The Mayan Riviera - Mexican Caribbean

The Mayan Riviera is a wonderful stretch of coast in the Caribbean beginning in the north in Cancun and ending in the south in Tulum. White beaches with palms, tourqouise sea, mayan ruins, cenotes, lots of nature parks and an abundance of flora and fauna. Further in the south lays Sian Kaan, a biosphere reserve on the yucatan peninsula and further more is the lagoon of Bacalar, the harbor of Costa Maya and the capital of Quintana Roo - Chetumal. This region is called Costa Maya and keeps also the eponymous cruise port near the coastal town Mahahual.

After the tourist center Cancun with its airport was built in the early 1970s, the coastal section was subsequently settled further south. Playa del Carmen was once a small fishing village and today it is one of the most important touristical places at the mexican riviera. A lot of hotels are lined up at the coast in the direction of Tulum, mostly for package tourists of the upper class. Tulum is the aim for lots of backpackers and camper but also for "glamping" (glamorous camping) meaning camping with more luxury like toiletts, showers, bars etc. Here are also a lot of expensive and luxury boutique hotels.

 

This region is one of the most visited ones and especially for tourists very interesting. Endless, white beaches with turquoise and crystal clear water, small bays and lagoons wherever you go. You can also visit the second largest reef in the world, the meso american reef. Divers from all over the world come here to see the increadible world under water at the reef or the almost endless depths of the cenotes. The landscape at the Riviera Maya is covered by jungle and lush vegetation. Mangroves, palms, flowers and high trees offer protection for many different animals. The mexican caribbean is beautiful for vacation at the beach, enjoying the sun and swimming but you can see so much more. The mayan ruins, the mile-longe; underground cave system (cenotes), lots of parks, nature reserves, the tropical climate with sunshine nearly all year and temperatures of 25°C are very popular for many people.


Puerto Morelos:

Puerto Morelos is a small fishing village around 20 km in the south of Cancun and on the way to Playa del Carmen. Here, time seems to pass more slowly. It develops slow because of raising numbers of tourists. One part of the village lays directly on the highway and is the home of many locals. The other part is directly at the beach (Antiguo Puerto Morelos) with a lot of restaurants, bars and accomodations.


 


Playa del Carmen:

70 km south of Cancun is the former fishing village Palya del Carmen. Today, lots of restaurants, bars, discos and shops are lined up next to eachother. Along the waterline are quite a few beach clubs with life music in the evening. The ferry to Cozumel is within walking distance from the center. Playa del Carmen offers the guests uncountable options to enjoy their vacation, because of the climate and the location at the caribbean sea. The region of Playa del Carmen was called "Xaman-Ha" by the mayan people, which means "holy place at the Water". The city

 

 Die Region von Playa del Carmen wurde von den Maya "Xaman-Ha" genannt, heiliger Platz am Wasser. It has developed to the city with the highest population growth in Mexico to date. All over the year caribbean climate and beaches for water sports, diving, marriages, spring break and vacation. You can explore the city and its small streets by feet and saunter through the shopping mile, 5. Avenida. Playa is the city which never sleeps. Here are many parties and good vibes. Beach bars with Salsa and Reggae music, hip clubs with shows and discos.

 


Akumal:

Akumal means "place of turtles" in the mayan language and is still a insider tip. Around 30 km south of Playa del Carmen with fantastic sandy beaches and just few people compare to other places, except the bay of the turtles. Between may and september turtles nest here and eat the sea gras on the ground. Snorkeler come here to admire the huge sea creatures and with a bit of luck also rays. For tour agancies the bay is closed because of the big crowds of tourists. You are allowed to snorkle private but a life jacket and a guide is obligatory. This is necessary because people hunted, followed and attacked the animals for a perfect picture and the turtles got sick because of stress. On the other side of the highway lays the small and sleepy village Akumal, separated by a colorful painted highway bridge. Many artist have immortalized themselves with their graffitis. In the center is a tiny vegetable market, a tortilleria, a small supermarket and almost nothing else to explore. The locals live here while americans, kanadians and swiss live on the beach side in their gloury villas.


Tulum:

A mayan city at the caribbean coast - they could not have chosen a more majestic place. High above the cliffs stand the archaeological temple of the native people ot the region and every stone has his own history. Tulum is next to Cancun and Playa del Carmen one of the most important holiday destination. Around 130 km in the south of Cancun, offered Tulum some years ago just small and simple bungalows (Cabañas). In the meantime you can find everything from camping to luxury hotels, but it is still smaller than Playa del Carmen. Fantastic beaches, caribbean palm streets, souvenirs - everything remind of the Hippies with colorful tunics, dream catcher and bars. The atmosphere is easy and relaxed. Now, many celebrities, influencer and stars discovered the region for themselves because of the beautiful picture motives. 

 


Sian Kaan:

When you drive further in the south on the coastal road from Tulum you will reach the entrance of Sian Kaan, a UNESCO biosphere reserve meaning "present of the heaven" or "where the heaven was born" in mayan lenguage. Out of zivilisation and into the wonderful and peaceful nature. If you drive further, the view gets more carribean. We recommend a tour for this place because of the dirt roads, which are not suitible for every car. The small fishing village Punta Allen let you feel like beeing in another world. Here is nearly nothinurants and tiny fishing huts.

 


Bacalar:

Around 3,5 hours from Playa del Carmen is Bacalar - the lagoon of seven colors and the channel of the pirates. In mayan it is called "Bakhalal" and means "surrounded by reed". Bacalar lays 40 km in the north of the capital Chetumal. The city was honoured by SECTUR (secretary of tourism) as "Pueblo Magico" (magical place). It was the first town taken by the Conquistadores in 1543. The lagoon is 55 km long and consists of totally fresh water.

 


Mahahual:

Mahahual is a tiny seaside resort with white beaches and many small shops. The carless and beautiful promenade offers many restaurants, bars, hotels and souvenir shops. The beach with his great beach clubs is accessible everywhere. This place has not much mass tourism or huge resorts and the locals life from fishing. Though, 2 km in the north is a harbor for cruise ships (Costa Maya) with mass catering, duty free shops and outlet stores. The contrast could hardly be more different. If there is no ship, Mahahual is really empty and peaceful. Otherwise, many tourists run trough the promenade and the small city and it is far from peaceful.

 


Chetumal:

Formerly a important place for smugglers but today the most important border city to the neighboring land Belize and the capital of Quintana Roo. Chetumal is more rustic as Playa del Carmen or Cancun, it was artificially built up in 1898 and that is why there are no historical buildings. Important attractions are the mayan museum, the zoo and modern monuments. The hammocks of Chetumal are absolutely famous as souvenirs.