From the Mayans to the Riviera Maya Cancun
When the Mayans started to build El Castillo (the Temple of Kukulcan) at Chichen Itza in the 9th Century, did they know they would be leaving a legacy of their civilization to the visitors of the Yucatan Peninsula in the 21st Century? Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, and today it offers visitors a fascinating insight into the culture of the region from twelve hundred years ago.
In the meantime, on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula lies Cancun, a city that overlooks the crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea. It is here that visitors come, not just to marvel at the ancient Mayan ruins, but to absorb the sunshine and take to the water on the Riviera Maya, just south of Cancun.
Riviera Maya, renowned for its extensive scale all-inclusive resorts, straddles the coast along Highway 307 from Puerto Morelos, to Punta Allen. It traverses such favoured resorts as Playa del Carmen, Xcaret, Puerto Aventuras, Xpu Há, Akumal, Xel-Há, Tulum, Boca Paila, Punta Allen, and even includes the island of Cozumel.
This famous sun-drenched coast still holds many surprises for the more audacious traveller. Look closely, and you may find the aptly named Hidden Beach. Here is a resort waiting to be discovered by discerning voyagers who favour a more intimate locale for their annual holiday. And if you still need a clue, the resort etiquette includes an “undress code.”
For those who need some retail therapy to overcome the 9 to 5 blues or for those who come alive at night, Playa del Carmen is for you. The Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) pedestrian zone which runs parallel to the beach, has parades of shops, restaurants, and nightspots ranging from chilled out bars to dance clubs.
Meanwhile for those with their minds on love, Cozumel provides lovers with beautiful white-sand beaches, romantic sunsets, moonlit walks, and candle-lit dinners by the sea. And for the underwater enthusiasts, the clear blue waters around this beautiful island were once the domain of the legendary Jaques Cousteau. This is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. The Palancar and Columbia Reefs are among the best in the world for divers. Divers will see seahorses, eagle rays, and turtles, as well as the spectacular marine life.
For those that love beaches, the Cancun coast is defined by its magnificent white sand beaches, tropical weather and a bright blue sea. For those staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts you are sure to have an exclusive beachfront, but the public beaches all stand out for their beauty. Here are a few of the best beaches in Cancun:-
Playa Delfines is a public beach and a favourite with the locals, One of Cancun’s largest beaches, known for its choppy bright blue water, you will find parasailers, jet skiers, and even pelicans making the most out of this beach. The feeling is laid back with glorious views
Located in the famous Punta Cancun area, the hotel zone, this is the city’s most popular public beach. Playa Forum is full of energy. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and entertainment here.
Playa Chac Mool
This beach is Playa Forum but without the crowds, it is located situated right next to it with the same white sands, central location and bright blue sea. There are no loungers or umbrellas, making this beach perfect for laying in the sun and dipping in an out of the warm blue sea.
This beach is in the Hotel Zone and is a popular choice for families and locals alike. The calm waters with no real waves make it safe for children. There is an oceanfront restaurant and if you have the stomach for it, a bungee tower.
When the public beaches around the central zone get too much, just head out towards the quiet fishing village of Puerto Morelos. The small beach here does have the same vibrant energy that some of the others have but with friendly locals and the small town atmosphere. Snorkellers and divers can explore part of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef here.
Things To Do Around Cancun
Chichén Itzá is the large Mayan archaeological site which was once the main centre of the Mayan Civilisation and is now A UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find the famous landmark step pyramid, El Castillo, here.
Isla Mujeres (relaxing day out)
Head to Isla Mujeres (or the Island of Women) 8 miles off the coast for a relaxing day out. Most visitors here like the quietness here. Check out the ruins of an old mansion owned by a slave trader named Mundaca who died in mysterious circumstances. But the island is best known for its turtle farm (tortugranja) that contains two hundred turtles.
Isla Mujeres (Swim with dolphins)
Here’s an opportunity for small group tours to swim with the dolphins.
El Rey Ruins
The El Rey ruins do not have the scale and mystery of Chichén Itzá, but they are located in the Hotel Zone, which makes convenience a factor – they are accessible, and you can see them all in a short time. But there is another draw to this site for the visitors, and that is the population of hundreds of Iguanas. There are some great photo opportunities to be had.
Coco Bongo Night Club
There are plenty of discos to choose from in Cancun, but Coco Bongo is entirely different. Here you will join hundreds (sometimes thousands) of others to witness non-stop live music, acrobats, tribute acts mixed with video projection, bubbles, and confetti!
This nature-based theme park located right in the heart of Riviera Maya has more than 40 attractions. There is a lush jungle, underground rivers, and the Caribbean Sea. There is a folk art museum, Mexican horsemanship and over 40 species of tropical birds. And there’s more! Swim, snorkel or sail along the park’s clear blue waters. Witness an ancient civilisation at a Mayan village, and a colourful musical and dance extravaganza celebrating Mexico’s history. And there are 11 exciting restaurants from which to choose.
A holiday in Cancun can be a fantastic experience. There is something for everyone including archeologists, sun worshippers, explorers of coral reefs, and families who want an all-inclusive holiday. You will see rare animals and unique wildlife, experience year-round sunshine and indulge in a culinary delight. Cancun is an international resort where you can experience the local culture of Mexico.
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