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Just north of Cancun, this seaside resort community is a far cry from the spring-break crowd. Bordered on one side by the Mexican Caribbean and the other by a wetlands wildlife preserve, the vibe in Playa Mujeres is one of laid-back luxury in a natural, untouched landscape. Unlike many other such tranquil places, Playa Mujeres is not a pain to get to. It's an easy ride from Cancun airport.
Isla Mujeres offers a wide variety of tempting options for beach lovers, and is a relative bargain. Snorkel with tropical fish amid coral reefs, skim the blue waters by kayak or boat, or windsurf along the shores of soft, sandy beaches. On land, you can sunbathe, dine on seafood, dance to Latin rhythms, tour on a moped or belly up to the bar for fresh, delicious drinks.
Puerto Morelos, a peaceful village on the Mayan Riviera, is a place to experience the genuine Yucatan. Puerto Morelos makes an excellent base if you’re looking for someplace quieter than glitzy hotspots like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Government eco-reserve designations protect the reef and mangroves—and the village itself—from development. Outdoor options range from thrilling jungle and diving adventures to serene bike rides or moped explorations.
Stretching from the fishing village of Puerto Morelos to the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an, the Mayan Riviera offers an unforgettable Caribbean coastline experience. Divers and snorkelers will be dazzled by the wrecks of Xcaret and the Puerto Morelos reef. Use a zip line to descend into the sacred subterranean caverns of LabnaHa Eco Park, where you can snorkel an underground river under a canopy of stalactites. The nearby Tulum Monkey Sanctuary will put you in a playful mood.
One of the top diving destinations in the world for its bright storybook coral reefs, the island of Cozumel is also home to a variety of natural beaches. Choose a beach with soft white sand for relaxing, or snorkel off a rockier vista. A destination for both adventure and romance, Cozumel has a year-round Caribbean climate, untrammeled jungle and abundant nightlife.