Things to do

Here are just a few things you can do in the Mayan Riviera (based on photos from our visits there).

1. Climb a Mayan ruin.


2. Eat your weight in guacamole.


3. Have a drink and relax.


4. Pay homage to the god of the prominent nose.


5. Go for a walk on a gorgeous beach.


6. Commune with nature.


7. Make a sacrifice.


8. Do a little shopping.


9.  Hang out with the locals.


and 10. Watch Simon and Ivy get married!


Here’s a list with links to some activities.

Diving and snorkeling:

Close to the wedding location (Majahual, also spelled Mahahual):  

Banco Chinchorro is the largest atoll in the northern hemisphere and is comprised of three islands.  There are several         shipwrecks that can be dived upon, including at least two Spanish Galleons.


 Banco Chinchorro Wikipedia page

Loco Gringo Banco Chinchorro info page

Other dive operations that will provide other dives as well:

Majahual diving

Cancun, Cozumel, etc:

Dive Shop Mexico

Dressel Divers

Blue Abyss Divers

 There is also an underwater art exhibit between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. The one below is called La Evolucion Silenciosa, and there are several other exhibits throughout Mexico.  Snorkeling and diving tours operate daily, the links listed above can probably help you out.



Here is a link to the artist's website: Underwater sculpture


If you’ve got a few days and want to explore…

Isla Mujeres 

Just a ferry ride from Cancun and is a wonderful, relaxing getaway from Cancun.

Isla Mujeres info

 

Ruins

There are several Mayan ruins between Cancun and Bacalar, including the famous Tulum. Some have been incorporated in the Resorts and will be costly to visit, but there are dozens in the area that cost between $1 and $7 (US) to visit. The level of access you have to the structures and features depends on the sensitivity of the artifacts and the popularity of the site, but most allow you to freely explore hundreds of acres of ruins in varying degrees of, er, ruin. Tulum will be one of the more restrictive (and expensive), but the seaside views are amazing.  Here are a few others that we recommend, which are all about an hour away from the hotel:

Kohunlich  Most of the temples have not been restored, but the Templo de los Mascarones is worth the effort.

Becan  A few hundred yards off the main road, intact outer wall, satisfyingly large temples that you can freely climb (see picture 1 above).

Chicanna  Depictions of god of the prominent nose and the House of the Serpent Mouth structure (gateway to the afterlife) make this one worth exploring. 

And of course, we can't forget to mention Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the New World.  Whether you want to explore on your own or would prefer a guided tour, there are many options.  We’ve posted a few links, but a guide book is probably your best bet for finding the ones that fit your plans and expectations. 

Loco Gringo

Travel Yucatan

Cancun discount tours

 

Cenotes

Likewise there are several cenotes (say NO tays) along the drive from Cancun. These run the gammet from a big pool of water to underground caverns that you can float through.  Most of the cenotes along the highway will charge up to $10 US for you to enter and rent a float and/or snorkel. There is also a cenote within walking distance of the hotel (Cenote Azul), which was free the last time we checked and falls into the bottomless pool category.  Some are quite spectacular, though.

 


 

For nature lovers/explorers

If you’re really feeling adventurous and want to see wildlife (monkeys, tucans, jaguars, etc) and HUGE temples, we highly recommend the Calakmul Bioreserve (also information on the locogringo link listed above). It is about 3 hours from the wedding location and is very remote, so plan accordingly. There are a couple of hotels  (here and here too) the reserve entrance (30 miles from the park) if you want to spend a couple of days tracking jaguars.  As of 2007, there was also a very rustic cabana just a couple of miles west of the entrance, with good local food served up by the owner.  Here is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the reserve.


Other cities in the Yucatan worth visiting

Chetumal is the capital of the state (Quintana Roo), and is a medium-sized city (150,000 residents) right on Chetumal Bay.  The city has a very different feel than the tourist-driven cities to the north, and has many cultural activities, including the City Museum and the Museum of the Maya.  Bars and restaurants line the bay, which become lively after dark.  Chetumal is also on the border with Belize, and there is a duty-free zone for shopping.  Buses also run to Belize City for the casinos.

Campeche is on the western peninsula in the state of Campeche, about a three hour drive from Chetumal.  The roads to get there are very good, though you will go through some pretty desolate countryside and small villages along the way.  The city is flanked on the Gulf of Mexico by a series of fortifications that were built in the 17th and 18th Century to keep pirates out.  It’s a beautiful city with cobblestone streets and pastel-colored buildings.  You can watch local fishermen bring in their catch, run up the forts to ring the bells, and dine in the main square with a view of the Cathedral. Prices are reasonable, though English is not as commonly spoken there.  

 Merida is in the state of Yucatan, and is just a few hours west of Cancun.  The ruins of Chichen Itza are between the two cities, just off the toll road that connects them.  Merida is a busy, bustling city with lots to see and do.  One of the best reasons to visit is the number of large shopping areas throughout the city.  Called Plazas, you can find everything from western shoes to traditional Yucatecan clothing and culinary supplies.  Food stalls sell a variety of local favorites, and the prices are probably the best you'll find in the area.  There are also several museums, cultural centers, and interesting architecture.  Merida boasts a number of city squares, with beautiful parks and cathedrals. Restaurants also generally line the squares.