Home Travel Photography High Issues to Do in Riviera Maya & Finest Locations to Go to

High Issues to Do in Riviera Maya & Finest Locations to Go to

High Issues to Do in Riviera Maya & Finest Locations to Go to


A Riviera Maya trip is a lot greater than attractive white sand seashores and margaritas! There are various enjoyable issues to do in Riviera Maya and locations to go to.

Riviera Maya is a coastal vacation spot in Mexico the place vacationers will discover white sandy seashores and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Additionally it is one in all our favourite locations on the earth. We beforehand lived right here and now go to yearly for a month.

Thousands and thousands of vacationers come to the Mayan Riviera yearly to loosen up on seashores, repel into caves, swim in cenotes, hike by lush jungles or take a buggy tour, scuba dive amongst unbelievable coral reefs, and be taught extra concerning the Mayans by exploring their historical civilizations and Ruins.

You may take pleasure in world-renowned Mexican delicacies at many native eating places within the vibrant cities positioned alongside the japanese coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

In case you are in search of a stability of historic websites, pure wonders, and trendy facilities reminiscent of effective eating, then Riviera Maya is the right vacation spot to take pleasure in a tropical paradise.

We’ve traveled to Mexico over 40 occasions up to now 15+ years and lived in Playa del Carmen; listed here are a few of our favourite issues to do in Riviera Maya and the most effective locations to go to.

Finest Issues to Do in Riviera Maya Mexico

Aerial View of Playa Paraiso - Paradise Beach Tulum - top areas for visitors to stay

1. Discover the Seashores

Residence to a few of the finest seashores within the Caribbean, they’re the right place to take pleasure in swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and enjoyable with the coastal surroundings. Some Riviera Maya seaside cities it would be best to go to embody Tulum, Akumal, and Playa del Carmen.

Woman standing in front of Chichen Itza in an orange dress

2. Go to Mayan Ruins

The creation of the Riviera Maya is deeply rooted in historical Mayan historical past and, due to this fact, is dwelling to many essential ruins and distinctive archaeological websites to go to.

Some websites it would be best to discover embody the temples, pyramids, and buildings of Tulum that overlook the Caribbean Sea, the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio in Cozumel, the tallest pyramid Nohoch Mul in Coba, or lastly, the Acropolis pyramid in Ek Balam.

One of the fashionable websites tour Chichen Itza, which is a brief day journey tour from the Riviera Maya. We expect Chichen Itza is essentially the most spectacular ruins and a should go to, make a day journey out of it and add a couple of close by cenotes.

inside of cenote Il Kil with light filling the catherdal style cave area of the cenote

3. Swimming in Cenotes

There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico! These pure sinkholes have contemporary water, good for diving, swimming, and snorkeling. One of the epic issues to do is bounce right into a cenote.

There are a ton of cenotes across the Tulum and Valladolid areas. You may simply add in a couple of cenote stops when visiting Tulum Ruins, Coba Ruins, or Chichen Itza. A number of of our favourite cenotes are Cenote Suytun, Cenote Calavera, Casa Cenote, and Cenote Ik Kil (pictured above).

single diver approaches a dead tree poking out of the misty cloud layer of cenote angelita

In case you are an authorized diver, a bucket listing dive ought to embody diving in a cenote. Most dive retailers in Tulum and Playa del Carmen supply cenote diving with two tanks and go to two cenotes. Adam is open-water dive licensed and loves cenote diving; it’s manner completely different than some other dive.

Listed here are a couple of of his favourite cenote dives: El Pit, Cenote Angelita, and Carwash.

If you happen to go to throughout the appropriate time of yr, you possibly can go swimming with whale sharks or diving with the bull sharks. We now have at all times liked going to Akumal and swimming with the ocean turtles.

Xcaret Themepark Playa del Carmen Mexico

5. Go to Xcaret Eco-Parks

There are many distinctive eco-parks that permit guests to discover pure landscapes, work together with wildlife, and expertise cultural experiences by a wide range of out of doors actions reminiscent of climbing and snorkeling.

Some eco-parks you don’t need to miss embody Xcaret, Xel-Há, and Xplo Ecoparks, which train vacationers about Mexico’s numerous ecosystems by sustainable tourism practices.

  • Xcaret: Actions embody snorkeling, swimming in cenotes (underground rivers), Mayan ruins, and conventional Mexican performances.
  • Xel-Ha: This can be a pure aquatic park that gives snorkeling in an inlet, cliff leaping, and swimming in cenotes and lagoons whereas being surrounded by a lush jungle.
  • Xplor: That is the right place for individuals who like journey tourism, as they will expertise ziplining, discover historical caverns, or take a guided tour by the Mexican Jungle.

El Fogon Playa del Carmen Menu and food on the table

6. Eat Tacos

If you happen to have been to ask me what my final meal can be, it might be the above! Al Pastor tacos with cilantro & onions, chorizo taco, queso fundito con chorizo, chips & guacamole, and a margarita on the rocks from El Fogon.

No matter you do, make certain to go to native taco eating places and taco vehicles/carts. You already know you’re in the appropriate spot if there’s a lengthy line of locals. Don’t count on white linens; most definitely, it will likely be plastic chairs and plastic forks.

Tipping is a standard apply in Mexico. We’ve put collectively a tipping in Mexico information to assist clarify who to tip and recommended tip quantities.

If you happen to’ve by no means been to a few of the well-known Mayan ruins, you must contemplate a cenote tour that mixes Coba Ruins, Tulum Ruins, or Chichen Itza.

#1 – Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid 
Important Expertise
There is no such thing as a higher option to go to Chichen Itza, a cenote, and Valladolid (one in all our favourite cities).

#2 – 3-in-1 Discovery Combo: Tulum Ruins, Snorkeling, and Cenote & Caves 
Go to Tulum Ruins, go snorkeling, contains lunch buffet, swim in a cenote, and go to Xtun Cave. That is an action-packed day!

#3 – ATV Tour, Ziplines, and Cenote Swim 
Discover the Mayan jungle by ATV, then bounce in a cenote for a bit swim earlier than heading off to the zipline!

Riviera Maya FAQ

Woman standing at the tulum ruins near Grand Palladium Riviera Maya

The place is the Riviera Maya?

The Riviera Maya is a 120km (75 miles) fashionable vacationer vacation spot positioned on the japanese coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

The Mayan Riviera stretches from simply south of Cancún to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Main cities and cities within the Riviera Maya embody Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and Akumal.

woman standing against a yellow building in Izamal Mexico

What to put on in Mexico?

In case you are uncertain what to pack, learn our Riviera Maya packing listing. Right here, I cowl what to pack based mostly on the season, actions, and the place you’re staying within the Riviera Maya.

Aqua colored water and white sand on Tulum Beach - Places to stay

When is the Finest Time to Go to?

One of the best time to go to the Riviera Maya is between the months of December and March, when it’s the dry season, so the climate is heat, with low humidity and little to no rainfall.

The dry season brings heat, sunny climate with common temperatures of mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to low 30s Celsius), which is right for out of doors actions however not too sizzling to take pleasure in.

a large surfacing whale shark in Holbox Mexico - Summer whale shark season tour

Nonetheless, if you wish to snorkel and see whale sharks, it would be best to go to between Might and September once they migrate by the world.

Sadly, the most effective time of yr can also be the height vacationer season for Caribbean journey, so resorts, eating places, and sights are sometimes very crowded and will be very costly at the moment of yr. If you happen to can journey throughout shoulder season (barely earlier than/after) peak season, you will discover extra budget-friendly lodging.

Hotel Shuttle Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen people with signs

What’s the Greatest Airport in Riviera Maya?

Most vacationers to the Riviera Maya fly into the most important airport in Cancun, Mexico. Cancun is the most important residential space, the place the Mayan Riviera to the south is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot.

Company both take a shared or non-public switch from the airport to their resort or hire a automotive in Cancun to start out their journey. We even have used and suggest this firm for airport transfers. In case you are on a price range, the ADO bus leaves from the airport and stops at a lot of the finest locations within the Riviera Maya; see how-to guides under for extra particulars.

The Tulum Worldwide Airport opened in late 2023. There nonetheless are usually not many worldwide flights to Tulum from the USA. We’re but to fly into Tulum airport. The Tulum airport code is TQO.

woman standing next to a rental car in Cancun after picking it up from the airport

What’s the Finest Solution to discover the Riviera Maya?

Renting a automotive in Cancun and driving your self offers you a lot freedom to discover! You may go the place you need to go if you need to go. Renting a automotive in Mexico can sound intimidating, however within the Riviera Maya, it’s simple.

We now have an entire information to stroll you thru the method. Our Mexico Rental Automobile Information will be discovered right here. For the most effective costs and free cancelation, we at all times ebook on-line right here with Discovercars.com

#1 Tip – Hire a automotive in Mexico
Have final freedom and save tons of cash on excursions with your personal rental automotive! Don’t fear – It’s secure (we’ve rented 20+ occasions), the roads are good, and it’s simpler than you assume! We at all times hire from Uncover Vehicles, it’s simple & they’ve the most effective costs.

Finest Locations to Go to in Riviera Maya

Cancun Beach & hotel zone

Cancun and Tulum

The 2 hottest locations within the Riviera Maya are Cancun and Tulum, and every gives distinctive experiences. In case you are in search of a high-energy occasion, then Cancun is the situation to go to, as Tulum is a tranquil place to be taught extra about Mayan tradition however is changing into increasingly fashionable by the day.

Cancun is the entry level to the Riviera Maya for many guests to Mexico. Cancun attracts guests in search of a mixture of rest and journey. If you happen to choose all inclusive resorts, right here you will discover many choices and the most effective costs.

Cancun is a crowded, busy vacation spot with a energetic occasion scene identified for its nightlife, busy markets, and superb eating places that function a wide range of flavors.

Cancun gives plenty of journey actions, together with snorkeling, underwater museums, swimming in cenotes, exploring ruins, visiting eco-parks, and rather more! Tons of excursions and excursions are simple day journeys from Cancun.

palm trees on the beach in Tulum Mexico

Tulum is a seaside city that appeals to each price range and luxurious vacationers and is a well-liked vacation spot for yoga, wellness, meditation, and therapeutic remedies. It’s positioned on the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea and is understood for its historical Mayan ruins and exquisite seashores.

We first visited Tulum in 2012 and liked every thing about it. Nonetheless, you must know that Tulum is not a small seaside city it was. It’s nonetheless attractive; it simply isn’t what it as soon as was.

Tulum has develop into more and more costly over the past 5 years. All of the Tulum beachfront lodges and eating places are luxurious with excessive value tags. There is no such thing as a public transportation from Tulum City to Tulum Seaside, so that you both have to take a taxi ($25+ USD a technique) or hire a automotive/bike, however parking will be powerful and costly.

In case you are on the hunt for the most effective seaside in Riviera Maya, the attractive white sand seashores of Tulum are the place you need to go. No different seaside within the space compares.

Ensure that to learn our The place to Keep in Tulum information to know the distinction between staying in Tulum City and Tulum Seaside. In case you are touring with kids, listed here are our favourite Tulum household resorts.

Aerial view of the Mayan ruins in Tulum Mexico - Top places to visit

The Tulum ruins are one of many distinctive Mayan websites to go to, because the walled ruins embody a fort and watch tower. Tulum has many boutique lodges, a unbelievable culinary scene, and pristine seashores like Playa Paraíso which are good for sunbathing and water sports activities.

You may simply go to each locations on a one-week journey by splitting your time. This is able to be the right journey, and you could possibly get a style of each locations in Riviera Maya.

We’d recommend renting a automotive in Cancun (airport or downtown) and drive from Cancun to Tulum. That manner, you possibly can discover the Tulum Ruins and cenotes in Tulum in your schedule and see many extra issues to do in Riviera Maya.

In case you are staying in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you possibly can take a day tour to Tulum. We propose this Tulum full day tour. Which visits the archaeological ruins, seaside, and a cenote.

Xpu Ha Beach Club from above - White sand beach with lounge chairs

Xpu Ha

Xpu Ha (pronounced as “shpoo-ha”) is a secluded seaside vacation spot positioned on the japanese coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Xpu Ha is positioned between two different well-known locations: Playa del Carmen to the north and Tulum to the south.

Vacationers take pleasure in visiting the Riviera Maya for its sandy white seashores with clear water and many marine life, making it the right place to sunbathe, swim, and snorkel. The seaside and water actions are much less crowded right here than in Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

For individuals who love journey, Xpu Ha has kayaking, paddleboarding, and plenty of cenotes for distinctive diving experiences. Company may even take pleasure in unwinding at one of many many seaside golf equipment that provide solar loungers, eating places, and beachside bars.

The beach and pool of Elements in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is among the hottest areas to remain within the Mayan Riviera because the resort and eating places are glorious high quality and reasonably priced, in addition to the situation may be very accessible permitting visitors to take a wide range of day journeys to additional discover the area.

We love every thing about Playa del Carmen. That is the place we used to reside and the place we come for the month each February to flee winter in Wisconsin. We hire a automotive in Playa del Carmen and a apartment on the seaside for a month, however listed here are a few of the finest household resorts in Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen has a vibrant nightlife that enables visitors to take pleasure in dancing and socializing at a wide range of bars, music venues, and golf equipment.

Playa Mamitas is among the hottest seaside golf equipment in Playa del Carmen that gives visitors the chance to sunbathe, swim, or simply loosen up on loungers.

Playa del Carmen travel guide - 5th avenue walking street Playa

You gained’t need to miss visiting Quinta Avenida, which is a pedestrian-only avenue with procuring, eating places, and avenue performances. Playa del Carmen has a big choice of eco-parks to select from, together with Xcaret and Xel-Ha, which provide eco-adventures reminiscent of snorkeling and cultural experiences.

Generally known as the “Place of Turtles” within the Mayan language, Akumal has a lot pure magnificence beneath the ocean because the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is dwelling to a colourful array of tropical fish, sting rays, and sea turtles.

boat dock streched into the Muyil Lagoon with boat docked

Sian Ka’an

This UNESCO World Heritage Web site is over 1.3 million acres of numerous ecosystems that permit guests to stand up near marine life, observe over 300 fowl species, quite a few reptiles, mammals, and amphibians, and be taught extra about Mayan tradition at a small fishing village referred to as Punta-Allen.

Sian Ka’an is a superb location to take a ship tour by mangroves and lagoons to look at wildlife and the pure landscapes of the reserve. The Sian Ka’an is over 120 kilometers (75 miles) of gorgeous ocean water that acts as a nesting space for loggerheads, inexperienced turtles, and sea turtles.

Isla Mujeres Beach one of the best places in Mexioo

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a a lot quieter location to discover the neighboring Cancun. One of the simplest ways to discover is to hire a golf cart that means that you can transfer at your personal tempo to take a look at all of the superb sights.

The downtown space referred to as El Centro is a unbelievable space to walk in and take a look at the colourful buildings, retailers, eating places, and native environment.

Soar throughout the ocean, you zipline by Garrafon Pure Reef Park or take pleasure in swimming within the infinity swimming pools with stunning views of the ocean. Head to Panta Sur on the cliffs to discover the lighthouse, sculpture backyard, and breathtaking views.

If you happen to take pleasure in marine life, then you possibly can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery or be taught extra about turtles on the sanctuary.

Cozumel Coast Aerial Drone


Cozumel is an island finest identified for world-class diving and snorkeling; fortuitously, it is just a brief ferry experience away from Playa del Carmen. Click on right here to be taught extra concerning the Cozumel Ferry from Playa del Carmen.

Divers will take pleasure in watching fish, sting rays, turtles, and typically even small sharks as they swim across the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The next areas supply distinctive underwater landscapes, together with Palancar Reef, Columbia Reef, Paradise Reef, and Chankanaab Seaside. At Chankanaab Seaside, you possibly can take pleasure in swimming with dolphins and exploring the Mayan ruins and botanical gardens, making it a full-day journey.

ancient stone structure found at the San Gervasio Mayan Ruins - Things to do in Cozumel Mexico

In case you are in search of a unique kind of tour, it’s possible you’ll contemplate visiting Panta Sur Echo Seaside Park to benefit from the stunning environment of the southern tip of Cozumel, a historic lighthouse, and even some crocodile habitats. If you happen to take pleasure in historical past, then be sure you go to the traditional archaeological website of San Gervasio to be taught extra about Cozumel’s historical past.

Cozumel can get busy as it’s a fashionable port on many cruise ship itineraries. If you wish to discover the island by yourself, ebook your automotive far upfront. Renting a automotive in Cozumel is fashionable, and vehicles promote out day by day.

Two Different Nice Locations to Go to Close to the Riviera Maya

Whereas these two areas are usually not technically within the Riviera Maya, they’re price contemplating on your subsequent Mexico trip.

woman standing on a sandbank in Isla Holbox Mexico - Places to visit

Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox, located on the Northern Shoreline of Mexico, gives a tranquil and laid-back environment. The island has miles of pristine white sandy seashores and clear Caribbean turquoise waters, making it a really perfect vacation spot to unwind and revel in nature’s magnificence.

The world has no paved roads or vehicles, so it’s positively a hidden gem to go to. The Holbox ferry takes solely quarter-hour and runs all through the day.

Whereas exploring this charming island, you possibly can take pleasure in numerous boat excursions that assist you to witness unimaginable wildlife, reminiscent of whale sharks, and discover gorgeous landscapes, together with stunning cenotes good for swimming.

large mural of a man fishing on the beach of Isla Holbox Island Mexico

Strolling across the city gives an opportunity to admire distinctive avenue artwork, stunning murals, monuments, and the colourful colours that give Isla Holbox its distinct allure. Bask in genuine Mexican delicacies on the glorious native eating places with out of doors patios steps away from the attractive seashores.

One of the interesting elements of Isla Holbox is its relative lack of vacationers in comparison with the Riviera Maya. This makes it a beautiful place to discover on foot with out the trouble of vehicles, and it maintains a extra genuine and fewer developed environment than different elements of the Yucatan Peninsula.

woman in a red swimsuit sitting on a water swing at Cenote Cocalitos in Bacalar


This small city is positioned within the close by state of Quintana Roo and is legendary for its breathtaking Lagoon. Bacalar is named the “Lagoon of Seven Colours” because the calm, tranquil waters are various shades of blue and inexperienced and are a pure surprise to discover.

Bacalar is off the overwhelmed path, so it has a extra relaxed vibe to unwind and escape the crowds that flock to the resorts within the Mayan Riviera. Get pleasure from strolling down the cobblestone streets previous colourful buildings which have a wealthy historical past way back to the pre-Columbian period.

white boat anchored near Cocalitos in Bacalar

There are many enjoyable issues to do in Bacalar for guests to discover, together with the close by historic fortress referred to as San Felipe Fort, which protected Bacalar city from pirates. A should go to spot is the Canal de los Pirates.

Take a Bacalar boat tour by the lagoon, the place you possibly can see the seven shades of water up shut and consider cenotes and mangroves. On the lagoon, you could have the choice of a guided boat tour, kayaking, or paddleboarding.

man swimming in the current of Los Rapidos in the Bacalar Lagoon

You may as well take pleasure in swimming within the pure sinkhole referred to as Cenote Azul, which has deep contemporary water and is a couple of minutes from the city middle. Float down the rapids at Los Rapidos. Lastly, for those who take pleasure in vegetation, then you possibly can go to the Botanical Backyard to see native vegetation and fruit bushes in Mexico.

Whether or not you’re in search of relaxation and rest, out of doors actions, or to be taught extra concerning the historical past of the world, you’re positive to take pleasure in Bacalar as it’s a nice possibility for the touristy Mayan Riviera.

Now that we’ve proven you all of the enjoyable issues to do in Riviera Maya and the most effective locations, what will likely be your first exercise, and the place will you go to? Go away a remark under, we’d love hear about your journey to Mexico!



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