Riviera Maya, Mexico

If you want to enjoy the warmest sun, the waves, the reefs and the natural wells on the Caribbean coast, Riviera Maya is where you want to be. Located just south of Cancun, you will find world-class restaurants, a nightlife that keeps you dancing till the morning, exclusive spas, shopping centers, and some of the world's best golf courses. 

 

The Riviera Maya is also one of the best destinations for diving and snorkeling. On its shores lies an extensive coral reef, home to a vast variety of marine species. If you are lucky enough to submerge in the Caribbean waters, you will find yourself surrounded by tropical fish, stingrays, and even the fascinating whale sharks. And if you are really into aquatic activities, you will love to practice them in the sea, but also in the natural pools formed in underground rivers along the Riviera Maya. The experience of exploring a cavern and swimming in the crystal-clear water will stay in your memory forever.

 

If you are more into eco-tourism, looking for natural environments to get away from large crowds, Riviera Maya is good news, because much of the region is still not urbanized and it’s easy to find many amazing spots to become one with nature.

Things to Do

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is one of the favorite destinations for vacation, especially in summer, according to Trip Advisor, as it is an idyllic place located in the heart of the Riviera Maya with fine white sand and blue-green waters, you will always find a Hammock and an umbrella to sunbathe and rest, especially in the edge of town that offers the quietest beach areas.

If you prefer action, in Playa del Carmen you will find water activities such as windsurfing, jet skis, kayaking or diving in the impressive Mayan coral reef. Great musicians of Mexican and international jazz offer concerts every year. The beauty of the beaches and the many activities that Playa del Carmen has for you will force you to come back.

Simply known as Playa, Playa del Carmen has become one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and around the world.  

Stroll Along Fifth Avenue

Enjoy one of the many restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Walk through the festive streets and buy local handicrafts and produce. Sit down and have a drink while watching the multitude of people pass by.

Visit the Cultural Centers

Admire painting, sculpture and artisanal exhibitions. Enroll in a painting, music, dance, theater or literature workshop. Spend time with the open-minded and multicultural local community.

Take a Picture of the Portal Maya

Learn about the monumental Portal Maya sculpture by Tavarez Padilla, which was conceived to celebrate the beginning of a cycle of light. It foreshadows more than five thousand years of harmonic development, according to the Mayan calendar.

Learn About the 3D Museum

Kurt Wenner, inventor of the interactive 3D pavement art concept, has assembled manifestations of perspective, illusion and geometry, along with classical drawing and painting techniques in this museum.

Enjoy the Nightlife

Enjoy the great atmosphere year-round, along with the jazz and electronic music festivals. Don't miss out on enjoying a slice of pizza or delicious cochinita tacos. You will always find something open 24-hours on Quinta Avenida.

Isla Mujeres

It is said that this place was discovered by Mayans, Spanish conquerors, and pirates, which makes it an exciting place full of stories.

Be Amazed by the Island

Walk through its streets filled with local businesses. Visit the Municipal Palace, enjoy a fresh fruit drink in the main square, and watch the people pass by on their daily errands. Take a walk along the pier and feel the sea breeze on your face. Watch the fishermen return to land with their day's catch.

Take a golf cart tour around the island; you’ll see carts available on almost every corner. Explore the island and view the colorful murals that are part of a cultural project for the conservation of the oceans called Sea Walls (Paredes de los Océanos in Spanish).

Try the Tikinxic Fish, the Island's Main Dish

Try one of the most typical dishes in the region, Tikinxic fish. Enjoy a fresh fish fillet in achiote and white wine sauce with a side of rice, and a pepper and red onion salad. It is a mixture of flavors that you will not forget.

Chichen Itza

It was named last year as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This is of little surprise as its size, symmetry and astrological importance are a testament to the Mayan civilization. There are many tours available, many stopping at the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid where you will also get to see some of the cenotes for which this area is famous. A visit to this grandiose Mayan city is a must for anyone traveling to Cancun.

Ecological Parks

You can get to them easily by car or bus or take one of the choice of tours on offer.

The most popular ecological theme park near Riviera Maya is Xcaret. Xcaret is a huge eco-park so it is worth getting there early in the morning to take full advantage of its beauty. You will get to see wildlife in it natural habitat surrounded by the most beautiful flora and fauna. There is safe snorkeling in the calm inlets, and there is even a natural underground river you can swim along to cool off. Don’t miss the spectacular Mexican Folkloric Show in the evening. A must see for all the family!

Another very popular day out is to Xel-Ha, one of the world’s largest natural aquariums which is made up of a series of inlet and lagoon systems. Xel Ha means ‘the place where water is born’.

For those of you that love snorkeling, El Garrafon will amaze you with its natural beauty and its plethora of coral and multicoloured fish found in the crystalline ocean.

Tulum

Tulum is a Magical Town and a unique archaeological area in the world. Today, the ancient walled city of Tulum, which has been operating for 1,500 years, is a protected national park. It floods your senses with the mix of Mayan architecture, the scent of the Caribbean Sea, and feel of the green grass that surrounds your feet as you climb the Castle and enjoy a panoramic view from which you can identify any boat that approaches the coast.

Visit the Temple of Los Frescos

Breathe the air between walls decorated with paintings in gray and blue tones. The temple continued to receive offerings from neighboring towns that came to please the gods of the sea until the beginning of the 20th century.

Gran Cenote of Tulum

The Gran Cenote of Tulum is the most famous cenote in the region. It’s a favorite of swimming, snorkeling and cave-diving enthusiasts.

Lean over its circular mouth and see your reflection in the mirror-like pool. Go down to the wooden platform, touch the fresh water and take a quick dip to awaken your adventurous spirit.

Discover the tranquility of the aquatic world and float in the caves filled with crystal clear water. Meet the gentle turtles or be amazed by the groups of small fish that swim by. If you are certified, you can dive down to the bottom, which is 30 feet deep, and check out the aquatic life down there.

Aktún Chen Natural Park

The Aktún Chen environmental protection and conservation park protects different species of fauna and flora and offers a friendly and harmonious environment. Enter the cave to observe the natural decorations of the stalactites hanging from the ceiling and the columns that seem to hold the geological formations in place. Listen to the guides talk about the evolution of the earth during its formative early years.

Jump on a Zip Line

Glide between treetops on the zip line and feel your adrenaline rush while admiring the vegetation and the birds.

Experience an Underground Adventure

Immerse yourself in an underground river and let yourself be carried away by the freshwater stream as it flows from the cave. Stop to rest and admire the landscape that surrounds you. Enjoy the light that enters the openings above you. Be inspired by the thousands of years that it took for the cave to be formed.

Go Hiking

Walk along the trails and observe the spider monkeys, the white-collared peccaries and the agouti that stroll through the park. Admire the tropical flowers and listen to the chatter of the parakeets and toucans that inhabit the jungle.

Nichupte Lagoon

Nichupte is a system of lagoons spanning more than 7,000 acres in the heart of Cancun that reaches the Caribbean Sea through the Sigfrido and Nizuc channels. Enjoy beautiful landscapes with crystalline waters bordered by mangroves that form passages where birds find shelter, fish live, and mammals and reptiles coexist and flourish in nature.

Tour the Lagoon at your Pace

Whether it's in a speedboat, in an exclusive water limo for your group, or as part of a caravan of kayaks, Jet Skis or WaveRunners, you can navigate the winding mangrove canals and observe some curious iguanas, frogs, turtles, crocodiles, and even the tracks of a leopard.

Swim in the Lagoon of Love

Take a dip in this heart-shaped lagoon where legend says that whoever bathes in its waters becomes a mermaid during their dreams so as to summon the eternal love of the person they desire.

Reforest the Mangrove

You can be part of the mangrove reforestation campaign and participate in the collection and planting of mangrove seeds. Learn more about the interesting plant and animal community where the world of coastal wetlands and freshwater rivers mix with the salt water from the sea.

Admire the Sunset

Book a tour to admire the sunset in the lagoon and offer a toast under the stars that the Mayas have observed for hundreds of years and that brought magic into their lives.

Snorkeling

Because of the shallow reefs Cancun snorkeling is the perfect alternative for those that are not so keen on scuba diving. You will still get to see the beauty of the reefs close up.

Snorkel trips in Cancun will astound you with the array of tropical fish you will encounter. Grouper fish who change their colour to match the background, flashing from spots to stripes to solid colours as they move from sand to coral are truly amazing to watch. The varieties of invertebrates turn this into an underwater kaleidoscope of color with corals and sea anemones, jelly fish, octopus, crabs and lobsters.

Cozumel Ruins

According to the legend, Cozumel was home to the Goddess Ixchel, Goddess of love and fertility. Temples were built to worship her and in gratitude, she sent her favorite bird, the swallow. Cozumel gets its name from this bird, it actually means “Land of Swallows”.

Ruins

Discover the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, which stand on the largest permanent freshwater mantle of the island, a blessing for the ancient inhabitants who survived without scarcity thanks to it. The site was part of the extensive commercial network of the region and shows the integration of the inhabitants with nature. Walk along the white footpaths that communicate the different architectural sets of the territory that for centuries has collected the steps of the pilgrims.

Also, visit El Cedral ruins, the sacred site that represents the first Mayan settlement on the island.

Ixchel Sanctuary 

If you are a woman be part of the legend, visit Ixchel Sanctuary and connect with nature and the goddess inside of you. Focus on summoning the gifts of love and fertility that will bring peace, happiness and prosperity to your life.

Scuba Diving

Cancun scuba diving is famous because of its shallow reefs alive with the dazzling colours of fish and coral.

Scuba diving in Cancun is so popular because of the Great Mesoamerican Reef (the Gran Arrecife Maya). This is the largest reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest coral reef in the world. The Great Mesoamerican Reef stretches from Punta Nizuc, which it at the tip of the Cancun Hotel Zone, all the way to the Bay of Islands in Honduras. This is an amazing 450 miles of coral reef!

Cancun’s coastline is home to nearly 100 coral species, 350 molluscs and 164 species of reef dwelling fish. Cancun is also the home to the hawksbill sea turtle, crocodiles, lemon sharks and manatees. All the species are incredibly beautiful and are enormously valuable as an attraction for tourists. When scuba diving in Cancun you can expect to encounter some of the most beautiful sea creatures you are ever likely to see.

Shopping

You will find everything from ultra-chic designer stores and famous brand names, to flea markets and souvenir shops selling Mexican local handcrafts. Cancun shopping is duty free so you can find some real bargains on cosmetics and fine jewellery.

There are two shopping malls in Cancun's Hotel Zone, both offering the avid shopper a real treat. Here is a list of just some of the great places to go if you fancy shopping in in the Hotel Zone, whether it be for a new designer outfit for yourself or a gift to take home to your loved ones.

La Isla Shopping Village

A glittering, ultra-trendy shoppers’ paradise on the banks of the Nichupte Lagoon in the Hotel Zone Cancun. You will find over 150 shops here all under a giant canopy with a series of canals and small bridges designed to create a Venetian look. There is an amazing aquarium here as well as fabulous restaurants and cinemas showing movies in English and Spanish.

Kukulcan Plaza & Luxury Avenue

Adjacent to each other in the Hotel Zone. Between them they boast more than 250 shops and boutiques in exclusive and luxurious surroundings including word famous brands such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier. There are many specialty restaurants, bars and cafes and even a bowling alley if you are looking for something fun to do.

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