Guests at Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort were not disturbed by the incident, as it happened 65 million years ago and the resort opened last June.
But the resort’s guests are enjoying the results of that historic collision. Although they have to watch out for alligators on the 18-hole, ocean-front golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, there are no Tyrannosaurus rex droppings, or worse yet, Tyrannosaurus rex herself.
Scientists attribute the Chicxulub asteroid to wiping out the dinosaurs. It impacted the Earth on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico near where the village of Chicxulub sits today and launched a mega tsunami several kilometres high which would have destroyed Houston, New Orleans, Havana, Miami and Cartagena, had they existed.
Scientists believe the Chicxulub impact created a six-year-long nuclear winter where no sunshine reached the Earth because of the smoke, debris and dust in the air. It left a crater 180 kilometres across and 20 kilometres deep. The crater wasn’t discovered until 1978 by geologists looking for oil deposits below the gulf.
Secrets Playa Mujeres lies within the field of solid debris from the impact — now a protected biosphere of jungle and swamp — that offers a variety of benefits to vacationers at the resort.
There are no rivers or lakes in the biosphere because the Earth’s crust was so shattered by the impact that rainwater easily penetrates into the Earth. But there’s plenty of water deep underground and tree roots search down through the fractures to find it.
Those trees attract colourful and exotic birds and the resort has built several lofty stands for bird watchers.
Secrets is a complex of several low-rise buildings with plenty of greenery between them. Concrete pathways connect the stand-alone lobby to restaurants, a convention centre, spa, gym, the golf course and residents’ rooms. A fleet of electric golf carts, driven by comedians between gigs it seems, escort vacationers to their various events.
Ten kilometres to the south is the city of Cancun, with a population of 650,000, plus many vacation hotels, condo towers and resorts standing cheek-by-jowl along its white-sand beaches. You won’t see any high rises in the region around Secrets Playa Mujeres. You won’t see kids either.
This all-inclusive resort is adult only and hosted many Canadian weddings this winter. It’s easy to stay in touch with your children however. Phone calls to Canada from your bedside phone are free, plus there’s free Wi-Fi in each room.
Some rooms — often occupied by honeymooners — are directly on the beach, which stretches uninterrupted to the horizon showing nothing by azure-colour waters, white sand and green jungle.
Secrets is a gated community; visitors pass through two separate security gates to enter the biosphere and the immediate resort property.
Prices on the 424 all-inclusive suites range from $189.50/person/night for a junior suite with a furnished terrace that includes a small swimming pool from where you can swim directly to a larger resort pool, up to $474.50/person/night per person for a master suite with 1,162 square feet, an ocean view and your own swimming pool. Most suites have a king-size bed, but two queen-size beds are also available.
There is also a presidential suite — if that’s your status — priced at $2,208.50/person/night. It sits beside the ocean and has more than 1,700 square feet.
Each suite has free mini bars filled daily, fluffy white house coats, rain showerheads, hydrotubs and daily maid service.
Playa Mujeres means “women’s beach” in Spanish and near the resort there are Mayan ruins to explore with guides. From the resort’s beach you can see an island about 15 kilometres off shore. That’s Isla Mujeres (“Island of Women”). It was a sacred sanctuary for Mayan women in ancient times and the home of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility in the Mayan culture. Today it’s a 7-kilometre-long party island with many hotels. One of them is Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, one of the most exclusive resorts in the Caribbean, where rooms cost $1,000 a night. There are 34 rooms and five restaurants, one of which overlooks the ocean and is open to the public.
There is a ferry service over to the island.
Both Zoetry and Secrets are managed by AMResorts, one of the biggest resort management firms in the Caribbean. They have six different brands of resorts — Zoetry and Secrets being their top two categories — but at other AMResorts properties you can have an ocean-front vacation at Emporio Hotel and Suites in Cancun for $399/couple for a week including food and drinks, three nights at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas for $149, three nights at Springmaid Hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for $149, or three nights at the Westgate Lakes in Orlando, Florida for $99, plus a $100 food voucher.