Cancún is the great magnet at the top of the Mayan Riviera, with lavish hotels, shopping and dining of every kind, wild nightclubs, theme parks, water parks, and other entertainment spread out along one of the world’s finest beaches. To the south is Playa del Carmen, a trendier, more compact vacation town, and family-friendly eco-parks that provide an unforgettable introduction to the nature of tropical Yucatán. For a change from resort life, in the same area there are also places where the frenetic pace of modern life still seems delightfully far away – in the ever-mellow ...

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