Why You Should Visit the Yucatan Despite Its Touristy Reputation
The stunning beaches of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum have brought tourists to the Yucatan for years. Unfortunately the popularity of these white sand and clear ocean beaches have brought development which has all but spoiled some areas. It’s easy to associate Cancun with drunk college kids and high rise hotels.
Despite this reputation the Yucatan in Mexico is an incredible destination for beach lovers, outdoor adventurers, foodies, and culture seekers.
Here is why.
The Natural Wonders That Are the Cenotes
Few places in the world contain the incredible natural phenomenon that is a cenote, and the Yucatan is home to over 6,000. A cenote is a natural pool created below the Earth’s surface from the collapse of limestone. The water is crystal clear and glows blue or green. It is an incredible site that simply cannot be put into words.
Dos Ojos cenote is one of the most famous and is a short drive from Tulum. Tours are possible as well as self guided snorkeling and cave diving. Imagine swimming through water as clear as Aquafina among limestone stalactites.
The Beautiful, Undeveloped Islands
With crystal clear turquoise water for miles, perfectly combed white sand beaches, and incredible marine life, Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel have all the allure of popular Caribbean islands but with Mexican culture and Latin American prices. Swim with whale sharks on Isla Holbox which has no cars, walk down the endless pristine beach on Isla Mujeres, and dive or snorkel at the second largest barrier reef in the world at Cozumel.
The food here is incredible. This is Mexico after all. If you stay outside of the all inclusive hotel zone in Cancun you will find amazing chile rellenos, sopas, and tacos for less than a dollar. In Tulum chicken stewed in mole or chile verde is served with steamed rice and freshly made tortillas. Walk along the winding colorful streets in Isla Mujeres to find whole roasted spiced chickens and perfectly charred corn. Cinnamon dusted churros, perfect tacos al pastor, and crispy crepes slathered in nutella are cheap and everywhere.
The Mayan ruins in Tulum are on a cliff overlooking a stunning backdrop of the Caribbean sea. Where else can you sip a Margarita on the beach then walk through the ruins of an ancient city?
Chichen Itza, located a few hours from Tulum, was named one of the new wonders of the world and with good reason. It was one of the largest Mayan cities, with an extremely diverse population, and remains relatively well preserved.
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