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Mexico

Once a seat of power for the Mayan Empire, the Yucatan Peninsula is like no other place on the planet. Having been isolated from the rest of Mexico for centuries, and relying mainly on sea routes to trade with other countries, the three regions that make up the peninsula have developed a distinct and colourful identity.
   In the region of Quintana Roo, you’ll find the two coastal towns of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Here the white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and apart from lounging by the water and basking in the tropic sun, there are numerous activities to sign up for in and around these two cities. Explore the Mayan-themed adventure- and waterpark Xcaret Park, or go snorkelling in the clear water to experience turtles and exotic fish up close. If you want to venture further out to sea, go on boat tours to watch the magnificent whale sharks slowly making their way through the ocean, while the SCUBA-divers among us can investigate the submerged sculptures of the Museu Subacuatico de Arte.
   On the Yucatan Peninsula there are no visible rivers, as the water runs underground and is only exposed in so-called cenotes, The Mayans used these freshwater sinkholes as vital sources of water as well as sacred sites where offerings to the gods could be made. Tours to stunning places like the Ik Kil and the Sistema Dos Ojos are open to visitors and it’s even possible to take a dip in the refreshing waters. You can also explore the underground river Rio Secreto, where the water has created the most amazing underground rock-formations.
   The Yucatan Peninsula is also home to jaw-dropping manmade structures that were built at the height of the Mayans’ reign. The UNESCO Heritage Site Chichen Itza, which has also been named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, rises majestically above the surrounding trees. The 1,500 year-old pyramid and its surrounding ruins were once the heart of the empire and guided tours will immerse you in the history of the Mayans.

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