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Road-tripping along the coast is perhaps the most idyllic way to see the most beautiful sites. It’s the only way you can see all those undiscovered beaches that the tourist coach won’t stop at, that you spy from the airplane as you soar over but can’t touchdown in without a private jet.

Assuming you start at the south of Mexico with a car rental it’s easy to work your way up along the highways, but you’re likely to divert off the planned route as you spot those viewing points and jewels along the road that you just can’t miss taking a picture of! And diverting off to enjoy something that wasn’t on the itinerary is half the fun of a road trip.

If you love sunbathing, the Caribbean is where you can find those Instagram-perfect beaches and turquoise waters all along the nearly 6,000 miles of coastline. Take a trip that traces most of the coast, starting from Chetumal where Mayan culture can still be felt throughout this secluded region. The area’s isolation and the combativeness of the Mayan inhabitants meant that Spanish invaders never managed to establish permanent residency. So, up until 1898, only Mayans occupied the city and their impact, culture and architecture are still very much a part of Chetumal.

After starting with the cultural stop at the extreme of Mexican land, the route along the coast takes you to the largest protected area, the Sian Ka’an Biosfera reserve, which translates to “gateway to the heavens”. The name should be enough to tempt anyone to visit but otherwise, the quiet, undisturbed natural surroundings might convince you to take a dip in its lagoons or rivers. The reserve is home to semi-evergreen forests, palms, marshes, mangroves and dunes, and the only residents are the 300 species of birds and more than 1,000 plants.

Before hitting the famous tourism sites to see Tulum’s ruins, it’s worth stopping for a night or a breakfast at somewhere close like Maison Tulum, where there are picturesque gardens and a restaurant. Gathering energy before exploring the archaeological part of Tulum is important, as the site covers 664 hectares and you’ll want to walk around every corner of the buildings dating back to the year 564.

Should you want to spend a few days feeling less like a tourist, make a stop at Playa del Carmen where the hotel zone is expansive, albeit probably more full of foreigners than Mexicans. Alternatively, you can discover Finest Resorts Playa Mujeres and Cancun along the way, stay in luxury accommodation and enjoy Mexico’s famous attention to detail when it comes to caring for visitors.

The whole of Quintana Roo is a food-lover’s paradise, so this road trip is perfect for a bit of sea, sun, and snacks. But if you want to extend it, and can rent a car across states, then continuing round to the state of Yucatan, famous for its cuisine in and out of the country, is a great way to keep the trip going as long as possible. This is also a state where you can see plenty more archaeological and natural wonders.

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