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and History: The Mayan Riviera is a beautiful shoreline along the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. In the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, this tourism and resort district is full of Mexico’s culture and history. The Mayan culture still lives on in this region and can be discovered in the archaeological sites and ancient ruins, to the small heritage villages that boarder the stunning white sand beaches. The perfect blue waters give way to the Great Maya Reef which can be explored by divers, and ferry visits to the island of Cozumel. Explore the underground river caves and enchanting cenotes and discover the great history of the Mayan ruins. This destination is perfect for a laid back vacation on the beach or an activity fuelled explorer’s dream vacation.
Day Trips and Attractions:
Akumal: A small town that is a favourite for divers and snorkelers. It is known as the “Place of Turtles” because many endangered turtles nest on the beaches here from May to December. There is also a research and community ecological centre.
Tulum: Not only an archaeological site of many well-preserved ancient Mayan ruins but this beach town also has many facilities for tourists. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, gift shops and small boutiques. Beautiful beaches and cenotes can be explored in the area, including the famous Calavera Grand cenote.
Puerto Aventuras: A port city centred around marine life. There are plenty of activities in this marina city including sport-fishing, sailing on a catamaran or yacht, observing dolphins and manatees, sports activities such as tennis and golf, shopping, and beach activities. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in nearby cenotes.
Chichen Itza: Site of one of the greatest ancient Mayan cities, with buildings that have been authentically restored and maintained. It is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and during the high season can get as many as 8,000 daily visitors. Be sure to visit the step pyramid, El Castillo and the ancient ball courts. Catch the nightly sound and light shows.
Tulum Archaeological Site: One of the most popular sites in this region is the Tulum ancient port archaeological site built by the Mayans. It’s enormous walls and beautiful doors and buildings are a wonder to behold. It is best to visit this site early in the morning or later on the day as this area can become extremely busy with tourists.
Coba Archaeological Site: Was once believed to be the most populated area of the ancient Mayan civilization. The great pyramid in the middle of the settlement, Nohoch Mul, is the highest pyramid in the Yucatan region with 120 steps that can be climbed by the public. It is well-worth the climb up for the remarkable view of the Coba area and surrounding ancient settlements.
Bars and Restaurants:
Fusion Bar and Restaurant: This beach front bar in Playa Del Carmen is the perfect spot to enjoy the sandy beach and ocean breeze while listening to great live music.
Wah Wah Beach Bar: A great daytime beach club that transforms into a bar after sunset. Spend all day here dancing and listening to live music. Sundays here includes an all-you-can-eat pig roast. (Playa Del Carmen)
Moms Bar and Restaurant: A popular place for Canadians and Americans to get a great home-cooked meal and enjoy a drink. (Playa Del Carmen)
Panchos Backyard: Authentic Mexican food with over 200 varieties of Mexican beers and tequilas. (Cozumel)
La Cueva del Chango: An amazing dining experience that simulates being inside a cave, with lush foliage and waterways to complete the atmosphere. The name means “The Monkey Cave” and it holds true to it’s name with two resident spider monkeys. (Playa Del Carmen)
La Cocay: Ever wanted to dine in an open-air restaurant with glimmering fireflies all around you? That is exactly what you will get at La Cocay (firefly in Mayan) located in Cozumel.
Posada Margherita Restaurant: Craving Italian food? Look no further than this Italian restaurant located in the Posada Margherita Hotel. Pasta and fresh seafood are the main dishes here. (Tulum)
Passport: Required for any foreign traveler to enter Mexico, must be valid until at least the date of departure.
Tourist Visa: Mexico allows visa free entry for tourists from the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Island, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela.
Other countries require a visa which can be obtained through the Mexican embassy.
Tourist card: given at airports or port of entry is always required.
Health and Safety:
Health: Health facilities are readily available in larger cities. Do not expect the same standard of health care as in Canada. Have your vaccinations up to date and remember to always drink only bottled water in Mexico.
Crime Rate: Although caution should be used in Mexico due to violence and drug related crimes in certain areas of the country, the Mayan Riviera region (Yucatan Peninsula) has not been significantly affected by violence. The safest way to enter the country is air travel to avoid any violence or dangerous situations at land borders.
Weather: February to May is the best time of year to visit the Mayan Riviera, the weather is warm from mid 20°C to low 30°C and cooler during the night. The ocean is calmer and the temperature gets warmer, perfect for swimming, snorkeling or diving. June to August is the hottest temperatures ranging from low to mid 30’s with occasional harder rainfalls that dry up quickly. The ocean is calm and warm during this time. Hurricane season is September to December and the ocean will start to cool down in November. November to January the temperatures are still in the mid 20’s and the nights are much cooler which would require a light jacket. The average annual temperature is 25°C and the humidity is always high sometimes above 90%.
Transportation: Public transportation such as buses and vans are easy to use and get around with. It is not recommended to rent a car and drive in Mexico. Use reputable taxi services from your hotel and back and be aware of suspicious taxi services.
Travel Tips: Always be aware of your surroundings, do not wear expensive jewelry or anything that will make you standout as a tourist as you may be targeted for pickpocketing or theft. Always keep your passport and valuables in your hotel safe. Keep small amounts of cash to purchase items and avoid using any credit or debit cards. Always withdraw or exchange cash in secure areas and never any place that you do not feel safe.