Continuation of part I …
If we thought dinner the night before was a bit fancier, we were ill-prepared for the extravaganza that awaited us on the beach after the night in Sotavento. Called the beating heart of the Yucatan culinary experience, every dish in the seafood meal was exceptional, plate after plate of oysters, grilled shrimp and crispy snappers that made for a thoroughly immersive dining experience. The proceeds from the sale of one of the special dishes are carefully donated to a charity that supports indigenous women and communities in Oaxaca. After a nightcap after dinner by the pool, witnessing a sweetly crafted wedding proposal, we wiggled back to our room, finding the evening nothing less than transcendent.
The next morning we felt a little sensitive and were soon resuscitated with wind in our hair and spray on our faces from the Mayakoba yacht, which is believed to be the most powerful on the water. A one-hour cruise, fortified by a bucket of mimosa, and we were back in the sand, cruising along the beach for a brunch by the water, once again in Sotavento. We relaxed a bit with this meal and nibbled on a simple but luxurious ceviche, an oyster or two and some (more) grilled prawns.
Mark Twain famously described golf as “ruining a good walk,” and our previous experience with the game had done little to disprove the PGA Tour’s Latin America course, which winds its way through the resort’s canals and jungles and along the ocean . We started in golf school, where all sorts of high-tech gadgets were put into operation to confirm our (at best) mediocrity. Thanks to the patient instructor, however, our efforts on the driving range started to get better after a few groundings.
When we returned to Cochina Milagro for dinner, we were surprised by the extraordinary musical accompaniment that greeted us: no acoustic guitar-wielding boomer with Cat Stevens covers, but a full sound bath / DJ setup with gongs and singing bowls – Robert Plant and Bath For Lashes would surely have approved both. The music was fitting as the restaurant had a new menu with Asian-inspired options like tuna tataki accompanied by creamy avocado and green tomato salad, lamb kibis with hummus and chipotle sauce, and salmon in mango sauce and curry fragrant with fresh coriander, chilli oil and seasonal fruits. We gave in gently as there were plans for a long night after dinner.
With all that Mayakoba and the Andaz have to offer, there seems to be little reason to venture outside the shelter of the main gates during your stay. But we had driven to the Yucatan a few times and still had to see Playa del Carmen; tonight … was the night. A little less than seven miles south of Mayakoba, we soon found ourselves on the busy main street – 12th Street – hopping back and forth between the hip bars with some of the best cover bands we had ever seen. It was really very pleasant to get out and see the locals in their nocturnal element together with the typical tourists.
Before it returned to reality, there was one more Andaz experience that somehow seemed necessary to end the entire experience: an hour-long guided meditation on the lawn overlooking the canal. Presided over by an apparently experienced yogi, we stretched, sang, and reflected as the sun rose, leaving completely censored for a brief excursion back into our big city stresses.