Exploring Adventure Travel in Mexico

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While the resort areas along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are terrific places to spend a relaxing beach vacation, there’s also a lot to tempt travelers who want to add outdoor activities to their trip.

If you’d like to try snorkeling or scuba diving, the waters off of Cancun and Riviera Maya are a great place to get up close to aquatic life. The region is home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which starts at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and stretches down to Honduras. Known as the jewel of the Caribbean, it’s teeming with more than 500 species of fish and more than 100 types of coral. Take a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, along the Riviera Maya, to the island of Cozumel, where the warm, shallow water makes it an excellent spot to explore this colorful underwater world. Cozumel is also a good place to try other watersports, like kitesurfing and parasailing. 

The nutrient-rich waters found in the reefs around Cancun and Riviera Maya also make them one of the world’s best fishing grounds. You can try your hand at sportfishing, fly-fishing or deep-sea fishing. Tour operators will provide everything you need for a fun day at sea. Depending on the time of year, you’ll have a chance to catch everything from marlin to mahi-mahi, tuna, kingfish and more. The lagoon system around Cancun also offers year-round fly-fishing, where you can catch and release species like tarpon, barracuda and red snapper. If you’ve never tried fly-fishing, book a lesson from a tour operator. 

If you’d rather play a round of golf, you can pick from more than a dozen courses. The most famous is El Camaleon Mayakoba, designed by Greg Norman and home to the OHL Classic in November.

To explore the Yucatan’s natural wonders, head to one of the many nature reserves and ecological parks. You’ll be able to spot wildlife like monkeys, flamingos, crocodiles and marine turtles in their natural habitat. Take a horseback riding tour along the beach or through the lush tropical jungle. Just off the coast, Isla Contoy is a nesting place for more than 150 species of sea birds and Isla Holbox is home to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and other exotic birds. On Isla Mujeres, the Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers visitors a variety of activities, including cycling, kayaking and zip lining. You can also go swimming with the dolphins and, from May to September, with whale sharks. 

To learn more about Mexico’s history, take a day trip from Cancun to Tulum, where you can explore the remains of a 13th century walled Mayan city. Just outside Tulum is the Grand Cenote, one of many natural caves filled with fresh water that were considered sacred by the Mayans. Today, they’re perfect spots for swimming and snorkeling. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a great place to see wildlife or just walk around the beautiful park. 

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