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Due to spectacular coral formations, which stem from the Great Meso-American Barrier Reef, the Riviera Maya has countless spots perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, and cave diving. In this region, you can also explore a unique system of extraordinary underground rivers and sinkholes inhabited by a wide variety of marine species.

Parque Ecologico de Xpu-Há. Located 93 km (57 mi) south of Cancun and 25 km (15 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off Highway 307. Among its various attractions, this heavenly ecological park has an underground network of 61 sinkholes. The most impressive is the Manati sinkhole, which has an excellent diving spot north of the bay. Within the park there is a section of tropical mangroves rich with local flora and fauna. Finally, near the coral reef, you can go diving in a lagoon that is 200-meters (650-feet) wide and 2-meters (6-feet) deep.

Reserva de la Biosfera de Sian Ka'an. At this biosphere reserve, you can scuba dive along a protected 47-km (29-mi) strip off the coast, as this area forms part of the second largest barrier reef in the world. It is home to hundreds of species of multicolored fish, sponges, pink snails, sea urchins, starfish, lobsters and many other species.

Xel-Há. Located 47 km (29 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. This ecological park has creeks, natural wells, lagoons and caves with underground rivers that empty into the sea. Here you can scuba dive and snorkel in the main lagoon or an underground river. In addition, you can take an amazing tour to observe underwater life in caves and rivers with crystalline waters.

Parque Ecologico Tres Rios. Located 11 km (7 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. This ecological park is nestled in a subtropical jungle, giving you close contact with nature and an unforgettable experience. Here you can scuba dive alone or with the help of an expert guide in eight different sinkholes.

Xcaret. Located 8 km (5 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. This ecological park offers attractions you won’t find elsewhere, such as the archaeological ruins of one of the most important ceremonial centers of the Mayan culture. Its natural beauty is one of a kind and benefits from ponds, caves, underground rivers full of colorful fish, and a reef aquarium. This is an excellent place to snorkel and scuba dive due to its extensive 600 meters (2,000 feet) of caves and tunnels. You’ll also find turquoise lagoons, ponds and underground rivers full of colorful fish that are characteristic of the Caribbean Sea.

Playa del Carmen. Located 68 km (42 mi.) south of Cancun off Highway 307. It is one of the most attractive destinations in the Riviera Maya thanks to its extraordinary tourist resorts, cultural centers and natural areas. Off this shore you can dive among the vast coral structures of the Great Mayan Reef. You can also explore underground systems that lead to the following sinkholes: Chac Mool, La Ponderosa, Dos Ojos, Nohoch-Na-Chich, Gran Cenote, Car Wash, Chikin Ha, Taj Majal and Angelita.

Majahual. Located 145 km (90 mi) northwest of Chetumal on Highway 307. This quiet fishing village has a group of ecological bungalows that were built with local natural resources. They provide ideal lodging if you’re looking to relax amid the lush vegetation. Off this coast you will find clear waters that allow you to scuba dive and discover the extraordinary marine life of the coral reefs. The most common species you will see are starfish, seahorses, dolphins, turtles, sponges and coral fish.

Parque Natural Aktun Chen. Located at Km 107 off the Cancun-Tulum Highway between Akumal and Xel-Há. In this park you’ll find one of Quintana Roo’s main cave systems. Here you will discover, among other wonders, a 12-meter (39-foot) deep sinkhole with crystalline waters, as well as thousands of stalactites, stalagmites and fascinating rock formations..

 

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