Yucatán and the South

The Yucatán Peninsula is a region of southeastern Mexico, consisting of the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo.

The Yucatán was the home of the Maya civilization before it was conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century. Much of the population is part or all of Maya descent, and in many places the Maya language is still spoken, usually in addition to Spanish, the main language of business.

Until the mid 20th century, most of the Peninsula’s trade with the rest of Mexico was by sea, and the culture, cuisine, and traditions developed different flavors from other parts of Mexico. Starting in the late 20th century the Yucatán has become more integrated into Mexico, especially such areas on the Caribbean coast as Cancún and Chetumal, where many people from other parts of the nation have moved to take advantage of the economic opportunities of development. The Mayan Riviera stretching south from Cancún has seen the most growth related to tourism.

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  Quintana Roo
Heavy tourist traffic is lured to the northeast of the state, notably by the infamous party city of Cancún, but also by the endless gorgeous Caribbean white sand beaches, some of the world’s greatest scuba diving, beautiful cenotes, and a few excellent Mayan sites.
The Mayan capital of Mexico is home to famous Chichen Itza, but also to more beautiful cenotes, caves, pretty colonial cities, a vibrant capital in Mérida, and is well known as Mexico’s safest state.
Decidedly further off the beaten path than busy Yucatán or Quintana Roo, Campeche has its own magnificent Mayan ruins, which you can explore in the quiet of your own company, as well as the touristic beach city of Ciudad del Carmen.
A state better known for hot sauce than tourism, there are nonetheless a few worthwhile stops here for a cross-country traveler, notably the immodestly named beach town of Paraíso.
At the southern end of the Peninsula, with the only Pacific coastline in this region, is Chiapas, most notable for the impressive Mayan ruins at Palenque and the colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas, but also for the beautiful natural, jungle areas in the state’s east.

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