In the Riviera Maya the rivers go underground, the night can be the beginning of an adventure in the jungle and the archaeological monuments next to the sea. This tourist destination in the Mexican Caribbean, the territory of the Mayan Indians between 300 and 1000 AD, has today some of the best quality hotels and restaurants in Mexico that make an ideal mix between history, comfort and surprises for visitors of all the world.
On the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, known as the Riviera Maya, the sky is a transition of colors: from the blue palette of the sea, to the yellow of the beaches of Cancún, and then to the green of the palms, mahogany , cedars and mangroves that mostly make up the flora of this magical site.
A cosmopolitan destination
The past of the Riviera Maya is counted, at the same time, in centuries and decades. Archaeological places such as the city of Tulum that dates between 1,200 and 1,450 AD, or the Mexican state of Quinta Roo, which began to exist in 1974 and which became one of the fundamental tourist potentials of Mexico.
The most visited destination, the city of Playa del Carmen, is a true reflection of those two faces: history and novelty. Located 55 kilometers from the Cancun airport, it is a window for those interested in the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan peninsula, being one of the first discovered villages and being close to unique archaeological sites. At the same time, it is a cosmopolitan center that offers culinary and accommodation options for all tastes.
Transportation from the airport to the city costs about $ 65 in a taxi and $ 10 in buses, which operate between 8:30 a.m. and 11:50 p.m. The journey, about 50 minutes, takes place through a road guarded by hotel complexes and various parks.
In the city, the visitor can choose between several lodging options, each with a different touch to the trip: there are hotels with ocean views, with prices that are around 200 dollars per night, simple in the urban center, of approximately 40 dollars, or the big ones, that mix both scenarios.
One of the best options of this third type is the circuit composed of The Reef Coco Beach and The Reef Playa Car, both facing the sea, and The Reef 28, urban hotel, located opposite Fifth Avenue, an ideal street for walking in medium of restaurants and commercial businesses in which, at every moment, a different language is heard on behalf of the hundreds of foreign visitors.
The interior itself is an experience, as it has a state-of-the-art spa with thematic rooms for each element: air, fire, earth, and water; a roof terrace with bar and outdoor pool and three restaurants: a buffet, a Mexican and an Asian, to please the mood with which the guest sits.
The lodging in a hotel allows the transfer in buses of the company to enjoy the advantages of the other two. The average cost of the night in The Reef 28 is $ 155.
A historical destination
Another of the unmissable plans of the Riviera Maya is the only city of this walled culture built facing the sea: Tulum. Located one hour from Playa del Carmen, the city is composed of 66 structures, including prayer temples, power buildings and residences, which have survived for up to five centuries.
The visit to this space is more enriching if you have a guide who unravels the past behind these constructions. One option is offered by the Blue Caribe tour company. Your tour has a cost of $ 99, includes transportation to the archaeological zone with an expert in Mayan history and a visit to the village of Dos Palmas.
The town allows knowing part of the traditions that are maintained, such as the preparation of Mexican tortillas and the purification of the body and soul in the steam baths known as temazcales, a kind of rock igloos built in the middle of the jungle.
The tour concludes with a plunge into a cenote, one of the interconnected underground rivers that flow under the Yucatan peninsula, on which the Mayan Riviera is located. The bluest waters in which anyone can dive, visited by professional divers from around the world. According to the Cenote de Cenotes y Grutas de Yucatán, 2,241 of these formations have been discovered.
After this experience, the adventure does not end. There are still to visit the parks of the Xcaret chain, which offer everything from adventure in the jungle to games with the senses (see box), and meet the natural aquarium of Xel-Há, "the place where the water is born". The exploration continues in this tourist spot in which each destination, archaeological, adventure or relaxation, faces the Caribbean Sea.
HIGHLIGHT: XPLOR FIRE, THE JUNGLE IN FLAMES
An interesting tourist site for adventurers is this park, part of the Xcaret company circuit. It is an exploration complex with amphibious vehicles, rafts to explore the underground rivers and canopy to cross the jungle from the air. The great particularity is that this offer does not end when the sun sets. At night, the name of the park becomes Xplor Fuego and the attractions are charged with the magic of torches and rings of fire that surprise the attendees. This experience is available to tourists for a price of $ 117 per person.