Traveling beyond Cancun: Discover La Rivera Maya

As the weather gets hotter by the minute, we all start wishing to be in a deserted island with beautiful white sand and blue transparent water, no noise but that of the waves crashing and birds singing, laying in a hammock with a cold beverage in hand... isn't that image perfect? Well, there are plenty of places where you can get that and more and today we will be daydreaming about being there!

It’s no secret that Mexico has beautiful beaches, landscapes, and attractions that will blow your mind. When thinking about white sand and beautiful blue water everyone has heard of Cancun, but what about its neighboring Rivera Maya? La Rivera Maya, is located on the peninsula of Yucatan and it consists of the flowing Islands: Cozumel, Contoy, Holbox, and Isla Mujeres. The white sands and turquoise waters will take your breath away! From ancient ruins to the most exclusive hotels, La Rivera Maya will captivate your heart. Coming here gives you the opportunity to discover more than just Cancun. Give yourself that experience that speaks for itself. Stay tuned to learn all about these beautiful islands and what an amazing time you will have here. In today's blog, we invite you to let us be your tour guide and take you on a trip through La Rivera Maya!

For reference to explain the places we will be talking about today, we've inserted a map that shows the location of where each island is located below, starting from Holbox all the way down to Isla de Cozumel! Find out some interesting facts, learn about its history, and what fun activities you can do when visiting each place. Sit back, relax, and start reading all about the best Mexican beaches!

Cozumel

 All Mexico 365

Looking for peaceful shores, quiet sandy beaches, or excursions through the Chichén Itzá ruin? You've found your place as Cozumel has this and so much more to offer. Cozumel, being a favored destination spot for tourists all across North America, receives approximately 5 million visitors each year. Not only is this a major port for cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, but also containing an international airport receiving direct flights from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Halifax, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, and Toronto as well as flights from Mexico City, making this a possibility for a quick layout.

What makes Chetumal worth visiting is, first of all, its overall beauty, there is also great accessibility for visiting other places, and lastly a wide  variety of activities. Chetumal has direct access to Belize, which you can get to by ferry or bus. So, if you are thinking about crossing both off your list, this is the place. This city also provides the opportunity to be in a town that is focused on cultural arts, offering a variety of museums (such as the Maya Museum, a miniature model of Chetumal, a zoo, and planetarium). There are also cultural events at the Centro Cultural de Bellas Artes, near the museum, or at the downtown plaza. For shopping activities you will find a local market filled with dedicated art pieces as well as a mall with cinema and lots of commercial shops. 

Chetumal is not only this, but they highly celebrate the indigenous Maya presence and descent, being that they are near standing archaeological sites. The magnificent and astonishing Mayan ruins found here date back to 400s A.D., being a main archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. These sacred grounds offer an amazing tour of one of the seven wonders of the world. Visiting the Chichen Itza Pyramid called El Castillo, also known as The Castle, to visiting Valladolid, Yucatan, a colonial town in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula very close to the Mayan ruins, your trip will be nothing but unforgettable.

 Holbox

Mexico Divers

Mexico divers, warm waters, white-sand beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere creates the paradise you’ve always imagined. Isla Holbox is located, on the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. To get to this island, you take a passenger ferry from port Chiquilá that crosses the Yalahua Lagoon. A journey that only takes approximately 20 minutes! This island is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and because of its region, its also considered a natural refuge for several endangered species. This area is very safe and well protected that every project will only be approved if it provides minimal impact on different ecosystems, endemic vegetation, and fauna. Here you won’t find any paved roads but streets of plain white sand. To get around, you can use golf carts, bicycles, or you can walk, there are counted cars on this island, and they cannot drive around the street. At Holbox you will also found delicious local restaurant that have a daily limited menu, based on the day's catch, which assures your food will be fresh. Also, Holbox has very limited cellphone service and internet access which, for some, might constitute an issue but for us makes this a real vacation!

One of the most spectacular events, and a must if you can, is the Bioluminescence phenomenon, where Phytoplankton leaving tiny bits of blue light after they’ve agitated, creating beautiful blue light, making this a magical experience. We highly recommend swimming in bioluminescence and exploring this as a fairytale. Held between July to January, but possible to spot during other months, the best night to go in is one where there is new moon, as it is darker making light more powerful and, of course, magical. Feeling more adventurous? What about a swim with a whale shark? You can do this here too! These peaceful giants will not harm you and only feed on plankton, but if you do plan on it, make sure it’s during the season June to mid-September. Talk about a unique experience!

Isla Contoy

Visit Roo

Isla Contoy is the place to go if all you want to do is relax and admire Nature's beauty. If you plan to enjoy a little party, this is not the place for you. The most popular activity and reason people come here is to do some diving and sightseeing of the amazing coral reef. According to a variety of people, it is marvelous! Coming here will truly give you the remote island experience. Contoy is very small (5 miles long to be exact), located in the Caribbean Sea just north of Isla Mujeres. The name Isla Contoy means “island of birds” and is considered a bird watcher's paradise. It is home to more than 150 different bird species. Incredible! Not only will you see birds, but a large number of sea turtles nesting during the summer. You can navigate the island through two different pathways and observe the 90 different kinds of plants discovered here. If you're planning to visit Isla Contoy it can only be done as a day trip. To keep the integrity of the ecosystem and protect the environment, only 200 guests are allowed at a time. It's about a 1-2 hour boat trip and can be planned through tour operators from Isla Mujeres or Cancun. A one of a kind island escape!

Isla Mujeres

Green Wings Excursions

Did you call for adventure? Islas mujeres sits across the bahía de mujeres in Cancún, Mexico and is considered one of 132 pueblos mágicos throughout Mexico. A must see attraction is scuba diving in the underwater museum, called MUSA, which consists of 12 galleries containing 1,364 different artificial habitats. The message behind this museum is to limit the impact of about 800,000 visiting tourists each year in the natural reef of the National Marine Park while increasing the overall biomass of the reef system and habitat areas for marine life to colonize. The story behind its beautiful name "Isla Mujeres" (island of women) goes back to prehispanic times where the island was dedicated to Ixchel, a Mayan goddess of the moon, love, and fertility. Many people began to bring offerings in feminine forms so when the Spanish conquerors arrived and found all of offerings they named it, Isla Mujeres. 

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We have officially concluded our little trip through La Rivera Maya! Obviously after reading all of this, we can agree that there's way more to discover than just Cancun right? We hope that after reading this you see a different perspective to what La Rivera Maya is all about. The real question is... now that you've learned so much about all these beautiful islands that surround the Yucatan Peninsula, what's your favorite and why? Tell us all about it in the comment section down below!

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