The Segmental Info System

Basic Travel Information About Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

Beyond the basics: the Mexican Caribbean has many diverse areas to explore

Photo credit: © Kelley Tibble |
Travel Basics

Each region of the Mexican Caribbean has its own distinctive flavor, ensuring that vacationers will be able to find the perfect spot, no matter what they crave.

Knowing the characteristics of each area of the Mexican Caribbean will help plan a full vacation. From Cancún and Cozumel's popular tourist spots to the lesser-known Mayan Riviera and Isla Mujeres, you can set your vacation's pace.

Region Description
Cancún Cancún was the brain child of a young Mexican banker by the name of Enrique Savignac, who gathered a small group of investors and searched the Mexican coast in 1968 looking for the ideal vacation destination.

Quintana Roo was nominated as the spot where 15 miles of modern resort hotels would be constructed. Ever since, Cancún has been growing in popularity and has become one of the world's best known vacation locales. It brings in millions of visitors annually, but is known as Mexico's quintessential Caribbean tourist location.
Cozumel If you want to visit a spot where you'll find history as well as modern comforts, Cozumel may be the place for you. This island was known in Mayan legend as the home of the goddess of love and fertility, Ixchel. Temples were dedicated to her and she was said to have sent her favorite bird in return, so Mayans named this island "the land of the swallows."

Now Cozumel is better known as Mexico's largest island. It has only one town, San Miguel, but is surrounded by the second largest reef in the world. Divers and snorkelers from around the world make this a premier vacation spot due to its incredible sights.
Isla Mujeres Spanish explorer Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba is cited as having discovered Isla Mujeres, "Island of Women," in 1517. The island was named for the statues of women that Cordoba found.

Many Spanish ships sunk in the area around this island, including the Mercurio and the San Geronimo. The island is located only 8 miles from Cancún, making it easy to reach by boat or ferry. This island is also known for its unique natural as well as cultural sights.
Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen is called a small fishing village but now hosts several resort hotels offering all kinds of creature comforts. It is a European-style town with a laid-back atmosphere near the resort city of Cancún.

Located in Quintana Roo, it is also near Tulum, Xcaret, and Xel Ha. It is known for its stretches of white sandy beaches and crystalline waters, as well as its own, laid-back style of nightlife.
Mayan Riviera The Caribbean coast of Mexico stretches from Cancún to Tulum, and the area outside the major tourist locales is called the Mayan Riviera. Explore archaeological sites, lagoons, underground rivers, and caves. The area also is known for its diving, snorkeling, and white sand beaches.

There have been many hotels developed in the past five years along the Yucatan Peninsula, but the area known as the Mayan Riviera is still most frequented by backpackers and eco-tourists. Find beach side villas at Akumal, or spend a day at Xel Ha or Xcaret.
Tulum Fans of archaeological finds will delight in a visit to Tulum. This area was once a Mayan holy city overlooking the Caribbean. There are more than 60 restored temples in Tulum with genuine paintings and writings.

The legacy of the Mayans is well known, with astronomers and a calendar more accurate than our own. Here you can see buildings like one known as "The Castle" on a 40-foot bluff overlooking the sea.

Whether an ideal vacation requires luxury or nature and history, the Mexican Caribbean's destinations can usually hit the mark.


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