Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya

Bordered by a shore of white, palm-fringed beaches, grottoes, and coves, Riviera Maya is filled with natural wonders. It also boasts spectacular man-made marvels with some of Mexico’s best archaeological sites and Mayan ruins nearby. The region, which stretches along the country’s sun-drenched Caribbean coast, features calm shorelines dotted by vibrant coral reefs, stunning upscale resorts, and cozy boutique hotels.

Having quickly become one of Mexico’s most appealing destinations, the Riviera Maya is a relaxing alternative for those who prefer a more low-key experience than is typically found on the Caribbean shores of the Yucatan. Since the area’s impressive resorts (which are generally all-inclusive) are confined to a few pockets of developed areas, the region is ideal for visitors seeking a Mexico-Caribbean getaway in a secluded setting.

The weather is ideal, the beaches are uncrowded, the azure waters are the gateway to rich marine life, and the old fishing villages have retained their carefree charm. Welcome to the Riviera Maya!

Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya

Area favorites

Puerto Morelos

In this charming fishing village, tranquility reigns with open skies, long stretches of beach, and a friendly atmosphere. It's likely to remain this way in the long run because the reef and mangroves have been declared ecological preserves, ensuring careful development in the surrounding area. Tourism attractions include a class of luxury hotels and championship golf courses that raise this area to a whole new level of hospitality. This is a place for relaxation — pure and simple.

Playacar

The upscale residential and resort development of Playacar is the site of many all-inclusive hotels and golf courses. A charming enclave of outdoor cafés, shops, and resorts centered on the village of Playa del Carmen, it also provides ferry service to Cozumel.

Take time to stroll along lively Playa del Carmen’s La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), the village’s cobblestoned main drag dotted with chic galleries, artisan boutiques, bustling cantinas, and eclectic eateries. La Quinta Avenida comes alive in the evenings as locals and tourists browse the shops, boutiques, and open-air cafés.

Puerto Aventuras

This once-deserted turquoise bay is now a beautiful resort development spanning nearly 900 acres of private villas, condos, and hotels. At the heart of the development are a marina and an assortment of restaurants, coffee shops, handicraft stores, and bakeries. Deep-sea sports fishermen and those who dream of swimming with dolphins are frequent visitors to the bay.

Akumal

Further south, the allure of tropical isolation draws people to Akumal, a laid-back retreat irresistible to divers who come for the offshore reefs and to sunbathers who bask on the perfect palm-lined beaches. Once part of a large coconut plantation, Akumal is now a resort community with silky white-sand beaches that are protected by offshore reefs. In Akumal, which is Mayan for “place of the turtles,” sea turtles swim the sprawling bays and guests can watch from June to November as their eggs hatch on the sandy shores.

Amazing Mayan ruins

Travel through time at any of the 1,200 archaeological sites that are scattered along the Riviera Maya. These marvels of architecture, most of which have been wonderfully restored yet are still shrouded by dense jungle, reveal a profound mathematical and astrological wisdom.

Tulum — the original resort

Discover for yourself why the Maya chose Tulum as the spot for their very own ancient "resort." You'll see exactly what they saw: rocky cliffs, white-sand beach, swaying palm trees, and one of the world's best places to catch a sunrise. Plus, you can tour the stunning temples and palaces that the Mayans left behind.

Secluded Tulum attracts visitors with its coast-hugging location near splendid cliff-top Mayan ruins. The blend of traditional Mayan huts, wonderful dining, and shops creates a charmingly unusual ambience.

Built over many centuries, it contains one of the most amazing archaeological finds in all the ruins - the Temple of the Frescos. This is the most visited of the ruins in the Mundo Maya, and you should take along a bathing suit for a dip in the exquisite beaches at the base of the city.

Coba Ruins

The ruins of this important Mayan site in the Riviera Maya are still shrouded by thick jungle, imparting the feeling of "discovery" for visitors. The city is an enormous 50 square miles! Excavations have located the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán, a nine-tiered castle, and a ball court. Also, it has the most sacbe (wide, limestone-paved ancient roads) of any site yet discovered.

Eco-adventure at Xcaret and Xel-Ha

The eco-adventure theme parks of Xel-ha and Xcaret allow access to Mayan ruins while also offering diversions like snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and wildlife viewing.

Xcaret Park contains some small Mayan ruins as well as a coral reef aquarium and nature reserves for manatees, birds, and jaguars. Go snorkeling, watch folklore shows, visit historic exhibits, and dive the underground rivers that join the most extensive subterranean water system in the world. Float down the Maya River to an authentic recreation of a Mayan village. At night, ancient Mayan rituals are re-enacted in illuminated grottoes and culminate in a traditional show in the moonlit amphitheater.

Xel-Ha Park also features archaeological sites, plus a natural inlet and lagoon, aquarium, turtle reserve, underwater caves and grottoes, snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming with dolphins.

RIVIERA MAYA FAST FACTS

Approximate flight times

NYC/Newark 4 hours, 30 minutes

Philadelphia 4 hours

Boston 4 hours, 30 minutes

Miami 2 hours

Los Angeles 4 hours, 30 minutes

Entry/departure requirements

All U.S. citizens are required to present a passport valid for at least six months, with a blank page for an entry stamp. If staying in Mexico for over 72 hours, a Mexico tourist card is needed (single entry up to 180 days). A departure tax of $18-29 (depending on airport) is generally included in airfare.

Climate

Tropical climate with hot weather year-round. Average high temperature is 86°F

Official language

Spanish (English widely spoken; Mayan spoken by many local indigenous people)

Official currency

Mexican Peso (U.S. dollar widely accepted)

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