Quintana Roo, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo or Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo, and often referred to as The Mexican Caribbean is a state of Mexico that is part of the Yucatan Peninsula, with a shoreline along the Caribbean that has grown in just a few decades into a major tourism destination. It includes large resort cities built specifically for the Yanqui/Euro tropical vacation business, small communities with a more local Maya-Mexicano character, and fascinating ancient Maya archaeological sites.
The Riviera Maya is a tourist corridor that goes from Puerto Morelos until Tulum. The Riviera Maya´s heart is Playa del Carmen, an eclectic and seductive city that mixes the Mexican flair with a Caribbean ambiance influenced for all possible cultures from all over the world.
This eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula shares much history with the neighboring states of Yucatán and Campeche; a long Maya heritage and conquest by the Spanish in the 1500s. It was long part of the state of Yucatán. In the 1840s, however, local Maya people revolted against the Hispanic people who dominated politically and economically, starting what is called "the War of the Castes". With long battles the Maya succeeded in driving out the non-Maya from this area, and established their own government with the capital in Chan Santa Cruz, now the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto -- the Maya state was briefly recognized as an independent nation by the British Empire. An uneasy truce ended in the 1890s with a Mexican counter attack which succeeded in bring the area back under the Mexican flag in 1901. The area was then designated the Mexican Territory of Quintana Roo, named after Andrés Quintana Roo, a Yucatecan hero of the Mexican war of Independence in the early 19th century.
Comparatively sparsely populated and undeveloped, the territory of Quintana Roo did not achieve statehood until 1974, making it Mexico's youngest state. In the 1970s, Mexican developers realized the area's beautiful beaches, lush forests, and historic Maya ruins could make it a prime visitor destination if only infrastructure could be put in place. New highways were laid, new International Airports constructed at Cozumel and Cancun, and hotels were built. The tiny remote village of Cancun became a boom town, the first center of the new development of Quintana Roo, drawing a new population of workers and residents from other parts of Mexico.
Today Quintana Roo is popular with visitors with bustling tourism developments thriving while large areas of natural beauty remain unspoiled.
Major international airports are at Cancun and Cozumel. Highways link Quintana Roo to Yucatán.
To get away from the airport, walk to the far end of the main building past domestic arrivals. In the parking lot past there are buses to downtown Cancun bus station and to Playa del Carmen bus station. Buses will also drop people off at the crossroads for Puerto Morelos, where there will be taxis waiting.
Quintana Roo, and Mexico in general has an excellent bus system.