Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo, also called The Mexican Caribbean is a state of Mexico that is part of the Yucatán Peninsula, with a shoreline along the Caribbean that has grown in just a few decades into a major tourism destination. It includes large resort cities built specifically for the Yanqui/Euro tropical vacation business, small communities with a more local Maya-Mexicano character, and fascinating ancient Maya archaeological sites.

Maya Ruins near Tulum


The Mexican Caribbean is divided in some micro-tourist destinations that are: Cancún, the Riviera Maya, the Maya Zone and the Great Costa Maya.

The Riviera Maya is a tourist corridor that goes from Puerto Morelos until Tulum. The Riviera Maya´s heart is Playa del Carmen, an eclectic and seductive city that mixes the Mexican flair with a Caribbean ambiance influenced for all possible cultures from all over the world.

The Maya Zone includes some small towns and the Great Costa Maya is formed by Chetumal (capitol of the state), Bacalar and Mahahual.


Other destinations

Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve



This eastern part of the Yucatán Peninsula shares much history with the neighboring states of Yucatán and Campeche; a long Maya heritage and conquest by the Spanish in the 1500s. It was long part of the state of Yucatán. In the 1840s, however, local Maya people revolted against the Hispanic people who dominated politically and economically, starting what is called "the War of the Castes". With long battles the Maya succeeded in driving out the non-Maya from this area, and established their own government with the capital in Chan Santa Cruz, now the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto -- the Maya state was briefly recognized as an independent nation by the British Empire. An uneasy truce ended in the 1890s with a Mexican counter attack which succeeded in bring the area back under the Mexican flag in 1901. The area was then designated the Mexican Territory of Quintana Roo, named after Andrés Quintana Roo, a Yucatecan hero of the Mexican war of Independence in the early 19th century.

Comparatively sparsely populated and undeveloped, the territory of Quintana Roo did not achieve statehood until 1974, making it Mexico's youngest state. In the 1970s, Mexican developers realized the area's beautiful beaches, lush forests, and historic Maya ruins could make it a prime visitor destination if only infrastructure could be put in place. New highways were laid, new International Airports constructed at Cozumel and Cancun, and hotels were built. The tiny remote village of Cancun became a boom town, the first center of the new development of Quintana Roo, drawing a new population of workers and residents from other parts of Mexico.

Today Quintana Roo is popular with visitors with bustling tourism developments thriving while large areas of natural beauty remain unspoiled.

Get in

Major international airports are at Cancun and Cozumel. Highways link Quintana Roo to Yucatán.

To get away from the Cancun airport, walk to the far end of the main building past domestic arrivals. In the parking lot past there are buses to downtown Cancún bus station and to Playa del Carmen bus station. Buses will also drop people off at the crossroads for Puerto Morelos, where there will be taxis waiting.

Get around

Quintana Roo, and Mexico in general has an excellent bus system.


On the beach at Tulum


Outdoor restaurant in ‎Cobá

Stay safe

Typical thatched Maya home near Tulum

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, June 20, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.