Quintana Roo, Mexico at a Glance
Quintana Roo is located on the Yucatán Peninsula, along the stunning Caribbean coast. This Mexican state is probably best known for its long sandy beaches of Cancun, or the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. Quintana Roo is a haven for sun worshipers, adventure seekers and water enthusiasts. It’s place full of culture, tradition and history.
This part of Mexico is heavily forested and the landscape is dotted with cenotes, which are limestone caves with large sinkholes full of exceptionally clear water. There are more than 250 miles of white-sand beaches hugging the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. And, there is no shortage of tour operators to show you around, to take you on an adventure of a lifetime—from incredible hiking options, repelling into a cenote and swimming, to ziplinging through the forest, or kayaking (aka Mayaking) through ancient mangrove waterways once used by the Mayan people—there is something to suite everyone.
Recommended Quintana Roo Tour Operators
- Alltournative – My tour was a Coba Adventure where we visited the impressive archaeological site of Coba and climbed Nohoch Mul, the tallest temple in the Yucatan Peninsula. We also visit a secluded Mayan village and enjoyed well-preserved lagoons, cenotes (sinkholes), jungle paths, and the natural reserve that protects the local flora and fauna. We then rappelled down into a cenote, followed by zipling, while walking through the jungle and learning about the environment as we went from one zip line to the next. We even had an excellent traditional Mayan meal for lunch while overlooking a small lake.
- Maya Ka’an – On this tour I rowed through ancient mangrove waterways once used by the Mayans as part of a commercial route. Along the way I saw beautiful bird species, from eagles, herons and egrets. I also had a lovely lunch at a small Sian Ka’an village. The video below showcases this area nicely, while also providing a glimpse at the Mayan culture.
Those interested in archeology will be enamored by the various sites that have preserved an important part of local history. One of the best, and least visited Mayan sites is Coba, where you can actually climb the largest of the pyramids. The Tulum Ruins, while much more popular, are located right on the beach, which makes this also a spectacular place to visit.
Quintana Roo also has a number of islands to explore, the most popular is Cozumel, which is accessed by several pedestrian ferries. Cozumel is a great place for all kinds of waters sports…from sailing, paddle boarding, diving or snorkeling, as the water is abundantly clear and refreshing.
If all you want to do is relax, Quintana Roo can accommodate! With a host of luxurious all-inclusive resorts, such as The Grand at Moon Palace, where I stayed on my last trip to the area, there is no shortage of incredible lodging choices. If you want, you won’t ever have to leave the property as their is often so much to do. For example, at The Grand, you’ll find a number of incredible pools, a bowling alley, water park, a world class spa, a performing arts theater, many restaurant choices, beach with palm trees to shade you while you relax in a hammock, and much more.
Other Quintana Roo Hotel Recommendations
- Live Aqua – This is also a wonderful all-inclusive resort that I’ve stayed. It’s less expensive than The Grand, and also located in a different area, within a cluster of properties at the Hotel Zone of Cancun.
- Maria Del Mar – This is a boutique hotel (eco-lodge) situated right on the beach in Tulum. They have a great on-site restaurant and spa and the accommodations make you feel one with nature.
- Live Aqua Boutique – This exquisite property has stylish guestrooms, a rooftop infinity pool, contemporary art and authentic elements that are combined harmoniously to create an exclusive getaway in the heart of Playa del Carmen.
With lush jungles, blue waters, sugar-sand beaches, intriguing cultural and adventure, this little corner of Mexico was made for vacationing.
If you’ve ever been to Quintana Roo in the Yucatán Peninsula, also known as the Mexican Riviera, leave a comment below and share your favorite things to do.