20 Nov 4 Interesting Places Near Riviera Maya
During your visit to Riviera Maya we want to make sure you don’t miss any of the wonderful sights and experiences that await you nearby – places full of magic, culture, gastronomy and allure what will put the finishing touch on your visit to this Caribbean paradise.
Two Inland Towns That Come Highly Recommended:
On the Yucatan Peninsula, one of the most important cities, and the closest to the touristic coast of the Riviera Maya, is Valladolid, a must thanks to its colonial architecture and the delicious native gastronomy you can try at its many street stands. The city was built on the ancient Mayan ceremonial center of Zaci, but today presents a colonial façade both along its streets and on its seven churches. These beautiful structures are spread across the whole of the city and their aesthetic style has merited the city the nickname “Sultana of the Orient”.
The Park of Francisco Cantón Rosado is the center of Valladolid and the location of the San Servacio Church. But, the jewel of the city is the Convent of San Bernardino de la Siena, dating back to the 16th century. Its interior contains walls painted with frescos of the era as well as several gardens and even a cenote! But this is not the only cenote in the city center. There are three others: Zací, Dzitnup and Samulá, each found at some distance from the others.
In regard to gastronomy, one of the local dishes not to be missed is called “los lomitos de Valladolid” (meat with tomato and garlic), but there are also other specialties such as chicken in brine and oriental turkey.
Located in the heart of the Mayan jungle, Nuevo Durango is a place full of natural attractions and beautiful landscapes, a very special place to contemplate Mother Nature and enjoy the adventure of discovering her secrets. It is in the southeast of Mexico on the border between Quintana Roo and Yucatan. In this corner of Mexico we can, among other things, go for a walk underground in the cavern of Tumben Kuxtal (which means “new life” in Mayan). This visit requires the help of a guide because in order to reach the caves it is necessary to descend in a 12 meter rappel. After the adventure of exploring this cave we can discover more of Nuevo Durango’s attractions. Another less risky experience would be a visit to the House of Insects, a museum in which butterflies, beetles, spiders, ants and other indigenous insects are housed. Also, don’t forget to sample the local gastronomy, full of culinary techniques and traditions from the Mayan culture.
Without a doubt, Nuevo Durango is a fantastic place to rest and relax, to enjoy nature and sample delicious fresh food and, of course, to connect with the local people who will do their best to make sure you have a marvelous experience.
Two Magical Places to Enjoy the Caribbean Waters
The island of Cozumel is the third largest in Mexico and is graced by 20 km of white sand beaches. Its real treasure, however, lies under the water. The seafloor surrounding it is comprised of a system of Mesoamerican coral reefs, which makes it an amazing spot for diving. Truly unforgettable. Moreover, it is an ideal island on which to practice all types of sports, whether on land or water: kayaking, surfing, hiking, golf – you can even swim with dolphins!.
The island’s number one attraction is the natural park Chankanaab, which offers us a multitude of fantastic experiences. Here we can enjoy walks through the jungle as we discover its 350-plus species of tropical plants or snorkel in its lagoon or even visit some ancient Mayan ruins. In addition to the wide range of nature activities, you can also spend the afternoon shopping on its main avenue, Plaza del Sol. Shops offering international labels are interspersed with those vending the work of local craftsman, a mix that creates a fantastic shopping atmosphere.
Laguna Kaan Luum
On the nature reserve of Sian Ka’an we find one of the best guarded treasures of the Riviera Maya: the Lagoon of Kaan Luum. To reach this lagoon you have to drive down a road surrounded by mangroves. At the end there is a little shack with a parking area where you will pay an entrance fee (roughly 50 Mexican pesos, which at the current rate of exchange is about 2.25€). After parking, you venture on foot across a long wooden walkway that stretches over the lagoon and reaches almost to its center, where you will be amazed by an 80-meter deep cenote. The lagoon bed is clayey and can be safely applied to the skin for a full-body exfoliation.
Recommendations: Take food and water with you as there are no shops or restaurants in the vicinity. There is a large palm shelter with tables that are shaded from the sun, providing a comfortable eating place. Don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses or camera as these turquoise waters are incredible sight you’ll want to capture