Mayan culture lines the Mexican coast close to Cancun
"Malo ken" - "good morning" - said the guide as he welcomed us to the modest archeological site of Muyil. His words were in Yucatec Mayan, and his profile could have easily served as a model for the carvings adorning the temples and monuments left by his ancient ancestors.
For sheer bang for your travel buck, you could go pretty far and still not find a destination as culturally rich and exotic as Mexico's "Riviera Maya." Only a four-hour flight from New York, this gateway to the Mayan world stretches 80 miles along the Caribbean from just south of Cancún to Muyil - entrance to Sian Ka'an Biosphere, a 2,000-square-mile home to wild jaguars, tapirs, monkeys and crocodiles.