Cancun & the Riviera Maya

Cancun & the Riviera Maya

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I have not seen too many travel guides that present to the reader concise and timely information pertaining to Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Riviera Maya as well as Cancun all wrapped up in a soft bound book that can easily fit into your back pocket. One such neat little guide is the third edition of Ulysses Travel Guide entitled Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Cancun is usually the first destination we envision when dreaming about Mexico’s glorious white-sand beaches. However, as the guide points out, Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, is an ideal vacation escape that is “spring-fresh and a quite laid-back pace of life.” In other words, if you are looking for peace and quiet without crowds, vacation in Isla Mujeres. You won’t be sorry! The guide has very aptly given this island that is so close to Cancun yet very different, a three star rating.

The rating system is prevalent in all of the Ulysses’ guides found at the beginning of the book under the section dealing with symbols. In this instance a three star denotes a place not to be missed.

The information contained in the guide concerning Isla Mujeres is broken down into nine distinct categories: finding your way around, practical information, exploring, parks and beaches, outdoor activities, accommodations, restaurants, entertainment and shopping. In all other sections you will find the utilization of the Ulysses rating system. What I liked about the chapter dealing with this idyllic island is the information as to how to travel to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.

The section entitled “Finding your Way Around” is subdivided into a few paragraphs headed by the subtitle “By Boat” which is succinct in explaining exactly how one can reach the island without confusing the reader. Times, descriptions, cost and descriptions of the various means are precisely described and that should make for “one happy camper!”

The Portrait section of the book that appears within the first few chapters introduces the reader to the geography, fauna, flora, climate, history, politics, economy, people, arts and culture of this beautiful region of the world. The facts are presented in a way that does not bore us and the style is not of a rambling nature prevalent in many other guides. I am sure we are not interested in the intimate details of the history of the Yucatan Peninsula. All we want is something concise in order to whet our appetite.

The chapters dealing with Cozumel and Cancun provide us with a glimpse of the various accommodations and restaurants as well as helpful maps as to where they are located.

There are also scattered throughout the guide little tidbits of information, such as the fact that chewing gum or chicle originated with the Maya and the Aztecs who had long before the Americans recognized its hygienic and digestive values.

At the beginning of the guide you will find a very precise table of contents that divides the book into eight sections: Portrait, Practical Information, Outdoors, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Excursions to Chichen Itza, Glossary and Index. As you can see, the most important topics are covered and this is what I like to see in a guide. Something that does not bore me to death but gives me the full scoop of the essentials, such as water sports, scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing and fishing.

I also tried fitting the guide into my back pocket. It fits very nicely!

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