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The Yucatán's Caribbean coast is 380km (236 miles) long, stretching from Cancún all the way to Chetumal, at the border with Belize. The northern half of the coast has been dubbed the "Riviera Maya"; the southern half, the "Costa Maya." In between is the large Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.


A long reef system, the second longest in the world, protects most of the shore. Where there are gaps in the reef -- Playa del Carmen, Xpu-Ha, and Tulum -- you find good beaches. The action of the surf washes away silt and sea grass and erodes rocks, leaving a sandy bottom. Where the reef is prominent, you get good snorkeling and diving with lots of fish and other sea creatures. Here mangrove often occupies the shoreline; the beaches are usually sandy up to the water's edge, but shallow, with a silty or rocky floor.


Inland you'll find jungle, caverns, the famous cenotes (natural wells leading to underwater rivers), and the even more famous ruins of the Maya. Activities abound.


Ports & Cities...



 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The southern-most tip of the Baja California peninsula, where the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez collide with the wild Pacific, is an area of striking beauty and one of Mexico's top resort destinations.



 Ensenada, Mexico

Just 'south of the border, down Mexico way' on the Baja Peninsula lies the flourishing, friendly port of Ensenada, joined to Tijuana by the spectacular tolled Trans-Peninsula Highway, with its breathtaking ocean views.



 Mazatlan, Mexico

The city emanates a combination of laid-back seaside charm and affordable luxury, its beaches lined with bars and outdoor cafes and the sky above filled with colourful parasails.


 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is situated in the Bahia de Banderas, a 14-mile (22km) long bay lined with long stretches of sandy beaches.