Tulum means ‘wall’ in the ancient Mayan language. Walking among the ruins and the pre-Colombian remains will take you to another age. Tulum is imbedded in history and culture and features one of the best beaches in Mexico. Being the only archaeological site right by the sea, it is the most picturesque place in the region and maybe of the whole country.
Cenotes are geological depressions filled with cold, crystal-clear water, out in the open, partly covered or subterranean, in caves. The Mayan etymology means ‘cavern with water’. Swimming or diving in a cenote is an unforgettable experience. Some of the most famous ones are Kantun-chi, Caracol, Dos Ojos, Azul Sagrado and the Gran Cenote.
Chichén Itzá is the most famous Mayan city in the world. It receives over one million tourists every year, making it Mexico’s second most visited archaeological region. In 1988, UNESCO included Chichén-Itzá on its World Heritage List. In 2007 it became one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: Chichén-Itzá is an essential visit!
The calm village of Akumal is just 37 kilometers from Playa del Carmen. Naturally sheltered by the island of Cozumel and the coral reef right in front of it, the waters of the four small bays of Akumal (Media Luna, Turtle Bay, Akumal Sur and Bahía Príncipe) are very calm. Akumal is the Mayan designation for ‘land of turtles’ and if we’re lucky we’ll be accompanied by turtles when diving in the sea there.
The town of Isla Mujeres (which is partially on the mainland) is 13 km from the city of Cancun. In pre-Colombian times the island was dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon and of love, and she was given offerings with female shapes. The conquistadores observed those figures and renamed the island after women, Isla Mujeres. It is a picturesque and charming island, famous for its beaches and turquoise waters and a natural habitat for dolphins and turtles.
Playa del Carmen
What not too many years ago was a small fishermen’s village and the main port for boats travelling to the island of Cozumel has become a cosmopolitan paradise drawing thousands of foreigners of many nationalities. Fun never ends here. Besides the roaring nightlife and festive atmosphere all year round, it is surrounded by the most famous beaches in the country. These landscapes of turquoise water and white sand are ideal for enjoying the best of the Caribbean Sea.
“Thanks to its weather, beaches and facilities, the Mayan Riviera has become the most important tourist destination in Mexico and one of the regions with the most international visitors. IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has 7 hotels on the Mayan Riviera, distributed between Playa del Carmen and Playa Paraíso, two of the most beautiful settings in the area.”