To the sound of gentle waves, feast on a unique regional delicacy — ceviche de caracol, a refreshing dish of conch marinated in lime juice.

Shopping, Sea Life, & Spectacular Views
On the way back from Isla Mujueres is the Mexican Handicraft Museum near the ferry port. Here you find brightly painted figurines, instruments, clay pottery, intricately woven baskets, and beautiful candlelit altars. Your husband selects an exquisite candelabra depicting the tree of life, its vivid colors capturing the warmth and energy of the Mexican people.

For more shopping, there’s La Isla mall, an open-air complex with delightful walkways, fountains, and friendly merchants with carts offering unique crafts and souvenirs. At the aquarium you can admire the local sea life and touch anemone, starfish, and sting rays, or if you’re brave enough — swim with live sharks.

After cocktails above the dolphin pool, take a romantic gondola ride on the canal which winds throughout the mall and out into the star-lit lagoon.

On the last day of your incredible honeymoon, head to the scenic Cancún tower just a few minutes from the resort. Rotating into the sky, the tower offers panoramic views of this truly beautiful place where for thousands of years the perfection of the sky, the sea, and the land have sparked the human imagination, mind, and soul; a place where nature’s flawless precision and raw beauty have inspired not only the creation of magnificent constructions, but also the creation of culture, myth, and religion.

As you reflect back on your joyous days spent together in this island paradise, you too feel your creativity stimulated, your soul refreshed. Venturing home you bring with you a new feeling of excitement as you look forward to building a life together, a world all your own.

Mexican Ministry of Tourism, www.mexico-travel.com, Hilton Cancún Beach & Golf Resort, 888.594.2483, 011.52.998.881.8000, X-Caret 011.52. 998.883.3143, Aero-Mexico 800.237.6639