Saturday, July 7, 2012

Go ahead and Take Whole Family on a Riviera Maya Vacation

By Linda Patterson

Located on the eastern part of Mexico's Yucatn peninsula, the Riviera Maya is one of Central America's most talked-about and most coveted tourist attractions. The region's ever-ascending fame is due in no small part to its enormous cache of natural beauty; in a world increasingly connected by concrete and electric wires, untold acres of lush, unspoiled jungle ring an unprecedented center of both world-class luxury and adventurous eco-tourism. Once the property of the ancient and mysterious Maya, the tallest buildings are now towering resort hotels, but the opportunity to walk amidst the remains of their civilization still exists, as does the chance to experience some of the last truly wild jungle left on Earth. Seeing the photographs taken by others doesn't tell half of the story; this is an experience that can only be lived and tasted first-hand.

Eco-Tour the Beauty of the Yucatn

Because of its abundant natural splendor, the Riviera Maya is one of the best sports in the world to go adventure trekking. The variety of environments you can visit is quite diverse, from high hills to steamy lowland jungles, mysterious underground caves, and of course, diving in sparkling clear water next to some of the biggest coral reefs found anywhere on the planet. After visiting the amazing ruins of Chichn Itz and descending from the mountainous coastline that guards the central lowlands, one can journey by car, foot, or horseback to the ancient port city of Tulum, which still stands like the watchtower its Mayan builders intended it to be over a millennium ago. Those touring the coast will find an abundance of hostels and eco-lodges, with comfortable and environmentally friendly accommodations suitable for solitary travelers or whole families of adventurers (even of the very young variety). The setting sun and absence of inundating city lights provides a beautiful prelude to the clearest and most brilliant night sky you've ever seen with your own eyes.

Birds of Every Feather

A jungle walk is one of the best ways to view the Yucatn's startling array of tropical birds in their native habitat. Avian-lovers will thrill to the magnificent variety and extensive list of species that inhabit the region. Though many are adept at blending in with their jungle habitat, the challenge of sussing out as many kinds as possible on a single trip can be made less daunting with the help of a trained multilingual guide, who can offer viewing tips and whose sharp eyes can pick out specimens the amateur watcher might be prone to overlook. Even those birds you don't see in person will make an impression, as their panoply of beautiful songs rise through the misty jungle air to mingle with the forest sounds overhead.

Ocean Life Abundant

Not to be outdone by its neighboring earthbound habitats, the Riviera Maya seaside has its own unbelievable variety of flora and fauna sure to excite any visitors. If fishing is your passion, you'll scarcely believe the size and abundance of gamefish in these waters; however, those who prefer just to look will be equally satisfied. Opportunities abound to snorkel and dive near the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the world's most extensive underwater habitats, and swim alongside dolphins, dazzlingly-colored tropical fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. Couples will surely want to enjoy romantic walks along the seashore, especially with the brilliant and soothing rays of the setting sun lavishing the seashore with illumination, and pick a few cowrie shells from the surf to take home as a souvenir of their visit.

With all this waiting in store, it's hard to imagine how one could resist planning your very next vacation to that treasure trove of culture, food, luxury, and natural beauty Mexico's Riviera Maya.

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