Costa Maya, Mexico

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Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula is, in some ways, a world apart from the rest of Mexico, thanks in part to its geography. That's never deterred visitors from coming here, however; Costa Maya, like the larger resort towns on the Yucatán, attracts scores of visitors each year. Eager to enjoy the sun and fun, they are also keen to explore the region's cultural attractions, including dozens of Maya sites, some of which were only recently rediscovered, excavated and opened to the public. In addition to seeing the pyramids, temples and ceremonial centers of Maya sites like Chacchoben and Kohunlich, modern-day visitors to Costa Maya can experience the Western Hemisphere's longest reef and cenotes, the sinkhole-formed pools that dot the region. Freshly caught fish and seafood dominate the menus here, as is to be expected, and restaurants are mostly casual in ambiance, with friendly, welcoming service. Shoppers will likely be drawn to Costa Maya's many jewelry shops, where you can buy rare gems set into stunning souvenirs or more affordable pieces that are believed to have healing properties.

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