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Riviera Maya tourism up 8 percent over 2015

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Tulum is a star of the Riviera Maya. Photo: El Paraiso/El Cid Vacations Club
Tulum is a star of the Riviera Maya. Photo: El Paraiso/El Cid Vacations Club

Cancun and the entire Riviera Maya is continuing its strong growth trend that began more than a decade ago, according to new data from the Mexican government.

For just the first half of 2016, nearly 11 million people flew into and out of the Cancun International Airport.

That represents almost an 8 percent increase from one year ago. That casts the region one of the nation’s fastest growing tourist destinations.

The Riviera Maya has been particularly impressive. A stretch of beach from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Riviera Maya includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It’s outshining Cancun in hotel occupancy rates. 

The Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels reported that during first six months of the year, hotels in the Riviera Maya logged a hotel occupancy rate of 89 percent, while Cancun’s was 82 percent. That’s well above than the national average.

While favorable exchange rates have helped Mexican tourism in general, the Yucatán’s Caribbean coast enjoys some built-in advantages.

In Cancun, some of the best and most diverse cuisine in Mexico is served, said officials at El Cid Vacations Club, who put seafood at the top of a list that includes “the local vegetable dishes, Italian specialties, sushi, curries and soups from around the world, pizza, pasta and the standard American burger and fries.” 

El Cid continues:

Often forgotten amid the discussion of beaches and wonderful food is the incredible wildlife in the greater Cancun/Riviera Maya area. Nature lovers come back year after year to study and observe the marine life and gorgeous coral reefs. Indeed, there are hundreds of tropical species that even an amateur can view up close. Endangered sea turtles and lemon sharks are but two of the unique aquatic denizens that ply the waters of Cancun, the city that seems to be all things to all people.

The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the world’s most temperate climate zones. Aside from a few tropical storms, the temperatures are always beach-friendly, with water that always seems to be just right for swimming, diving and snorkeling. 

Endlessly fascinating, ancient ruins and 2,000-year-old temples are only a few minutes from the sunny beaches. 

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