Things To Do In Riviera Maya According To A Local Foodie

When An Acclaimed Chef Thought About Embarking On His First Hotel Project, Trust Was The Deciding Factor
Jorge Vallego is the director of the culinary program at Chablé Maroma.
Jorge Vallejo
Culinary Program Director, Chablé Maroma

It is not as if Mexican chef Jorge Vallejo, the creative mind behind Mexico City's lauded restaurant Quintonil, has his hand in a lot of pies. Chablé Maroma represents his only other venture—but chemistry and history proved key. "Some time ago, the Gutierrez family came to me to talk about their project at Chablé Maroma," he recalls. "I had never been involved in a business other than my restaurant, Quintonil, and we always thought if we were going to expand, it had to be with someone we could trust." The resort's ethos of modern sophistication and respect for tradition—along with a healthy dose of flexibility and experimentation—proved a perfect fit. "The relationship between us has always been fluid," Vallejo says describing his partnership with the Gutierrez family. "We think the same way about hospitality, so our relationship has always been very natural. And when we saw the project, we loved it."

Local Recommendations

Get a taste of the Mayan Riviera with Jorge Vallejo, culinary program director of Chablé Maroma

Beyond the gates of Chablé Maroma, the closest concentration of tastes and scenes are found in and around Playa del Camen, a 25-minute drive away.

Riviera Maya Restaurants

Out On The Town, Local Chefs Are Skillful And Substantive

Chef Jorge's verdict on a local Playa del Carmen favorite, Axiote (Calle 34 Norte, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984-803-1727), overseen by chef Xavier Perez Stone: "Real Mexican flavors with a zest for Mayan culture, Mexican wines, and perfect ambiance for a lovely night, a bit away from Fifth Avenue's hurly-burly." Harry's Steak House & Raw Bar (Calle Quinta Avenida Lote 8B, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984-803-1660) wins rave reviews for its stellar service, quality steaks, and the showmanship of its mixologists. "It's the perfect place to end a shopping experience with prime steaks and drinks," says chef Jorge.

"Our sous chef is especially enamored with the brisket," chef Jorge says of Primo (Avenida 10 & Calle 14 Norte, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984-873-2571). Chef Pedro Abascal is known for his wood burning cooking method and Mexican smoked menu.

Inside the Axiote dining room in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Axiote.

Riviera Maya Nightlife

Playa Del Carmen Offers A Range Of Lively Watering Holes

The industrial-jungle vibe of the alfresco Trujillos (152 Calle 38 Norte, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984-688-8207) draws local and visiting revelers. "It's the perfect place to choose from an extensive cocktail menu before or after a stroll around Playa," chef Jorge says. Bronze 2.0 (Calle 38 Norte between Avda. 5 and the beach, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984-688-8075) specializes in cocktails made with gin, and it's also a fun gathering place for sporting events and music. Chef Jorge likes what the DJs spin at Santito Tun Tun (Calle 12 and Avda. 1 Norte, Playa del Carmen; +1-52-984- 803-0183), which he says is synonymous with "party and fun, located in the nightlife heart of Playa del Carmen on 12th Street."

Enjoy a cocktail or two from the extensive menu at Trujillos. Photo courtesy of Trujillos.

Riviera Maya Attractions

Natural And Man-Made Features Make Yucatan Unique

The Yucatan region is known for its cenotes—exposed groundwater swimming holes. Some of the best are within striking distance of the resort: Dos Ojos (an especially picturesque flooded cave system) and Casa Cenote (aka Cenote Manati, known for its clear aquamarine waters). The legendary Tulum ranks as one of the world's top archeological ruins, and its position above a glorious beach is an added draw. The main stone structure—one of the most photographed ruin sites on the planet— is called El Castillo.

Tulum enjoys a spectacular position above the Caribbean. Photo credit: Calvin Wilhelm

On Property At Chablé Maroma

Stay In And Luxuriate

A great dining itinerary: Start with breakfast at Kaban, move to Raw Bar by BU'UL, the rooftop terrace overlooking Maroma Beach, for a lunch of oysters and prawns and a sundowner, at end the day at Bu'ul, chef Jorge's flagship venue, which boasts a 300-bottle wine list. Get to the 17,000-square-foot spa well before your Herbal Compress Deep Massage or Sea Salt Scrub, so you can enjoy the series of water jets in the petrified wood-clad therapy pool. Secluded cabanas make the 650-foot beach feel like a private playground. The Caribbean waters here are calm and turquoise, great for kayaking and paddle-boarding.

The spa's therapy pool is lined in petrified wood.