Region & Time Zone: Caribbean, Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5)
Passport Required: Yes
Languages Spoken: Spanish, English
Currency: Mexican Peso (USD is widely accepted)
Power: Standard US plug at 110 volts
A little background...
To say the Riviera Maya has something for everyone is an understatement. Located just south of Cancun on the Yucatan peninsula is the region known as Riviera Maya, famous for huge all-inclusive resorts, fine-dining, and picture perfect sandy beaches. It is home to the world's second largest barrier reef system, making it an international destination for all sorts of water activities. While reef-diving is worth the trip, cenotes that lie under the ground offer even more adventurous experiences for divers to explore the complex network of underground rivers. Moreover, Riviera Maya holds many of Mexico's most significant archaeological sites that never cease to amaze visitors worldwide. The Riviera Maya is full of wonders and you can easily see why once you are here.
White sandy beaches may be the first thing that come to mind when you think of the Caribbean, but there is so much more just beneath the surface of the water. The word "Akumal" means "place of turtles" - and fittingly, this beach (and dive-able reef) makes for a great natural habitat for giant seat turtles - and by swimming at Akumal Beach, you're able to observe the turtles, reef, and other colorful tropical fish.
Ruins of Tulum
Although Mayan ruins can be found throughout much of Mexico, the ruins of Tulum hold the distinction of being the only Mayan ruins in the world located on a coast, and one of the few that had walls for protection. The ruins have two prominent remaining structures, the castle and the temple. The castle, perched on the edge of a limestone cliff, overlooks the beautiful Caribbean coast below. The temple, on the other hand, preserves the ancient frescoes that depict the Mayan world of the dead, the living and the gods.
The unique geography of the Mexican coast means that the Riviera Maya features some phenomenal and incredibly special opportunities for all kinds of activities - including diving. If you want to feel as if you've stepped back in time to the era of the Mayans, swim or dive at one of the many Cenotes throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. A Cenote is a body of water under the ground which has been revealed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. The water in many of these pools has been filtered naturally by the earth over hundreds of years - and in some cases, is so clear that you can see clearly all the way to the bottom.
Mexico's largest island sits just 12 miles off the coast of the Riviera Maya, and is home not only to superb white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters, but also to a large amount of Mayan history. In the 1960's, Cozumel was declared one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas in the world - and today, parts of Cozumel have even been protected as underwater parks. Visibility in the beautiful blue water is routinely around 200 feet. Getting to Cozumel is easy, with multiple ferries available. However, it is worth noting that Cozumel can be extremely crowded when cruise ships are in port. As a result, it's worth checking in with your hotel concierge prior to heading over.
Birdie or Par?
No matter your skill level, the Riviera Maya will seem to have nearly endless golf courses for you to play. Between unique course architectural styles and hundreds of feet of short-front, you'll need to be sure to keep your eye on the ball - not on the scenery!