Quintana Roo

Regions and States

Quintana Roo crestThe state of Quintana Roo is part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula Region, along with the states of Campeche and Yucatán. This region is the ancestral home of the Maya. The state’s capital city is Chetumal, in the south of the state. Much more famous is the purpose-built international tourist destination of Cancún in the north of the state. The Maya Riviera tourist area is one of the world’s most popular tourist areas.

Quintana Roo has numerous Mayan archeological sites and extensive protected areas of natural beauty including rainforest, coastal lagoons and coral reefs.

Here are select articles and recipes related to Quintana Roo:


Author at Cenote Xlacah. © 2022 Jane Simon Ammeson

Visiting Dzibilchaltún: an ancient city in an ancient land

Once a vast city of 40,000 spread across 8 square miles or so of jungle and meadows, Dzibilchaltún was a long-lived Mayan city, a major player in the salt trade, and the ultimate survivor. Founded around 300 B.C., Dzibilchaltún lasted until the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. An architectural marvel even now, as it […]

The boats from the mainland cross the Bahia de Mujeres to the downtown area where there are restaurants, shops, galleries, and golf cart rentals to navigate the island. © 2021 Jane Simon Ammeson

Visiting the Moon Goddess: A Day on Isla Mujeres

In bustling Cancún, we connected to old world dining at La Parilla on Avenida Yaxchilán in the Centro or downtown district of the city. Here in the lovely tiled interior, mariachis serenaded us while we dined on camarones a la tequila and Huarache Azteca con popal y arrachera. We also shopped at the sprawling La […]

Fishing boats sit idle on the beach, Isla Holbox, Mexico © Ryan Biller, 2021

Whale shark ecotourism brings new hope to fishing communities in Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo

Each year, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo is swarmed by foreign tourists. Even in 2020, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Cancún alone saw upwards of two million tourists. Being that the region was one of the few permitting entry to foreigners, I decided to make the journey from […]

whale shark

Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun: An underwater safari

About 25 miles off Cancún’s northeastern coast, past Isla Mujeres and far into the Caribbean waters, some of the largest known sea creatures loll their summers away. They are whale sharks, a gray-and-white spotted fish that can measure up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 15 tons. That’s bigger than many dinosaurs.

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Photo by David McCollam

The cuisine of the Yucatan: a gastronomical tour of the Maya heartland

The Mexican state of Yucatan, located on the peninsula of the same name, is the home of one of the most distinctive regional cuisines in the country. A long tradition of fine dining, going back to the ancient Maya and incorporating sophisticated European dishes, is very much in evidence in the cities, towns and villages […]

diving group

Diving in Cancun

Unlike Cozumel with its abundance of dive shops, Cancun is home to only ten. But, as I discovered, this city has much to offer a diver looking for a unique diving experience. Located twelve miles from Cozumel on the mainland, Cancun is home to some of the best diving found anywhere. While many people know […]

Cancun beach © Elisa Velazquez, 2008

Culinary festival on Mexico’s Maya Riviera: A feast of a fest

Start with an endless array of fabulous dishes from the greatest chefs in the Americas. Add a lavish serving of wines born in regions from Napa Valley to the fields of Chile. Sprinkle with warm, sun-splashed days, beckoning beaches and spirited nightlife. The result: The tempting event called the Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, staged in […]


Cenote daydreams, Yucatan, Mexico

Recollections of stunning ruins, fantastic snorkelling, exquisite food and friendly people. The Yucatan is unlike any other region of Mexico. It has unique terrain, climate, cuisine and people. The entire peninsula once lay as a giant coral reef underneath the warm Caribbean Sea. The formation of this unusual rocky landscape can be witnessed by a […]

Casa Martillo

Buying our Mexico dream property on Cozumel

As I walked through the hotel lobby, the weight of the three hundred $100 bills sewn to the waist band of my Jockey shorts pulled my underpants down over my small rear. The money was hanging at my knees. As inconspicuous as a penguin waddling through the hotel lobby at high noon, I could easily […]


Touring the Yucatan by motorcycle

“Ai-ee!” I yelled as the motorcycle flew into the air. We were riding double at 55 mph between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and I didn’t see the sign for the elevated crosswalk ahead. My years of dirt bike riding paid off. I shifted my weight to the foot pegs, kept off the brakes, and […]


Touring Mexico’s Yucatan ruins

We took an early morning ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen. The warm wind and sea spray felt good on our frost bitten faces, fresh from Northern California. We had previously toured the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio on Cozumel. They are special in that Mayan girls came to the island as part of […]


Below Tulum

The vast majority of visitors to Cancun never make it south of Tulum. Yet to many, that’s where the adventure starts. The relatively empty region south of Tulum is a delight to nature lovers, ruin buffs and adventure travelers. The best way to see this region is to rent a car for several days but […]

Tarahumana Ojo de Lago 1997

Secret places in Mexico

As a child, I sometimes read comic books for entertainment. I did not believe in flying dragons but they certainly stimulated the imagination. As an old-timer, older than dirt, I read travel writers just for fun. I do believe some write at great length about Mexico without ever visiting. Case in point: Smarter Travel magazine […]


Tourism in Mexico City, Cancun and Ajijic

Mexico’s economic downturn may be worse than those of other nations, because so much of Mexico’s economy depends on tourism. Mexico City is desperate to restore its tourism industry; perhaps they’re suffering from an abundance of media coverage of killings, kidnappings, and cartels. What can Mexico possibly come up with to attract tourists under this […]

The costumes for Carnival vary from magnificent peacock feather headdresses, 15 feet across, to skimpy bikinis.

Dancing with the Stars: Carnival on Cozumel

As a wave of dancers flooded the street, the beat of the salsa flowed through my body. My feet moved and my shoulders shimmied. A beautiful dancer, wearing an off-the-shoulder dress leaned toward me and asked, “Quieres bailar conmigo?” Would you like to dance with me? She grabbed my hand and I was dancing with the stars. […]


Cozumel, an island paradise

Until 1961, Cozumel was a sleepy little fishing village. Then, a television documentary by noted diver and nature lover, Jacques-Ives Cousteau, showed the world the beauty of our island waters. Today the very mention of Cozumel stirs images of tropical fish, aqua blue waters, and white powdery beaches. Even though hotels, restaurants, and other business […]

Carnival Time on Cozumel Island

Carnival on Cozumel

We could hear the faint sound of drums from our condo. As we walked in the tropical twilight toward the parade the music became louder. We heard a mixture of calypso, reggae, flamingo and pop, each distinct but blending into a cultural mix like the people of Cozumel. Cozumel is well known as one of […]

Bringing our sailboat to the Maya Riviera

Bijou’s odyssey: Bringing our sailboat to the Maya Riviera

This is a story of how my wife, Teresa, and I realized our dream of owning a sailboat here on the Caribbean side of Mexico. Being former coastal Californians with 10 years of sailing experience under our lifejackets and now living on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, we wanted a sailboat at our […]

The Beach

Puerto Morelos, A Yucatan paradise

Located just 20 minutes south of Cancun on the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos is a haven of peace and solitude. It is possibly the last vestige of an authentic, small fishing village on the entire Caribbean coastline of Mexico. People come here to avoid the high prices of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. My wife, […]

Casa del Arte Popular Mexicano, Cancun

Cancun’s cultural oasis: La Casa del Arte Popular Mexicano

Tucked away between the towering hotels of Cancun’s sparkling shores is a cultural treasure known as La Casa del Arte Popular Mexicano. Perched atop the pier on Kukulcán Boulevard in Cancun’s hotel zone, the tiny museum is brimming with handcrafted pieces that reflect Mexico’s rich artistic legacy. Careful thought went into the creation of La […]

The art of peace

The art of peace: Art, music and theater in Cancun

A lone woman stands on a quiet stage, covered almost entirely in blue. She wears a flowing blue skirt and bandeau, with matching paint saturating the skin of her face and entire body. The impression of an unending azure is broken only by the appearance of five yellow flowers: one painted on each hand, one […]

Paternidad - Fatherhood

Nature’s artist: Mexico’s Alan Vazquez

“Nature is art,” says 30-year-old artist Alan Vázquez. “You can find colors in the flowers and the reef fish that we humans can not equal, even with the most sophisticated technology. (And) the roar of thunder, like the fierceness of the sea that we feel in our chest, is a vague musical note through time.” […]

Carmen Quinta

Evoking the ancient Maya: murals by Otoniel Baruck Sala

To conjure the world of the ancient Maya, all Otoniel Baruck Sala needs is a paintbrush and his imagination. This 31-year-old artist has spent more than half his life living on the Yucatán Peninsula, where his mind has long been steeped in Maya culture. “Since I was young, the Maya culture and civilization have always […]


Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya

Cogan’s Reviews Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya by Jeanine Lee Kitchel Enchanted Island Press, Hawaii, 2004 Paperback, 217 pages Available from Amazon Books: Paperback And also on Kindle from Amazon.com at $9.99 Here’s another of those ‘coming to Mexico to live’  books – but with a difference. It’s not concerned with […]

Beautiful white sand and turquoise waters can be appreciated 5 minutes away from the Tulum ruins on this virgin Caribbean beach.

The magic of Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Maya Riviera

A paradisaical town on Mexico’s Maya Riviera can be found just a 45-minute drive from the Cancun International airport. Less known, but no less beautiful, Playa del Carmen has a lot to offer, and has become a popular destination for tourists from all around the world. Most of the action in Playa del Carmen happens […]

The spectacular ruins of the Maya city of Tulum overlook the Caribbean in Quintana Roo. © Anthony Wright, 2001

Rolfe Schell at the gates of Tulum

I collect old books. There’s no more fun for me than to forage through secondhand bookstores, digging up the weird and wonderful, ’50s crime pulp and science fiction, 19th century poetry tomes, books on travel and adventure. In some of those cities where I’ve lived or spent time – Amsterdam, London, Melbourne, Stockholm, Tel Aviv […]

Days end after a fishing trip on Isla Mujeres. Outcome, success. © Louie Frias, 2013

6 “Must Do” activities on your visit to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres. That little gem off the coast of Cancun lying peacefully in the Caribbean Sea, beckoning you over to experience her magic. “Magic” is precisely how you will hear isleños — island residents — and visitors alike describe her. Mystical, healing, and rejuvenating are also words which have been associated with the island. Until you go, […]


The tragic love story of Alma Reed and Felipe Carrillo

One of the great romantic stories of Mexico concerns Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a Governor of Yucatan, and Alma Reed, an American newspaper columnist in San Francisco. Back in the early 1920’s, Alma Reed wrote a column under the byline “Mrs. Goodfellow” that was devoted to answering questions for people who sought legal advice but could […]


The Mayan Civilization Time Line

Based on the ‘Mystery of the Maya’ OVERVIEW B.C. 1000-1000 Olmec 1800-900 Early Preclassic Maya 900-300 Middle Preclassic Maya 300 B.C. – A.D. 250 Late Preclassic Maya A.D. 250-600 Early Classic Maya 600-900 Late Classic Maya 900-1500 Post Classic Maya 1521-1821 Colonial period 1821- today Independent Mexico DETAILED TIME-LINE B.C. 11,000 The first hunter-gatherers settle […]

The crystalline Caribbean. © Elisa Velazquez 2008.

Beyond spring break: Cancun has something for everyone

Elisa Velazquez Crystal clear waters that caress white sand beaches, wild spring break partying, Mexican food, Spanish petitions to clean your car for a quick peso… for the average American traveler these images come to mind with the mention of Cancun, Mexico. MTV has done much to promote the scenic city as a Mexican party […]

Cozumel Dive Map

Cozumel Dive Map

COZUMEL DIVE MAP Source article: Cozumel, an island paradise

Interactive Map of the Yucatan Peninsula

Link to Interactive Maps of the Yucatan Peninsula

Clickable interactive map of Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico: Cancun, Merida, Chetumal, Cozumel

Interactive Map of Quintana Roo, Mexico

Interactive Map of Quintana Roo, Mexico

Interactive map of Quintana Roo, Mexico: Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum The state of Quintana Roo is part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, along with the states of Campeche and Yucatán. Quintana Roo has an area of 42,360 square kilometers and a population of about 1.5 million. The state is one of Mexico’s flattest states, with its highest […]

Growth of tourism in Cancún. Geo-Mexico, Fig 19.5.

The incredible growth of Cancun, Mexico’s leading tourist resort

By 1975, Cancún had 1769 rooms in service; by 2008, it boasted about 150 hotels and more than 27,000 rooms. Second only to Mexico City, Cancún airport now handles 200 flights a day. The influx of people to Cancún has been especially dramatic. The city has had to cope with unprecedented growth rates as its […]


Cancun today: An interview with Jules Siegel

Cancun may very well be plastic, but I assure you that this is the real Mexico, the Mexico of today and the future, clicking and popping and exploding with positive energy, not the dusty old Dos Amigos version with silly sombreros and adobe houses.


Hanal Pixan, Maya Day of the Dead in Pac Chen, Quintana Roo

The monkeys, they tell me, are asleep in a cave across the lagoon. But other than that disappointment, my trip to Pac Chen, a micro sized Maya village in the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula, is the perfect way to step back in time. To get here from Playa del Carmen, our home base, we […]


TAGS – States, Regions, Cities

Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México (State of), México City, D.F., Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas,


Trouble Isla

Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Kindle Do you want to be transported to a small island in the Mexican Caribbean and follow the ongoing adventure of two feisty young women who accidentally uncover a notorious pirate’s secret in an ancient cemetery during Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration? Trouble Isla, Lynda L. Lock’s second book in her Isla […]


Cozumel – Island Of Many Faces

For many visitors to Cozumel, the island’s downtown is merely a cruise ship stop or a blur out the taxi window on the way to one of the resorts that cluster on the north and south end. However, if you venture into San Miguel, you’ll find a buzzing little metropolis that is a tempting target […]


Did you know? A plastic island is constructed in Mexico

An entire island has been constructed, not by Bob the Builder, but by Richie the Recycler! Amazing but true: off the coast of Quintana Roo, Richie Sowa has painstakingly constructed an entire island, on which he now lives, out of more than 200,000 plastic bottles! A former carpenter from Middlesbrough, England, Richie has spent more […]


The Umbrella

(While traveling to the Yucatan Peninsula on vacation in 1985, the author and her husband meet an adventurous contractor who offers to sell them a beachfront lot in Playa del Carmen. After accepting his offer, a series of bizarre events-including the Mexico government’s seizure of the land by eminent domain, the contractor’s financial crisis, and […]


Holding on to the dream in Cancun

First published in The London Observer/Guardian Foreign News Service Jan. 17, 2000 Anita Brown (my beautiful bride these twenty-two years) met a lady from Littleton, Colorado, on the way to downtown Cancun this morning. “Her daughter had the face of an angel,” she told me. “You think of someone like that lying in a pool […]


Is Cancun plastic?

When I tell my media friends that I am writing a book called “The Real Mexico”, they invariably act a bit dumbfounded and frequently ask how I can possibly know anything about the real Mexico if I’ve lived in Cancun since 1983, as if this resort city on the Mexican Caribbean were located in Brooklyn. […]


Bliss, paradise and no tipping

I’m drifting away and feeling mighty fine about it, I don’t mind saying. For the last hour or so my brain’s been telling me to “Listen up. It’s the air and the breeze, stupid. Relax! Enjoy!” And I’m so far out of it that I actually speak to my inner voice, “Okay, all right, already!” […]


Busing From Cancun to Chichen Itza

Posted by L. Turner on February 22, 1998 On my next tip to Akumal I want to visit Chichen Itza for two days. I will fly into Cancun and plan to meet up with family members at Club Oasis in Akumal for the major portion of my trip. I was wondering what type of bus […]

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