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A Silver City in Guanajuato

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Famous the world over, Guanajuato is one place in Mexico you definitely don’t want to miss. The area is soaked in rich history and traditions, and was granted World Heritage status in 1987 by UNESCO. The site has been ranked consistently as one of the top travel destinations in the world and it isn’t hard to see why.

Both locals and tourists are happy to classify Guanajuato as one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. It was once a major mining town for silver, and many of the mines are still active and in production. Unusually, the city doesn’t have an actual date of founding, having evolved from a number of miner camping sites based around veins of silver discovered between 1540 and 1558. Unbelievably, a silver vein so enormous was discovered in the city, in 1558 that it produced a third of all the silver in the world for the next 250 years.

Guanajuato is built on very hilly surroundings, so almost every point in the city is slanted. Although this makes for interesting wanderings for the unbalanced, it is also an impressive architectural feat. Guanajuato also features a network of underground tunnels serving as roads, making even a drive in this interesting city very unique. The first tunnels were built in the remnants of a rive in the late 1960’s and new tunnels were added on later, with the last being constructed in 1990. Visitors can take buses that run along the tunnels if they want to experience them, although walking in tunnels near Centro (Guanajuato’s downtown area) is also quite safe.

One thing that Guanajuato is known for internationally, apart from it’s UNESCO status, is the Festival Cervantino, an internationally acclaimed arts festival held around the fall season in October. Lasting for most of the month, the event attracts almost 200,000 people and sells on over 450,000 tickets to events. These events happen in around 49 venues, including theatres and plazas, and are a cultural treat for any visitor.

Other sites in Guanajuato include the strange Museo de las Momies (the Mummy Museum), which came about following the forced exhumation of several bodies from local graveyards due to overcrowding. Surprisingly, these bodies were found to have mummified, instead of decomposing, and are now available for visitors to see in the museum.

If morbidity isn’t your cup of tea, you might have more fun visiting El Pipila, a 28-metre high statue of independence hero Juan Jose Marinez, also known as El Pipila. The legend goes that he wore a stone stab on his back as protection while he burned Spanish troops hiding in a granary around 1810. The site is accessible by cable car, just behind Teatro Juarez, and offers incredible views at night. Do check out the theatre (Teatro Juarez that is) on your way though, as it has interesting greek, roman and Moorish architecture making it a very beautiful and unique structure worth getting a few photos of. No doubt the photograph will be one of many you treasure from your trip to the amazing city of Guanajuato.

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Mexico’s Second Largest City: Guadalajara

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Guadalajara, sometimes called the Pearl of the West, is Mexico’s second largest city, and with around 4 million residents is one of the largest urban centres in North America. It is a city with deep roots in Mexican history, something that Guadalajara residents are happy to show off to visitors discovering the city.

Travellers to Guadalajara will no doubt spend their day wandering about the beautiful city, which consists of several unique districts including Centro Historico, Chapultepec, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá and Zapopan.

Centro Historico is, as you might have guessed, the city’s historical centre where there are many incredible colonial relics housing museums, bars, hotels and even government offices. For the architecture alone, it is worth a little stroll. Chapultepec is the place to go for fancy restaurants, coffee spots and nightclubs, and is more modern and distanced than the centre. Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are the go to neighborhoods for folk-art shopping, with Tonalá being the more local version of upscale Tlaquepaque. Even Zapopan offers some unique colonial sites, although it is more famous as Guadalajara’s Beverly Hills.

Guadalajara has been a major influencer to Mexican culture, and is considered to be the birthplace of a number of traditions and cultural offerings that the country is now famous for. These include tequila, mariachi music, sombreros, rodeos (known as charreadas) and even the Mexican Hat Dance. Lovers of Mexican culture will certainly find themselves swimming in a rich cultural setting, but Guadalajara has since distinguished itself again.

Now, as well as all the aforementioned wonders, Guadalajara is quite well known for it’s gastronomic offerings to the public. Visitors will no doubt delight in stuffing themselves with exciting tacos, chilli-soaked pork sandwhiches (known as torta ahogada) and a plethora of other delicious goodies. There are also so many great settings in which to enjoy such scrumptious, with dining options including street stalls, local cafes and even dining houses in colonial mansions. The choices are endless, and your stomach will be struggling to keep up with you.

When you’ve had your fill on the amazing Guadalajara food, a good walk through the city centre should be on the cards. Be sure to check out the Plaza of the Crosses, four plazas in the shape of the cross with the Guadalajara Cathedral at the centre. The plazas have water fountains to occupy you as you sit and enjoy yet more food available from vendors there. Or, you could explore the inside of the Guadalajara Cathedral, a building which took nearly 50 years to complete starting in the 1560s. It features towers replaced in 1854, following an 1818 earthquake, and a must-see mural known as “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin”. The cathedral’s interesting mix of neoclassical, palladian and gothic architecture is sure to impress.

Also of interest to many is the Libertad Market, the largest public market in the Western Hemisphere. At the market visitors will find lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a growing variety of goods such as homemade pottery, handicrafts, leather goods and more.

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Loreto’s Ancient Past

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The area of Loreto is considered by cultural anthropologists to be the oldest of all human settlements on the Baja Peninsula. Ample food and water resources meant this area was a thriving centre for Indigenous peoples, and now a popular destination with visitors to Mexico.

Loreto is the sort of place where one can easily get caught up in the legends and colonial magic that makes up such a large portion of Mexico. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re taking a stroll down the city’s maze of streets, wandering through caves to see ancient cave art, or even taking a dive into the Sea of Cortez, this place is something else entirely. The indescribably natural surrounds include paradise-worthy beaches of white sand and azure waters, incredible cliff settings and rock formations. And that isn’t even including the new perspective that Loreto visitors might glean from a look into where colonization in Baja California began more than 300 years ago.

The abundance of beautiful bay areas around Loreto make it perfect for a beach-lovers destination. There are gorgeous beaches in easy reach of visitors, as well as many hidden and undiscovered places in the every changing coastline of nooks and crannies. Such spots are ideal for travelers wanting to engage in a little kayaking, snorkeling or sailing, or simply swimming around and enjoying the turquoise blue sea and it is even one of the most recommended spots if you are thinking of acquiring any type of properties in Baja.

Some out of the way places are best reached by boat, such as the beaches of Isla Del Carmen or Isla Danzante boasting incredible cliffs and diving abounds. Tours are available for deep sea sports fishing, and enthusiasts will find more than enough entertainment from the numbers of mahi mahi and tuna to be fished locally. In the winter months, you would be crazy not to head out just 90 minutes off Loreto’s coast and see the grey whales, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Of course, the oldest settlement in Baja California also has its fair share of history, which is never more clear than during the wild and colorful festivals and traditional cultural events. The most important, not surprisingly, is the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, where an effigy of the lady is carried through the city. Worship, joy and wild celebration collide on the day, held in September, in which music, exhibitions, traditional dance and much more are on offer for visitors to see the true cultural depth of this little town.

But Loreto’s history goes even further back than that, and the pre-historic history of the area is best witnessed through an exploration of the rock and cave paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco. A bit of a drive from Loreto, the prehistoric artworks include murals larger than found in similarly famous European sites. Closer to the city, the Sierra la Giganta abstract figures in yellow and white, as well as black and ochre wait to be discovered. And north of the city, La Pingüica, a site packed with both canyons and art, features the famous La Pintada Cave, a veritable must-see destination in the Loreto area.

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Durango – Outlaw City

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The state of Durango is famous for one reason straight away: it’s the birthplace of a man widely considered to be Mexico’s greatest outlaw, Fancisco Villa. But the city of Durango, obviously in the same state, is also famous, for having produced Mexico’s first president General Guadalupe Victoria. Still, at around four hours driving through either desert or the Sierra Madre mountains to get to another major centre, Durango is one of Mexico’s most isolated cities making it uniquely special in so many other ways. It has a singularly impressive cuisine, and has made its mark on the movie business both in Mexico and abroad.

You might not think it possible, but Durango manages a pretty relaxed balance between modern center and backwoods Wild West. It was founded partially for the mining of gold and silver from Sierra Madre, and now exists on agriculture, timber, and of course, tourism. Visitors can expect a beautiful colonial centre in Durango, and a variety of choice when it comes to both accommodation and food options. Also, as there are two vastly different locations, that is the forest canyons and mountains, as well as the desert, there are so many choices to keep visitors occupied.

Certainly one activity sure to be a favorite with families and solo travelers alike is a trip to Durango’s old west. It is an opportunity to travel into the past, as just a few miles outside Durango visitors will discover Villas del Oeste and Chupaderos, two villages stuck in time. With dusty streets and cowboys abound, these villages feature sheriff offices, cancan dancers and even cowboys.

Approximately 150 national and international films have been shot on location there, beginning in 1955 with The Law of the Brave, and being used as far up as 2004 for The Bandidas. In fact, Durango is known in Hollywood as Movieland. Visitors will be no doubt impressed by the semi-desert landscapes surrounding the villages and old movie sets. Guides are recommended, as you’ll have lots of questions, and tours come in all shapes and sizes, including a bike tour.

For those happy living in the current century, Durango won’t disappoint, there are so many activities to see and do in the surrounding area. Take off on a canoe ride in the beautiful canyons, involve yourself in some rock and mountain climbing, take a nature tour and even spend a day or two camping out in the wild, there’s something for everyone. In town there are also museums of history, exhibitions, live music and annual festivals with entertainment for local and traveler alike. Be sure to check out some of the growing number of eco-tourism operators in the area, and allow yourself to enjoy the incredible areas of Durango at the same time as protecting its future.

So if you’re itching for a time-travelling adventure, or just keen to check out the natural beauty of Mexico’s isolated landscape, Durango is a great place to start. It’s ideal for travelers of all backgrounds, and is sure to cater for families, solo travelers and couples in equal measure.

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5 Must Visit Places in Estado de Mexico

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Photo Credit: Guillermo Varela

Photo Credit: Guillermo Varela

Estado de Mexico, sometimes shortened to Edomex, is located in South-Central Mexico and made up of some 125 municipalities. For visitors, this large area is certainly too much to cover in their trip, but there are some destinations within Estado de Mexico that simply cannot be missed. Our top 5 favorite (and your must visit) places are:

1. Toluca

Quite famous in the area for a beautiful set of 19th century arches known as Los Portales, Toluca also has a wondrous cathedral, which is an almost perfect example of Neo-Classical architecture. There is also a picturesque historical centre, not unlike many Mexican cities thanks to the urban development. However, Toluca is still a lovely place to enjoy a day or two wandering around the city’s plazas and shopping streets, as well as soaking up some art and history.

2. Tlalnepantla

Tlalnepantla, a city and municipality in Estado de Mexico, is sometimes known by its full title Tlalnepantla de Baz, and roughly translates to “the middle land”. But the only thing you’ll be in the middle of when you’re visiting Tlalnepantla will be the incredible historical sites located in the area: the Tenayuca and Santa Cecilia Acatitlan pyramids. The pyramid at Tenayuca is a smaller version of the famous Templo Mayor built by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan. The one at Santa Cecilia Acatitlan is smaller, with a staircase and temple on top. Both are incredible example of Aztec architecture, and an experience for visitors.

3. Ixtapan de la Sal

A little town near Mexico City, Ixtapan de la Sal is known almost solely in the region for the large deposits of salt that can be found there. Its popularity with tourists has continued to grow thanks to the thermal springs there, widely believed to have healing abilities. For families and thrill seekers not really that interested in the soothing properties of the water, there’s also the Ixtapan water park, where there are plenty of slider, rivers, hot springs and fun experiences to be had by all.

4. Valle de Bravo

Sometimes referred to as the loveliest of all central Mexico’s colonial centres, Valle de Bravo is a magic little town that offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. Gorgeous mountain roads with the occasional panoramic view will take you from Toluca to the man made shores of Lake Avandaro, where the atmosphere is amazing. Yet it is the town, an almost intact example of the popular colonial architecture so loved by visitors to Estado de Mexico that is so appealing to visitors. Definitely not one to miss.

5. San Juan Teotihuacán

San Juan Teotihuacán gets it’s name from the jaw-dropping ancient city (and World Heritage site) that is located just next to the area. Teotihuacán, the site, is easily the bit atraction in the area. Once Mesoamerica’s most impressive city, it it known for its too masice pyramids (representing the sun and moon) that overwhelm the ruined metropolis. We can hardly describe it more, the site is so incredible, and highly recommended if you’re in Estado de Mexico. Travel early in the morning, and you’ll miss both the crowds and the heat.

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Huatulco – Mexico’s Undiscovered Paradise

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Huatulco, a name visitors might sometimes see in its full form as Bahías de Huatulco, is a tourist destination in Mexico. Centered on the town of La Crucecita, it is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast and consists of nine bays that explain its full name. Until the 1980s, this particular stretch of coast had just one small fishing village, making it the youngest of Mexico’s planned coastal resorts. One of the biggest benefits of this for tourists is not just that construction is not all encompassing (there are still many large areas of wild shoreline), but also that there are more eco-friendly practices in place on building height and waste management.

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Photo Credit: Doug

The cruise market is an active one here, but make no mistake, Huatulco is not for a traveller on a tight budget. Still, the accommodation options continue to grow in both number of variety in terms of cost, and there are activities aplenty for those who choose to take a few days to explore the Huatulco area.

It is no surprise that snorkelling and diving are big draws for visitors to Huatulco, and a day trip featuring either snorkelling or diving (or both) should definitely be on your list of things to do. A common destination for these boats is San Agustin Beach, a western bay in the Huatulco area that sits next to the Huatulco National Park. This gorgeous deserted beach is a great snorkelling spot, and in the right season visitors have the opportunity to swim with the sardines, as enormous schools of them pass through the area on migration. But for most of the year you will find calm waters, and very good visibility (sometimes up to 18 metres) making it easy to see all the marine-life that you’d dreamt of. Sometimes, whales are even sighted in the area.

Yet more pristine than San Agustin is Chachacual Bay, which simply cannot be missed. Although accessible only by boat, this isolated beauty is on the route of many tours, and it is obvious why. Even from the boats floating gently on the azure water, the booming marine-life is clear, with reef fish curiously rising from the depths to see the new arrivals.

Next on your agenda (and on many tours) is the wonderful Cacaluta Island, where the coral stretchs for 300 metres at depths as shallow as 2 metres and as deep as 12. It pays to keep an eye out here though, as the more vigilant snorkelers will probably spot sea turtles and even grey nurse sharks making their way around the gorgeous coral landscape.

Ultimately, Huatulco represents the potential benefits of sustainable tourism. Still out of the way of many travellers, the region is slowly beginning to open up, and more travel and transport options are available every year. This slow growth, as well as an injection of cash from the tourism arm of the government, has allowed the Huatulco area to grow sustainably, without the harmful environmental side effects that often plague tourism. So do yourself, and this beautiful place a favour by coming to visit Huatulco. You certainly won’t regret it.

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Hidalgo: Going Green With Eco-Tourism

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When it comes to going green, few places to better then Hidalgo. Whether you feeling like getting up close and personal with the natural surroundings, or looking for adventures sure to get your blood pumping Hidalgo will provide. For the nature seekers, the city and surrounding areas feature incredible natural sceneries, amazing wildlife and flora and numerous lakes and waterfalls to be explored. For the adventure seeker, adrenaline-pumping, hair-raising activities are all apart of the impressive ecotourism offerings in the area.


Hidalgo visitors in Mezquital Valley can see magical caves, as well as gorgeous river and mountains. There are a number of adventure and eco-tourism outfits there able to provide for you on your holiday by showing you around to various destinations in the area. One of these spots is La Gloria, a centre of thermal pools believed to have healing capabilities, perfect for those interested in alternative medicine. Others will find that some of the pools in the area offer both swimming and scuba diving, if the hot water doesn’t suit.

Also in the Mezquital Valley area is Eco Alberto, where there are numerous activities sure to pique the interest of Hidalgo tourists. Visitors can take a speedboat ride in the grand canyon, or take part in a night walk by torchlight. If you’re around here make sure you don’t miss the La Florida Crater, as well as the beautiful, and eerie Xoxafi caves. Cyclists will find themselves more than provided for at the Banxú trails, which are a great ride for cyclists at all levels.
Of course, one of the most popular activities in the Hidalgo area is a visit to the Basaltic Prisms. These unique rock formations have been carved by water over millions of years, achieving a geometric structure that is almost perfect. One of the thirteen natural wonders of Mexico, the prisms are surrounded by forested vegetation and are ideal for everyone from hikers and campers to hot air ballooners. Some 98 feet high, they offer incredible photographic opportunities that are likely to leave a lasting impression.

Visitors to the prisms can explore the rocks, and enjoy a quick spray from the spring waterfalls, and then retire to the green space to relax. Here, families will have no problems occupying their day with nearby swimming pools, basketball and volleyball courts and similar activities. It is easy to camp, and visitors can either bring their own food and picnic or choose from an adequate range of local dishes on site such as barbacoa and other famous dishes from Hidalgo’s cuisine. Of course there are also memories of your trip available at nearby handicraft shops where you’ll find recreations of the prisms in obsidian, clay and wood as well as other local treats.

Undeniably, Hidalgo is a beautiful natural destination in Mexico that will impress visitors of all backgrounds and styles of travel. And whether you’re travelling as a family, or alone, you’ll find yourself more than occupied in this unique Mexican destination.

Prismas Basalticos (Queretaro)” by josar – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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The Paradox of La Paz, BCS

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The biggest paradox for travellers visiting La Paz is that is doesn’t really suit it’s name as the most ‘Mexican’ city in Baja. Indeed, the city is very international, and visitors are just as likely to hear Portuguese, Italian or even French while wandering the streets as they are to hear English or Spanish. It’s a town with an interesting history that includes an American occupation, and a time in which it was declared its own republic. But that was only temporary, and not La Paz is a interesting blend of relaxed, slightly antique beauty and more modern trends.

Photo Credit: Mexico-Update

Photo Credit: Mexico-Update

Although often overlooked by travellers La Paz has more than enough to offer travellers in the form of incredible waterfronts and quality beaches. One of these is Playa El Tesoro, which is in a protected bay surrounded by aquamarine waters. It is very quiet, and perfect for any kind of watersports that doesn’t include motors, like kayaking and canoeing. Visitors to La Paz can also visit the islands in the Sea of Cortez, which are available on boat tours that, despite the costs, are well worth doing. The incredible marine wildlife and beautiful scenery are the big draws here for sure. There are even opportunities to whale watch in the area, and see the grey whales of Magdalena Bay. Most tour operators for the whale watching provide both lunch and snorkelling equipment, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

If you’re wanting to spend the day getting some shopping done and having a walk around, make sure you check out the beachside malecón where you’ll find lots of interesting little shops and unique eateries. It is a great place to spend the day, and there are less touts here which makes for an easier shopping experience. There are also a few places on the malecón where you’ll be able to rent a bike to get around La Paz, as many visitors will tell you the town is quite spread out. But, be sure to take care if you are wandering around the city area, as getting lost is quite common. It helps to take a map, as although there is a grid patter that makes general orientation easy, there are a plethora of crooked streets and alleys with names that change on every block. Consider yourself fairly warned.

For those looking for a night out on the town, La Paz will also provide. There are a number of popular waterfront bars and clubs that are well worth checking out like Clandestino, The Jungle, La Casa De Villa, La Cantina and others. Most locals enjoy spending their evenings in the busy Exquisito coffee shops, or having a maleconeando, which in La Paz means heading down the water front at night to try and pickup and observe the nightlife. This is quite a popular pastime, and visitors need not worry themselves, as the downtown area is quite safe.

La Paz has a great balance that is worth experiencing the next time you’re planning on holidaying in Mexico, and whether it’s nature or culture, you’ll find something in this interesting coastal city.

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Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo: Coastal Opposites

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Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo, despite being sister cities, could not be more startlingly different. Ixtapa is the newer development, a city that was purpose built, intending initially to be a more sanitized version of Mexico. On the other hand, and certainly in comparison, Zihuatenejo is the real thing, Mexico in its entirety. Zihuatenejo, sometimes called Zihua by locals and regulars, is the ultimate pacific heaven, a paradise of beaches, friendly folks and an enviable lifestyle. In fact, it’s the same community that Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman make their escape to in The Shawshank Redemption. Up until the 1970s, Zihuatenejo was a little fishing villagem more of a hideaway than a tourist spot, and popular with both hippies and pirates. But, when Ixtapa was built just a short hope down the road, business started to boom.

Photo Credit: RussBowling

Photo Credit: RussBowling

As it can be said with any city having been in the middle of a tourism boom, parts of Zihuatenejo have become very commercial and tourist-heavy. This is even more true (and obvious) when the cruise ships are in town. But, Zihua has managed to hold on to the charm that once drew so many people to her centre, although the dominance of big hotels over guesthouses is starting to be noticed. Yet there is a historical vibe in the city that is unique in its own right, and visitors can spend their days exploring the narrow cobblestone streets downtown, looking for local eats and bars, as well as shopping opportunities.
Ixtapa came to be when, in the late 1970s the tourism development group decided that more of a resort atmosphere was required on the Pacific coast. So, from the soil of a coconut plantation came hotels and golf-courses, a totally planned city with gorgeous beaches, elegant hotels, lots of chain restaurants, and an almost plastic atmosphere.

It is easy to see how the two cities are so at odds with each other. Ixtapa tends to be favoured by families, who appreciate the ease that such a squeaky-clean holiday destination might give them. There are certainly lots of all-inclusive options available to suit them as well. Of course, if Mexico is your destination more for home comforts and nightlife, instead of the shock of cultural differences, you might find yourself quite catered for there as well.

Zihuatenejo is much more favoured by a more adventurous crowd on the lookout for the authentic Mexico. This was once a majority crowd of backpackers, but now it is just as common to see swimmers and snorkelers, honeymooners and cultural travellers who appreciate the city’s unique vibe of relaxation, as well as the beautiful areas that surround it. Beach days involves choosing a spot for lunch, with many beach-side dining options, perhaps followed by a swing in a coastal hammock to digest watching the parasailers make the most of the gentle breeze above you. Such are days in Zihua.

Whatever spot you settle on, you’ll find both Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo offer more than enough to keep you occupied and entertained during your time in Mexico, and no doubt you’ll be coming back for more.

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Riviera Maya – A Beautiful Natural Wonder

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If you were looking for paradise on the Yucatan Peninsula, Riviera Maya or the Mayan Riviera, are probably going to be right up your alley. Although admittedly not set in stone, the area that the Riviera Maya encompasses starts about 10 miles south of Cancun, around the village of Puerto Morelos, and ends in Carrillo Puerto. In between, are famous spots like Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum, all just waiting to be explored.

Photo Credit: Grand Velas

Photo Credit: Grand Velas

Right at the centre of the Riviera Maya is of course the gorgeous Playa del Carmen. This coastal resort town offers relaxation, lots of small accommodation options in a more boutique market, and a remarkably European kind of atmosphere. Popular activities in the area are mainly focused around water sports, and there are a number of operators in the area that specialize in providing these for visitors. Offshore you’ll find part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral system in the world. Thanks to this, snorkeling, diving and of course fishing very popular.

Another popular activity that one can find all over the Riviera Maya area is that of cenotes exploring. Cenotes are freshwater sinkholes, varying in size but overwhelmingly having unparalleled water clarity. Some of them are open air, while other more interesting cenotes can be found in cave areas under the ground. There are a large variety in the Riviera Maya available for visitors to have a look around in, and either swim, or try their hand at cenotes diving.

For those who like the ideas of cenotes, there’s yet another activity that will no doubt impress: exploring the Rio Secreto. This underground river is one of the most amazing natural wonders of the Riviera Maya area. A veritable maze of passageways created over time due to the movement of the water and other geological processes. Visitors can explore the area with guided tours, which provide wetsuits as much of the tour involves swimming in the shallow water. Most impressive of the entire area though is just how clear the underground water is, with amazing visibility that makes the entire experience seem very magical.
While we’re celebrating the incredible natural wonders of the Riviera Maya, it is also worth mentioning about the many eco theme parks in the area. These parks might be privately owned, but they are an amazing location for visitors to go, offering sheltered bays with very clear water, in which a variety of wildlife can be seen.

One of these parks, Xel-Ha, calls itself a natural aquarium. Visitors there can swim with dolphins, see sea turtles, snorkel, scuba and even cliff-dive. With the park fee you get free drinks, and there’s a buffet restaurant perfect for lunch.

Another, Xplor, features a number of limestone caves and grottos, as well as incredible underground river systems that can be explored with rafts, on foot, by swimming or on amphibious transports. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also aboveground adventures in the form of nearly 2 miles of zip-lines allowing you to fly through the trees.