At times, Chetumal—the capital city of Quintana Roo—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 of music (reggae, salsa, calypso) and cuisines (Yucatecan, Mexican, Lebanese). Because this is the closest major community to Bacalar, Mahahual, and Xcalak, many residents from neighboring towns come here to do banking and stock up on supplies. Traffic can get very congested, but you will see very few tourists. Nevertheless, this small city has a number of parks on a waterfront that's as pleasant as it is long: the Bay of Chetumal surrounds the city on three sides. Tours will also take to the fascinating nearby ruins of Kohunlich, Dzibanché, and Kinichná, a trio dubbed the "Valley of the Masks."
FODOR'S GO LIST 2016
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