The 5 Most Unique Things About the Riviera Maya
Mexico's Riviera Maya is a place infused with natural beauty and ancient history. There are five things that set it apart from any other place in the world.
1. The flora and fauna
This area of Mexico is home to unbelievably rich biodiversity. It is estimated that the Riviera Maya is inhabited by over 700 different species of reptile, the largest proportion in the world. If the cold-blooded creatures creep you out, you might be more partial to the unusual mammals of the region, such as the weirdly cute Tapir, or the piggy little Peccary. Plus, there are over 1,000 species of birds to spot, including the American Flamingo.
2. A sport that's almost 3.5 thousand years old
You know what would make soccer more interesting? Human sacrifice. That was sometimes the outcome of an ancient Maya ball game, which was basically a combination of soccer, basketball and the most violent scenes from Apocalypto. A much more humane version called ulama is played today by the indigenous population. You can watch a match unfold during a cultural reenactment in Xcaret, the Riviera Maya's largest theme park.
3. The mystery of the Maya civilization
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the Maya had fully developed their own written language, architecture, religion, and understanding of math and astronomy. While much information about their society has been lost due to the destruction of valuable pre-Columbian texts, the ruins still stand, eerily devoid of life but beautiful. There are a variety of ruins at the Chichen Itza to visit, including the El Castillo Kukulkan Pyramid and the Sacred Cenote.
4. The second-longest barrier reef system in the world
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, also known as the Belize Barrier Reef, runs for over 600 miles, and is home to around 1,000 species of coral, fish and mollusk, several of which are endangered. It also houses the world's largest population of manatees, and the world's largest fish, the whale shark (the biggest ever measured was 41.50 feet long). The Manchones Reef, a popular dive spot along the system, is the location of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), an underwater sculpture museum.
5. The unparalleled luxury and relaxation
When your stress is so bad that the typical sea, sand and umbrella drinks can't cut it, you might want to consider a Water Journey at the Grand Velas spa. The journey involves migrating through rooms and pools of different temperatures and atmospheres. In the center of it all is an infinity pool with massaging faucets and underwater jets. This experience is the ultimate in hydrotherapy and luxury.
You can win a VIP vacation to the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya for 5 days and 4 nights by entering Boots in the Sand. Enjoy everything this beautiful place has to offer, alongside country stars Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Billy Currington and Jana Kramer!