Caribbean Coast: Places to Explore


  • Akumal

    In Mayan, Akumal (pronounced ah-koo-maal) means "place of the turtle," and this stretch of coast is a storied nesting ground, especially at Half Moon Bay. Akumal first attracted international attention... Read more

  • Bacalar

    Founded in AD 435, Bacalar (pronounced baa-ka-lar) is one of Quintana Roo's oldest settlements. The mix of freshwater and salt water in the cenote-fed Laguna de Bacalar intensifies the color, which earned... Read more

  • Chetumal

    At times, Chetumal feels more Caribbean than Mexican; this isn't surprising, given its proximity to Belize. A population that includes Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern immigrants creates a melting pot... Read more

  • Cobá

    Near five lakes and between coastal watchtowers and inland cities, Cobá (pronounced ko-bah) exercised economic control over the region through a network of at least 16 sacbéob (white-stone roads), one... Read more

  • Felipe Carrillo Puerto

    Felipe Carrillo Puerto—the Costa Maya's first major town—is named for the governor of Yucatán in 1920, who was hailed as a hero after instituting a series of reforms to help the impoverished campesinos... Read more

  • Majahual

    Sleepy Majahual has something of a split personality. With a population of just 300, it's a quiet, tiny little beachfront town with clear, calm waters, good snorkeling and diving, and not a whole lot to... Read more

  • Mayakoba

    Mayakoba (meaning "village of water") is home to four of the world's most exclusive resorts, connected by a network of canals that inspire its tagline, "the Venice of the Caribbean." The 1,600-acre enclave... Read more

  • Playa del Carmen

    Welcome to the party! "Playa" is one of Latin America's fastest-growing communities, with a population of more than 135,000 and an international flavor lent by the Europeans, Canadians, and estadounidenses... Read more

  • Playa del Secreto

    The secret is out—the half-mile stretch of white sand at Playa del Secreto is one of the most beautiful coastal communities in Riviera Maya. Surrounded by jungle and Caribbean waters, the protected shores... Read more

  • Puerto Aventuras

  • Puerto Morelos

    At the edge of a mangrove-tangled jungle pushing up to the shore, Puerto Morelos is one of the few coastal towns on the Riviera Maya that's maintained a measure of authenticity. Although it's become a favorite... Read more

  • Punta Bete (Xcalacoco)

    Beyond Punta Maroma, a river spills into the sea, dividing the coastline. South of the split, Playa Xcalacoco (scala-coco) is a 7-km-long (5½-mile-long) beach dotted with bungalows, small, exclusive resort... Read more

  • Punta Brava

    Punta Brava, also known as South Beach, is a long, winding sweep of sand strewn with seashells. The only direct access to this beach area is through the security gate at El Dorado Royal. Past the entrance... Read more

  • Punta Maroma

    The waters of this protected bay stay calm even on blustery days, and the enchanting beach ranks among Mexico's finest. A string of resorts have taken advantage of its enviable position—Maroma Secrets... Read more

  • Punta Tanchacté (Bahía Petempich)

    The Riviera Maya region technically starts at Punta Tanchacté (pronounced tan-chak-te), also known as Bahía Petempich, with small hotels on long stretches of beach caressed by turquoise waters. Historically... Read more

  • Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka'an

    The pristine jungle wilderness of Sian Ka'an is a wildlife preserve, the largest in the Mexican Caribbean. It's both a shelter for thousands of species of wildlife including jaguars and manatees, and a... Read more

  • Tankah

    If you plan on staying in the Cobá area, nearby Tankah is your best option. In ancient times Tankah was an important Mayan trading city. A number of small, reasonably priced hotels have cropped up here... Read more

  • Tulum

    Used to be, Tulum was a Mayan archaeological site, a lively, dusty little town and a few palapa huts scattered down 7 miles of luscious beach. No longer. Discovered by the international eco-set, Tulum... Read more

  • Xcalak

    As the southernmost town in Quintana Roo, Xcalak (pronounced ish-ka-lack), is 11 km (7 miles) from the Belize border (by water), and has a little of both places in its local life. Spanish is still the... Read more

  • Xcaret

    Once a sacred Mayan city and port, Xcaret (pronounced ish-car-et) is now home to two theme parks on a gorgeous stretch of coastline. The 250-acre ecological theme park, simply known as "Xcaret," is the... Read more