Have you cruised the Mayan Riviera? Riviera Maya lies along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where a combination of mangrove forests and sandy beaches meet the turquoise water. Popular stops for cruise ships include Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Costa Maya. Here are some of the adventures you can enjoy there.
Scuba and Snorkel. In a 1960s documentary, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau declared the sleepy island of Cozumel to be one of the world’s best places to scuba dive. There’s excellent visibility in the water around Cozumel, where snorkel and dive enthusiasts can explore part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, one of the largest in the world.
Punta Sur. Seafaring Mayans made Cozumel their home, and you can still see remnants of a Mayan village at Punta Sur Ecological Park. There’s a white sand beach, a lagoon beloved by crocodiles and two lighthouses to explore, too.
Tulum. Local Mayan culture and history are the pride of the port Playa del Carmen, which is near Tulum – the only collection of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan that overlooks the blue Caribbean. Explore the remains of a magnificent Mayan city, then relax on a pristine beach.
Cenotes. These sinkholes are full of crystal-clear fresh water; if you have snorkeling or dive gear, you might see ancient stalactite and stalagmite formations under the surface.
Xcaret Eco Park. Just south of Playa del Carmen, this park gives combines outdoor adventure with a dose of culture. Swim and snorkel along an underground river, visit with turtles, manatees, birds and butterflies, and watch a dance performance or Mayan artisans at work.
Mahahual. The port of Costa Maya is just a short cab ride from Mahahual, a fishing village filled with character. The beach is pretty, with calm and shallow water perfect for paddling about. You can rent jet skis, kayaks and paddle boards at the beach clubs, too.
Fortress. To imagine life in colonial times, take an excursion to an impressive old Spanish fortress in Bacalar, built to ward off attacks by indigenous people and pirates.
There’s a lot more to see along the Riviera Maya, which is also known for great shopping; but, it may be hard to for you to tear yourself away from the sun, sand and water. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about the many choices of ships and itineraries that visit Riviera Maya.
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