R
North America



Explorean Resort:

Soft Adventure and Mayan Ruins


by Mary Ashcraft(Note: If photos stop loading after a reasonable time, hit "refresh" button on your keyboard.)


"...Explorean soft
adventure resort.
Soft adventure is
one of the fastest
growing segments
on the vacation
agenda of the
Grupo Posadas
Hotel Company..."
Rambling over the natural terrain in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and looking very much like a typical thatched roof Mayan Village is the Grupo Posadas' newly opened Explorean soft adventure resort. Soft adventure is one of the fastest growing segments on the vacation agenda of the Grupo Posadas Hotel Company, and it is pioneering this alternative vacation concept in the midst of the splendor of one of the oldest pre-colonial centers of Mayan civilization, Kuhunlich. Under the Grupo Posadas umbrella are more than 50 hotels in Mexico, the U.S. and South America. They are the Caesar Park, Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Inn and the Explorean.


"...this highly
romantic setting
in the heart of the
mysterious Mayan
area of Kuhunlich,
the 40-villa
Explorean offers
the exciting
combination of
physical challenge
and physical
comfort."
In this highly romantic setting in the heart of the mysterious Mayan area of Kuhunlich, the 40-villa Explorean offers the exciting combination of physical challenge and physical comfort. On the exclusive 28-hectare property, the guest is surrounded by dense tropical jungle far away from the noise of drive-by traffic or the usual hubbub of nearby hotels, and all its one-story villas are designed to preserve the area's natural setting. They are constructed with materials from the surrounding countryside, and the decor is enhanced with the richness of Mexican folk-art and pre-colonial Mayan reproductions.


"Each villa also
has its own private
terrace with large
built-in sofa,
handcrafted chairs,
hammock, outdoor
ceiling fan and
mood lighting."


"...no matter how
early the riser, the
guest will find a
basket of fresh
orange juice,
coffee or tea, and
sweet rolls waiting
on the terrace table..."

Each villa also has its own private terrace with large built-in sofa, handcrafted chairs, hammock, outdoor ceiling fan and mood lighting. The garden off the terrace is a vast, serene expanse of forest growth. There's nothing quite like swinging in the slow rhythm of the hammock in the quiet of the evening with that wild garden as background. In the mornings, no matter how early the riser, the guest will find a basket of fresh orange juice, coffee or tea, and sweet rolls waiting on the terrace table, quietly brought by a member of the staff, unseen and unheard.

In keeping with this careful attention to detail, the hotel wishes to promote a feeling of home away from home. In its multilevel, al fresco living room the guest may relax in big cushy chairs or sofas by the reflecting pool and play dominoes, cards or Backgammon overlooking the swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Sometimes the Backgammon or Domino games can get quite spirited as the fun of competition takes over and no challenge goes untested. Also in the living room, for the guest's convenience, is an open stock premium bar and helping oneself is the order of the day.

"Here, our guests
have the
opportunity to
experience the
physical challenges
of kayaking on
a blue lagoon,
trekking through
jungle trails that
surprisingly open
on to amazing
archaeological sites..."

Justyn Jones, general manager of Explorean says, "We are very much in contact with nature. Here, our guests have the opportunity to experience the physical challenges of kayaking on a blue lagoon, trekking through jungle trails that surprisingly open on to amazing archaeological sites, or building confidence by rapelling down a 90-meter limestone face. At the same time, we also are involved in exploring the inner world by meditating on a fiery Yucatan sunset or sunrise or in sharing with a loved one, the wonder of a full moon or a night ablaze with countless stars. Basically, that is our concept of soft adventure."

Mr. Jones adds, "The challenge we have is to position our hotel so as not to be on the extreme of adventure or the extreme of luxury. We are looking for a midpoint in order that people who come to visit will have experiences that will place them in natural surroundings where they can assert their natural abilities." Mr. Jones would like the guests to think of the hotel as a base camp for their daily vigorous exploring. After a day of athletic fun and working up a good sweat, the guest will return to luxury, comfort, good food and first-rate personal attention.


A select group of hotel adventure guides certified in eco-tourism are knowledgeable about the area, largely because they and their families have lived there all their lives. Many are descendants of the ancient Mayans and still speak one of the many Mayan dialects. They are capable of teaching, assisting and watching over guests who may be hesitant in their outdoor pursuits and will lend a hand in the planning of additional personalized excursions. Some of the many offerings of the Explorean are: kayaking, jungle treks, visiting archaeological sites, nocturnal safaris, bird watching, mountain biking (day or night rides), cliff rapelling, swimming in natural cenotes, trail exploring around the resort, visiting a Zapote Plantation, Museum of Mayan Culture, an old Spanish fort and sojourns to the Calakmul biosphere reserve.


"'The challenge we
have is to position
our hotel so as not
to be on the extreme
of adventure or the
extreme of luxury.
We are looking for
a midpoint in order
that people who
come to visit will
have experiences
that will place them
in natural surroundings
where they can
assert their natural
abilities.'"


Manager Justyn Jones has a few surprises up his creative sleeve, as everyone soon discovers. After a morning's adventure in the fascinating ruins of a Mayan city, the guest might find that lunch is waiting on the flowering Bougainvillea-covered porch of the ranger's hut at the very edge of the ruins. Or, after kayaking on a still lagoon after dark, the kayakers discover that Explorean has transported chef, tables, linens, and china to the waterís shore for romantic candlelit dining under the stars.

"Explorean is an
all-inclusive hotel,
and this begins the
moment the guest
is met at the airport
by the Explorean's
expert personnel."

For guests wanting a break from the vigorous activities and to relax those weary muscles, there are the spa, steam bath and sauna inviting one for soothing massages, and facial cleansing with mud masks. There is also an interesting pre-Hispanic cleansing tradition of Temazcal to try, where the body is wrapped in natural clay, the air is redolent with aromatic herbs and the enclosed surroundings are conducive to meditating.

Explorean is an all-inclusive hotel, and this begins the moment the guest is met at the airport by the Explorean's expert personnel. At this point all cares are left behind and the relaxed mode takes over. From now on it's shorts, sunscreen and no worries. Mr. Jones profiles his guest with these words, "Since our recent opening, our customer base has been mostly couples who are well traveled. They know the top luxury resorts, the fine lodges in Africa, diving in Indonesia and Australia, and are familiar with the eco-tourism approach of Costa Rica. They appreciate our understanding and care for the environment." Though there is much of interest to do and see at Explorean, there are no schedules and no hassles. This attitude is evident in the relaxed approach to the serving of meals each day.


"International
chefs are happy to
prepare anything,
from venison filet
in pineapple sauce,
wild boar in wild
berry sauce to a
favorite hamburger
or club sandwich..."

Exploreans dining room is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with no set times for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Rather, the guest dines when he is hungry as he would at home. International chefs are happy to prepare anything, from venison filet in pineapple sauce, wild boar in wild berry sauce to a favorite hamburger or club sandwich, just for the asking. Master Chef Gerardo Martin del Campo is prepared to give a cooking lesson to those who are interested. He makes it look so easy. Good choices to practice on are the delicious salsa of the house, or a torched Crëme Brulée .

The sister resort, Explorean Costa Maya, is located 200 miles from Cancun on the site of the Banco Chinchorro, one of the world's largest coral atolls. Most of the adventures offered in this resort are water-based: world-class diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing. There are many land activities as well. Guests are encouraged to try both resorts while on the same vacation, spending part of the time in the Mayan tropical forest of Explorean and the other part on the historic pre-Colombian Caribbean shores of Costa Maya. These soft adventure vacations are the perfect answer for those who want to really participate in their vacation instead of simply lolling on a beach all day no matter how wonderful that beach might be.
This is what makes the Explorean concept so unique: exploring one's physical abilities, no matter at what level, in an exotic and stimulating environment, and then ending the day in maximum comfort.



For more information on Chinchorro Reef Resort, go to: http://islandream.com/island/maya/index.htm

For pricing information for all Explorean Resorts, go to: http://www.islandream.com/maya/explor01.htm

PHOTO CREDITS: Mary Ashcraft

TRAVELLADY DESTINATIONS: Mexico, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Kuhunlich

TRAVELLADY SPECIAL INTEREST: Adventure Travel, Beaches, Fantasy Vacations, Outdoors, Romantic, Scuba, Water Sports


© 1999 ROMAR TRAVEL GUIDES

© 2003 ROMAR TRAVEL GUIDES