Travel Weekly’s Gay Nagle Myers was at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Her third and final dispatch follows. Click to read her first and second dispatches and view a slideshow from the trip.
On Sunday in the Rivera Maya in Mexico, I danced with Wayak (that's his name in the Mayan language which means Dream), caught a kiss from Kanek (Bright Star), petted Fanny (same in Mayan and English) and was launched midair by foot pushes from Pole (Small Village) and sidekick Halkab (Free).
My four bottlenose dolphin pals were part of a group of 24 dolphins at the Swim with Delphinus site in the Rivera Maya (the company’s three other sites in the region are located at Xel-Ha, Xcaret and the Dreams resort in Cancun).
The personalities of some of the female dolphins bore a resemblance to my daughters, so it was a fitting thing to do on Mother’s Day, which in Mexico is celebrated not on the second Sunday in May but on May 10.
Don’t miss this dolphin experience, the best of the swim-with-dolphins programs I’ve experienced.
The day before, I ventured from the Iberostar resort in the Riviera Maya south to Playa del Carmen (called simply “Playa” by the locals).
Cruise passengers dock in Cozumel and can take the 45-minute ferry to Playa’s shops, stalls, vendors, restaurants and bars, where a party-hearty atmosphere rules day and night.
The main shopping street is Fifth Avenue, and it’s got a few familiar names like Starbucks and Tommy Bahama, which I completely avoided and headed instead for the shops and stalls touting Mexican wares, which were a ton of fun.
I unearthed some treasures amidst the usual tourist souvenirs, bargained back and forth and settled on prices that satisfied the shop owners and me.
Cab fare back to the Iberostar would have been $25 (I missed the $4 shuttle offered by the hotel), so I crammed into a local shuttle bus headed to Cancun. The driver downshifted into second gear at the resort’s main entrance, slowed down, and I jumped off.
Fare: $2. Experience: priceless.