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Riviera Maya: A Tourist Refuge on the Mexican Caribbean

The Riviera Maya, a mixture of adventure, natural wealth and archeological treasures, has strongly emerged as a multidestination alternative for vacationers who seek refuge away from noisy cities and crowds.

Technically speaking, the Riviera Maya stretches along 160 kilometers (100 miles), from Playa del Secreto (Beach of the Secret) to Punta Allen (Point Allen), and includes the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which is considered Mexico's only site for ecological tourism.

The development of the Riviera Maya - concentrated in a limited number of zones - offers natural beauty, outdoor adventure and isolation to visitors.

Small independent communities integrate into the area's environment, thus providing unlimited possibilities for exploration, taking advantage of more than 6,000 hotel rooms for tourism and the spreading of the All-Inclusive system.

Many Mayan archeological sites, which are silent witnesses of ancient civilizations, add a touch of excellence to the region's tourist offers, in a sort of combination that includes explored places (Tulum, Xcaret, Cobá) and unexplored ruins.

Among the most relevant sites is Xel-Há (meaning "where water is born" in the Mayan language), which is an incredible natural aquarium where ocean waters mix with those of springs and underground rivers.

Puerto Aventuras.
Tulum. Mayan ruins
Puerto Morelos. Panoramic view

That way, a wonderful and unique ecosystem including several islands and a constant torrent of bubbles coming up from the riverbeds emerges amid thick jungle vegetation, caverns, "cenotes" (freshwater sinkholes) and archeological sites.

Of special interest in the Riviera Maya are Tulum's ruins, which experts have described as one of Mexico's most charming archeological sites. Tulum is a port city with bright white walls calling on visitors to explore its small temples and buildings.

According to experts, the city was strongly influenced by the Toltec and Mayan civilizations, whose unique architecture dates from those periods.

In the city, the Templo de los Frescos (The Temple of the Frescos) features interior mural paintings, while the Templo del Dios Descendiente (The Temple of Descending God) shows a god coming down from heaven. More than 60 well-preserved structures can be seen inside the three huge and strong walls surrounding the site.

Xcaret, self-publicized as "Nature's Sacred Paradise", emerges as an ecological-archeological park where interesting ruins and beautiful caves, coves, inlets, caverns, grottoes and cenotes are perfectly combined.

This 200-acre tropical forest is home to several small Mayan temples and an excellent archeological museum. The site includes a fascinating aquarium, a turtle-breeding farm, crocodile folds, a butterfly pavilion and a sea turtle reserve.

With this huge potential for the leisure industry, the Riviera Maya has consolidated as a complement for tourism for those interested in the Caribbean's natural wealth, archeological sites and unique options.

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