Deep throughout the Mexican jungle lies Rio Secreto: a 2.5-million-year-old cenote crammed with hundreds of rock formations resembling melted wax on a candlestick. Reaching this hidden vacation spot entails a seven kilometre drive off Quintana Roo’s most important freeway, close to Playa del Carmen, which is the place I discover myself one stifling sizzling night in early November. The solar has lengthy set as we velocity alongside a desolate dust street, whizzing by towering bushes and heading deeper into darkness.
Rio Secreto – or Secret River – is one in all hundreds of cenotes present in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula: Freshwater sinkholes related to an underground river system by limestone caves and passageways. This one was found in 2004 by an area farmer who stumbled throughout its entrance whereas chasing an iguana. The Instagram-worthy spot has since attracted a gentle stream of tourists for daytime excursions, however I’m a part of a small group witnessing this pure marvel by night time.
The total moon guides us even farther into the jungle, the place a shaman burns incense and chants a blessing (cenotes had been thought of sacred to historic Mayans as a supply of recent water and non secular area). Lastly, we start our descent 70 ft underground, the place we discover an eight-mile maze-like construction with stalagmites, stalactites and shiny turquoise waters that appear otherworldly.
We enter a big, open-area area lit with tons of of candles emitting a heat glow as classical music performs softly within the background. On stage, wearing black and white, are eight members of the Symphony Orchestra of Quintana Roo. Cocktails in hand, we take our seats. It’s all so cliché, however I’m falling for each well-orchestrated element of Past Limits, a brand new expertise that Fairmont Accommodations & Resorts has strategized for postpandemic travellers in search of escapism and one thing completely different.
The lodge model’s North and Central America VP of communications, Nicole Lierheimer, explains that the objective is to place which means again into high-end journey. “That is the guts of luxurious,” she says. “We wish you to depart feeling moved.” Jeff Doane, chief industrial officer of North and Central America at Accor, Fairmount’s mother or father firm, concurs: “Shopper calls for are persevering with to evolve. We’re seeing luxurious travellers changing into social culturists who’re on the lookout for one one-of-a-kind experiences which can be, by nature, extremely unique and deeply significant.”
The string ensemble performs orchestral diversifications of widespread hits from Girl Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Daft Punk and Queen. Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, by Frankie Valli, strikes me to tears. I believe it’s the mixture of wealthy acoustics and elegant setting – the Champagne doesn’t harm, both – that has me entranced. In terms of being within the second, a symphony in a cenote beats the favored meditative app Headspace any day.
I’m nonetheless on a excessive from final night time’s symphony and prepared for one more journey the next morning: a leisurely bike trip to a different cenote, El Burrodromo, the place an enormous banyan tree greets me on the opening, its roots dangling deep into the cave. El Burrodromo feels cool and cathedral-like, and much faraway from the modern-day world above. Our information shines a flashlight on tons of, if not hundreds, of bats hanging from limestone ceilings above the crystal blue waters (that’s my cue to bolt).
Above floor, I spot a pack of raccoon-like coatis on the Greg Norman-designed golf course. At each flip, there’s a reptile, mammal or hen that catches my consideration (not stunning, provided that the Fairmont Mayakoba property, the place I’m staying, is dwelling to greater than 200 species of wildlife). The resort additionally cultivates uncommon, stingless Melipona bees, which produce medicinal honey, used within the lodge’s recipes, in addition to companies at its spa. “Honey within the Coronary heart” is a therapy involving a nourishing honey physique masks.
Again on the seaside membership, I willingly indulge within the sting of a Scream Margarita – Mezcal, pineapple juice, lime juice, Cointreau, jalapeño – and take within the sundown. I’m surrounded by the must-haves that each luxurious seaside traveller expects, similar to personal cabanas, an adults-only rooftop terrace and bar, infinity pool, sunken hearth pits and a wood-fire grill menu.
And that’s exactly the great thing about this go to: One minute I’m surveying a cenote like a geological explorer, the following I’m sipping a Mexican cocktail overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
For those who go
Fairmont Accommodations & Resorts is kicking off a brand new assortment of experiences referred to as Past Limits throughout North and Central America. This system, working by March, 2023, provides limited-time, immersive occasions, similar to an underwater ballet in Hawaii and an intimate, fireplace dinner on the fringe of frozen Lake Louise (costs for particular person experiences begin at $150).
Symphony in a Cenote is in Mexico’s Riviera Maya (round 65 kilometres south of Cancun), close by the newly renovated Fairmont Mayakoba. Symphony in a Cenote runs on Nov. 21 and 28, 2022, and Jan. 5, 2023.
The author was a visitor of Fairmont Accommodations & Resorts, which didn’t evaluate or approve this text.
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