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Travel Adventures Yucatan - The Riviera Maya 4
Vivien Lougheed Hunter Publishing, Inc. 30 Mayfield Avenue Edison, NJ 08837 tel. 800-255-0343 / Fax 732-417-1744 www.hunterpublishing.com firstname.lastname@example.org IN CANADA Ulysses Travel Publications 4176 Saint-Denis Montreal, Québec H2W 2M5 Canada tel. 514-843-9882, Ext. 2232 / Fax 514-843-9448 IN THE UK & EUROPE Roundhouse Group Loma House, Loma Road Hove BN3 3EL, England tel. 01273-900-540, fax 01273-774-204 email@example.com © 2009 Hunter Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. This guide focuses on recreational activities. As all such activities contain elements of risk, the publisher, author, affiliated individuals and companies disclaim any responsibility for any injury, harm, or illness that may occur to anyone through, or by use of, the information in this book. Every effort was made to insure the accuracy of information in this book, but the publisher and author do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any liability or any loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, misleading information or potential travel problems caused by this guide, even if such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.
1. Riviera Maya 1. Getting Here 2. Puerto Morelos 1. What to See & Do 2. On Horseback 3. On Water 4. Snorkeling & Diving 5. Tour Operators 6. Nightlife 7. Shopping
8. Hotels 9. Restaurants Punta Brava Playa del Carmen 1. History 2. Getting Here & Around 3. What to See & Do 4. Nightlife 5. Shopping 6. Hotels 1. Playa del Secret 2. Punta Maroma 3. Tres Rios 4. Punta Bete 5. Xcalacoco 7. Restaurants Cozumel 1. Getting Here & Around 2. History 3. Getting Here & Around 4. Festivals 5. What to See & Do 1. Beaches 2. Dive/Snorkel Sites 3. On the Links 4. On Wheels 6. Tour Operators 7. Nightlife 8. Shopping 9. Hotels 10. Restaurants Puerto Aventuras 1. What to See & Do 1. On Horseback 2. In the Air 3. On Water 4. On Foot 2. Tour Operators 3. Nightlife 4. Shopping 5. Hotels 6. Restaurants Xpu-Há 1. Hotels 2. Restaurant Tulum 1. Getting Here & Around 2. What to See & Do 1. Cenotes 2. Adventures on Water 3. Theme Park
3. 4. 5. 6.
Nightlife Shopping Hotels Restaurants
The 240-mile (380-km) strip of land south of Cancún is called the Riviera Maya. This includes tourist draws such as Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Xcaret, Cozumel, Pureto Aventuras, Akumal, Xel-Há and ﬁnally Tulum. There are numerous hotels, resorts and spas of every class from grass shacks and see-through huts on the beach to six-star, luxury spas that cost over $500 a day. Playa del Carmen is a bustle while Cozumel, when the cruise ships are gone, is calm. Tulum is buzzing in the day and quiet at night. For the visitor, there are beaches, archaeological sites, caves and cenotes to visit. There is great ﬁshing, snorkeling, diving and swimming anywhere along the coast. Eating and drinking yourself into a heart a ack would be easy, given the gourmet restaurants and eateries. The Riviera Maya is enjoyed by every culture in the world.
If arriving at the Cancún International Airport, a er passing customs, you can rent a car, hop on a local bus or take a tour. If arriving by bus from Belize, you will ﬁnd Mexican customs will give most visitors a three-month visa and some a six-month one. Itʹs Belize customs that are o en unpleasant, especially if you are just passing through on your way to Tikal. Belize charges everyone a $30 “Conservation Fee” every time they leave the country. Belize customs oﬃcers have been known to refuse to issue a 30-day visa (to which you are entitled) and the only way to get a full visa is to pay another $25 in Belmopan. There are no Mexican buses running into Belize so your ﬁrst point of access to transportation is at Chetumal, where buses leave every hour for Cancún from 6 am until about 7 pm.
This tiny ﬁshing village, just 18 miles (30 km) south of Cancún, is still a quiet getaway. How it has escaped the hustle of Cancún is a miracle; its main draw is the car ferry to Cozumel that departs daily.
What to See & Do
Crococun Zoo, Km 31 south of Cancún, three km before Puerto Morelos, tel. 850-3719, www.crococunzoo.com, $18 for adults, $12 for children, open 8 am to 5 pm daily, is a sophisticated pe ing zoo where guests can feed monkeys, hold
For a game of polo call Eduardo Barena. www. Km 36.elreypolocountryclub. Snorkeling at the cenotes is generally safe but if trying a cenote not patronized by tourists be certain that. including staﬀ. The club has lockers. shrubs. to name just a few. $60 for 15 minutes horse rental. A game costs $60 for green fees for four to six chukkers. some of it labeled in English. 874-1385. 6. with about 1. dzonot is the word that was bastardized by the Spanish into cenote. What they really are is underground rivers. You will see long-billed gnat wrens.” probably because cenotes represented the gates to the underworld. snakes. There is a remarkable orchid. bromeliad and fern garden. spider monkeys. lizards. Spanish and Latin. While walking along the two-three miles (three-four km) of trails to the Chiclero camp where chewing gum was once produced.com.3 miles (11 km) west of Puerto Morelos along the Ruta de los Cenotes. tel. Alfredo Barrera Marin. entry fee $7. you can rent a four. believes there are 250 species of animals living in the surrounding vegetation. squirrels and iguanas. cenotes have formed stalagmites and stalactites that make them visually a ractive.000 cenotes. caves. On Horseback El Rey Polo Country Club. restaurant/bar. and polo ﬁeld. On Water Cave Diving This is a skilled sport requiring certiﬁcation and the help of a certiﬁed guide. Dr. and see bu erﬂies. with some artifacts. childrenʹs playground. $40 green fee for stick and ball sessions and $100 for a polo lesson. . 1tel. Polo season is from November to the end of June. stables. open 8 am to 4 pm. trogons. this could be a problem if no steps or ladders are in place. can be reached by taxi from the port. Wear walking shoes and bring water and insect repellent. Cancún-Chetumal Highway. The plant life.400 that have been registered and studied. Some dare to go on their own. The cenotes collect fresh water from the surrounding land and store it in their caverns.85-4122. Like all caves. I ʹm not going to cover them all! In Maya. washrooms. ant shrikes and three species of humming birds. Central Vallarta is a tiny village beyond the Polo Club but the birding here for serious birders is excellent.to seven-bedroom villa for around $7. The 150 acres have a lookout tower from which you can observe some of the 200 species of birds said to inhabit the area. pat deer and walk near crocodiles. you can get out. once you get in. beach club. If the water level is a long way from the rim. In Maya it means “abysmal and deep. and ﬂowering and medicinal plants.snakes. The water is pure. La Ruta de los Cenotes The Yucatán has more than 5. Horses for rent to ride for pleasure cost $65 per hour. a botanist. Dr Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden. clear and usually about 78°F. consists of numerous species of trees. If this is your thing. but this is not advisable. south of Puerto Morelos. and sinkholes formed in porous limestone.200 per night. That works out to $300 an hour. you can visit Maya ruins.
At Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. On the west side of this cenote is a guideline that goes only 40 feet (12 m) down. and the cenote for rappelling. There are wooden steps leading to the water. Some caves/cenotes are just simple holes in the earth. Columns in caves are created when stalactites and stalagmites join together. Verde Lucero is just past Boca del Puma and about half a kilometer oﬀ the highway. Otherwise. collect shells. The park is part of the second-largest coral reef in the world with the reef being just a kilometer from shore. There are six air holes. chicle village. Club Med tours patronize this watering hole. The cenote is about 100 feet deep and has rock steps leading to the pool. while others. diving and spelunking run for 375-440 miles (600-700 km) from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Kaʹan Biosphere. some with excellent birding opportunities. ﬁsh for corals. are developed sites for tourists to enjoy for longer periods. such as Tres Rios and El Rey Polo Resort. but nothing exciting for divers. It is 300 feet (94 m) across and has wooden steps leading 20 feet (six m) down to the greenish-colored water. 10 miles (16 km) from Puerto Morelos. See Cancún and Playa del Carmen for diving sites and descriptions. There is a bed of organic ma er ﬂoating in the saltwater zone making it look like a ﬂoor (but it is not). Tres Bocas is about 12 miles (20 km) from Puerto Morelos and is about 130 feet (40 m) across. on the east side of the cenote. Once on that road you will see direction signs to each cenote and to private parks/resorts. There are those that are partially underground. . Many are accessible for diving and swimming. with several stalactites surrounding the clear water. At the docks. Snorkeling & Diving Snorkeling and diving are popular. From the main traﬃc light in Puerto Morelos. There are underground ones that we also call caves. A dripstone is an opening in the ceiling where minerals from dripping water form stalactites or stalagmites. There is a sign indicating Ruta de los Cenotes and Central Vallarta (they are the same road). The wildlife is abundant and the coral worth the trip out. muscles and eyes. zip line. spears. Be aware that currents are strong and no ma er how well you swim a life jacket should always be worn. is a salt water and acid layer (caused from dissolution of calcium carbonate without the buﬀering of salt water). Visitors are not permi ed to hold or stand on reefs. you will need a life vest. follow the road west. those that are level with surrounding landscape so they are like a lake and there are the open wells. Down about 95 feet (30 m). entry ticket ($3) and a buoy with a ﬂag. has a bird watching tower. Boca del Puma Selvatica. Visibility from here down gets poor.Cenotes vary. hooks. The underground systems that oﬀer cenote swimming. with excellent visibility. it is $5 to enter the grounds. The cenote is 65 feet (20 m) deep. snorkeling and diving. so once down a few feet the light shining through makes visibility good. Siete Bocas is a dive cenote and a guide should be hired here. or carry gloves. Be very careful. From there you can descend more than 150 feet (47 m) but the hydrogen sulﬁde will aﬀect your skin. many guides are available and willing to take you for a two-hour snorkel trip for about $25 per person.
knives or explosives.to 37-m) dives. Boulder.divepuertomorelos.com. However. for snorkeling or ﬁshing. Octocorals look like plants and are hard to tell from seaweed. are strong enough to take some of the wave action from the pounding ocean. Motorized vehicles are forbidden. domes or knobs. they were taking time oﬀ when I last came around. delicate lace-like formations. www. the parts of the reef that are occasionally exposed. on the other side. Licensed guides and captains only are permi ed to take visitors into the park and visitors must obey their guidesʹ instructions.harpoons. Tour Operators Dive Puerto Morelos. tel. They recommend Almost Heaven Adventures. These corals are tree shaped. In Town El Faro Lighthouse is the townʹs icon. One species of the hydrocoral is the ﬁre coral. The back of the reef is the landward side and the fore reef is the side facing the ocean. www. While growing. Av Rojo Gomez. Itʹs probably the one most photographed building in the town. Soft Corals So corals include the hydro. 206-9084.puertomorelosﬁshing. Staghorn coral usually grow behind the reef while the elkhorn. has one of the best reputations in Puerto Morelos for diving. It has been replaced by a newer. One of these is the feather that can grow up to six feet in length. No waste or oil or grease can be dumped in the park and only biodegradable sun block is permi ed (I would suggest not using any during this excursion). 871-0633. staghorn and plate corals. although itʹs no longer functioning. for diving trips and Diving Dog Tours. wreck dives and cenote . Leaf and plate coral looks likes leaves. tel. Some are quite ﬂeshy and the polyps become hidden in the ﬂesh. They can be seen on the reef crests. 848-8819. Corals There is coral everywhere in the ocean but the main hard corals you are likely to see are the brain. higher lighthouse.and octocorals. El Faro was blown part-way over by Hurricane Beulah in 1957 and has never been torn down or pushed upright. elkhorn. These companies oﬀer anywhere from 25 foot to 120 foot (eight. www. Hard Corals Pillar corals form cylinders or spirals up to 10 feet (three m) in length. Staghorn and elkhorn corals look like their namesakes. which look like whips. due to health issues. night diving. knob or mound corals are the bases for the reef structures.com. and sea whips. Others are sea fans. short and long star.almostheavenadventures. they resemble mountains. tel. or trees. ﬁnger. located at the Co-op on the dock.com. Brain corals look like huge brains and are usually cylindrical in shape with ﬁssures like a brain. It has a poison in its cells that causes a burning on your skin when touched.
Nightlife Other than joining a local party on the beach where you will usually be more than welcome. with a bilingual guide. If youʹd like a guided tour to the zip line and a couple of cenote dips with lunch and beer/so drinks included. friendly. is located in the Amor Inn and oﬀers a splendid tour to the botanical garden.com/peminfo. There is air conditioning. Internet. 9-6. birding in Central Vallarta. However. Av Javier Rojo Gomex. fully equipped kitchens in the apartments and breakfast is included. $$. The store carries lots of English-language books plus maps and postcards. Good deal. They oﬀer special dive package deals and discounts for longer . Snorkel trips are $35 including gear. Gioconda is closed Sunday but opens every other day at 7 pm. and a swim in a cenote ($70 per person). Av Rojo Gomez. Maya Echo. on the plaza. www. Av Rojo Gomez. with two hours oﬀ in the a ernoon. tel. Posada el Moro. beer and so drinks. one block from the Plaza on Rojo Gomez. Shopping in Puerto Morelos Hotels Posada Amor. They take snorkelers ($25/four hours) and anglers ($250/four hours) with up to four people. $. has cabañas with an eco-environment theme. has a tour desk in hotel Ojo de Agua.diving. tel. has pizza and drinks. for $300. is open Tuesday to Saturday. family-run. #16. nightlife tends to be a quiet wait for day life. clean. lunch. 871-0027. and a two-tank cenote dive is $125. 871-0264. maximum six people. tel.asp. Wet suit rentals are $10/day. half a block from the plaza. 871-0136. wear a life jacket. Gioconda. Be aware when snorkeling in this area that the currents are strong. tel. No ma er how good a swimmer you are. it will cost about $70 per person. beer and so drinks included. They can take you for a dayʹs ﬁshing. Shopping Alma Libre Bookstore. is a charming li le place with just six rooms around a garden. 871-0026. Ojo de Agua.wetsetdivetravel. A two-tank dive is $75. They also promote purchasing cra s from local cra makers. Av Rojo Gomez. 871-0159. courses are $80 and up.
Mamaʹs Bakery. Av Javier Rojo Gomex. www. are very comfortable. 871-0118. I am told. on the beach. Hacienda Morelos. snorkeling and diving are not. Hola Asia. Although comfortable. is on the beach. This is a very high-end resort. They serve .ranchosakol. tel. www. Av Niños Heroes. on the plaza.com. Km 307. is an 88-room luxury resort on the beach at the edge of town. There is also private butler service.stays (over a week). It is operated by Madre Tierra Magazine (Mother Earth). has a pool and restaurant. $$$. with most non-motorized water activities gratis. has 440 rooms and is for adults only. www. $$/$$$. private parking and a dive shop that oﬀers lessons and trips. Rancho Sak Ol Hacienda Morelos. Rafael Melgar. $$. tel. has 24 rooms just a block from the plaza. Check rooms before paying. Ojo de Agua.ceibadelmar. with two pools. is a beachside B&B with 16 rooms. Av Rafael Melgar. is open at 1 pm for lunch and stays open for dinner until 9 pm. 845-6810. It is all-inclusive. you will need to make a deposit. this is not your classic hacienda. Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancún. and daily yoga and aqua-ﬁt programs. Av Costero Norte. They oﬀer “hanging” beds that. Closed Tuesdays. Snorkel equipment and bicycles are available without charge. Ceiba del Mar Spa & Resort. Deep sea ﬁshing. tel. 871-0448. tel. on the plaza.50 and their specialties are ﬁsh and German foods. is open at noon till 9 pm daily except Wednesday. Good service and reasonable prices. $$. www. Bodoʹs.com. 871-0027. Restaurants There is a Farmerʹs Market one block up from the plaza on Wednesdays. The owners are friendly and helpful.com.050 a night for two and the least expensive room during low season is $370. $$$$$/$$$$$$. They have studio rooms with kitchene es for families. 871-0463. 872-8061. #16. If reserving. 845-1597 is a popular café and health food store. $$$$$. is on the beach but also with a pool and close to the townʹs restaurants. Clean. 206-9005. Their lunch special is about $5. El Caﬁ de la Plaza. tel. tel. Villas Latinas. is a great place to get snacks for the beach or for breakfast and lunch.secretsresorts. The penthouse is $1. www. Av Javier Rojo Gomez #2-8. tel.haciendamorelos. tel. Food is generally good but not superb. main highway. Pool and parking are available. Rancho Sak Ol. Self-serve breakfast is included and you can use the communal kitchen.com. Closed Mondays.ojo-de-aqua. as is wireless Internet. The décor reminds me of British India.com.
www.com. this resort/time-share is reasonably priced. El Viejo Pescador. one block up . It is still easy to get around and not so big that you need a taxi to get from end to end. Built on 450 acres of tropical jungle. It is on Playa Tortuga. south of the plaza. The bus station is in the center. between $200 and $550 per person per night. but it seems that everything is extra. a long white stretch with strong currents and good snorkeling. busy Cancún as a destination.Chinese. Playa del Carmen A bustling international city. tel.eldorado-resort. Playa del Carmen is o en preferred to big. 850-3400. all-inclusive beachfront resort. They open at 5 pm for dinner. Punta Brava The only thing at Punta Brava is the luxury. Check carefully before booking so you know what you are ge ing and what you will have to pay for. El Dorado Royale. serves Mexican seafood for about $8 per plate. tel. Thai and Japanese dishes. 871-0296. adults-only. $$$$$.
to four-minute canopy ride to the ground. The dock oﬀered boat service to Cozumel for vehicles but it wasnʹt very busy. was replaced by the upscale resort seeker and Playa became international. depending on the type of jump. The cost is a mere $200-$300. the town grew. two eateries. Many of the Maya temples were destroyed. Although they claim to oﬀer freefall jumps. lasts 45-60 seconds. disease and the Catholic religion. the popular skinny-dipping crowd who worshipped the full moon. tel. with destruction. another 45 minutes to cross the water. Playa was also a religious center that served to some capacity those living in Tulum and Cobá. In Playa the tourist infastructure has grown but not to the point where you canʹt walk from one end to the other within an hour. buses follow the main highway to Cancún every hour from 6 am to 6 pm daily. It is two hours to Playa and.com. if going to Cozumel. Coming from Chetumal.from the beach and the upscale “La Nueva Quinta” tourist area has now spread north. followed by a three.mx. History Named a er Our Lady of Mount Carmel. but Playa remained a small ﬁshing village. AAD and a valid logbook. tandem is the only option. reports indicate that the company is interested only in tandem. Playa del Carmen What to See & Do In the Air Skydive Playa. the patron saint of Cancún who died in 1263. Fi h Avenue. buses head south every hour. their own rig (gear). The fall. people died and others hid in surrounding jungles. You can . Shortly a er this. Juan de Grĳ lva stopped at Playa and Cozumel on the way to Cuba. while a ached to a jumpmaster who has an extra large parachute. www. Then came Cortéz. Playa is also the ferry center for those going to the quieter island of Cozumel. Playa went comatose until 1962 when Jacques Cousteau ﬁlmed the reefs. enthusiastic entrepreneurs started building. a bus station and a nice beach. the town had a couple of basic hippie hotels. Plaza Marina #32. Here. In 1518. Getting Here & Around From the downtown Cancún bus station. For the one-time jumper. Cancún became a tourist destination. The ﬁrst time I visited in the early 1980s.skydive. 873-0192. Playa was a popular port for Maya trading with cities as far south as Honduras. members of the US Parachute Association will give you the thrill of your life – jump out of a Cessna and land on the sand a er ﬂoating to earth. music from the beach bars will help keep your rhythm up. Jumpers must have a D license. Walking on the beach is splendid.
The Cobá Road is at the main intersection on the north side of town. its over an hour from the time you arrive to when you land back at the airport.mx. With the introductory brieﬁng. transportation to the caves on ATVs is included.aktunchen. wild boar and deer. The mineral formations that look like hanging tobacco plants are worth seeing and the gardens surrounding the cave are home to spider monkeys. 2½ miles (four km) on the Cobá Road. depending on where you go and for how long. Some of the above-mentioned cenotes and caves are in this park. is open 9 am-5 pm daily. located at the main intersection on the north side of town. The is a major problem.Yucatánexplorer. with the last tour leaving at 4:30 pm (guided tours only). Divers follow the main line to the Ho Tul Cenote and cavern. There is a $5 entry fee. Once you pay your entry fee (snorkeling $25/diving $100/zip line $10). Flight times are variable and transportation can be arranged for an additional fee. follow signs or take a taxi from Tulum (about $8 one way). ask the driver to let you oﬀ. There are four rooms and a number of hallways or side-rooms.8 km) along the Cobá Road. $13/children age three to 10. Besides snorkel and dive tours. 2. This is considered second only to Nohoch Nai Chich for underground beauty. Wear good walking shoes. It has three exits so fresh air circulates. 873-1626. The name means a “cave with a cenote (or river) inside. you can cycle through the jungle harnessed to overhead cables (see below). certiﬁed divers go to the caves on their own. At the end of the tunnel is the Gran Cenote where cave divers spend hours following the tunnels beyond and swimmers spend minutes enjoying the cool fresh water. If you are inexperienced. www. Aktun Chen.000 acres of rainforest and a three-cave underground system formed about ﬁve million years ago. The cost is $24/adults. The biggest diﬀerence is that Sac Aktun is easier to reach. with almost 1. There are plenty of signs. turn right and drive for a mile. Water levels are 10 feet below the lip and unless the ladder is secured (test it!) you may not be able to get out. tel. A snake pit here holds all 15 species that inhabit the region. turn right. The temperature is usually 77°F and the water seldom reaches more than 40 feet (12 m) in depth. The cost of a guided two-tank tour is around $100. They have guided tours for snorkeling at 9 and 11 am and 1. 884-0444. 2½ miles (four km) south of Akumal going toward Xel-Há. where they continue to . Temple of Doom is a mile (1. and the cave is open 8 am to 5 pm daily. www. and 3 pm.com. tel. Sac Aktun. There is a sign but no a endant at the site so your car will be le unguarded.com. The visit takes about an hour. numerous birds. 20 miles (32 km) south of Playa (north of Tulum). Fly an ultralight plane over the Caribbean with Yucatán Explorer. thus making the half-kilometer trail through the cave refreshing when walked. There is a snack bar for refreshments.purchase videos to show your friends what a nut you really are. Once at the intersection.” At the end of the cave is a cenote that is used for swimming. Diving tours are at 9 and 11 am and 1 pm. 877-8535. If taking a bus going either north or south. Maps of the caves are for sale at the oﬃces of some tour operators. Make reservations in case the tour is full. tel. Once at the intersection.hiddenworlds. On Water Cave & Cenote Diving Although many experienced. To see and photograph the coral reef and most of its surrounding life from 500 feet above the water is a thrill. $99 for 25 minutes. Maximum depth is 60 feet (20 m). Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park. This is a park on grounds that were once a chicle plantation.com. it is best to have a guide for the complicated caves/cenotes. www. To get here. is open 9 am to 5 pm daily. a guide is essential.
Depth is 70 feet (22 m) or less.org or www. partially funded by National Geographic. These operators also take divers to caves/cenotes where snorkelers can share the cost of the boat. $5 entry fee. Coco Beach in Playa. Power Boat Adrenaline Rush. which helps create a market for this rare coral. one km south of Xcaret on the main highway. The water at the top is brackish so swimming isnʹt appealing. Tours leave at 9:45 am and last about 4½ hours. will take you at breakneck speed in a 500 HP boat through the Caribbean to Chacalal.and downstream. The word means ʺgiant birdcage.000 people living within the area. In Nature Sian Kaʹan Biosphere. oﬀ the highway. Temperatures are about 77°F and visibility with natural light is good. www. and it includes 23 archaeological sites and Laguna Bacalar. Sustainable development is their mo o. Xpu Ha and Akumal are other popular spots where the reef can be enjoyed without the use of a boat.” It is better not to purchase black coral jewelry. a ground-level hole about 20 feet (seven m) wide. Dos Ojos lies parallel to Nohoch Nai Chich and is promoted as a great ﬁrst-dive cave that goes about 1. open 9 am to 5 pm. it takes about 100 years for a piece of black coral to grow one inch. It is located south of Dos Ojos and the parking is a 300 feet (100 m) west. This cave is connected to Bat Cave.yucatánexplorer. the most beautifully decorated cave in the world. Black coral is not something you will see very often. and they could be right. There are numerous rooms both up. It is almost all underwater. with a complimentary drink included. This costs about $25-$50 for half a day. Going upstream you must navigate for quite a distance through some columns before you ﬁnd the guideline.500 feet (500 m) in the light zone. Open from 9 am to 5 pm. a hidden inlet. entry $98. is the Tortuga sinkhole. children under 12 $89. found that deep in the waters of the Caribbean black coral was “sparsely distributed. Divers must descend a bit before they can see. to see a Maya temple.org. divers must hold on to the guidelines at all times because visibility is nonexistent at the entrance. However. Divers are never more than 30 feet (10 m) down nor 150 feet (50 m) from air. Located on the same property. From there itʹs a long one-hour hike to the cenote. small and in marginal health. It is a nesting ground for thousands of wetland birds and sea turtles. tel.com. My favorite is Satanʹs Shithole (although some call it Satanʹs Silthole). turtle protection and plant nurseries. This one is famous for its straw-like formations in the Room of Tears. is a 1. Most divers take the upstream trip rather than the downstream one. To descend. A guide is recommended. Nohoch Nai Chich is open daily 9 am to 5 pm.ʺ The cave is Mexicoʹs second-longest underwater cave system. You can also join the tour operators for a trip farther out. Boats have freshwater showers a working hi-ﬁ system. but black once it's dried. The cave has few side-rooms. Most dive shops in town rent snorkel gear. by Mexicans. ﬁve miles (eight km) along the Cobá Road. www. Being popular for diving and snorkeling. is just a short distance from shore. The Sustainable Sea Project. be aware that the currents and waves can be strong. Most divers donʹt go more than a km in any direction. and have lunch. This is considered.ceslak. This cave was featured in an IMAX ﬁlm in 2002 called Journey into Amazing Caves. The name means cow water. Paamul. with some cenotes accessible from ground level. the longest in the Western world. The cost is high because you need a burro to carry your gear into the site. entry fee is $5. Ocean Snorkeling The reef. snorkel in a cave.Paso Lagarto and all its oﬀshoots. Aktun Há. which sits 35 feet (10 m) below ground level. another popular diving and snorkeling cenote. Yucatán Adventures. At present there are about 2. running about 41½ miles (67 km).siankaan. White underwater.mx. at the end of the road. There are two tunnels to follow. on the le . Divers (with guides) will see large and very white caves and delicate formations throughout. is a popular cave system but should be done only with a guide. along with some life jackets.3-million acre UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 1986. Adjacent to Sian Kaʹan is the Uaymil protected area. Vaca Há is just a mile (two km) beyond Sac Aktun on the Cabá Road. The cost is $140 per person and $68 for children seven-12. the site sees about 100 visitors a day. 873-1626. with the largest communities being Punta Allen and Punta Herrero. The economy is mainly dependent on ﬁshing supplemented by employment through tourism. This cave is next to the parking area. . one going down to about 85 feet (25 m). Downstream is on your le when at the entrance.
923-2722. On Foot Golf Playacar Golf Club. is an 18-hole. tel. Dye-designed.org. The reserve claims to have 345 species of birds. this is the best preserve in the Yucatán. clubhouse. Playacar (Hotel Zone). $130 a er 2 pm and $90 for those under 16. There are also cenotes. open 9 am to 5 pm daily. P. and the jungle for plant identiﬁcation. 873-0318. some still with frescos and well-preserved sanctums. and 318 species of bu erﬂy. 22.amigosdesiankaan. Guides are recommended. you can rent a kayak ($50 for half a day with guide. They provide environmental training and look for environmental sustainability. as ge ing lost in this mosquito-infested jungle would be unpleasant. for $75-$120 (depending on size) a day. Robert Von Haggedesigned course. Playa Paraiso Golf Club. is a group of scientists and conservationists whose main mandate is to conserve and educate. The best time to see a large variety of birds is January and February when they are migrating. There are some small hotels at Majahual and two at Laguna Bacalar that may be a bit more comfortable than tenting. Next to Calakmul.7 km) north of Puerto Aventuras. If you go between April and September.200 varieties of plants. staying here should be carefully considered. At present they have 20 programs. Although the reserve is worth visiting and highly recommended. Paseo Xaman-Há. including the Jabiru stork. While here you can learn how to identify medicinal plants or visit unexcavated Maya ruins. Costs are $190 for 18 holes. showers and special rates with some hotels. There are ﬁve entrances to the park. Donations can be made through their website.144-yard. 18-hole. par-72. Any balls lost in the jungle can be played from within two club lengths of where the ball entered.Tourists visit the mangroves for birding. It is a natural (almost) environment with some food put out to a ract birds. which they administer. is a B. Amigos de Sian Kaʹan. Photography is easy as the subjects arenʹt shy. has a $15 entry fee (way overpriced). $30 without a guide) and visit the lagoons and mangroves to search for more birds and bu erﬂies.641-yard course that incorporates cenotes and sand traps. Part of the appeal is that solar and wind energy are used for power. This is considered one of the more challenging courses on the Maya Riviera. narrow fairways and . The shared showers use lagoon water. you may have luck watching turtles lay and/or hatch their eggs. Paseo Xaman-Há. the Chinchorro reef for wildlife viewing and snorkeling. par-72. 7. all manned by government employees. tel. If the above wildlife doesnʹt satisfy your curiosity. locker rooms. There are undulating greens.8 miles (36. Accommodations are tents on wooden platforms set upon sand dunes. This ﬂy-through bird park has hundreds of exotic birds indigenous to the Yucatán nesting in the botanical gardens and surrounding jungle. plus 1. There is a pro shop. www. Clubs and carts equipped with GPS are available. 6. Xaman-Há Aviary. residual water is treated and composting toilets are used. 230 types of trees with many endemic. The lagoon is great for birding and kayaking. They lobby ecological and environmental organizations that can help and they try to follow all the latest theories in environmental conservation. with a one-stroke penalty.
5th Av between 6th & 8th (second ﬂoor). 12th St North and 1st Av. li one leg. The school will test you to see what level you are at and place you appropriately. If staying at the Iberostar Hotel. Transportation from Playa is included. although there is dance music.yucatánexplorer. 879-3620. is a people watcherʹs bar that specializes in tequila cocktails.com. Calle 12 North and 5th Av. oﬀers home-stay language classes. 20 miles (32 km) south of Playa. rather than Mexican. Nightlife Playa del Carmen. Minimum stay is one week and you must book two weeks in advance. 386 Ontario St. The cost is $60 for a one-person vehicle and $50 per person for a double. tel. 5th Av between 6th and 8th St. There are both hand and foot brakes and the possibility of the bike falling oﬀ the cable is low. There are two options. a racting up to 30. tel. and 1 and 3 pm daily. Canada. all night long. advertising extreme entertainment. The se ing is very romantic. 877-8535.. www.hiddenworlds.mx. tel. The ubiquitous Señor Frogʹs is here. The old Spanish custom is to walk along the Prada with the hope of seeing friends that you can chat with. open 9 am to 3 pm. tel. In the event of injury. Hidden Worlds. El Pica Pica. follow the crowd that appeals to you. can hold up to 1. bar seats are swings and the dance area is oﬀ to the side and closer to the beach. Salsa music is played on Wednesdays starting . The last half is through a cave and over two more cenotes.000 people for the all-night dance-athons. conﬁrming it with a $300 deposit. you can stop at a cold-water cenote for a refreshing dip. Children must be 48 inches or higher to participate. bend it at the knee and then pretend to wheel yourself around in your imaginary chair. open 10 pm-4 am. which includes four one-hour lessons a day for ﬁve days. Sky Cycling. Tequila Barrel. Deseo Lounge. is the most popular place to go a er 11 pm. Tours leave every hour. This sport is the newest thing. The Bali. This is a tapas bar that during happy hour oﬀers coronas for a buck a bo le (minimum two bo les). Children under 16 pay $85. www. 5th Av and 12th St. window shops. Occasionally there are old movies shown without sound on one of the walls. tel. is nightlife. All-night rave parties became trendy in the late 1980s. This is also a hotel. Tours leave at 9 and 11 am. Home stay programs include some extracurricular activities. www.com. tel. let your hands hang loosely at hip level while holding your glowstick. A contraption with a seat and peddles is a ached to a cable a km long and you peddle your way over the jungle canopy. The cost if not staying at the hotel is $190 per person every day except Saturday when it is not open to the public or $125 for twilight games (a er 2 pm). Fi h Avenue in Playa is the Prada where everyone wanders around. walk onto the ﬂoor. Part-way through the trip. but things are much tamer here. www. atmosphere. tel. Toronto. The ﬂoor is sand. open 9 am-2 am. www. one km south of Xcaret on the main highway. mostly pop. open 11 am-4 am daily. The most popular step in the free-form rave dancing is the wheelchair. 803-2864. stops for a drink and hopes to see friends – already made or to be made. costs $170 per week (you ﬁnd your own accommodations). some packages include a golf ticket and drinks. could invalidate your medical insurance. You must be at least 17 years of age to a end. M5A 2V7.com. although it is not very environmentally sensitive. 873-1626. The incline of the cable is not so steep that you have to work hard to move. 803-5687. Language Courses Language School. open 10:30 am-2 am (no phone).languagesabroad. 800-219-9924. A er the swim you will race along the trail to a ruin and dry cave full of bats.200 people who want to rave all night in an Indonesian. 873-0195. Helmets and safety goggles are available. On Wheels ATV. live with a family that will supply a semi-private or private room with breakfast included or live in a semi-private apartment making your own meals. Yucatán Explorer.baliclub.mx. These caves/cenotes are worth visiting. prices start at $440 per week and decrease the longer you stay.deep bunkers that oﬀer a challenge to the best of players. of which there are hundreds. The trip is about 2½ hours and costs $75 per adult or $50 for children. A standard course. like Cancún. Driving an ATV for two hours through the jungle. Ont. Once you hit the bars. Intensive study oﬀers six one-hour lessons a day for ﬁve days and costs $270 per week (without accommodations). To do this. If accommodations and lessons are included. Blue Parrot. is an adults-only roo op bar where you order very expensive drinks to consume on one of the beds draped in curtains and discretely arranged around a small pool and Jacuzzi. being without a helmet or goggles. Service is slow but prices are good (under $5). stopping to feed monkeys and swim in a cenote could be fun.com.com.blueparrot. Fire dancing is the most popular show.
depending on how many you purchase and the quality. $$/$$$. tel. Calle 2 North and Av 5.com.com. full kitchen. . clean and friendly. 873-0140. Av Juárez #147 and 10th Av. Hotel All Riviera. The spacious front rooms over the street arenʹt noisy on most nights. is one of the oldest hotels in town and is still oﬀering the same quality it did in 1984. The rooms are very good for this price range and the bar downstairs is popular. be certain it says “pura” in the description. Av 5. tel. Calle 6 and Av 5. This is a good choice for this price range and location. Av Juárez (Calle 1 South) or any other large Mexican grocery store. Urban Hostel. tel. $. a hand-crocheted tablecloth. www. is across from the bus station. 873-0647. 10th Av between 4th & 6th. $. lockers. kitchen and laundry service. It has both dorms and private rooms. tel. $. Hotels La Rana Cansada.pensionajuan. For example. a terrace. Purchase them at the Mega. 873-1335. is fairly basic but clean.com. 873-0389. It is also in a good location. is the most basic accommodation in town. lockers. The hotel is a block from the 5th Av action and two blocks from the beach. Calle 10 #132. A vendor will never sell anything at a loss. The only big problem is that the rooms facing the street can be a bit noisy at night. Shopping Fi h Avenue is full of souvenir shops with everything from shell products to carved mahogany. has 15 rooms just 300 feet from the beach. 803-3378. Av Juárez & Calle 2 North.labnah.blueparrot. Hotel Labnáh. tel.elpalomarhostel. is a lovely li le place with just 15 rooms and a pool. San Juan Pension. When shopping. $$$.hotelallriviera. has 20 tastefully decorated rooms.com. Av 5 between 12th and 14th St. #165 between 6 and 8th St North. tel. The prices are cheaper and the quality just as good. 873-0144. tel. www. $10-$15. $. www. Mexico is known for vanilla. $$. If buying vanilla.mosquitoblue. 879-3838.ranacansada. Mosquito Blue. $$. Be aware that items in Playa are usually priced 25% less than in Cancún. Located just two blocks from the 5th Av action and close to the bus station. www. Good deal. www. a hammock in Playa should be $25-$40. www. There are dorms and private rooms. Calle 12 and Av 1.com. tel. $$$. Av Juárez #10 and Calle 2 North. Breakfast is included.com.com. Sparse but comfortable. and two pools. I ʹd recommend booking ahead. Blue Parrot Inn. 873-3444. and book exchange. 879-3444. spices and salsas. a t-shirt $10-$25. be sure to barter. the third for private rooms and the roof is the communal area. Hotel Posada Cow Boyʹs. El Palomar Hostel.at 8 pm. tel. All rooms have balconies and face the ocean. is right on the beach. There is a community kitchen and common area. The second story is for dorms. Posada Marinelly. is a great li le place that sparkles with cleanliness and hums with friendliness. $$. tel. is two blocks from the beach and bus station. www. 873-2099.
is an intimate place with just 51 rooms and is a block from 5th Av. Thereʹs a calm beach and good snorkeling.hvr. La Tortuga Hotel and Spa. phone service and laundry. There are also sun shelters by the pool. Hacienda Vista Real. is for long. www. 873-4120. tel.riu. but not ﬁve-star. and snorkeling available. www. $$$$. They advertise “objects of desire” along with air conditioning and Internet. is an all-inclusive family hotel with 362 rooms. Riu Playacar and Club Hotel Riu Tequila.rvinmexico. Playacar. has 78 rooms and a huge ﬂeet of bikes for guests to explore Playa. service and ambiance are all OK.com. The service is exceptional. two pools and a swim-up bar.com. Playacar. and granite are their specialty. But the rooms need some face-li ing to justify the cost. 803-1585. gazebos and iron benches throughout the tropical gardens. tel.” The beach is nicer at the south end of the bay. Views and décor with marble. Km 85 Cancún-Tulum Highway and 11 miles (18 km) south of Playa.hotellatortuga. interspersed with benches. dot the white sand and go for $75 per night.mx. The grounds are mostly lush jungle. tel.and short-term RV visitors. Av Xaman Há #18. $$$/$$$$. tennis. are for sale. This is a luxury spa for families. tel. tel. www.” The center of town is a 30-minute. has the ʺbed barʺ outside and 15 available rooms for adults only.Mosquito Blue El Deseo. Riu Palace. The restaurant is open from 8 am to 10 pm daily and serves almost anything Mexican. The fully supplied dive shop oﬀers dive tours but no snorkeling. Paamul RV Site. This is a huge all-inclusive complex with adjoining Riu Yucatán. They do this because they are a li le distance from the beach and from town. Playacar. Ten small bungalows. 879-3620. This is a turtle egg-laying beach and itʹs a pity itʹs do ed with garbage. $$$$$. 873-1484. Some trailers. Xaman Há Retorno. water polo. The place is beautiful. $$$$$. has 434 rooms equipped with Riuʹs renowned mini-bar and liquor dispenser.com. 877-4200. two-mile (three-km) walk. crystal water fountains. without air conditioning. There is a pool. There is wind surﬁng. $10 for tenting. La Tortuga Reef Club. The name means “destroyed ruin. cable TV. shaded by palapas. Av 5 & Calle 12. lounge chairs and a pool. You encounter Paamul heading south from Cozumel on the Cancún-Chetumal Highway. www.com. but because of exposed rocks you should wear water shoes of some type. This is a small area with private vacation rentals that can sleep up to 10 and a long . with hand-painted murals. $$$$/$$$$$. but it is a great idea for environmentally safe fun. equal to any ﬁve-star anywhere in the world. Av 10 between 12th and 14th. tel. wood. Playa del Secret The name means secret beach. Food. Beware of the timeshare “tour. Highly recommended. It costs $25 to park an RV. 971-222-3512 (in the US only).
is an all-inclusive family resort with six two-story buildings set in lush gardens. Tai Chi. Located on the hacienda property. Catalonia Playa Maroma Tres Rios The new Tres Rios Hacienda. The hacienda will have two pools and three outdoor Jacuzzis.com. 884-5444. The grounds are a labyrinth of trails bordered by hedges and po ed plants. Punta Maroma Punta Maroma Resort and Spa. The cost is $450 per night with three-night minimum stay.com. They oﬀer bar service on the beach and a weekly lobster BBQ in season. water.playasecreto. $$$$$. You can also get an authentic Maya massage with natural extracts and oils. such as diving. $$$$$. Their long-term plan is to have a 1.stretch of beach that sees leatherback and white turtles nesting and hatching between April and October. will be oﬀered. The Sensorama senso-perceptual journey is a popular a raction here. 875-1020. There is nightly entertainment and lots during the day too. Do not bring non-biodegradable sun lotions. You are blindfolded and introduced to diﬀerent sensations equivalent to the Maya experience of traveling through wind. convention center. equestrian center and yacht club. tel. www. mangrove and water habitats housing hundreds of species of birds and animals. biking or horse riding through jungle. meditation. catered by the best. It will oﬀer 275 luxury accommodations for those wanting to enjoy a family-owned and -operated. This li le resort is for adults only. Paddling upstream in a kayak is popular. pool and restaurants. billiards. for the price. kayaking.haciendatresrios. ecologically sensitive vacation. Tres Rios Tropical Reserve is open only to guests at the Hacienda. For available condos or luxury homes.700-room resort. tel. $$$$$. it is 370 acres of parkland featuring nature trails for walking. dune. . ﬁre and earth. Restaurants and snack bars are open daily from 7 am to 11 pm and there is one ﬁne-dining place. Catalonia Playa Maroma. Bird watching in the jungle above the beach is excellent. see www. The trail borders a river that joins two others and ﬂows into the ocean. Otherwise. tennis or gym workouts. tel.cataloniaplayamaroma. It will oﬀer yoga.com. should be open by the time you read this. At the conﬂuence where three rivers meet. sauna and steam room. Romantic weddings. this is a good deal. 872-8200. recorders. www. pets or cigare es. the sea is a swimming and snorkeling area. Guides will show you the way to a few of the 10 hidden cenotes where you are permi ed to swim and snorkel. has a ﬁtness center. The spa oﬀers massages and aromatherapy. ﬁve miles (nine km) north of Playa del Carmen and 36 miles (58 km) south of the Cancún Hotel Zone. Some of the rooms are in need of a touch-up. radios.
) Restaurants In addition to your usual Burger King (Calle 1 & 5th). I donʹt think I ʹve listed 10% of the options below. and nightly entertainment around the pool. Pizza House (30 Av & 24th) and Señor Frogʹs (at the Commercial Center).com. It is a nice 3½-mile (six-km) walk to Playa del Carmen from Cocos. the ocean quiet. Besides this funky. tel. In the beginning. There is a pool. The new one is just a kilometer from the old one. Xcalacoco Xcalacoco means twin coconuts. The rooms start at $275 per night (high season) with a minimum of four nights stay and bookings must be done two weeks in advance. A few hundred feet along the beach is the lunch restaurant Los Piños. . $$$$/$$$$$. www. Then came the word. the nights silent. There is a two-story dining facility. and a huge games room. tel. Playa throbs with restaurants. Petite Laﬁ e. Be brave and try a wide variety of them (and send me a note on both the good and the bad!). has ﬁve small palapa-roof bungalows run by an ex-pat and her Mexican mate. The sky was motionless. Many of the staﬀ from the old hotel have moved to the new one.4 miles (nine km) north of Playa del Carmen. garden. 884-9005. This se lement is three miles (four km) north of Playa del Carmen and runs about two miles (three km) farther north. 5. troop of entertaining waiters. (From the Popol Vuh.Punta Bete Cocos Cabañas. Continental breakfast is included and the restaurant is open from 11 am to 10 pm daily. There are some rustic accommodations and a couple of small seafood restaurants. sacred Maya text. Dominoʹs Pizza (Av Juárez between 40th & 45th). There is a restaurant on site but for nightlife youʹd be er bring a good book to read. all was invisible. One of the draws to the old hotel was the friendly staﬀ and good service. there are three other high-end resorts at Punta Bete that seem to always be booked solid.petitlaﬁ e. an ocean-side pool. They oﬀer tours. 873-0214. is a new addition to Captain Laﬁ eʹs old hotel. $$. Birding is top-notch along here. fun place.
Not only is this a good spot for an a ernoon break but itʹs a great place to ﬁnd gi s such as cacao beans. Tropical is highly recommended.mx. is for those seeking some of the best steak in the world for less than $20. has freshly made pastas.ahcacao. open 7 am to midnight daily. I had lemon chicken the ﬁrst time and traditional chicken in green sauce the second. They have a super open-faced grilled mushroom sandwich with sun-dried tomato pesto and roasted garlic for $10. The locals love visitors who stay and seek out the hidden treasures. Av 5 between Calle 4 & 2. It is also nice to sit on the balcony here and watch the traﬃc on the streets. www.com.com. Everything is done up Mexican style. Have breakfast while waiting for your take-out lunch to eat on the beach or at some remote ruins.com.mx. You could buy at one location. Av 10 between 26th & 28th. Av 5 and Constituyentes. tel. Limones. Their specialty is seafoo. Really good. eat while walking to the second and continue back and forth all day. Cozumel Cozumel. Av 26 between 5th & 10th. It has a wide variety of chocolate goodies from drinks to sweets. Aca Los Tacos. Getting Here & Around . La Quinta Pasion. When the cruise crowd is around. El Asador de Manolo. exploring the farthest ends of the island.net. You might get through all the ﬂavors before you leave town.el-asador.limones-restaurant.javajoes. lunch or dinner. tel. 873-2111. popular with the international crowd. 803-2421. Av 5 between 10 & 12. tel. Sol Food Restaurant. oﬀers free cocktails with every dinner. Steak with trimmings is about $30 per person. It buzzes with tourists when the cruise ships arrive. is an upscale seafood place. 873-2242. between 5th & 10th. 873-1216. smoothies and more. open 7:15 am to 11:45 pm daily. is open from 8 to 11 am for a great breakfast buﬀet costing about $6 per person. is just 30 miles (48 km) long and 16 miles (25 km) wide. tel. down a path through groomed vegetation. www. If Casa del Agua is recommended. Java Joeʹs. www. Itʹs really worth stopping here. Av 5 between 20 & 22nd. ask the waiter to recommend something. www. Ciao Gelato. the pasta isnʹt anything to skip over either. Chocolate was named after the Maya ruler of Tikal who built the main temple and restored the city to glory. for the obligatory taco lunch/dinner at less than $10 per person. Recommended. tel. Av 5 between 8th and 10th. % 873-0848. tel. If you canʹt decide what to eat. soy burgers. Café Tropical. open 6:30 am to 11 pm daily. 803-2603. Av 5 and 6. Nice atmosphere. you should be well away. 803-5748. huge sandwiches. It will be the best ﬁsh dish of that day for about $12.mx.Ah Cacao Chocolate Café. It is oﬀ the street.50-$4).100natural. tel. the best Italian ice cream café. ﬁnished oﬀ with a dish of ﬂan ($3) or a crêpe ($3. tel. the island returns to a Mexican lifestyle.com. Av 5 & Constituyentes. Their wine list covers 140 choices from 12 countries. tel. 803-4482. Once they leave. known as the island of swallows. open 7 am to midnight. 2nd ﬂoor. or vanilla (if not buying some from the local grocery store) for those back home. www. Casa del Agua. has two locations: On Ave 5 between 2nd & 4th and between 26th & 28th. 100% Natural. However. Recommended. 803-0632. Calle 10. The bill was under $20 for two and the service was excellent. 876-2694. is by far the best restaurant I have found in my research.lacasadelagua.com. whether its breakfast. www.
is the ferry service for cars. except at 6 am and 9 pm. A er the Second World War. She went into hiding on the island of Cozumel and.000. Getting Here & Around Ferries leave for Cozumel from Playa del Carmen on the mainland every hour from 6 am to 11 pm. Cozumel became a deep-sea port and exported everything from coconuts to chicle. except at 7 am and 10 pm. During the Caste War the island was used as a sanctuary by the Maya. There were floods and high tides and crops died. She lay for 183 days before returning to the palace. But by now Kinich Ahau had become jealous and suspicious. there were about 40.000. History About 2. Charles Lindbergh in 1929 started using Cozumel as a stopover spot on his trips between Florida and Panama. The ﬁrst three . tel. were in love with her. They take an hour to get to the island. Juan de Grĳ alba arrived and gave the ﬁrst catholic mass at Las Casitas beach north of the plaza. Ixchel was so beautiful that all the gods except Kinich Ahau.000 years ago the Maya se led on the islandʹs south end and built sacred temples dedicated to Ixchel. 872-7688. and businesses. In 1518. much of it tied to the tourist trade. Trans del Caribe. mostly smallpox. But Ixchel loved Kinich Ahau obsessively and constantly followed him across the sky. to keep busy. Today the population is about 75. Those north of the plaza are even-numbered and those south are odd. water and fertility. the worse the weather became. her grandfather struck her dead with lightning (he didn't like the marriage). she helped women with childbirth. Ixchel wove a beautiful cloth.000 Maya but within 50 years the population had dropped due to disease. After she bore him numerous Jaguar children. tel. and Soﬁsticado. In the old days Maya living on the island and around Playa del Carmen were obligated to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime to worship Ixchel. tel. to 30. Circling the plaza in a radius of about one or two blocks are souvenir shops. There are three companies servicing the island for walk-on passengers – Water Jetʹs Mexico. road transportation made shipping uneconomical. Ferries leave Cozumel for Playa every hour from 5 am to 10 pm. sending these products from one end of Mexico to the other. A er the war. UltraMar. with the square being the dividing line. A year later Cortéz waited for the arrival of Geronimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero so he could use them as intermediaries between him and the Maya. Jacques Cousteau let the world know about the exceptional diving opportunities and the tourists ﬂocked in like migrating birds. 869-3223. The cross streets (calles) go east and west. To gain Kinich Ahau's attention. accusing her often of an incestuous affair with her brother. There are good grocery stores and shoe shops (Mexico long ago built a reputation for selling good-quality leather shoes). However during that period. 879-3112. 872-1578. When they arrived. The more she longed for him. Beyond that are local homes.Ferry from Playa del Carmen You will arrive at the dock in front of San Miguelʹs main plaza and will have to work your way through the crowd of tour operators to the Malecón. the Sun God. goddess of moon. This tactic worked and they soon married. restaurants and rental companies. Avenues run north and south. tel. hotels. The population again took a dip and by 1970 was at 10. The site is now called San Gervasio. By 1600 there wasnʹt a soul le .
org. 11 am. about 10 miles (16 km) south of San Miguel and a bit east. Cozumel has one of the more exuberant celebrations in Mexico. with parades. married a Maya princess and learned the language.cozumelparks. you might plan on sleeping during the day and enjoying the celebrations at night because you wonʹt be able to sleep at night even if you want to. then built a village over the old ruins of Oycib. During peak seasons you should arrive at least an hour before sailing time.mx. reminiscent of Montezumaʹs famous bird-feather cape. about seven km south of Playa. and 3. Once on the island you can walk to anywhere in town or rent a car.travel between Playa del Carmen and San Miguel on the island. 7. El Cedral. Today. The cost is $8 per person for the 50-minute trip and tickets are purchased at the dock in either port. and 7 pm. He vowed to have a special celebration every year on the anniversary of the a ack and of his survival. is open 9 am . The passenger service is on fast boats with air conditioning and sun decks. games. During the Caste War. Taxis are abundant and can be called at tel. The parade costumes are spectacular. Av Rafael Melgar. 9 am and 3. There is a sign. He survived and took shelter on Cozumel. You should be at the dock at least an hour before your scheduled departure time.” Now thereʹs humor! Museum of the Island. If you have a hotel near the plaza or park. a shipwrecked Spaniard who lived among the Maya. the celebration is still respected. the festival of the Holy Cross. is celebrated in April/May at the village of Cedral. Father Casimiro Cardenas took shelter in a church on the mainland when the Spanish a acked. Car ferries leave from Punta Venado (the old dock was at Puerto Morelsos but that has closed). 872-0236. Monday to Saturday at 4:30 am. 5. Sunday at 7 am. 1. www. and 9 pm. Many died and Cardenas was seriously wounded but he held a cross in his hand and prayed. carried on the tradition. The car ferries leave Cozumel Monday to Saturday at 2. 9 am. competitions and concerts that go all night long. The cost should be $10 to the tip of the island but o en tourists pay up to $20. tel. He is remembered as the “Father of the Long and Painful Process of Crossbreeding. 5. a er his death. between Calle 4 & 6. 872-1434. The cost is $80 per vehicle including driver. 9 pm. Festivals Cozumel Carnival or Mardi Gras is celebrated every February/March for the week before Lent. What to See & Do The monument in San Miguelʹs plaza is to Gonzalo Guerrero. scooter or bicycle to explore the island. He kept his vow and his wife. Trans del Caribe leaves from Puerto Morelos on the mainland and sails to Punta Venado on the island. 7 pm and midnight. Sunday at 4:30. 1. 3. and $3 extra for each passenger.
Beach chairs and snorkel or ﬁshing supplies are for rent. you should have a life jacket. The natural sections include evolutionary information on reefs as well as wildlife migration and management. Palancar Beach is the southernmost beach on the island and is sparsely populated. like most along this shore. tel. washroom facilities. I ʹd call this slightly overpriced! The site is wheelchair-accessible. gear and tips (over the entry fee). Paradise Beach is 10 miles (17 km) south of the plaza and eight km (ﬁve miles) south of the cruise ship pier and was once part of San Francisco Beach. There is a restaurant on site. ﬁrst-get basis. with a fee of $3 to enter. . no ma er how strong a swimmer you are. There are palapas.cozumelnachicocom.to 6 pm daily. The all-inclusive ticket gives you use of the pool. It was rescued by the town and made into a museum. Maya and the Spanish. hot tub and beach. Nachi-Cocom Beach Club/Water Sports. This beach. There is a minimum of $12 that you must spend at the site on drinks.net. There is no charge to enter the site but they oﬀer an all-inclusive ticket that is just $16 for cruise passengers and $32 for independent travelers. showers. open 7 am to 2 pm daily. it has lounge chairs and umbrellas free of charge on a ﬁrst-come. is beautiful. www. The people you will see there are not partiers. the museum features both natural and historical information about the island. dives and snorkel trips. You also get watered-down drinks and lounge chairs. Food will cost about $12 for a lunch serving of ﬁsh or $8 for a sandwich. Gear and food is extra. a restaurant and bar and a dive operator. The historical section includes displays from pirates. There are changing rooms. is at the south end of the west beach and patronized mostly by the cruise crowd. shops and tour operators oﬀering jet skis. Touted as the best beach on the island. Most interesting are the historical photographs showing the transformation of the island from 100 years ago to the present. A cocktail is about $8. 872-0838. Occupying two stories. Cozumel from space Beaches The currents oﬀ Cozumel are strong and. The building was once a luxurious hotel that fell into disarray. Waiters will serve drinks and food from the restaurant. Beach toys. if you are going in more than waist deep from shore.
open 8 am to 6 pm daily. Your actual time with the dolphin wonʹt be more than 60 seconds. It also has some modern Maya temples. strong swimmers. If you want a “Royal” swim for an extra $25. There is no charge to enter this complex. www. It has a salt-water lagoon. There are chairs. ﬂowering plants and trees housing numerous birds and reptiles. horseback riding and snorkeling. San Juan Reef is 110 feet (35 m) deep and is for the experienced diver only. this is really a party beach. Paradise Reef is a shallow dive for the beginner. you will get 30 minutes of swim time. Playa San Francisco is a three-miles (ﬁve-km) beach just north of Paradise. especially near the north end. Mr Sanchos Beach Club/Restaurant is for the cruise crowd. and the Virgin Mary. The reef is 60-90 feet (20-30 m) wide and one mile (1½ km) long with coral heads about 10 . avoided by even experienced.cozumelpaks. If you are snorkeling oﬀ a dive boat. kayaking. This site is seldom visited and then only by experienced divers. 872-2387 or 872-1430. Waverunners $55 for 30 minutes Banana boats $10 for 20 minutes Parasail $45 for 10 minutes Climbing wall $10 for adults/$7 for children Glass bo om boat $55 for three hours Snorkel $35-$65 Be aware that some sail and snorkel trips will cost up to $300. a botanical garden and Los Uvas sandy beach. The current runs about three knots at all times and down currents are also common. Diving One tank $50. along with washrooms and change rooms. where the real partying occurs. no ma er how good a swimmer you are. There are shopping stalls. Dive/Snorkel Sites There are many sites and o en the names are changed to a ract divers. Jacuzzi. Swim with Dolphins will give you some educational time (to learn about dolphins) and about 15 minutes to kiss the dolphin and rub his belly – all for $100. shopping mall and some beach gear that can be rented. The currents are strong and really scary. some water sports such as kayaks and pedal boats. From here you can take a glass bo om boat trip or a banana boat ride.sssnetwork. if at a table. 872-094. the cost to rent ﬂippers and a mask is about $15 an hour.mx. tables. There is a recompression chamber on the island. A 15-minute massage is $20 and a deep tissue massage is $25. Palapas. Barracuda Reef goes down 70 feet (20 m) and has strong currents running up to three knots. which can hold up to 500 people. Established in 1980. It drops to 50 feet (15 m) and is about 600 feet (200 m) from shore. There is an all-inclusive $10 ticket for the use of beach toys. is falling oﬀ at this beach.com. however. If this is too tame for you. If you snorkel oﬀshore. you are expected to eat and drink. the lagoon is no longer a swimming hole but diving and snorkeling are good oﬀ the beach. itʹs about a half-km to Playa Mia. available 24 hours a day. The service. and is also owned by Mr Sanchos. Although there is a small zoo. and a swim/beach toy area that is roped oﬀ. Due to ecological sensitivity. a restaurant and bar. www. chairs and umbrellas are free. never go into these waters without a life jacket. two tanks $75 Jeep/dune buggy tours $95 for ﬁve-seven hours Deep-sea ﬁshing About $525 for four hours Submarine ﬂoat $60-$90 for two hours Chankanaab Park is just 6½ miles (12 km) south of the plaza and three miles (ﬁve km) south of the Cruise Ship Pier. The current is moderate. The botanical gardens include mangroves. located across the road. kayaks and sun mats can also be rented. The reef sits about 200 yards from shore and the waters have underwater statues of Chaak Mool. Playa Mia (Playa del Sol) is the booze cruise stopping point. Thereʹs also the ATV jungle ride. Chankanaab Park is Mexicoʹs oldest marine park and a “must see” while on Cozumel.water trampolines. bar. COSTS Costs for using equipment at the above beaches may vary by a few dollars but generally the following applies. It serves as the party beach for this area. The beach just north of Mr Sanchos is a private one for the cruise crowd. tel. palapas and full restaurant services at the park. There is also a dive site by this name. Talk to other divers and go only with a reputable dive master. and go parasailing. Photos cost another $15-$20. There is a restaurant. Of course. tel. An ascent line is necessary and rough conditions are common. The entry fee is $10 if traveling independently.com. windsurﬁng.
it seems a ractive to barracudas. Punta Tunich is an intermediate-to-advanced dive site.com. The lighthouse is at the southern tip of the island on a road that branches oﬀ from the main one. is a Nicklaus-designed. There are huge brain corals here. This dive is a favorite with locals. It is rich in marine life. 872-0972. Although the current is strong.800-yard course. is open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Follow signs. There are huge coral pinnacles. Tormentos Reef is a shallow dive for intermediate skill levels. replacing the original which was built in the 1800s. 872-9570. tel. Ge ing stuck is a popular sport. Devilʹs Throat is for experienced divers and goes down 140 feet (45 m). From the abandoned lighthouse you can see ro ing ships sunk by pirates in the 1700s. Colombia Shallow is for the novice.feet (three m). The cost includes entrance to the marine museum. Small caves and tunnels form the reef.com. The depth is 35-60 feet (10-20 m) on average. Rent a car or bike. groupers. Once you leave the main road. ravines and narrow tunnels. Itʹs an excellent choice for beginners. It goes down to where green moray eels. club rentals. The lighthouse. On the Links Cozumel Golf and Country Club. can manage the trip. The wildlife is just as spectacular. $10 entry fee. Strong currents make this a diﬃcult spot. Follow Boulevard Juárez east for 10½ miles (17 km) to San Gervasio access road and follow it .mex. The wildlife is good and with luck youʹll not only see ﬂamingos but sea turtles too. the reefʹs most famous guest. tel. where the views are spectacular. is at the northeastern end of the island and a few diﬃcult miles oﬀ the main road. www. The cost. A long coral ridge rises from about 70 feet (23 m) where green morays and groupers play. always a treat to see. Santa Maria Reef is at the end of San Francisco Beach and although it goes down about 60 feet (18 m) along a wall with tube sponges and coral. during dry season. a long tunnel (the Throat) takes you to a cavern and more passages. Only a four-wheel drive. the track leading to the lighthouse is really a challenge. There are about 130 steps leading to the tower and observation walkway at the top.countryclub. Paso el Cedral is an intermediate dive that drops 60 feet (20 m) to reefs with caverns hiding large ﬁsh and the green morays. with a few ruins near its base. Yucab is an excellent novice dive that goes down to 60 feet (20 m). do ed with caves and tunnels. par-72. Punta Sur Lighthouse. although it does go down to 90 feet (30 m). It drops to about 35 feet (10 m) into a sea garden that seems to go all the way to Cancún. As the name suggests. Be certain to go only with a very skilled dive master on this one. The brain corals are huge. Its colorful wildlife and more than 500 coral formations will addict the newest divers. It ʹs a wall dive that gets be er the farther down you go – to about 160 feet (50 m)! Because of its exposed location. There are strong and fast currents here. Columbia Reef is for intermediate divers and goes 80-90 feet (25-30 m) down. This lighthouse was built in 1934. Fourteen holes have water. Maracaibo or Lighthouse Reef is for expert divers only. 6. and angelﬁsh. Punta Molas Faro. drink carts. Cedral Wall is intermediate level because of the strong currents. and a pro shop. is $169 for starts before 1:30 pm and $105 for those later. One club rule prohibits retrieving balls from water hazards as there are occasionally crocs in them. the second lighthouse. one at each end. www. This is also a good snorkel area. This is the most famous dive oﬀ Cozumel. Palancar Horseshoe is an intermediate dive that goes from 20 to 125 feet (seven to 40 m). the current and surf are both a huge danger. Li le Caves is a good dive for intermediates that goes down about 70 feet (20 m) to canyons. This dive is highly recommended for those of this skill level. Km 6. There are cliﬀs and walls at the 100-foot (30-m) level. overnight bag storage.5 north. The club has a pu ing/chipping green. is especially interesting to birders. grunts and snappers can be seen.cozumelparks.mx. including a shared cart. located in what was once the lighthouse keeperʹs home. On Wheels There are two lighthouses on the island. it doesnʹt oﬀer much for wildlife. Ruins of San Gervasio. Taking a taxi out here would be expensive ($30).
Av Rafael Melgar and Calle 8. There is a loudspeaker blasting out Latin music most nights. Snorkel trips are $35 for 2½ hours. 878-4055 or 872-5387. There is no bartering here. If you are not part of the cruise crowd. Av Juárez #2 and Av 10 North. tel. visit one of the inland operators. This is the best late night bar. you shouldnʹt pay more than $15. Snorkel tours for 2½ hours are $35 and for 4½ hours are $45.cozumel-diving. It features the best sound equipment on the island and it has huge screens where you can watch sports or old videos. itʹs $90. They carry a large range of equipment for rent or sale and can arrange hotel/dive packages. oﬀers diving and snorkeling tours. Many stores near the Punta Langosta Pier where the cruise crowd arrives are duty-free. The Arte Factory. Beware ladies – if you stand under the arch at the entrance to the ruins. The Temple of Hands has a number of childrenʹs handprints on the walls. Sea Scuba. www. tel.cozumel-diving. www. $5 cover charge. Be aware that the diamond market on Cozumel. and the wide variety of bars around the plaza. Dropping the demand (not buying) will help preserve this slow-growing creature. open 5 pm until dawn. Insurance adds a bit more. Black coral is still sold on the island but remember that it is endangered. tel. open 8 am to 5 pm daily.net/studio-blue. 236-1860. can hold up to 600 people. The entry fee is $5 per person and you need about an hour to see the site properly. CP Rentals. has both cars and scooters for rent. Viva Mexico. A two-tank morning dive is $60 and includes equipment. The cheapest I could get was $50 a day for a Volkswagen and $25 a day for a scooter. opens 11 am to 2 am daily. They can also arrange hotel/dive packages. They are o en booked solid so make reservations early. has furniture and most notably pure vanilla ($6/half-liter). and a two-tank twilight dive is $85 with a minimum of three people. their tours are questionable. is not a source of good deals. is a great art store where you can get . Nightlife In addition to Señor Frogs at 65th & Hidalgo. Morning dives leave at 9 am. Rafael Melgar & Calle 11. Adolfo Salas #200 and Calle 6.islacozumel. Av 30 between Calle 2 & 4. 872-0799. The general atmosphere a er the cruise crowd leaves is tranquilo. if you want one. a ernoon dives leave at 1 pm and evening dives leave at 6 pm. There are dozens of tour operators at the dock waiting for customers. 872-5744. tel.net/seascuba. The temples were dedicated to Ixchel. They are friendly and this is a family-run business. has the best reputation for diving safety and ecological sensitivity. For two-cave dives. www. tel. There is a light and laser show every night and live entertainment is sometimes oﬀered. You can sip cool tequila cocktails and snack on appetizers while meeting other international travelers. Their website says if you print out the page they will guarantee those prices. the goddess of the moon. 872-0093.to the end.net/services/2000. with a maximum of six divers. She is the topnotch goddess and ruler of life and death. A two-tank tour is $60-$90 depending on where you go and when. contrary to what the cruise ship directors tell passengers. Sea Scuba runs ﬁshing tours as well and they have some rental gear.com. Los Cinco Soles. Tour Operators Any dives that go into the Chankanaab park do not include park fees. Even though their prices are good. tel. high-priced and designed for those not having time to search for a bargain. water and fertility. Shops generally open 9 am-2 pm and 5-10 pm daily. 872-4414. Cozumel doesnʹt have that much nightlife. www. Neptuno Cozumel. which are $3 per person. you will become pregnant! Wear good walking shoes (so you can make a wide detour around the arch) and bring water. Rafael Melgar and Calle 3.balamarte. Shopping Shops all around the plaza sell almost everything you will ﬁnd anywhere else in Mexico. In fact itʹs like walking the gauntlet ge ing past them. Studio Blue. This was once a pilgrimage site for Maya. A guide isnʹt really necessary but. Lady Rainbow. Av Juárez between Calle 10 & 15. A three-tank all-day dive is $90 with a minimum of four people.
869-1869. 872-0098. from no star to ﬁve. 10 am-10 pm. tel. $$/$$$. Vista Del Mar. www. Av 15 South #120. Recommended. $$.hotelvistadelmar. $$. has studios and suites in a lovely colonial building. is three blocks from the main plaza. There is a bar and laundry service.feather art for reasonable prices. tel. 872-0677. has 16 large rooms decorated in a traditional Mexican motif. between Calles 5 & 7 South. www. It is a skill that has been practiced for hundreds of years. The hotel is clean. Hotel Pepita. tel.cozumel-hotels. Hacienda San Miguel. $. quiet.haciendasanmiguel. tel.net/el_marques. corner of Av 5. Hotel El Marques. There is a comfortable courtyard with a pool. The service is exceptional. as the island caters more to the cruise crowd. Clean. Continental breakfast is included. is a three-story building on the plaza. Av 11 #101.com. . Av 5 South #180. Each front room has a balcony overlooking the action.com. Woodyʹs Love Stop. Av Juárez #501. tel. Rafael Melgar #45. The lush vegetation in the grounds is superb. 872-1986. between 25th & 30th North. 872-5471. This is a family-run business and hospitality is their specialty. open Monday to Saturday. Itʹs the ﬁrst sex shop in Cozumel. I didnʹt check it out but maybe I should have! Hotels Cozumel has well over 50 hotels. This art is unique and not found everywhere. is another quaint boutique hotel that is family-owned and -operated. well maintained and comfortable. 872-0545. Calle 10 North #1500 between Av 5 and Rafael Melgar. and friendly and has great air conditioning. Most of the family-run ones in the center of town are wonderful li le places that specialize in courtesy and cleanliness. Hotel Pepita La Casona Real. But they are seldom full. Clean and comfortable. $$$. www. tel.
Casa del Mar. Itʹs close to the plaza. They have a pool. restaurant. childrenʹs babysi ing and business center. is a beachfront hotel with 50 rooms.casadelmarcozumel. scuba diving. tel. These include (to name a few) gym.net/. snack bar and three dive shops. a gym. However. Villa Blanca. Donʹt book ahead. The restaurant is open from 7 am to 11 pm daily. tennis court. location. 872-2700.hotelplazacozumel. Km 4. Although service animals are permi ed to enter at no extra cost. restaurant. whirlpool. www. game room. There is a Jacuzzi. www. air conditioning and cable.com. $$$.com. pool. Like Hotel Presidentes anywhere in the world. Coastal Highway. www. tennis court. tel.com. pool. $$$/$$$$. Km 6. . For these you must pay an extra $50.ichotelsgroup. Casa del Mar Hotel Presidente Intercontinental. water sports. with lounges overlooking the ocean. and sundeck. tennis. Other rooms look onto the Caribbean. $$$$. Coastal Highway. has 98 Mexican-styled rooms with huge picture windows looking onto a lush garden complete with fountain. poolside bar. 872-1922. beach area. Km 3. 872-0322. live entertainment. some rooms are not up to snuﬀ.5 on the Coastal Highway. $$$. plus Internet. The service is friendly and the hotel is safe. tel. spa. Jacuzzi. gi shop.villablanca. has a pool. www. 872-0314. architecture and décor. and wheelchair access. sauna. they are excellent in price. and services. Calle 2 North #3. pets are permi ed only if they are under 35 pounds.Vista del Mar bedroom Hotel Plaza Cozumel. tel.
tel. is the most expensive all-inclusive hotel I found on Cozumel. tel. 872-9730. Motorized sports are extra.Hotel Presidente Wyndham Cozumel Resort (previously the Reef Club). snorkel equipment and windsurﬁng boards.occidentalhotels. $$$$$. according to Wyndham specs.com. ﬁtness center. ideal for families but also with an adults-only section. The hotel is on Playa San Francisco. There are six restaurants. Km 12. kayaks. Km 17. www. There are spots just for kids (and teens). The architecture is very Mexican with bright colors and heavy wood furniture. The 400+ rooms have access to three pools. nightly entertainment and excellent food served in four restaurants. tennis courts. . has had a face-li . 872-9311. although some of the service is not at North American speed. a long stretch of white sand. Wyndham Cozumel Occidental Grand Cozumel. $$$$$. This is an all-inclusive resort.9 on the Coastal Highway.5 Coastal Highway. four bars and a nightclub serving guests from the 250 rooms.
In the Air Parasailing. 873-5035. This is one of the best Italian restaurants on the Riviera Maya. What to See & Do On Horseback Captain Rickʹs Sport Fishing Oﬃce. open 5 pm-11 pm daily. diving and snorkeling can be arranged in the town. oﬀering Northern Italian cooking done in a brick oven. 872-1041. Rick also oﬀers sport-ﬁshing tours. Pepe needs to move from charm and return to quality again. 872-2477. started at this location with four tables. The food is very good – chicken is the best. Calle 1 South #58 or Rafael Melgar and 5th. water skiing. located just past the Omni Hotel. Prima. He is very popular with the cruise crowd. including Burger King. costs $45 per person. private condominiums and a few upscale B&Bs. tel. But sadly. Pepeʹs Steak and Seafood. Capt. The marina waterfront has souvenir shops selling a wide variety of goods. oﬀers a four-hour jungle horseback ride that includes snorkeling in a cenote and a picnic lunch. Panchos Backyard. This company has a 31-foot (10-meter) boat to pull you . Reservations are recommended. Also along the water are numerous ﬁne-dining restaurants. Hard Rock Café. 872-0213. Salas. open 7 am-11 pm daily. open 4-11 pm daily. The community has three white-sand bays that allow jet skiing. Señor Frogs and the Pizza Hut. Yucatán food is the specialty and a good meal of ﬁsh will cost no more than $10. Av Rafeal Melgar and Calle 6 North. He expanded again. People came. More came. The deepest marina along the coast is here and the village has a full-service dock. McDonalds. Av Rosado Salas #109. Dominos. Av Melgar & A. Fishing. Pepeʹs.R. at the marina. He expanded. Plaza Leza.Occidental Grand Cozumel Restaurants There are over 90 restaurants and cafés on the island. 873-5108. Puerto Aventuras Puerto Aventuras is a gated community with luxury resorts. tel. I ʹve also heard of people drinking directly from the kegs. The horses are healthy and happy. tel. tel. for $12. owned by Eduardo Ruiz. There is an inside patio but the preferred tables are on the deck overlooking the street and the water. 869-6126. The owner spoke numerous languages and had a charismatic personality. tel. not to mention good food. tel. has a relaxed Mexican atmosphere with an indoor and outdoor patio area. His specialty is prime rib and lobster ($30) with a ﬁne red wine (not included). The pasta is home-made and the wine cellar is huge. and wind surﬁng.
oﬀers numerous interactive programs with playful dolphins. The Dolphin Royal Swim is $149 per person and can be done at 9 and 11 am or 1 and 3 pm daily. snapper. snorkeling is good. The Swim Adventure (kisses. Reservations recommended. marlin and tuna is best from March to the end of June. is a nine-hole. On Water The coral reef is just 300 feet (100 m) from shore and divers can go down to two platforms. golf balls. touching and dancing close) is just $99 per person and can be done at the same time as the Royal Swim. King mackerel. you can spend up to three hours playing in the tanks with all the animals. Fishing for sailﬁsh. This is an exciting dive where turtles and barracudas are o en encountered. tel. The cost depends on what you do. dorado and barracuda are best caught from July to the end of September. shirts. Green fees are $80 for 18 holes and include an electric cart. These cruises are available at the marina. Cenotes can be reached from here with a tour company or in your own car. celebrity manatees and comical stingrays. Barracuda. Children under eight are not permi ed to participate and those between eight and 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult. You can also go to Tortugas Reef.into the air for a thrilling ride over the bay. grouper and sharks are around all the time. On Foot Puerto Aventuras Golf Course. There is a clubhouse where you can purchase drinks. 849-4748. But for $200 per person. Km 90 Chetumal-Cancún Highway. at the marina. 873-5109. one at 60 feet (20 m) and the other at 120 feet (40 m). tel. . just 15 minutes oﬀshore where the reef is about 70 feet (22 m) deep. Thomas Leman course that opens at 7:30 am daily all year round. Carts are not mandatory and reservations are not necessary. clubs and accessories. just waiting for your lure. A Sunset Sailing Cruise is oﬀered every evening on a 46-foot (15-m) catamaran. open 9 am-6 pm daily. hats. par-32. Dolphin Discovery. Almost anywhere there is reef.
tel. Word is the previous owner will not be back to reclaim his boat. scuba diving. individual climate controls. Riviera Maya Parasail. dive shop and on-site parking.akumaldivecenter. Akumal Dive Center. the beach delightful. www.omnihotels. they are very prompt to answer any questions. oﬀers tandem ($55 per person) or solo ($65 per person) 12. They have an Ideal Nourishment Program and Get Fit Rooms where you can sweat out your physical ailments in private. Contact them (from their website) with any questions.200 for 50 guests. They became so well known that they spread to other countries. The pools are huge and a ractive. is a large boat that was conﬁscated from a drug dealer.com. 803-2078. It sat in the marina for years before the present owners decided to make it into an interesting bar. $$$$$. tel. are two upper-end all-inclusive resorts set on a few miles of white sand beach. A continental breakfast is delivered to your room each morning. you should get away and ﬁnd something new. Hotels There are 12 luxury resorts. Barcelo Maya Beach/Garden. originated in Istanbul in 1974. clothing and food stores. oﬀers snorkeling. The restaurants in the all-inclusives will take outsiders. where you can ﬁnd souvenirs. 24-hour medical service.com. 875-9025. www.com. Mi Barco. Lapis oﬀers a combination of quality-designed jewelry embedded with precious and semi-precious stones.to 15-minute parasailing trips. www. Omni Aventuras.com. There are a few bars along the beach for a quiet sipping session. has four boats. north end of beach. plus a few smaller places in Puerta Aventura (this gated community).barcelo. a spa and ﬁtness center. a mini-golf course. Together. they oﬀer almost 1. Besides being a very good company to deal with. ﬁshing trips and diving instructions. The cost is $375 for half a day and $650 for a full eight hours of excitement on the smaller boats (four people) or $450 for half a day and $800 for a full day on the larger boat (six people). but occasionally. including blue and yellow diamonds. tel. There is the ﬁtness center. 875-1958. and lots of space – 395 square feet for the oversized rooms. leaving at 9:30 and 11:30 am or 2:30 pm daily. They do this by combining their tours so all boats/vehicles are full or as close to full as possible. You can design your own jewelry. They have three dives per day. tel.com.chartermexico.000 rooms with all luxury amenities included. Nightlife Most all-inclusives oﬀer nightly entertainment. Rooms have balconies with private Jacuzzis and hammocks. 873-5513. Be sure to stop in for a drink. www.Tour Operators Most hotels have tour operators who also work with the private companies. www. The diﬀerence between them is negligible but you must check the latest reports before booking. Shopping Lapis Jewelry Factory. 873-5683. at the marina near the Oasis Hotel. a gym. tel.jewelry-lapis. Their catamaran day-trips run from $600 for 10 people for four hours up to $1. Main Marina (across from the Omni Hotel). www. a game room and a ﬂeet of non-motorized watercra . $$$$/$$$$$.snubamexico. Captain Glen Fishing Charters. three tennis courts. They have a night dive and twice a week they go to the park at Cozumel. two theaters. tel. cenote diving. This is ﬁne for a night or two. is a high-end. two pools plus a kidsʹ pool.com. They also oﬀer handmade oriental carpets (by far my preference). across the highway from Puerto Aventura in the sand-colored Turkish-styled building. 875-5000/875-1500. all-inclusive luxury resort. . There is a minimum of four persons per dive. Residents have access to 14 restaurants. Small shops are located near the marina.
There are some great extras like a swimsuit spinner in the locker room. El Dorado Seaside Suites. Beaches have been destroyed throughout the Yucatán by Hurricane Wilma and the hotels are doing their best to rectify this but it can't be done overnight. claims clients need not wear the . honeymooners and retirees happy. 875-3000.sunscaperesorts. tel. all with four-poster canopy beds to add to the romance. tel. I hear over and over about unexpected problems like a non-existent but paid-for room or a five-star price being paid for a no-star accommodation. sullen teens.com. tel. 848-7510. The best rooms are in the newer section. Be aware that if you pay for everything before you leave your home. $$$$$. Km 95. some extraordinary. The ﬁve pools are large and the safe deposit boxes cost extra if you use them. regardless of how badly misrepresented your resort of choice has been. Cameleon Marival. Sunscape Puerto Aventuras. $$$$$. has 524 spacious guest rooms and a spa/ﬁtness center. plus you have the option of dining in your room – for a charge of course. you will not be able to change hotels. great massages and free tennis lessons. has 280 adults-only. Bring water shoes. 875-1910. The food and service is upscale but not exceptional. considering that this is one of the most expensive places in PA. $$$$$. The six international restaurants serve well-prepared meals. but the hotel has concentrated most of its eﬀorts around activities designed to keep youngsters. www.There are two restaurants and two bars. luxury rooms. free hydrotherapy. This resort has the #1 reputation in Aventuras.
The hotel oﬀers some good “deals” during oﬀ-season. play tennis or join in aerobics. kayaks and snorkeling gear are also part of the package. and a staﬀ of ﬁve at your beck and call. one adults-only. a 30-person Jacuzzi and two pools. For activities you can bicycle. but kids are allowed. not to mention a private beach. 873-5184. There is a ﬁtness center.com. Casa del Agua.000 per night for a room. Check their website for this. including one butler. The maximum number of people they take are 10 at any one time for a minimum of three dayʹs stay. with handcra ed furniture. kayak. Restaurants Most hotels here are all-inclusive so a restaurant section will be irrelevant to many visitors. Thereʹs turndown service (I ʹd expect the bed to be warmed for this price!) and security.casadelagua. Mexican tile and hardwood decor. The place is exquisite. Tennis.irritating wristbands nor make reservations at the specialty restaurants. www. There is also a saltwater lagoon to play in. is beyond my scale at almost $1. golf equipment. if you want . However. There are no pets or smoking allowed. tel. The price includes breakfast.
You can play billiards. tel. itʹs well worth it to taste the best shrimp tacos in the Yucatán. 873-5728. This was the Copacabana before it fell under new management. is popular for its French toast. kayaks. such as archery. Hotels Catalonia Royal Tulum. and whirlpool. The ambiance is casual. is a seafood eatery on the beach. plus a kidsʹ pool. Golﬁto Duck Pu is a mini-golf. 871-5400. mini-golf. oﬀers some extras other resorts donʹt. ping pong. Grand Flamenco Xcaret. there are many places to choose from. Internet. tel. for around $10 a plate. The beaches are maintained by the resorts so private. If you can wait till then. next to the Premex Gas Station (no phone available). Itʹs on the beach next to the Catalonia Royal Tulum. which has greatly improved the facilities. www. Italian Bakery. steam room. They also have high-speed Internet. There are boogie boards. opens from 8 am to 8 pm daily. tel. Xpu-Há Xpu-Há is a quiet li le se lement just three miles (ﬁve km) south of Puerto Aventuras with ﬁve all-inclusive resorts on the beach. Paco is so well known that locals drive long distances just to get his food. a few small restaurants and one dive shop in the center. Paco Taco. mini-mart.some variety. 875-1800.com. doesnʹt open until 11 am. on the plaza. pedal boats and water polo. There is also mini-golf and a gas station.cafecafe-pa. A total of 10 restaurants and bars are available for you. kiddie club. I love the name. open daily at 11 am. It oﬀers good coﬀee (o en hard to come by in coﬀee-growing countries) and the best desserts on the coast to go with it. is a family-styled all-inclusive with 288 rooms and one large pool. Papaya Republic. . and darts or you can take dance lessons. Open 8:30 am to 7 pm. Night-time entertainment is not compulsory. the food is fresh and the quantity is good. 873-5029. open 8 am. volleyball. ice cream and the best pizza in town. Café Café at the marina. and four Jacuzzis. tel. cafeteria. non-paying visitors are discouraged from enjoying the area. $$$. but closed for siesta between 2 and 5 pm. $$$$$.
Reservations are a must. Friday and Saturday a ernoons from 3-7 pm.2 miles (two km) toward the ocean from the highway and you can drive and park there. A bus will drop you oﬀ on the highway and you will have to walk or take a taxi to the ruins themselves. Some are very basic. The breeze is noticeable. visiting the ruins is a must. there is live music. Getting Here & Around The Tulum/Cancún Highway passes the road leading to the ruins and then continues a bit farther south to the village of Tulum. There are 11 restaurants and 10 bars. There are small hotels. thus making the heat bearable. The Maya built here because of the areaʹs aesthetic beauty and strategic importance. on a cliﬀ overlooking the Caribbean. Al Cielo also has four rooms for rent ($200+ per night) made with local hardwood and palapa roofs. Club Tulum. Buses pass by along the Tulum/Cancún Highway every hour going north or south until 5 pm. bamboo stick walls (some have plaster halfway up) and thatch roofs. there are numerous huts along the beach. tel. As of writing time. they oﬀer nothing exceptional. What to See & Do Cenotes . The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner only and is especially known for the good wine selection that complements the fresh seafood dinners ($20). If you do nothing else in Tulum. Restaurant Al Cielo. The ruins are 1. most are quite inexpensive and all are romantic. Visiting one of each per day would take most of your vacation. Two km south of the ruins. restaurants and jungle along the road. Tulum Tulum is where the third-most popular ruins in the Yucatán are located. They have white sand for a lawn. is now being renovated. The cabañas that overlook the Caribbean are decorated with sheer mosquito ne ing over the beds.Although the 770 rooms are fairly large and comfortable. is located between the two gates of Xpu-Há. once Robinsonʹs Club. there was no start-up date available. 840-9012.
However. 883-0524 (Cancún) or 803-1298 (Playa). is down about 80 feet (25 m). The worst possible danger is being charged by damselﬁsh. The saltwater layer. Picture ID and $20 deposit are required for towels.com. locker and snorkel gear. one midway and one at the far end. that do this when threatened. even though the cave is dark due to the black walls. Cave maps are available at most oﬃces of tour operators. Bird watching. It is an all-inclusive entertainment center starting at $75 per adult per day and $50 for children. Public buses running between Cancún and Tulum/Chetumal stop at the gates. Turn right and follow this for ﬁve miles (eight km) to the ﬁrst dirt road heading north. snorkeling and skinny-dipping are recommended. directly across the road from Naharon. The saltwater layer is oﬀ the Desconocido Dome line. Mayan Blue.xel-ha. The park opens daily at 9 am and closes between 5 and 6 pm. Coming here without snorkel gear would be a great travesty because the wildlife is so abundant. follow the main highway north to Akumal Caribe road. Theme Park Xel-Há. The most popular trip is to the saltwater layer about 80 feet (25 m) down. . Open from 8 am to 5 pm daily. There are rumors that this downstream cave system connects with Ox Bel Há but at time of writing. depending on the time of year. If you do not have a car to reach Yalku. tel. white in color. entry fee $3. www. is a rocky inlet reached by boat or road.See cave descriptions under Playa del Carmen for those along the Cobá Road. is a complex system of tunnels and rooms that would take a week to explore. Adventures on Water Yalku. there are events and activities that are not included in this basic entry fee such as the dolphin swim. The sign says Cenote Cristal. lagoons. you would pay less than $10 to get to Xel-Há. If staying in Tulum. Bring everything you need. the connection was still a rumor. Follow the dirt road to the ocean. There are three entrances – one at the beginning. is a popular water park where you can explore creeks. Cenote Naharon is two miles (three km) south of Tulum along the Tulum/Cancún highway (#307) and on the west side of the road. entry fee is $5 per person. Meals can be taken at any of the six restaurants. There are no services. cenotes and underground rivers. take a bus to Akumal just north of Xel-Há and hire a boat. If driving.
Go in and party. day packs. is a liberal. terrace and hammocks around the terrace.hotel-latino. this hotel should be considered. Get a Smile” program. It is just two miles (three km) from the ruins. a plant nursery. South America and India. they wonʹt stay open just so you have time to see it all. what they are doing is promoting the “Give a Toy. walk along the south beach. clothes-optional resort on the beach. You can use bicycles. tel. kayaks or shu le buses to and from main points. There is a small generator at the restaurant and bar. All meals and drinks are included in the basic price. $$. As part of Eco-Tulum group (see above). Eco-Tulum brings in specialists throughout the year who oﬀer sessions and workshops on subjects such as Shiatsu.EcoTro ers.” where you get the chance to jump into the water from a very high elevation. The website. tel. you must come early and book immediately. aromatherapy. Propane heats the water. a childrenʹs playground.The park is designed around an inlet so it appears quite jungle-like. a ﬂoating bridge and a Maya cave. coming early is crucial. In 2007 they distributed 242 new toys for children between the ages of six months and 18 years.cabanascopal. The specialists have traveled and studied in Europe. a massage center. Asia.com. lounge. www. this is not the place for you. You may want to include a gi in your luggage when you leave home. especially on weekends. Hotels Hotel Latino. During the week a quiet drink outside your closest bar with a gecko for company is about as exciting as it gets. as well as to orphans and those living in extreme isolation. The three Eco-Tulum hotels listed below are ecologically conscious so if your comfort level needs ﬁve-star. Mexican tourists love this place so if youʹre intent on doing something like swimming with dolphins. 871-2674. They can arrange tours and they oﬀer bicycles so you can visit the ruins. Nahuatl herbal medicine and sexology. viewpoints. has interesting tips and suggestions for a greener life. Calle Andromeda #2013. For those interested in holistic life styles. and clothing to be distributed to families with children suﬀering from HIV or mental. Shopping There are cra s and cra stores along the access road to the ruins and in town. In fact. There is a pool. $$. and you will hear music intended to a ract visitors. Cabañas Copal Hotel. Snorkel gear and inner tubes are available. There are hammocks. Barter a li le and smile a lot. has eight rooms in the village center.com. which is brought in by trucks and stored in ground-level tanks. the nightlife here is pre y laid-back – you need Cancún or Playa for action. You can always leave early if youʹve had enough but. . However. There are interpretive paths through the jungle and to the “cliﬀ of courage. Nightlife For the most part. if you come late. tarot readings. solar power is replacing the gas-generated electricity or candles here. However. 877-8447. www. an apiary. www.com. physical or emotional problems. Guests from around the world have donated new toys.
is a bit upscale and specializes in spa services. kayak (gear is provided) or hike through the jungle looking for the scary howler monkeys. of course. $$$$$. Occasional guests are raccoons and tejons (li le badgers).mx. Zahra Hotel. though the food is not included in the basic price of your cabin and is a bit pricey: $2 for a coﬀee and $17 for fajitas. 880-5629/880-6022. tel. 3. www. hermit crabs and geckos.Neighbors are iguanas. $$/$$$.6 miles (six km) south of the ruins. If so. body scrubs and hair therapy (that ʹs a new one!). There are nets around the beds to impede other freeloaders from enjoying your blood. facials. www. If you have an aversion to wildlife or insects.com. Feeding wildlife is discouraged. You can also order a quiet dinner on your balcony. is the third of the three Eco-Tulum resorts and it too is rustic.zahra. The cabins are thatch and hardwood with no electricity or telephone. thereʹs the ruin just a few steps away. And. . You can have Reiki treatments or a copal sweat lodge treatment or you can nestle in the dry ﬂotation tank. The tiny private pools outside each cabin overlooking the ocean are a big draw. although there is wireless Internet. There is a concierge who checks the 15 cabins every hour between 8 am and 10 pm to see if your ﬂag is up outside your cabin. They do not oﬀer refunds because you freaked out at geckos. The spa oﬀers massage therapy including clay massage. you can snorkel. this may not be the place for you.com/. he stops to see how he can help. Once youʹve been pounded and kneaded into so dough from your massage.azulik. I love the place! Azulik Villas.
877-6024. itʹs the brightest place in town. serviced by friendly staﬀ and guarded by the friendliest dog in the country. Good Mexican food. small but comfortable rooms close to the ruins. such as their beef stew. The upstairs is open-air while downstairs is a bit more elegant. Grilled ﬁsh and frajitas are also recommended. should be eaten with them. end of Tulum Av. Restaurants Because of the heat and humidity most people donʹt even think of eating before sunset.com/about/index. There is a restaurant and bar on site. the streets in town come alive with visitors looking for some action and food. tel. www. Great for lunch or supper. There is a good restaurant and bar here and an air-conditioned Internet café. . 505-1713. about a third of a mile (half a km) from the ruins. $$/$$$/$$$$. The cabins are thatch-roofed. This has been in town for years and has remained a popular spot for locals and tourists. Km 10 Tulum-Boca Paila Road. A er dark. 871-2195. some on stilts. 876-2810. If you donʹt know what you want to eat. The restaurant overlooks the ocean. on your le . Maya-styled buildings.hotelacuariotulum. Hotel Acuario. open 7 am to 11 pm daily. Always remember that an empty restaurant (unless itʹs closed) means a sore stomach. you may be asked to go into the kitchen and see what they have cooking. which you can eat along with a cold beer ($8).com. They also serve the best mango smoothies (liquidos) in town for $3. tel. This is a very popular place. salsa. tel. Don Cafeto.dosceibas. the mole dishes are recommended and cost about $10.This complex has 22 cabins with electricity until 11 pm. Dos Ceibas. They o en have live music. This is a very laid-back place so donʹt expect fast service. has numerous stone and thatch bungalows just 30 feet (10 m) from the beach and tucked into lush jungle vegetation. $$. has six basic. They have nachos covered in refried beans. They canʹt be beat. The bungalows are clean and comfortable. tel. El Tacoqueto. 64 Tulum Road. with the most aﬀordable meals. is open 8 am to 10 pm daily (no phone available). El Mirador is on the Coastal Road.html. open from 8 am to 9 pm daily. Cross Roads to the ruins. guacamole and cheese. www.
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