The Gems of the Yucatan Peninsula

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I was introduced to the Riviera Maya area of Mexico by my husband.  It’s his favorite place in the entire world, and it’s easy to see why.  Mexico has amazing food, gorgeous beaches, thriving reefs for diving, insane freshwater sinkholes, and a rich history.
The ridiculous gifts of nature are enough reason to get to the state of Quintana Roo, which includes the popular town of Tulum and the more developed city of Playa del Carmen.

 

Beaches

The sugar white sands and turquoise waters of the ocean are a huge draw for tourists.  I mean, COME ON.  Amazingly enough, this photo has no filter on it.

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We love staying at The Beach where the cabanas are right on the water.  The staff is warm, and the bar has swings.  What more can you ask for?

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Scuba Diving

The diving is absolutely fantastic down there.  The most vibrant colors and marine life I have ever encountered were in Cozumel.  Walls and walls of rainbow coral and so many sharks, turtles, and tropical fish.  I literally saw our diving instructor high five a sea turtle like it was a scene out of Finding Nemo.  I was flabbergasted.

 

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Hanging out with sharks.

 

 

Rain Forests

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There’s also the jungle aspect of the Mexico.  It was awesome to ride bikes through the rain forest and check out historic sites.

 

Ruins

Coba, Chichen Itza, and Tulum are three popular ruins.  Since tourists tend to go on tours that start at the beginning of the day, if you are able to rent a car, I would highly suggest that you go toward the end of the day.  There will be less crowds and nice indirect light out (less likelihood of burning!).

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Coba is the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula.

 

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The Tulum ruins stand high on the cliffs next to the ocean.

 

Chichen Itza is probably the most famous Mayan site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the new seven wonders of the world. And let’s not forget that it was the site of J.Lo’s I’m Into You music video.

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image via izlesene.com

 

Cenotes

Cenotes are beautiful natural wonders. They are swimming holes, which are formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock creating groundwater pools.

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image via amusingplanet.com

Some of the well known cenotes are Gran Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos.  There are also many smaller cenotes open for tourists to check out.

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Gran Cenote

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Snorkeling

If you love snorkeling, one place that I highly recommend is Yal-Ku Lagoon.  It is basically like a natural aquarium. Even though I’ve been there several times, I still get excited about getting in the cool blue waters and being surrounded by schools of fish.  Tip: You can only wear natural sunscreen in this lagoon.  Buy beforehand or purchase at the parking lot.

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Another amazing place for snorkeling and especially for turtle watching is Akumal Bay.  Hello, sweet turtles!

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FOOD

Near Akumal Bay, there is a delicious little loncheria near the parking lot and grocery store.  They have REALLY tasty tacos al pastor (pork tacos)…and everything there is fantastic in general.  One of our favorite eateries!  The tacos are also excellent with their watermelon juice!

If you are in the Playa del Carmen area, another tasty taco spot is Don Sirloin.  The restaurant cooks the meat while it spins on “trompos” with pineapples on top with onions on the bottom.  The thought behind this set up is that the citrus juices run down while the onion aroma rises up.  Whatever the case, the results are exquisite.  *Drool

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Besides tacos, you will find so many delectables flavors in Mexican dishes.  My husband and I especially appreciate the heat!  See the breakfast below.  We always looked forward to the breakfast at The Beach Tulum hotel.  Add their hot salsa!  (I got served this meal one time with chopsticks. Because I’m Asian?)

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And I can’t complain about the the visually appealing presentation.  Love the colors!

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If you’ve never made it out to the Riviera Maya area, I hope it is a future destination for you.  If you’ve already traveled there, I would love to know what your favorite spots are!  Thanks for reading!

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xo,

Erica

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