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A Journey Into Paradise

Mexico's Stunning Yucatan Peninsula

19 January, 2014

The Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It includes the northern tips of the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan,then reaches all the way down to the Belize border. It is surrounded by the stunning,crystal clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,with breathtaking beauty that includes seemingly endless miles of white sand beaches and tropical rainforest,making it easy to see why so many have called it paradise.

Although in the southern part of the country,the Yucatan Peninsula's capital Merida is actually north of Mexico City and is one of the most tropical areas of the entire country. It first became a popular destination after proper roads and railways were introduced in the 1960s,but prior to this time the region was virtually undiscovered by outsiders and had very little contact with the outside world,or with the rest of Mexico. Today,the Yucatan Peninsula is a major tourist destination,thanks in part to its rich cultural past and ancient Mayan ruins.

Despite the popularity of cities like Cancun,Playa del Carmen and Merida,the region has managed to retain a special sense of character that is all its own,including a sense of discovery that is especially noticeable in the southernmost areas. Here,the lush rainforest still seems to have the upper hand,engulfing settlements with its unique natural beauty.

The Yucatan Peninsula is comprised of a coral and limestone bedrock that has an average elevation of just under 500 feet in most areas of the region. There are also dramatic spurs that rise up to 1500 feet in the southern areas,while the northern portions are home to a variety of limestone caverns and interconnecting underground channels that serve as a place for rainwater to drain. Known as “cenotes,” these deep caverns are excellent places to swim and explore today,but were once used by the ancient Maya as a place for human sacrifice.

The Spanish first arrived in the early 16th century from Europe,and the general Hernán Cortés crossed the Yucatan Peninsula in 1525. Just a few years later the Spaniards began the process of conquering the Maya and by 1549 they had gained control of nearly half of the peninsula. Spain managed to retain control of the majority of the region until the early 19th century when independence was awarded to Mexico. In 1862 both Yucatan and Campeche were named independent states,while Quintana Roo followed in 1975.

Today,the Yucatan Peninsula is still home to a wide variety of plants and other wildlife that calls its dense forests,marshes and warm waters 'home.'  While visiting,you will notice the many Howler and Spider monkeys,as well as the Coatimundis,which resemble the North American raccoon. Also,keep on the alert for the rare Baird's Tapir,the stunning Jabiru Stork and the White Ibis,while the Keel-Billed Toucan and the serene Quetzal are regularly seen nesting in the trees.

The entire Yucatan Peninsula is a veritable wonderland for visitors and residents,with a number of excellent real estate investment opportunities available.