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things to do in cancun what to see and what to do in the region?

things to do in cancun what to see and what to do in the region?

Quintana Roo in Mexico: what to see and do in the region?

Huge limestone plateau overflowing onto the Caribbean Sea, the Quintana Roo and the Riviera Maya offer visitors their many charms. Dream landscapes where fine sandy beachesstraight and slender as desired, and turquoise waters.

The state of Quintana Roo is bordered by mangroves and delicious white sand beaches caressed by a turquoise sea. Beneath its waves, a jewel: the Marine National Park of Sian Ka’anon the Belize border, which has the most beautiful coral reefs in the Caribbean.

But the coast between Cancun and Tulum has seen seaside resorts spring up like mushrooms. For those who would be afraid of the American standardization of the coast, it is enough to take refuge on the small island which is looming off the coast of Cancun: Isla Mujeres.

The beaches lined with areca palms and surrounded by coral reefs (in particular playa Rancheros, a turtle nature reserve, and playa El Garrafon, a national underwater park), the tropical forest which covers the center of the island and which is home to ruins of Mayan temples, justify the discreet, natural and preserved charm of this island of women.

Other place: Playa del Carmen . Located 68 km from Cancun, its small hotel establishments and their bungalows mainly attract a European clientele. Despite its exponential development, Playa del Carmen remains one of the most pleasant beaches in the Riviera Maya.

Quintana Roo in Mexico: the most beautiful beaches of Cancun and its region

From Cancun to Tulum, via Playa del Carmen, the stronghold of Riviera Maya (the coastal area south of Cancun), hundreds of kilometers of shoreline have now developed to accommodate many tourists.

Formerly fishing villages – this was the case for Cancun 35 years ago – the coastal cities of Yucatán now have all the infrastructure to welcome travelers; restaurants, shops and boutiques of all kinds abound. There are a few exceptions…!

The city of Cancun in Quintana Roo

The Mecca of North American mass tourism has a hundred hotels, hundreds of restaurants, nightclubs and shopping malls.

At the edge of a magnificent white sand beach and turquoise sea, Cancun welcomes nearly 3 million vacationers every year, the overwhelming majority of whom are young Americans, who come to have fun and sunbathe.

In the surroundings, much less concrete, the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres will be more suitable for budget travelers.

The town of Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo

Younger than Cancun – which is only 35 years old -, the seaside resort of Playa del Carmen has become the unmissable place of the party.

The famous Fifth Avenue is full of bars, restaurants, (brand name) clothing stores and souvenir shops of all kinds. It has recently acquired a trendy district, located near the beach, on 12th Street.

This is where you will find the culture of mexican fiestas even if the tourist frequentation rushes in high season. It remains a popular destination for Europeans (Italians and French in particular).

The city of Tulum in Quintana Roo

Two kilometers from the famous archaeological site overlooking the turquoise waters, the small town of Tulum is filled with restaurants and various shops, tourism obliges. However, it has nothing to compare with the two big ones, Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Here, tranquility is the order of the day and, at siesta time, there is a bit of a more authentically Mexican calm.

You will still come across small local shops that sell regional products. Evidenced by the stalls of varied fruits and vegetables, atypical.

Finally, note that this village is renowned for its hippie community. Fans will find a considerable number of bars on site where reggae music is played in the evening on the beach.

The town of Chetumal in Quintana Roo

It is an ancient Mayan port. After its destruction by a hurricane, the city was completely rebuilt and studied by urban planners. the Museum of Maya Culture is very well designed to understand the Mayan world through its traditions, its beliefs, its way of life. This town marks the border with Belize. It is also the capital of Quintana Roo.

Bacalar Lagoon in Quintana Roo

Located a few kilometers from Chetumal, this lagoon is also known as the “ seven color lagoon for its incredible variations of shades of blue. 50 kilometers long and 2 kilometers narrow, it is located in a beautiful forest of mangroves.

A great place to spend a day swimming, windsurfing, fishing or water skiing. Along the lagoon, you will come across a number of small restaurants where you can taste the local specialties.

The island Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo

Accessible in one hour by boat from the two piers in Cancun, the “island of women” (literal translation) will particularly appeal to families. This small island includes a natural park, a Mayan temple, various activities (zip line, diving, canoeing, golf course, swimming pools, trampoline, etc.), beautiful beaches for relaxation, a small town center and hotels to stay there.
We liked :

  • the freedom to move around (possibility of renting a golf cart) and to splash around with multicolored fish with your mask and snorkel
  • the wealth of underwater fauna
  • the possibility of releasing sea turtles every evening around 6:00 p.m. (to be requested on site)
  • the turtle farm: from the smallest to the biggest.
  • going out to sea with the fishermen’s cooperative.

Discover the lush flora and fauna of Quintana Roo

The reserve of Sian Ka’an

It is in the south of the Yucatán peninsula that you will be able to observe the greatest variety of mammals and birds in a wave of giant greenery with a natural heritage still preserved.
The Marine National Park of Sian Ka’an is actually a biosphere. It’s here most important ecological reserve in Mexicoan ecological park of 525,000 hectares of forests, lagoons, swamps, coral reefs and Mayan ruins.

Several sand islets and bays serve as nesting grounds for thousands of birds. There are more than 350 species including egrets, kingfishers, frigates, blue herons… The reserve is also visited by pumas, ocelots, monkeys and crocodiles. Marine life is rich, populated by tropical fish and sea turtles.

The underwater reefs of Cozumel Island

They mark the beginning of a coral reef that extends to Honduras. It is one of the most famous diving spots in the world and for experienced divers.

Holbox Island

2h30 from Cancun by road, a paradise island “at the end of the world”: Holbox. We reach the island after a road in good condition that will lead to Puerto Chiquila. From this small port, about twenty minutes are enough to reach the island by boat.

Holbox is above all a group of islands with exceptional fauna (flamingos, ibis, etc.) and a heavenly north coast with a beach of a dozen kilometers bordered by a few houses and hotels followed by 40 km of virgin beaches. The sea is magnificent, the white sand of the beach which descends gently will delight you.

The island is quiet. The brightness of the days is matched only by the mildness of the nights. Recommended for nature lovers (for excursions, so from June to September you can go swimming with whale sharks or see turtles laying eggs), for those who want a stay in an exceptional and still privileged setting.

The archaeological sites of Quintana Roo


It is a small fortified Maya city from the 10th century, built facing the sea and still occupied when the conquistadores arrived. Mayan religious ceremonies would have lasted until 1960. AroundEl Castillo (the castle), several buildings house frescoes and bas-reliefs in stucco, representing divine characters: the Temple of the Descending Diosas well as the Templo de los Frescoes.


It was a very powerful Mayan city between the 6th and 10th centuries, and more difficult to access, therefore less frequented. In this indomitable and mysterious site, surrounded by a rustling jungle, only a few buildings have been cleared of the forest: the Conjunto de las Pinturas (Temple of the Paintings), with its few sculpted stelae and traces of polychrome frescoes, and the impressive pyramid of Nohoch Mul, the highest in Yucatán (42 m), whose summit dominates the jungle.


Ancient Mayan city. It is located about 65 kilometers from Chetumal, in the Rio Bec region, very close to the border with Belize.

The site is relatively large, about 2 km², surrounded by tropical forest. The layout of the buildings and the remains of water pipes and cisterns suggests that Kohunlich was an important town in its time.

There are nearly 200 mounds here, although many of them are still buried underground and overgrown.

The Yucatán Peninsula has a considerable number of sporting activities, both water and land.
Activities around the water.
All seaside activities are possible in Quintana Roo and on the Riviera:

  • kayaking in the Sian Ka’an reserve to discover an exuberant fauna and flora
  • sport or leisure fishing in the villages of Punta Allen or Majahual
  • water skiing and wake boarding on the Bacalar lagoon
  • jet ski in Cancun or Playa del Carmen
  • Parasailing in Cancun
  • snorkeling in the cenotes or not far from Akumal to observe green turtles
  • lancha tour on Isla Mujeres with the fishermen’s cooperative
  • scuba diving in playa del carmen

The cenotes of Quintana Roo

Various activities are organized. Day trips offer the opportunity to discover the descendants of Mayan peoples in their villages in the jungle, archaeological sites (that of Coba is generally proposed) and to browse the famous ” cenotes “, underground rivers that have dug into the limestone.


quintana roo things to do in cancun what to see and what to do in the region?

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