The Mayan Riviera - Mexican Caribbean
The Riviera Maya is a breathtaking beautiful coastline in the Caribbean, beginning at Cancun in the north and ending in Tulum in the south. White sandy beaches with palms, tourquoise sea, mayan ruins, cenotes, quite a lot of nature parks and a huge flora and fauna. More in the south lays Sian Kaan, the biosphere reserve on the Yucatán peninsula. More in the south after Sian Kaan is the lagoon of Bacalar and the harbor of Costa Maya as well as the capital of Quintana Roo - Chetumal. This entire region is called Costa Maya and houses the new and same named crusader harbor near by Mahahual.
After the arise of the tourist stronghold Cancun in the 1970s, the coastline in the south was settled. Playa del Carmen, once a small fishing village, is
now one of the most important touristic centers at the Mexican Riviera. Many huge hotel chains are settled along the coastline in direction to Tulum, in most cases for package tours for
upper classes. In Playa del Carmen itself are many big and small hotels, hostels and apartments. Tulum is target for many backpackers and campers, but also for "glamping" (glamorous
camping). Also very expensive boutique hotels can be finde here.
This region is the most visited region in Mexiko. Next to the long beautiful beaches and the crystal clear water, can you find many interesting cultural and
natural aspects. Upstream the coast lays the worldwide second largest reef - the meso american reef. Divers all over the world come here to dive along the reef or the see the underwater
world of the cenotes or lagoons. The flat landscape is covered by jungle and lush vegetation. Mangroves, plams, flowers and trees offer protection for animals of any kind. The Mexican
Carribean is perfect for beach vacation but too good for just that. The Mayan temple, the miles of underground cave systems (cenotes), many amusement parks, nature reserves, the tropical
warm climate with sunshine nearly all over the year and a mean temperature of 25°C are popular for many vacationers.
A small fishing village circa 20 km in the south from Cancun, on the way to Playa del Carmen.It seems like time is going more slowly here. Puerto Morelos
develops very slow and just because of increasing numbers of tourists. One part of the village directly lays at the highway and is home of the locals. At the other part at the beach (Antiguo
Puerto Morelos) you can find restaurants, bars and accommodations.
In Maya language "place of turtles", is still a little hidden secret. Approx. 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen with a nice white, sandy beach
and normally not so crowded, except the bay of turtles by itself. Between May and September the sea turtles nests and eat the sea grass on the seabed. Snorkelers come here
to admire these giant sea creatures. Some times there are big rays, too. Because of the crowds of tourists, visiting the bay, it is closed for tour agencies. Private you are able to
snorkel here but a guide and a life jacket is obligatory, because of people chasing the animals with selfie sticks and harassing them. The animals became sick because of the
On the other side of the highway lays the small, dozy village Akumal, seperated by a colorful painted highway bridge. Many artists immortalized themselves in creative, caribbean graffitis. In the center is a tiny vegetable market, a tortilleria, a small super market and not so much more to explore. Here, the locals from Akumal live, while expensive villas from emigrated Americans, Canadiens ans Swiss are located at the beach side.
Fährt man von Tulum auf der Küstenstraße weiter südlich, kommt man an den Eingang des UNESCO Biosphärenreservats Sian Kaan - in Maya-Sprache "Geschenk des Himmels" oder "Wo der Himmel geboren wurde". Raus aus der Zivilisation und rein in die atemberaubend schöne Natur. Je weiter
man südlich fährt, desto karibischer wird es. Wir empfehlen definitiv eine Tour hierhin zu machen, die Straße ist nicht befestigt und für private PKW oftmals ungeeignet. Im Fischerdorf Punta
Allen angekommen, fühlt man sich in eine andere Welt versetzt. Hier gibt es außer ein paar kleinen Restaurants und sehr ärmlichen Fischerhütten sowie Palmen, Strand und unendlicher Natur kaum
Mahahual is a tiny little town with white sandy beaches and lots of little shops. The little walkway along the coastline offers lots of restaurants, Bars, Hotels and shops with souvenirs. The beach has lots of beach clubs where you can relax and eat. Here you will not find mass tourism and big resorts, lots of inhabitants live from fishing. But 2 km more north, you will find a big pier for cruise ships from all over the world called "Costa Maya" with duty free shops and outlet stores. The difference cannot be bigger. If there is no cruise ship by the pier, Mahahual is almost empty. But if there are cruise ships, it can get crowdy very fast and thousands of tourist will come into the little town.
Playa del Carmen:
70 km south of Cancun lays the former cozy fishing village Playa del Carmen. Nowadays many restaurants, bars, discos and uncountable
shops for shopping and souvenirs are located here. Along the beach you can find many beach clubs and live music in the evening. The ferry to the island Cozumel is just a few minutes away
from the center. Playa del Carmen offers its guests many options to enjoy their time. The region was called "Xaman-Ha" by the Maya, what means holy place at the water. The city has
developed to the city with the highest growth of population in Mexiko. The Caribbean climate and the beaches entice tourists all over the world - divers, water sports enthusiasts, spring
breaker, wedding parties and vacationers. You can easily explore the center my feet and scout the main shopping mile, the 5. Avenida. Playa is the city which never sleeps. There is
intense celebrations, pure holiday atomsphere - beach bars with salsa and reggae music, hip clubs with shows and discos.
Mystic Maya town on the Caribbean coastline - they could not find a more majestic place than this.High above the cliffs sit in state the archeological temple of
the native people of the region and every stone tells its own story. Tulum is becoming more and more popular and is next to Playa del Carmen and Cancun one of the most important holiday
destination. Located 130 km south of Cancun, Tulum only offered small, very simple cabañas (bungalows) a few years ago.
There is now everything from camping to luxury hotels - but still much smaller than Playa del Carmen. Picture-book sandy beaches, Caribbean palm streets, souvenirs - everything is strongly
reminiscent of the hippie era with many colorful tunics, dream catchers and bars. The atmosphere is relaxed - but in the meantime, due to the wide variety of photo motifs, more and more
"influencers, stars and starlets" have discovered the region around Tulum.
Approx. 3.5 hours south of Playa del Carmen is Bacalar - the lagoon of the seven colors and the pirate
channel. In Mayan language "Bakhalal" (surrounded by reeds). Bacalar is about 40 km north of the capital Chetumal. The city has been awarded the so-calles "Pueblo Magico" (magical place) by
the SECTUR (Secretariat for Tourism). In 1543 it was the first city in the region to be conquered and taken by spanish conquistadores. The lagoon is about 55 km long and consists totally of
Once an important place for smugglers was Chetumal, today the most important city by the border to Belize and also capital of the state Quintana Roo. The city is more rustic than Playa del Carmen or Cancun, was built in 1898 and has almost nothing historical. Main attractions are the museum of the Mayan, the zoo and some modern monuments. The hammocks of Chetumal are very famous souvenirs!
Hotels in and around Playa del Carmen