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Grand Costa Maya

Located in the south of Quintana Roo, Grand Costa Maya is one of the Mexican Caribbean’s hidden gems. The gateway to the region is Quintana Roo’s capital city of Chetumal, whose name in Maya means “place of the red wood.” Flights arrive daily into the International Airport of Chetumal, which sits a little over a mile from the city. You can also reach Chetumal on a four-hour drive from Cancun, passing through Riviera Maya’s destinations and Maya Ka'an along the way.

WTTC SafeTravels Stamp - Grand Costa Maya

Here you will find breathtaking archeological sites like Dzibanché - Kinichná situated between the lowland jungles north of the Yucatan peninsula and the rainforests of Petén. Visitors also won't want to miss a visit to Kohunlich where they will find five of the remaining figures of the "Templo de los Mascarones".

Kinichna Aerial Shot 2

Chetumal

The vibe in Chetumal is perfect for visitors looking for a quiet retreat and for those who are interested in history and culture. The town is on the more tranquil side and features small hotels clustered around the city center, which sits next to a sanctuary, sporting one of the largest remaining populations of the Mexican Caribbean manatee. The city’s architecture is a mix of cultures with colorful, English colonial-inspired homes that resemble the Caribbean style. One of the main highlights in town is the waterfront Boulevard Bahia—the longest on the peninsula—which shows off picture-perfect views of the namesake bay and is lined by cafes, restaurants, and parks.

As you drive down Boulevard Bahia, keep an eye out for the monuments that line the road like "Fisherman Fountain", "Renaissance Monument" and "Monument to the Flag".

For a taste of the local cuisine, stroll through the Boulevard Bahia, where you can sample local specialties like pescado al pil pil.

Mahahual

Two hours away by car, the former fishing village of Mahahual is the only cruise ship port in the southern part of the Mexican Caribbean, as well as a natural paradise for divers, since the largest coral atoll in Mexico sits just 20 minutes off the coast.

At the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, home to 2,500 species of lobsters, turtles, rays, and fish, snorkelers and divers can swim alongside crocodiles and manatees or explore one of the 60-plus sunken ships, some of which were Spanish and English galleons back in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Families will love the jungle expedition-inspired water park with its slides, lazy river, and zip line, while other travelers may want to simply bask on the beach in the comfort of a hammock, or take in the sea views from a restaurant or beach club on the esplanade. The boardwalk is also where you’ll find the bulk of the village’s lodging options, which include comfortable hostels, charming boutique hotels, and cozy bed and breakfasts.

Bacalar

Another favorite for nature lovers is the magical town of Bacalar, which is located only 30 minutes away from Chetumal. The Lagoon of Seven Colors is located here; Swim, snorkel, kayak, paddle or go on a boat ride across its waters and admire its fascinating natural colors surroundings, from spa experiences and body treatments to swimming and diving in the many cenotes that are accessible to the public.

Once frequented by French and Dutch pirates, the Fort of San Felipe was once used as a defense and now houses a museum detailing the town’s past with pirates.

You’ll find restaurants serving up both regional and international cuisine in the area by the fort and main square, as well as overlooking the Bacalar Lagoon. The magic town also offers an array of accommodation styles, so travelers can choose from bungalows or camping along the shores of the lagoon, or opt for more traditional independent or boutique hotels back in town.

 


 

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