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Puerto Aventuras mingles tropical beauty with the riches of the sea. Beaches are fantastic, with powdery, white sand, and there's excellent fishing as well. For a fun day, explore the eco-archeological park Xcaret, or snorkel at Xel-ha, a natural inlet water park. The Mayan ruins at Tulum, only 25 minutes away, are another must-see.
Akumal means "Place of the Turtle" in the Mayan language, and if you snorkel here, you just might see one swimming alongside you. (Don’t touch it, though. That’s prohibited by law.) You’ll definitely see coral and beautiful fish in the clear, sparkling waters. This tourist-friendly little town is about an hour south of Cancun—but it seems light-years away.
Puerto Morelos, a peaceful village on the Mayan Riviera, is a place to experience the genuine Yucatan. Puerto Morelos makes an excellent base if you’re looking for someplace quieter than glitzy hotspots like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Government eco-reserve designations protect the reef and mangroves—and the village itself—from development. Outdoor options range from thrilling jungle and diving adventures to serene bike rides or moped explorations.
Mayan ruins tower over the sea in Tulum. The formerly walled city was one of the last to be built by the Mayans, and its archaeological sites are incredibly well preserved. Take a break from the beach to visit El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. Explore an underground river under a canopy of stalactites in the sacred caverns of LabnaHa Eco Park, or dive into Cenote Dos Ojos to snorkel inside of caves in the middle of a forest.
Sunny Cancun has much more to offer than its party-town reputation might suggest. Plenty of gorgeous, drama-free family resorts cater to folks who want to experience the tropical Yucatan climate. There are significant Mayan ruins here, such as El Rey and the Yamil Lu’um, a crumbling tower of pale gray stone. Learn more about this ancient civilization at the Museo Maya de Cancun. For a literal taste of Mexico, take a tour of the Museo Sensorial del Tequila.
Just north of Cancun, this seaside resort community is a far cry from the spring-break crowd. Bordered on one side by the Mexican Caribbean and the other by a wetlands wildlife preserve, the vibe in Playa Mujeres is one of laid-back luxury in a natural, untouched landscape. Unlike many other such tranquil places, Playa Mujeres is not a pain to get to. It's an easy ride from Cancun airport.
Isla Mujeres offers a wide variety of tempting options for beach lovers, and is a relative bargain. Snorkel with tropical fish amid coral reefs, skim the blue waters by kayak or boat, or windsurf along the shores of soft, sandy beaches. On land, you can sunbathe, dine on seafood, dance to Latin rhythms, tour on a moped or belly up to the bar for fresh, delicious drinks.
Most visitors to Playa Paraiso stay at one of the five huge Iberostar-branded resorts in town. Judging from the TripAdvisor reviews, everyone from honeymooners to families with kids can have a blast at the properties’ beaches and pools. Two excellent golf courses are also located in town.
The Cayman Islands are made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The largest, Grand Cayman has a cosmopolitan vibe, gourmet restaurants, world-class diving and the famous Seven Mile Beach. Cayman Brac is a nature lover's heaven of stunning diving and breathtaking walks along the rocky bluff. The smallest island, Little Cayman is home to just 150 people. Visitors enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and diving, especially Bloody Bay Wall, considered one of the world's best wall dives.
Like seashells, no two holidays in the Bahamas are alike. With options as diverse as its 700 islands, it's a place where you can find exactly the getaway you love most. Looking for a family destination, a place for lovers to sneak away, a gambling mecca, a haven for cruise passengers, or a shopper’s world market? The Bahamas is all these… and much more.
Just 10 miles east of La Romana lies the fishing town of Bayahibe. Here, divers will find spectacular coral formations and three shipwrecks: the Atlantic Princess, St George and Coco. In the national park, nature enthusiasts will find lagoons and wildlife, including a variety of birds. There is much to do, but the inviting, soft white-sand beaches are perfect for travelers seeking relaxation.
Aruba is the quintessential Caribbean island, all sun and sea and stretches of powdery white sand. Time will slow to a pleasant crawl as you linger over a tropical cocktail or flutter serenely underwater, where only the parrotfish are in a hurry. The pastel façades of Oranjestad landmarks and shops lend an inviting and playful vibe to the capital city. Enjoy the shade of an Eagle Beach divi tree while the crashing waves of turquoise water create a soothing soundtrack just for you.
Made up of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, the laidback USVI offer sophisticated dining, turquoise waters and quaint towns. On St. Croix, Christiansted's colorful Danish Colonial buildings provide a lovely backdrop for dining or sailing. Underwater coral gardens are heaven for divers. On St. Thomas, shopping mecca Charlotte Amalie has hopping nightlife. Tranquil St. John offers quiet trails, secluded coves and lively Cruz Bay's shops and bars. Ferries and local air services link the islands.
As a well-known destination for both spring breakers and A-list travelers in need of a getaway, Cabo San Lucas has definite vacation cred. The beaches here range in temperament, from the serene waters of the Sea of Cortez and Playa del Amor to the kickin’ waves of Zippers, a surfing paradise. If you care to romp with locals, head to the coves and rock formations of the Cannery beaches. Kids will have a blast communing with the local animals by swimming with dolphins or taking a camel ride through the Desert Park Natural Reserve.