Although resorts such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun are one
image of the Yucatán Peninsula, there is another - far more
charming - world available in this south-eastern tip of Mexico.
The Yucatán has plenty to offer the discerning culture vulture,
lovers of jungle and wildlife, diving fans, and holiday makers
looking for romantic, exclusive or just plain beautiful beach
South of Cancun stretches what is known as the Riviera Maya,
with its historic towns such as Merida and Campeche, and
fascinating Mayan sites.
The truly outstanding feature of the diving here is the
incredible variety. There is something for everyone, from the
novice to the advanced diver, and if the weather gets rough, or you
just want to try something different, the incredible 'Cenotes' or
sink holes await.
Cenotes are inland freshwater caves where you can dive
surrounded by surreal scenery of stalagmites often in water that is
totally transparent - cenote diving is a unique experience.
Back in the sea, the only type of diving that is not available
is genuine wall diving. What is on offer is a series of gently
sloping plateaus and shallow reef ledges. These harbour a thriving
ecosystem with colourful corals, both hard and soft, varied and
plentiful fish life, yellow rays, sting rays, lobsters and all the
usual suspects that go to make up a healthy reef. Some sites offer
giant sponges and large Green and Hawksbill turtles.
At Puerto Aventuras, you have the chance to snorkel with
dolphins, sting rays and manatees. In short, whatever your
particular thrill is underwater, this coastline delivers. From June
to September you are virtually guaranteed to be able to snorkel
with whale sharks too which is reason enough alone to come
Beyond the attractions of the hotels and diving there are the
fabulous Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza, plus activities
such as horse riding through the jungle, deep-sea fishing, sailing
and even sky-diving. With the recent opening of the superb new spa,
the resort really lacks for nothing.