Sights in Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen may be best known for its beaches, but there is much more to see and do in the area away from the beach. Playa del Carmen sights range from historic monuments to natural wonders, with activities for guests of all ages.

Tulum Mayan Ruins

The ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, located about an hour south of Playa del Carmen, are one of the most-visited historical sites in the Yucatan. Since the 13th century, Tulum has served as a trading post, refugee shelter and place of worship for the Mayan people. Approximately 60 temples and other buildings make up the entire ruin complex which is located on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Entrance to the Tulum ruins is approximately 38 pesos or US$3.00, with an additional US$3.00 fee for videotaping inside the complex.

Ecological Parks

The Xcaret (pronounced Ish-car-et) eco-park is often called Mexico's version of Disney. The park offers a wide variety of activities in and out of the water, including a guided raft ride down Paradise River for viewing tropical plants and animals, swimming with dolphins or peaceful sharks, a butterfly pavilion, Monkey Island and a snorkel tour of the underground rivers where you can see ancient caves, rock formations and fossils. There is also a dinner show in the evening which highlights the music, dances and costumes of the region. A 1-day admission to Xcaret is $99.00 for adults and $49.50 for children.

Xel-Ha is a water park located near Tulum and is considered "the largest natural aquarium in the world." Xel-Ha offers great snorkeling with more than 70 species of fish such as parrotfish, sergeant majors, rays and barracudas. Other attractions at Xel-Ha include gardens, an apiary, a diving cliff, a spa and a playground. Prices for Xel-Ha vary based on the types of activities included, but the general public entrance fee is $79.00 for adults and $40.00 for children.

Underwater Sights

The Caribbean Sea is one of the best places in the world to snorkel and scuba dive. The reefs off the coast of Playa del Carmen are home to many different species of colorful tropical fish, coral, sea turtles, rays, eels and nurse sharks. While you can snorkel off the beach in many areas, the best way to enjoy the underwater scenery is by taking a guided dive boat. Dive boat prices typically range from $50 to $125 per adult, depending on the length of the trip and if food and beverages are included.

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April 01, 2010 change by amy.h

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