Holidays to Mexico's Caribbean Coast are about more than sombreros and slammers. Prepare for white-sand beaches, bright blue seas and those mysterious cities of gold.

Top beaches

The beaches on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast are seriously impressive, especially the ones along the Yucatan Peninsula. This whole sweep is quilted in soft white sands and lapped by turquoise waters. Factor in coral reefs and watersports, and you’ve got a beach scene and a half. Just a heads up – the beaches here are sometimes affected by sargassum, a type of seaweed. It’s influenced by things like weather patterns and the currents in the sea. If your hotel’s affected, the staff will do everything they can to clear it.

Beyond the coast

Inland, the Yucatan Peninsula lines up Spanish colonial towns, rainbow-painted haciendas and steamy jungles. Delve a bit deeper and you’ll unearth cities that long ago surrendered to Mother Nature – vines twist over forgotten pyramids and tree roots curl around great blocks of stone.

Mayan ruins

Mexico’s age-old cities are the handiwork of the Maya – the country’s ancient people. Along with the Aztecs, they left behind a permanent mark on the country. At last count, archaeologists had unearthed a staggering 14,000-plus historical sites. And this part of Mexico lays claims to some of the biggies, like Chichen Itzá and Tulum.

The main hubs

Leading the way in terms of places to stay is Cancun. It’s packed with hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and nightclubs, all inches from amazing white sands. Then there’s hip Playa del Carmen, which turns things down just a notch. If you’re on the lookout for complete peace and quiet, though, make a beeline for the palm-fringed shores of the Riviera Maya.

At a Glance

  • Go off-road on a jungle tour
  • Get to know Cozumel’s underwater world
  • See the mammoth pyramid at Chichen Itzá

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