Our first vacation in 2017 - Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico! Anyone who has been there knows that the list of things to see/do is endless. Number of historic sites, beautiful beaches, cenotes every few miles, theme parks and plenty of delicious food to eat. Ours was a very short 3 day trip on the occasion of my birthday and we only barely scratched the list, nonetheless we had a great time.
The Riviera Maya of Mexico is a very popular tourist destination. With hundreds of thousands of people traveling year round and being a well established resort district there is no question of shortage of food options. There are plenty of restaurants serving authentic mexican and international cuisines without having to go looking too far.
We personally did not look for the best places to eat or check any apps for the top rated restaurants. Because we were hungry and tired most of the time, so we often entered the first restaurant we came across. Well, happens when you skip proper breakfast to get to an attraction early before it got too crowded.
Chichen Itza was one of the most powerful cities during Mayan civilization. Sophisticated and highly decorative architecture built with mathematical and astronomical brilliance by the Maya, without any of the modern technology or tools at their disposal is simply astonishing. An estimated 1.5 million people visit this city of ancient Mayan ruins every year, which makes it a popular and busiest archeological sites in Mexico. It was elected one of the New seven wonders of the world in the year 2007.
Muyil is one of the oldest and unfrequented archeological sites in Riviera Maya. It is a peaceful retreat for anyone wanting to escape tourist crowds and also spend some time alone in nature. Though being so close in proximity to Tulum it feels quite remote and unspoiled. A cool off in the lagoon is an added bonus.
5th Avenue or Quinta Avenida in Playa Del Carmen is a bustling commercial street that stretches about 2 kms parallel to the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. It is a charming colorful street with a variety of shops - selling souvenirs, artifacts, traditional mexican clothing, cuban cigars, tequila; boutique stores selling beachwear, shoes, bags; big brand stores like Victoria’s secret, Steve Madden etc.; many restaurants and bars serving authentic mexican and international cuisines; street vendors selling more souvenirs, intricate beaded jewelry and other knick knacks, and also booths selling ferry tickets to Cozumel.
Tulum is an archeological site located on sheer limestone cliffs overlooking the picturesque Caribbean coast. It is very popular for its beautiful setting and also because of its proximity to the resorts and developments in and south of Cancun. Landscape surrounding these ruins is unbeatable which hands down makes it a special place to visit.
Tulum meaning "wall or fence" in Mayan, also know as the "City of Walls", refers to the 8 meter thick walls surrounding the settlement on three sides while the 12 meter cliffs protected the city from the sea. It was originally named "zama" meaning "dawn", because it faces the direction of sunrise. It is known to have been the hub for Maya's trade network connecting both sea and land routes. It is also believed that Tulum served as a religious center that housed and protected some of its most important priests during the time. One does not have to be a history buff to fall in love with this site.
Paraiso meaning "Paradise", this beach is truly a paradise on earth. One of the most stunning white sand beaches with beautiful turquoise waters on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico. Unlike some of the beaches in Playa Del Carmen, this one has a very relaxed vibe and our most favorite as well.
Ek' Balam is one of the lightly visited archeological sites in Yucatan and also became one of our favorites. Less crowds, climbing up the ruins, bike ride, cenote etc. made this visit a memorable experience. Located in a quiet jungle setting, it consists of many structures scattered across a vast area of about 12 square kilometers, but only a compact portion of it can be viewed by the public.