Cancun, Mexico







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Hotels in Cancun and Riviera Maya Mexico




A Guide to the Beaches of Cancun and the Mayan Riviera

Areas of Cancun: Cancun is divided into three distinct areas. "Ciudad Cancun" (Cancun City), a somewhat typical Mexican town on the mainland

where most Cancun residents make their home, which contrasts strikingly with the impressive hotel zone, "Isla Cancun" (Cancun Island),

known more commonly as the Hotel Zone. There is also an ecological reserve with mangroves and lagoons. Cancun Island is a 15 mile-long

sandbar located off the mainland and connected by causeways on either end. The body of water between Cancun Island and the mainland is

called the Nichupte Lagoon. Ciudad Cancun has economical hotels and markets, but most visitors stay in the hotel zone, along the main road,

Tulum Avenue, a strip of elegant hotels and modern resorts. This is where tourist amenities, upscale shopping and nightlife is concentrated.






























Five Star Alliance

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

One of Mexico's most important sites, for centuries Chichen Itza was the political, religious and military center of the North of the
Yucatan Peninsula. The city flourished from 300 to 900 A.D., was abandoned, then re-established from 1000 to 1250 under Toltec rule.
This is why there are two areas of Chichen, the "old" and the "new." The most well-known building of Chichen Itza is the Castillo, or "Castle,"
which was dedicated to Kukulcan, the Plumed Serpent. On the equinoxes a play of light and shadow on the
stairs appears to take the form of a serpent.
Location: 75 miles (120 km) east of Merida and 60 miles (195 km) west of Cancun.



Mayan Ruins at Cobá

Functioning between 400 and 1000 A.D., Cob� was built around four small lakes. Only a few of its estimated 6,500
structures have been uncovered. It was the hub of a complex network of causeways called
sacbeoob (plural of
- meaning white road). The Nohuch Mul Pyramid, the tallest in the area, has 120 steps and if you don't suffer
from vertigo, from the top you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding jungle.
Location: 95 miles (150 km) from Cancun, 28 miles (45 km) from Tulum

El Rey

The original name of this site is unknown. The present name refers to a stone sculpture that was found on-site that
depicts a head with an elaborate headdress. This stone is on exhibit in the Cancun Archaeology Museum. The excavated
area contains 47 ancient structures which formed the center of a small city devoted to maritime trade and fishing.
Location: within Cancun's tourist resort area.


Mayapan Archaeological Site

The site was part of a triple alliance with Chichen Itza and Uxmal, but was at its peak after the fall of Chichen Itza, between
1250 and 1450. It is considered the last great Mayan stronghold. The archaeological zone covers 4 square km and that area
contains vestiges of nearly 4000 structures, mostly residential buildings. Several of the constructions contain mural paintings.
Mayapan has a
Castillo which is a replica of the one in Chichen Itza.
Location: 27 miles (43 km) south east of Merida

San Gervasio

Inhabited from 200 A.D. until the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, this is the largest of 30 Maya sites found on Cozumel Island.
It was the political and economical center of the island and also the sanctuary of the Mayan moon goddess Ixchel, deity of
childbirth and fertility. Pilgrims from the entire Mayan world may have come to worship her.
Location: On the northern part of Cozumel island, Transversal highway Km 7.5


Ruins at Tulum

It is believed that the original name of this city meant dawn. The most spectacular aspect of Tulum is its stunning location right
on a cliff by the clear turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea. The fortress city of Tulum had a population of only five to six hundred
people within its walls, probably only nobles, and commoners dwelled outside the walls. The site was at its peak between 1200
and 1520 and was one of the first sites mentioned by the Spaniards. The most important structures within the site are
El Castillo,
which functioned as a navigational aid, directing Mayan craft through the break in the reef, and the Temple of the Frescoes.
Location: 81 miles (131 km) south of Cancun on Highway 307.
Tulum Ruins Visitor's Guide


This is the most important site of the Puuc region and was at its peak between 600 and 1000 A.D. The legend of the city's founding
involves a dwarf who outwitted the king, became the new ruler and magically constructed the buildings of Uxmal. The Pyramid of
the Dwarf (also known as the Pyramid of the Magician) dominates the site. Many of the buildings are arrayed in ornate stone carvings .
Location: Uxmal is located 48 miles (77 km) south of Merida on federal highway 261.


Maya Ruins at Xcaret
Xcaret is an eco-park which encloses a small Mayan archaeological zone. Due to its location on one of the most important
coves in the area, this site was a leading commercial port.
Location: 35 miles (72 km) south of Cancun


"Where the water is born"
A water park with ruins on-site, Xel-Ha's archaeological zone is only partially excavated. This was once an important sacred site
where a variety of gods were honored. It was also a key ocean port and trade center. It went through two periods of flourishing,
from 100 to 600 and again from early 12th century until the arrival of the Spaniards in the 1500s.
Location: 75 miles (122 km) south of Cancun


New as of Nov 9, 2012

Xel Ha - Lagoon


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