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Riviera Maya, also known as the Mayan Riviera, is a tourism district following the coastal Highway 400 which parallels the Caribbean coastline of Quintana Roo, Mexico. This district started at at puerto morelos and ends at the village of Tulum,.
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The Riviera Maya is completely within the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan
Peninsula of Mexico. The terrain is flat and covered by low tropical jungle. The
geology is high purity carbonates down to a depth of 0.5 - 1.5 km below the
surface. Mean annual rainfall is 1.5 m per year and the efficient infiltration
results in the complete absence of any surface rivers. As is common in karst,
underground river network have formed by dissolution, and these have been
explored and mapped by cave diving through sinkhole collapses locally called
cenotes. The whole of the Yucatan Peninsula is underlain by a density stratified
coastal aquifer system with a lens shaped fresh water body floating on top of
intruding saline water. The formation of caves (speleogenesis) within this
coastal carbonate aquifer is principally associated with carbonate dissolution
at the fresh-saline water contact within the aquifer. By 2008, the Quintana Roo
Speleological Society (QRSS) reported more than 700 km of flooded cave passages
within the limits of the Riviera Maya including the two longest underwater cave
systems in the world of Sac Actun and Ox Bel Ha. The groundwater resources are
accessed via the thousands of cenotes throughout the landscape, and these water
resources supported the Maya civilizations and remains today the only natural
source of potable water for this area.
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The mean annual temperature is 25–26 °C (77–79 °F). The climate is dominated by a rainy season from May through November, and within the dry season there is a period dominated by northerly winds, called El Norte, which usually occurs in the months of January and February. The maximum mean annual precipitation throughout the Yucatan Peninsula occurs along the coast of the Riviera Maya with 1.5 m (5 ft) of rainfall with a general decline to the NW with only 400 mm (1.3 feet) per year or less on the opposite side of the Peninsula. While the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan experiences a large number of tropical storms and hurricanes, the storm tracks and therefore landfalls of these are divergent to both the north (Cancun) and the south (south of Tulum and down to Belize) striking generally outside the Riviera Maya. Groundwater and therefore cenote water temperatures are 25 °C (76 F) year round. Coastal waters range from 26 °C (78 F) in January to 29 °C (84 F) in August.
Most tourists to the Riviera Maya arrive through Cancún International Airport, approximately 50 km (30 miles) north of Playa del Carmen.
A new international airport is to be built in the near future directly serving the Riviera Maya region. There is debate as to which airport group should be the owner of this tourist destination hot spot, as it is very close to Cancun and some feel that Aeropuertos del Sureste ASUR (the current operators of the Cancun airport) should not be granted the concession of this airport as it would not be good for competition.