Roll out a towel on the finest beaches in the Mayan Riviera

Photo by CC user Bjørn Christian Tørrissen of

The Mayan Riviera contains some of the world’s most spectacular beaches. Some are lined by villas that boast sleek modern design and all the hottest amenities, while others are blissfully deserted, with nothing but rustling palm leaves and crashing waves to keep you company.

Below, we will highlight our favorite getaways in this magical part of Mexico, so that you can decide which Riviera Maya beach is best for you and your clan…

1) Maroma Beach

Located north of Playa del Carmen, Maroma Beach has been hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by travel publications such as Discovery Travel & Living, and it’s not hard to see why.

With kilometres of deserted white sands, trademark powder blue Caribbean waters, and a fraction of the people that you’ll find walking the beach in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, it is a heavenly sight to behold.

With a single resort facing this beach, you’ll have access to services if you so choose, but it is just as easy to pretend that it doesn’t exist simply by heading up or down the coast.

2) Paraiso Beach

Want to mix history and a brilliant beach destination? You’ll have a chance to do just that in Tulum at Paraiso Beach, as this slice of paradise sits beneath the cliffs upon which the temple ruins of this town sit.

Apart from making for one of the better photo ops you’ll get to take in the Mayan Riviera, this chilled out place has many restaurants and services tailored to backpackers and the artsy crowd, making it an excellent destination for those hailing from either camp.

3) Xpu-Ha Beach

Another great deserted beach in the Riviera Maya, Xpu-Ha Beach is accessed by a side road leading from the shoulder of the highway leading from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

A favorite of long-stay expats and locals, this peaceful place is where you can be free from the tourist hordes, big resorts, and loud parties.

You won’t have to pack your own picnic lunch though, as there is an establishment that serves simple Mexican fare facing the beach, with many dishes made from local catches.

4) Punta Bete

Another undeveloped tract of beach situated just north of Playa del Carmen, Punta Bete lacks any sort of major development, though given the beauty of this area, it is only a matter of time before this changes.

The only accommodation here is a rustic bungalow resort, which preserves the pristine beach atmosphere for day trippers and patrons of this establishment. Be sure to try the grilled fish at the restaurant for lunch or dinner!

5) Punta Allen

The ultimate getaway for those looking to flee any semblance of the mass tourism scene would definitely be the sleepy fishing village of Punta Allen.

Located on a sand spit peninsula that extends 60 kilometres south from Tulum, droopy palms, shallow crystalline lagoons and lost fishing gear strewn across its endless sands are what await you here.

The true treat of this destination is after dark though, as the complete lack of any other towns around allow the stars to shine to their full potential, which will be an unforgettable sight for career city dwellers.

Experiencing St Lucia on a budget


It is possible to experience St Lucia on a budget

Photo by CC user sergemelki on Flickr

While the islands of the Caribbean are a popular holiday destination for many Europeans and North Americans, the inflated price tag that comes with many of these places can discourage many budget travelers.

St. Lucia falls into this category, but by following a few tips and tricks, this gorgeous isle can be within the reach that wants to explore its beautiful environs. Read up on them in the paragraphs below…

Take advantage of cheaper accommodations

St. Lucia is well-known among global jet-setters as a posh getaway. As a result of this, many of the hotels that can be found here can cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars a night.

For those traveling on a shoestring, this financial burden is simply too much to bear. Fortunately, more affordable accommodations are available in St. Lucia, as there are many local guesthouses, apartments and houses available through sharing economy websites like Airbnb.

However, if you insist on staying in a hotel, there are many sites out there that focus on marketing bargain holidays to St Lucia to the sun starved masses in Europe and North America.

They periodically feature can’t miss deals on some of the best resorts on the island, so check this site out often to keep informed on the best offers out there.

Make lunch your biggest meal of the day

Don’t be intimidated by the pricey menus that you might see while walking through Soufriere. At lunch time, some excellent deals can be had on entrees that normally cost $20 or more, as set meals are often available for the equivalent of $10 or less at midday.

What’s more, there are restaurants that cater to the local population where one can get a taste of typical St. Lucian cuisine for less than $5.

Go souvenir shopping at one of St. Lucia’s many duty free stores

One of the things that travelers of all stripes are used to dealing with are the universal requests of family and friends back home to bring them plenty of souvenirs from their journeys abroad.

One of the advantages of going on holiday in St. Lucia is that there is a duty-free zone here where goods of all kinds are tax exempt.

So if you have a friend that loves dark Caribbean rum, top shelf perfume/cologne brands, or designer handbags, you can get your hands on these normally expensive products at a significant discount in the shops found in these districts.

Travel to St. Lucia during its rainy season

While it may seem risky to travel to Caribbean islands such as St. Lucia during the rainy season, the truth of the matter is that this time of year is completely misunderstood by most people from outside the region.

While the of St. Lucia’s annual precipitation does fall between the months of May and October, much of the rain that does fall comes during the overnight hours, or during torrential downpours that only last between thirty minutes to three hours on average.

The rest of the time, the sun shines just as brightly as it does during the winter, leaving you with plenty of opportunity to work on your tan.

Get there before the tourist hordes do: best beaches in Cuba

photo by CC user ensh on Flickr

With the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, hordes of uncultured tourists from the latter country are set to invade in a manner that will change the face of the tourism industry in the former.

The best beaches in Cuba are therefore best experienced now than in five years: check out the ones below before everything changes forever… While you’re at it, take a look at this list of fun things to do in Cuba, the beaches are beautiful but lots more to do as well.

1) Varadero

Well established as one of Cuba’s most famous package tourist destinations, Varadero lives up to the hype as a world class beach.

Stretching uninterrupted for more than 21 kilometres along a thin sandy peninsula, its aquamarine waters and pitch perfect sand have given rise to over 50 hotels and resorts, giving the incoming tourist plenty of choice as to the type of all-inclusive experience they want to have.

If you don’t have the scratch for the more expensive places, there are plenty of cheaper casa particulares in Varadero town at the base of the peninsula.

2) Playa Ancon

If the thought of bunking down in Varadero if fanny-packing toting tourists gives you the shivers, then perhaps Playa Ancon might be a better choice for you.

Located steps from the cultural powerhouse of Trinidad on the southern coast of Central Cuba, you can experience the history, food and traditions of the Cuban people, while only being a short distance from a sugar white beach that has no shortage of tourist comforts.

Explore cobblestoned streets one day, sip fruity drinks on a sun lounger the nest – what’s not to love?

3) Cayo Largo del Sur

Located within an easy flight from Havana, Cayo Largo del Sur is the perfect place for those exploring the attraction rich but hectic streets of Cuba’s capital to get away from the noise and fury for some well-earned R&R.

The crystalline water, easygoing vibe, and the lack of stressful stimuli on this tiny island will induce a sense of relaxation unlike any you have experienced before.

The expansive lagoon will draw you in for hours at a time, so don’t forget to apply water-resistant sunblock before heading out to the beach for the day.

4) Playa de Morales

A tantalizingly deserted beach located just off a fishing village on the northeastern coast of Cuba, Playa de Morales is a place that probably won’t be found by mass developers for a few years yet (though who know what will happen with the impending admittance of Americans to Cuba).

For now, one can enjoy the innocent day to day routine in this bucolic place. Enjoy the bounty of this community’s catch in the evening, as you will find it hard to find fresher seafood anywhere else.

Hipmunk City Love: Daytona Beach, FL

by thehipmunk

Daytona Beach lies on the East Coast of Florida, roughly an hour away from Orlando. Once famous as the “World Center of Racing” and home of NASCAR, today Daytona’s 23-mile stretch of white sandy beach draws even more families and R&R seekers than devoted NASCAR fans.

Eat Breakfast in an Authentic American Diner 9 a.m.


Image via The Cracked Egg Diner

Fuel up for the day at the Cracked Egg Diner on Atlantic Avenue, which serves fresh-brewed coffee and an extensive breakfast menu. Try the Chipotle Eggs Benedict or their famous Apple Fritters. If you’re in the mood for healthier fare, order a bowl of oatmeal or a plate of egg whites and sliced tomatoes.

Start Working on Your Tan by the Surf 11 a.m.


Image via Trover by TravelTess

Daytona Beach features a beautiful 23-mile stretch of sand. Relax, read a book, or doze off for a mid-morning nap. If you’ve got more energy, consider one of the more active alternatives, such as parasailing, surfing, or banana boating. If you’ve brought your bicycle (or decide to rent one), go for a ride on the sand to really challenge your muscles.

Grab a Table Overlooking the Ocean 1 p.m.


Image via LuLu’s Oceanside Grill

Don’t stray too far from the beach when you’re ready for a snack. LuLu’s Oceanside Grill is one of the local favorites and offers an extensive selection of seafood dishes and classic meat and salad choices that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Order LuLu’s Shrimp Avocado Salad and opt for an outside table so you can enjoy the soft ocean breeze.

Take a Ride on the Wild Side at the Daytona Beach Pier 3 p.m.


Image via Trover by Craig M.

Spend the afternoon at the Daytona Beach Pier, the city’s premiere entertainment center. It features outdoor and indoor rides, shops, and a classic arcade. It’s perfect for a few hours of fun for the family or a solo outing. Enjoy an afternoon drink with a view at Joe’s Crab Shack, which you’ll find toward the end of the pier.

Those looking for a more active way to spend an afternoon would enjoy theHistoric Ponce Inlet Walking and Biking Trail that stretches 3.5 miles from the southern outskirts of Daytona Beach to Ponce Inlet, passing through historic homes and parks in the Town of Ponce Inlet. Be sure to explore the botanic gardens and the famous Ponce Inlet Lighthouse!

Your Perfect Daytona Beach Evening Starts at The Cellar 6 p.m.


Image via The Cellar

The Cellar offers an exquisite culinary experience, featuring a great selection of fine Italian cuisine as well as traditional pasta dishes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the extensive wine list, the impeccable service, and the unique charm of this five-star restaurant. It’s an excellent alternative to the touristy fast food restaurants in the area.

Experience Daytona Beach’s Party Atmosphere 8 p.m.


Image via Grand View Live

In Daytona Beach, the only difficult part about planning your evening is narrowing down the choices. Here you’ll find everything from casual dive bars and lively clubs to sophisticated wine bars and world-class comedy clubs. Start the night with a good laugh at Bonkerz Comedy Club at Grandview Live, a venue that often welcomes performers from the big screen for their Friday and Saturday night comedy specials.

Then grab a drink at the Boot Hill Saloon, a famous biker bar that’s popular among locals and visitors to the area. Or for something more sophisticated, spend a couple hours at the Ormond Wine Company, a wine bar, wine club, and wine shop all in one. End your night at one of the local nightclubs, like Razzle’s Nightclub on Seabreeze Boulevard or Rockin’ Ranch Night Club just north of Ormond Beach.

Must See: Pick Up Something Old at Daytona Beach Flea Market


Image via Daytona Flea & Farmers Market

No weekend trip to Daytona Beach is complete without a visit to the Daytona Beach Flea Market. The market, voted one of the Top 5 Markets in all the United States, features hundreds of vendors that sell jewelry, clothing, toys and, of course, lots of local produce and ready-to-eat food. Pick up an antique at one of the stalls or add to your collection of vintage stoneware. You’ll also find plenty of original art if your walls at home are a little bare.

Catch Your Zs in Style at Daytona Beach

There are many affordable hotels in Daytona Beach from $55. You’ll find everything from a Holiday Inn from $113 a night to a more luxurious Three Bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse from $375 per night. High season in Daytona Beach runs between February and August, so be sure to book your room in advance if you are visiting during these popular months.

Whether you prefer days on the beach or nights in the club, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy during your one-day trip to Daytona Beach.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on January 18, 2016.