Travel Diary: #KarismaExperience in the Mayan Riviera

Azul Fives Playa Del Carmen

My most recent trip brought me to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. It’s one of my favorite parts of the country, for it’s beautiful beaches, fascinating history and guaranteed hot, sunny weather. This time around, I made myself at home at Karisma Hotels & Resorts’s Azul Fives. The resort property is smaller and more manageable than some of the other sprawling resorts I’ve stayed at in the Mayan Riviera, with beautiful landscaping, jungle pathways and close attention to detail everywhere you look. You can tell that every space was carefully considered and it shows.

Most of the rooms at Azul Fives are suites, with 2 and 3 bedroom suites available as well, for larger groups. My girlfriend, Justine and I spent the week in a 1 bedroom Essence Suite, which was more than enough room for the two of us. We had a king sized bed, large ensuite, living room, dining area and even a kitchen! However, with the resort’s Gourmet Inclusive® package and 9 different restaurant options, there was certainly no need to use the kitchen. We also had a fantastic butler, names Edgardo, who ensured that we had reservations for every meal. He also helped organize our excursions, transportation, beach chairs and cabana, and even drove us around via gold cart on property. Basically, Edgardo was there and ready for whatever we needed at any time. Such a luxury!

Azul Fives Suites

One of my favorite offerings at Azul Fives was the smoothie & juice bar. There was wide selection of fresh juices and smoothies available, with the option of creating your own as well. It was the perfect treat during the hot afternoons.

travel blogger mexicoazul fives hammock

Here’s a look inside the Mexican cantina on property, Nineteen Ten:

azul fives mexican restaurant

Every morning, there was a taco stand in the central plaza of the resort, complete with a selection of condiments and salsas to choose from:

mexican food

Azul Fives is situated right on the beach, just 15 minutes North of Playa Del Carmen. The beach area is the place to be during the day. There are beach chairs, cabanas, volleyball, palapa huts for massages and an infinity pool with a swim-up bar.

azul fives infinity pool beach

One day of our trip, we went to another Karisma Hotels & Resorts property, El Dorado Maroma. It is an adults-only, luxury resort on one of the best beaches in Mexico. And it was possibly one of the best beaches Justine and I have ever been to as well. The sand was white and powdery, the water was crystal clear and warm like a bath, and the sky was deep blue. We started our day at the El Dorado Maroma with breakfast by the pool, before moving over to a beach cabana for the rest of the day.

el dorado maroma breakfast food el dorado maroma alexanderkenton alexander liang travel blogger maroma beach maroma beach

El Dorado Maroma will be the first resort in Mexico to feature over-the-water “palapitos” (huts). They are officially opening September 1, 2016, but we did get a sneak peek inside the suites and they look like absolute paradise! Definitely on my wish list to experience in the future.

el dorado over water huts mexico alexanderkenton mexico H&M surfin' t-shirt

Back at Azul Fives, we made a point of trying out almost all of the restaurants on property. Oka, the sushi restaurant, was our favorite. The fish was so fresh and there were many specialty items on the menu as well (not like some places that just serve California rolls and the like). The “new world sushi” dishes were especially innovative and delicious.

azul fives sushi

On the beach, servers were always at the ready to take drink orders. For food, there is a taco stand and a hamburger and hot dog stand at either end of the beach.

azul fives beach tacos margiela mens t-shirt

Another one of our days was spent over at another Karisma Hotels & Resorts property, El Dorado Royale, where we went horseback riding at the resort’s Bonanza Ranch. We did a beautiful ride through the ranch property that led us through a bit of Mayan jungle environments and ended with a swim in a cenote.

bonanza ranch mexico horseback riding el dorado royale

The ancient Mayans believed that cenotes (sinkholes) were sacred passageways to the underworld. The Mayans would make human sacrifices in the cenotes and deep inside the underwater caves as a way to appease the underworld Gods – spooky! We tried not to think about that part too much when we dove in for a refreshing dip in the fresh, cool groundwater. Here’s Justine floating in the cenote:

jetsetjustine cenote mayan riviera alexanderkenton jetset justine cenote style together justine alexander

On our second last night, Justine and I went to Azul Sensatori to try Le Chique, an avant-garde, Mexican restaurant. We embarked on a 3-hour, 20-course tasting experience that was truly unique.

Pink skies over one of the pools at Azul Sensatori:

azul sensatori

Our favorite course of the tasting was “The Sea”, an elaborate display of seafood, including oysters, muscles, sea urchin and more.

le chique mexico

Our last day was spent back at the beach at Azul Fives. We were sad to leave at the end of our trip, but Justine and I both felt that 7-night stay was the perfect amount of time and that’s what I would recommend too if you’re planning a similar vacation in the near future.

A BIG Thank You to Karisma Hotels & Resorts for inviting me down for the full #KarismaExperience! I was so impressed by all of the properties and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Until next time…

Adios amigos!

azul fives pool alexander liang travel blog


  1. August 14, 2016 / 8:05 PM

    This looks amazing and your photos are incredible!! Looking forward to your next post.

    • Alexander Liang
      August 18, 2016 / 11:45 AM

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed reading the post. It wasn’t hard to make this place look good ;)

  2. August 18, 2016 / 9:55 AM

    So much FOMO. Definitely adding this to my travel list!

    • Alexander Liang
      August 18, 2016 / 11:45 AM

      YES!! You would love the El Dorado Maroma!

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