Mexico Doesn't Always Mean Party
Just a short ride from the resorts of Cancun and the Riviera Maya are the eco-parks of Xcaret, Xel-Ha and Tres Rios. Xcaret and Xel-Ha have swim with dolphin programs.
Xel-Ha is centered around a huge lagoon where fresh spring water mingles with the saltwater. The water teems with schools of electric-colored fish. There are bike trails and a spring-fed river.
Tres Rios is far less developed. Kayak in the surf or canoe solo through the mangroves. Take a boat out to snorkel the reef or ride horses. Swim in a cool spring along a narrow, tree-canopied stream out to the sea.
Looking for more adventure? Visit the gem of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Refuge. The UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawls across 1.3 million acres and includes offshore coral reefs, beaches, lagoons, cenotes and low tropical forests.
Merida, in the northwest part of the Yucatan Peninsula has two of the best spots for flamingo-watching, in the villages of Celestun and Rio Lagartos. Tens of thousands of flamingos spend a good part of the year in these two spots, socializing, feeding and mating.
If you need a quick break from the beach, Mexico's wildlife is waiting.