Call it the Mayan Riviera or the Mexican Caribbean – either way; this sun-kissed coastline is home to some of Mexico’s finest resorts and most popular destinations. With a climate that invites year-round beach basking, a trip to the Riviera Maya offers a host of varied experiences, including spectacular scenery and fascinating attractions.
This stretch of coastline in the north-eastern Yucatan Peninsula is host to some of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. In just a few decades, Cancun has exploded into the Caribbean’s premier tourist choice. Once a rustic diver’s retreat, Cozumel still lures SCUBA lovers, but has blossomed in recent years, adding upscale hotels and fine restaurants. From the ancient ruins at Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum, to world-class dive sites off Cozumel, to the bio-diversity of the World UNESCO site at Sian Ka'an, and the hot nightlife of Cancun – this is Mexico at its best.
The Magnificent Mayans
Hire a guide to show you the sites and explain the significance of El Castillo at Chichen Itza, built to honor the snake god and believed to be the scene of his twice-yearly return. Or visit Tulum, among the most fascinating Mayan sites, where you can dive into history first, and then into the ocean nearby.
A Natural Approach
Cozumel welcomes SCUBA pilgrims who flock to the island’s coral reefs to view some of the world’s best underwater scenery. You can also explore Isla Mujeres’ MUSA, an underwater museum where divers glide amongst hundreds of submerged statues that create an artificial coral reef.
The Mayan Riviera is also home to the nature lover’s paradise of Sian Ka'an, a massive World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour the mangrove-lined canals by boat to see 103 species of mammals and plant life. Spot resident birds from your kayak and search for loggerhead or hawksbill turtles.
Dining and Dancing
Because the Mayan Riviera is such a favorite with travelers, dining choices are many. You’ll find everything from palapa-shaded beachside bistros, to sophisticated restaurants serving international cuisine. Choose local fresh fish—grouper, dorado, red snapper and sea bass. One great seaside choice is La Choza in Cozumel, and if you’re longing for luxury, try Casa Rolandi on Isla Mujeres.
There are countless spectacular activities along the Riviera Maya ideally suited for a range of shore excursions. Perhaps charter a luxury yacht for the day, replete with a personal chef who will cook a tasty lunch as you loll on a gorgeous beach and snorkel in crystalline water. A catamaran half-day sail may be more your style, or take a tour to El Cielo Beach, which is one of the finest in the area. Play a round of golf, try your hand at deep sea fishing, or relax and rejuvenate at one of the many fabulous spas. There is such a wide range of choice activities, and the locals are known for being authentic, paying homage to nature, and providing a true sense of place along this beautiful coast.
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