Cancun, Merida, Tulum, Playa del Carmen. These cities tend to grab the most attention when it comes to tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula. Often overlooked is Chetumal in the southeastern corner of Quintana Roo.
Perhaps rightfully so. Besides the Museum of Mayan Culture, a miscellany of universities, as well as nearby ruins and an undeniable Caribbean flavor, Chetumal is far from frequented.
Considering that the round-trip airfare from Guadalajara can be as low as US$100, there may be some incentives to go. However, one should be aware of certain environmental issues currently unfolding in the area – alleged water contamination being one of them.
Keep in mind that it isn’t advisable to swim in Chetumal. Some locals believe that the city does an inadequate job purifying sewage from local treatment centers. Additional issues include illegal dumping of aguas negras the ocean, poorly regulated development projects and microalgae infestations. The worst offender in the latter case is a blight of sargazo (sargassum), a slimy brown seaweed that is not just an eyesore but smells like rotten eggs. It has flourished mainly around Tulum and Cancun for most of this year.
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