5 Unmissable Reasons to Visit Mexico
Mexico has been on my holiday destinations list for a long while, but since visiting in May 2019, the country offers far more than just a tropical beach holiday.
I have put together in this post 5 unmissable reasons why you should visit Riviera Maya in Southern Mexico... Let's go!
Reason #1 - The People
From hotel staff, to local stall-sellers and everyone in between - the local people in this part of Mexico are so friendly, helpful, passionate and knowledgeable of their local area. The Yucatan area of Mexico relies heavily on tourist visits, so the people here are so happy to see you and will go out of their way to give you a local tip or two.
As the saying goes "...scratch my back and I'll scratch yours...", please be mindful of the economic status in this part of Mexico and if someone helps you out, give them a little tip if you can. This helps the locals more than you'll know.
Reason #2 - The Food
Mexico is famous for it's tacos, nachos etc etc… but no where in the world does it like the Mexicans do! Black beans for breakfast? Yes! Guac on every meal? Absolutely. If you're a fish lover (which I am not) there is an abundance of fresh fish from the Caribbean sea and the food is so cheap! The only thing I didn't try was the Chilli con carne... I couldn't source it anywhere which leads me to believe this may not be an actual Mexican dish... is it? If you know let me know in the comments!
Reason #3 - The Mayan Ruins
Not just limited to the famous Chichen Itza (which is well worth a visit by the way!) there are so many Mayan ruins to visit in this part of Mexico. If you are a bit of a History nerd, visiting the ruins will definitely give you all the feels. Learning about the ancient Mayan way of life, their beliefs and culture is sure to get your head into a history spin!
There are ruins in Tulum, which is not as far away from the Riviera Maya as Chichen Itza is, and it is also a fraction of the cost but still gives you an insight into what life was like in Mayan Mexico back in the day. We stayed in Akumal and Tulum is a 15 minute taxi ride or if you're feeling active - hire a bike and follow the road straight into Tulum from Akumal for about 40 minutes.
Reason #4 - The Cenotes
If you are unfamiliar with what a Cenote (say Sen-No-Tay) is, then let me explain. It is a natural sinkhole created where the cave ceiling has collapsed which creates a natural window into the underground world of the ancient Mayan civilisation. Filled with water, the Cenotes of the Yucatan Penisula are not to be missed if you visit Mexico.
They are such a unique experience - you can dive in some Cenotes, swim in others and some you will be advised against going into - see the Cenote at Chichen Itza!! However, just a little word of friendly advice - when visiting a sinkhole please consider yourself a guest and act in a respectful manner. Cenotes are really unique to this part of the world and need to be preserved. There is some very delicate biological life and formations in and around the Cenote sights which deserve to be looked after and not trashed by tourists. Go and enjoy, take memories from these sights and leave nothing but bubbles behind!
Reason #5 - The Beaches
Riviera Maya is renowned by tourists and holiday makers for having some of the best beaches in the Caribbean sea. The beaches are spectacular, and the sea boasts a variety of marine life including Rays, a multitude of fish and if you go to the right area, Whale Sharks!
Unfortunately for us, and due to global warming (I do NOT want to start a climate fight here!) and some other factors, there was a serious seaweed/ sargassum problem in the Riviera whilst we were in Mexico in May 2019. Apart from making snorkelling a little more difficult and spoiling the look of the beach, it had no other affect on us, and if you're more of an explorer whilst on holiday then it won't affect you at all. I do want to say that it has taken until August 2019 for the Mexican government to make the beaches seaweed free. They deployed many vessels with fishing nets into the sea to catch the seaweed before it hit the shores. As much as this is an outstanding effort from the Mexican government - you cannot argue with Mother Nature!
Have you ever been to Mexico? I would love to hear if you have any more unmissable reasons to visit in the comments below!