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Sian Ka’an is one of the most important Nature Reserves in Riviera Maya, one of the few unspoiled areas ideal for exploring the true natural beauty of Mexico. This place has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1987 and it is no surprise, considering its amazing beauty.
Here we find beaches which are very different from the style of Playa del Carmen, as they have maintained their unspoiled appearance, and have restricted access in some areas. They remain as they were when they were found by the first conquistadors who arrived on the American continent.
One of the main attractions of the coast of Sian Ka’an is its enormous coral reef, the second largest of its type after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Diving in its turquoise waters is a pleasure, as the great biodiversity that thrives here is a spectacle to behold. The other great attraction is that there is barely any sign of human presence, other than the CESIAK ecological complex which offers recommended routes, as well as being the only establishment to stay overnight or have a meal on the coast of the park.
Playa de Akumal
In the state of Quintana Roo is the coastal town of Akumal, known for its location on the shores of one of the most beautiful beaches in Riviera Maya. A coral reef barrier 200 metres from the coast shields the beach from the waves and makes it an authentic and extensive natural swimming pool, ideal for snorkelling.
In the Mayan language, Akumal means “place of turtles”. It is the nesting place of a large population of loggerhead sea turtles, which you can even swim with. Take care, because on the shore there will be more than one nest of these turtles that the recovery centre in the area tries to protect with signs indicating their presence.
In the area, we can take interesting hikes starting from the main beach towards the north, reaching the impressive Yal-Ku cenote which connects with the sea. You will find this wonderful place quickly by following a route of just 3 kilometres, entering the jungle to discover the wonderful crystal clear waters of Yal-Ku, which you will want to dive into.
In the Playa del Carmen area, the liveliest beaches of the whole Riviera Maya coast are found, as partying and fun are most important here, without forgetting that the Caribbean is the best setting for maximum enjoyment. For those who like to see and be seen, there is a very special place known as Playa Mamitas, the area of Playa del Carmen for glamour and sophistication, which has been the setting for important, world famous music festivals such as BPM and the Jazz Festival.
Playa Mamitas has the typical Caribbean charm: white sand, crystal clear waters, constant good weather – therefore a great day in the sun is more than guaranteed. The greatest attraction for those who enjoy this area is that unlike other places, there is a great festival atmosphere here, with music everywhere, terraces on the sand for enjoying the sun and eating local delicacies, and above all for enjoying a drink while dancing during the day. You don’t have to wait until night to enjoy the party in Riviera Maya!
Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
When disembarking from the ferry in Isla Mujeres, less than half a kilometre away we find another unparalleled Caribbean paradise, a huge beach known as Playa Norte. Isla Mujeres is a very accessible place for tourism, just 20 minutes by boat from Cancún, and once there, all kinds of services are found to make the stay comfortable.
Playa Norte is characterised by extending in the form of a bay, one kilometre in length. This creates the sensation that we are facing an immense swimming pool of crystal clear waters. On the beach itself, we find all kinds of conveniences: restaurants, beach bars, street vendors, water activities, hammocks and even a restaurant service. Swimming in the sea will also be a delight, as on this type of shallow beach you can walk endlessly in the water. Finally, the most special moment that can be experienced on the beach is notable – sunset, when the sun leaves the sky, covering every centimetre of this spectacular beach with its warm light. Playa Norte has all kinds of surprises until nightfall!
The archaeological area of Tulum is one of the most visited in Riviera Maya. Its secret is that few Mayan ruins have the privilege of being located on the shores of the Caribbean, a coast whose nature amazes visitors at first sight. This is what happens when setting foot on Playa Paraíso, the beach found less than a kilometre from these ruins, and also a great place for spending a day by the sea.
Playa Paraíso has been awarded by several publications specialised in travel, such as TripAdvisor. Its immense sandbank of pure white sand, combined with the impossible blue of the ocean, make this place a paradise, as its name indicates. Here there is a perfect relaxed atmosphere for enjoying this unspoilt place, without crowding or hotel complexes. We find only a few beach bars, ideal for sampling the local gastronomy at a good price and hiring a hammock for resting while contemplating the Caribbean landscape. Playa Paraíso is the best picture postcard of Riviera Maya that you can take away as a memory!
At the north of Cancún, we find the island of Holbox, just 40 kilometres long by two kilometres wide. The magic of this island is hidden in its over 34 kilometres of beach, its main attraction; and thanks to its isolation, it still preserves its semi-unspoilt state for the enjoyment of any visitor.
What do we find on the beach of Holbox? There is of course all the charm of the Caribbean beaches: large areas of white sand, shallow, crystal clear waters, and many palm trees that offer shelter when it is hottest. However, what really makes these waters special is the endless diversity of marine fauna due to this area in Mexico being where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean meet, allowing the presence of sharks, manta rays, dolphins, lobsters, and fish of every colour. Ultimately, there is a wealth of underwater life worthy of being discovered by snorkelling or scuba diving. Among the most prominent animals are the whale sharks which usually gather at this island between June and September, allowing the visitors to swim with them, as they are very docile creatures.
If there is a place that symbolises all the characteristics that we imagine when we think of Riviera Maya, it is the beach of Xpu-Há, a little-known place of unimaginable beauty thanks to the turquoise waters that surround its endless coast of white sand, bordered by a leafy jungle. It is located 25 kilometres south of Playa del Carmen and a few kilometres from the area of Tulum. It is a pleasure to be able to swim in such a beautiful place as this, with waters barely half a metre deep, so clear that you want to dive in, admiring its coral and the different species that live in its waters. It is also an ideal place for watersports such as snorkelling, a great way to discover the beauty hidden in the reefs. Kayaking is another of the sports that you can practice, which will allow you to discover the coast from a new angle.
A short distance from Xpu-Há there is also a small cove that connects with the Manatí Cenote, located between the mangroves. It is a magical area of this part of Mexico, where you will be seduced by nature in its purest state.
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