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The Riviera Maya - Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum, Xpu-Ha - is comprised of a string of sparkling beaches, Mayan archeological sites, villages, and resorts ~ a Mexican Caribbean getaway without the crowds and clamor. The Riviera Maya is bursting with scenic and natural wonders, perfect for the escapist looking for a Caribbean adventure or romantic seclusion.

Not long ago, the Riviera Maya was a sparsely populated stretch of Caribbean coastline dotted with fishing villages and little-visited Mayan ruins. These days it's a burgeoning tourist destination which-like its prosperous neighbor, Cancun-has discovered the goose that laid the golden egg.

Stretching from Puerto Morelos, just south of Cancun, to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, almost 85 mi/140 km to the south, the Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Caribbean. It's famous for white-sand beaches and crystal clear water. However, the area also offers ancient Mayan ruins and pristine ecological wonders to explore, as well as nature parks and resorts with all the amenities. The 100 km stretch known as the Riviera Maya is in the middle of the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. Here the towns are smaller and there are fewer tourists with miles of solitary virgin beaches, sparkling white sand and crystalline turquoise waters. The second largest reef system in the world, the Great Maya Reef, runs along the coastline and an unrestrained "jungle" surrounds the towns and beaches. In this part of the Mexican Caribbean, full of exotic tropical animals peering or flying through the branches, there are many places to explore. A unique and complex underground river system flows beneath the surface and surprises visitors with magical caverns, caves and cenotes (sinkholes). There are also hundreds of archaeological sites, remnants of the incredible and timeless Mayan civilization, and a spectacular and plentiful marine life.