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10 “End of the World” Packages in Riviera Maya


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that a doomsday prediction is upon us. On December 21 at 6:08 pm, the precise date and time on which the world is predicted to come to a screeching halt per the Mayan calendar, Mexico’s Riviera Maya will be the epicenter of events to celebrate, or at least go out with a bang. Set against a stunning backdrop of the Caribbean Sea’s turquoise waters, plenty of sunshine, and white-sand beaches, this month makes Riviera Maya a true bucket list destination.

And the area’s properties are getting in on the action, so we rounded up the ten greatest hotel, spa, and event packages from Tulum to Cancun. From history buffs to eco-friendly enthusiasts (the world is ending, you can leave your toaster plugged in), and even spa-goers, there is a sweet doomsday deal for you.

"Mayan Renewal Package" at Papaya Playa Project

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At this pop-up hotel, a five-night stay includes an experience at The Tribal Room (born on the property after 6:08 pm on December 21), rivaling Burning Man with opportunities to make art, and music, as well as view photo exhibits and video art. Cocktails and tea will be served in the space too, on floor cushions and low tables, to the tune of DJs. The package also includes time at a temazcal (Mexican sweat lodge).

"Discover Chichen Itza" at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa and CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort


Included in the package are accommodations at either JW Marriott Cancun or CasaMagna Marriott Cancun, tours of Chichen Itza and two Mayan-inspired spa treatments as well as a daily $50 resort credit. A Mayan-themed welcome amenity is also extended to guests who book this package.

"Ritual Kukulkan Mayan Immersion" at Esencia Estate

Playa del Carmen

Partaking in a three-day ritual (called Ritual Kukulkan) through Esencia Estate‘s Aroma Spa, which is an all-organic spa, means experiencing ancient Mayan holistic therapies, massages, and daily yoga classes. Expect lots of copal incense, a coconut-milk herbal bath, an herb-infused sauna, Reiki session, a Mayan mud massage (plus a water massage too), and the rubbing of a shelled egg over your body (to stave off disease).

"Doomsday Promotion" at Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen

How does a free room sound? There’s a catch if the world does not end. For the "Doomsday Promotion," free rooms are provided the evening of December 21 with a minimum three-night stay.

"2012 Mayan Message" at Acanto Hotel

Playa del Carmen

While you could certainly visit the two attractions in this region—Xcaret Eco Park and the jungle—on your own, the "2012 Mayan Message" package adds a twist. While at Xcaret Eco Park you’re granted a lesson in Mayan history, and the opportunity to leave your own message coincides with a visit to a Mayan time capsule in the jungle.

"Xcalacoco Experience" at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa

Playa del Carmen

Looking for some soul? This four-day package at this all-inclusive features a visit to a local market to dine on authentic Mayan cuisine, but also spend time in the new on-site temazcal, session with a Mayan herbalist, Mayan spa rituals, the resort’s new "Maya Warrier" dog tours, and Xtabentum Maya coffee demonstrations.

"Mini Mayans Program for Kids" at Azul Hotels by Karisma’s three properties

Azul Beach Hotel and Azul Sensorati Hotel, Puerto Morelos; and Azul Fives Hotel, Playa del Carmen

With the new "Mini Mayans Kid Program," little ones from three years on up receive a primer in Mayan culture, including cooking classes to learn how to make chocolate milk and tortillas using Mayan utensils, construction of Mayan music instruments, and the penultimate: a Mayan calendar.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen

Guests are granted time with the on-site chaman (Jose Colli) as part of the posh resort—which is set in a tropical environment, the staff greeting guests with a cleansing copal ritual upon arrival—and its "New Era" offerings timed with the December 21 proclamation that the world will end.

The Fairmont Mayakoba

Playa del Carmen

Need an excuse to drink more beer? As part of the December 21 festivities, in the days leading up to the event, The Fairmong Mayakoba launched a special tapas menu where each dish is paired with a Mexican beer. If you’ve been itching to drink more than Coronas, this is your (last?) chance.

The Royal Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen

Relax and rejuvenate with a new four-day spa package that folds in lots of goodies: Mayan rituals, indigenous ingredients, and even Mayan cuisine and spirits. Guests also receive a take-home gift to remember their trip (that is, if the world does not end first).

Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.

Photo credit: Tulum, Riviera Maya via Shutterstock; Mayan calendar via Shutterstock

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