10 experiences to enjoy on the Riviera Maya
It is no secret that the Yucatan Peninsula and especially the Riviera Maya has become the largest destination in Mexico. Attracted by the endless white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea tourists are becoming more and more numerous each year. Some are attracted by the Mayan ruins and others of ecotourism that can be practiced in this area of the South of the country. But here are our 10 unforgettable experiences that we recommend to those who plan to spend a holiday on the Riviera Maya.
Americans usually spend the period of spring break on the beaches and in the clubs of Cancun. For Europeans it is not the favorite destination, since it is very far from the idea of a Caribbean destination, with its waterfront skyscrapers and its noisy disco-bars full of drunken youngsters. This does not mean that the sea is spectacular and that the beaches are very long and wonderful. One reason to make a stop in Cancun is for the cultural activities that are emerging in recent years and which are attracting even new tourists.
The Maya knew a lot about landscapes and it is right on the seashore of Tulum that in the XIII century they built one of the most spectacular buildings, now in ruins, that can be visited in Mexico.
Just half an hour’s boat ride from Cancun in the open sea you can meet Isla Mujeres, a corner of peace and relaxation away from the noise of the city. It is worth visiting the turtle breeding, a sanctuary that annually hosts up to 60.000 specimens. A dip in these turquoise waters is incredible.
The Riviera Maya is not just beaches and sea. Inside it hides incredible places, like this underground river with a complex system of caves so important to the ancient populations that lived in this area. Some of the rock formations that can be seen date back to 50 million years ago. During the visit you can also immerse yourself in the emerald green waters.
Playa del Carmen
Much more European than Cancun, Playa del Carmen is a resort born out of nothing not many years ago. Here the buildings are not high, some made with great taste by Italian architects. The beaches are smaller than Cancun, bordered by palm trees and closer to the tastes of us Europeans. From Playa del Carmen ferries depart for Cozumel, the largest island of Mexico, a paradise for diving because of the coral reef so dear to Jacques Cousteau.
Where to stay
Hotel Morgana is a unique and captivating boutique hotel, just steps from the famous 5th Avenue of Playa del Carmen and just steps from fabulous Mexican Caribbean beaches. At the Hotel Morgana, every detail has been carefully studied and nothing has been left to chance, from the personalized fragrance in the hall, to the works of Galería Altar, don’t forgetting the straws that you will use to sip your cocktails at the Purifica Pool & Bar or the brand new Consuela restaurant. Each of the 20 rooms is individually decorated, each inspired by a unique aspect of nature or regional culture, such as Frida Kahlo or a Mexican wheat field, just to name a few.
In addition to the rooms, Hotel Morgana also offers a rooftop pool, bar, solarium, gallery with original artwork by local artists and a panoramic restaurant called Consuela offering Mexican cuisine with a special touch of local chef Jaime Bazan, all combined with magnificent ocean views. This retreat is definitely a boutique and charming jewel in every way.
It is an original submerged museum recently inaugurated that offers the unique opportunity to snorkel among the works of art. Placed on the bottom of the transparent sea there are 400 sculptures submerged offshore between Isla Mujeres and Cancun. The MUSA collection includes hundreds of real-sized figures made by the British artist Jason de Caires Taylor. The purpose of this museum is not only artistic, but is aimed at the conservation of the coral reef. In fact, in this way the tourists are encouraged to get away from the real coral reef that is being ruined to come and snorkel among the sculptures.
This island is located within a nature reserve. A favorite destination for birdwatchers, where they can admire 150 species of birds. If you happen to take a trip to Mexico between mid-May and mid-September, you will have the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, the largest sharks in the world.
About thirty kilometers from the coast is this typical Mexican town, with beautiful colored buildings and colonial style. Merida is famous for its architecture, museums and restaurants where you can taste the typical Yucatan cuisine. It is considered the cultural capital of the region and is less than an hour away from the ruins of Uxmal.
How we could have omitted from the top 10 one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, although many think that this site has lost, over the years, much of its charm. However, Chichen Itza remains one of the most beautiful, intact and magical Maya sites in the country and if you decide to take a trip to South Mexico it is a must see.
Considered the most frivolous destination of the Riviera Maya, the coastal resort of Xcalak has managed to keep away from speculation, at least until now. If you are looking for a pristine beach, away from the crowds and noise, here is the perfect destination. But do not say it too much around.