“Casual dining by the sea” is how the concierge described Punta Bonita Restaurante, located on the pristine beaches of the Riviera Maya. That description didn’t even come close to capturing the essence of our visit to Mayakoba or our exquisite, memorable mid-day dining experience.
Surrounded by a tropical jungly forest and pristine white beaches, Punta Bonita is located in the Rosewood Mayakoba, a 1600-acre resort enclave situated along a mile‐long arc of white Caribbean sand. In the ancient Mayan language, Mayakoba means village over water. And this master-planned resort village that hugs Mexico’s Caribbean coast is all about the water views.
Greeted by a smiling, polite gentleman at the entrance to the Rosewood, we were invited to step into a golf cart for transportation to the restaurant. Meandering through lush landscaped paths, our driver stops and invites us to view secluded freshwater canals which connect three enchanting hotels- Banyan Tree, Rosewood, and Fairmont. Appropriately called the “Venice of the Yucatan”, riverboats with covered roofs slowly traverse through Mayakoba’s six miles of ecologically diverse paradise. Kayakers paddle through crystal clear lagoons and mangrove forests; the only sound-the gentle splash of paddles dipping through tranquil waters.
Exiting our golf cart, we were instantaneously graced by spectacular sweeping views of the turquoise Caribbean before us, home to the second-largest coral reef in the world. Our table location was perfect for capturing warm ocean breezes and viewing the palm tree lined beaches, windsurfers and parasailers.
An unhurried waiter explains the entrée selections in perfect detail. His recommendation of the ceviche starter, created with chopped, avocado and mango couldn’t have been more spot-on. Accompanied by a perfectly chilled pinot grigio, the melt- in- your- mouth, fresh ceviche served with in-house made tortilla chips was divine.
Next came the trio of fish and lobster tacos. Their ambrosial aroma filled the air before they arrived tableside. Not wanting to disrupt the beautiful presentation, it didn’t take long until we could no longer resist the tender, succulent chunks of fish and lobster with flavors that exploded on the palate. Sides of avocado, tomato and lime enhanced these delicacies from the sea.
A ride back to the entrance, once again confirmed what we already knew to be true. Everything about this place celebrates the natural beauty and cultural uniqueness of the Mexican Riviera. Esto es el paraíso- this is paradise.