Mysterious jungle ruins, pristine beaches and a magnificent coral reef are just some of the attributes of Costa Maya. This eastern slice of the Yucatan Peninsula coast includes Xcalax, a fishing village on a finger of land reaching out to Belize, and Mahahual, an oceanfront town with beach bars and palapas. The region's two biosphere reserves, Banco Chinchorro and Sian Ka'an, are home to turtles, crocodiles, jaguars and monkeys, and Banco Chinchorro is a popular dive site, thanks to a large coral atoll and several shipwrecks. Divers might spot rays, eels and, occasionally, tiger and hammerhead sharks. Shore excursions visit Mayan ruins like Dzibanche, a temple hidden deep in the jungle, and Kohunlich, a 21-acre city best known for its Temple of the Masks, a pyramid embellished with carved masks. Outings to Chacchoben, site of three excavated pyramids, sometimes end with a shared meal between guests and a Mayan family.
Currency: Mexican peso (MXN), US dollar (US$)
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