The Riviera Maya, or Riviera Maya in Spanish, is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. The Riviera Maya is the official name for a stretch of coastal land from south of Cancun to Tulum. It includes the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This area of coastline covers 130 km (81 mi), not including the Reserve. It includes many small towns and corners, as well as natural parks and large resorts, including luxury resorts of 5 or more stars. The largest cities are Puerto Morelos and Puerto Aventuras. These are lesser-known but equally worthy vacation spots. Hideouts include Punta Bete, Xpu-Ha, Paamul, and Punta Allen. Major cities on this stretch include Playa del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum. Cancun and the island of Cozumel are just a few minutes away by car or ferry. As you can imagine, there are plenty of things to do for vacationers of all preferences. Whether you want to relax on the beach, snorkel in the crystal clear waters, shop for souvenirs, visit historical or nature reserves, or eat at a multitude of restaurants, the Riviera Maya will more than fulfill your vacation desire.
To Do Packages
Swimming with the dolphins – Dolphin Discovery (998/887-0207) is located on Treasure Island on the Isla Mujeres side, across from Cancun. Up to six people can swim with two dolphins and a trainer. Another option is Xel-Ha (998/883-3293), a theme park in Puerto Juárez. For less than $90 USD per person, you can swim for 30 minutes in a natural habitat setting called a dolphinarium.
Diving – Isla Mujeres is located near one of the many coral reefs, and the area is popular for its snorkeling and diving. The most popular snorkeling area is El Garrafon National Park. Another popular place is Bahía de Mujeres.
diving – By far the most popular destination is Cozumel. It is among the top five diving destinations. But don’t forget your dive card and dive record. Dive shops will rent you equipment, but they won’t put you on a boat until you show some documentation. You can save money by getting a dive package along with your hotel stay. Cozumel has many places to dive. Some of the most famous are Palancar Reef, Santa Rosa Wall, San Francisco Reef and Yucab Reef. The Gran Maya coral reef is also impressive.
Wildlife – No, not the all-night party type, but Nature Reserves is what we’re talking about here. South of Cancun, near the Mayan ruins of Tulum, you’ll find the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Here you can enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat. Activities include kayaking, fly fishing, and educational programs. On Isla Mujeres you may want to visit the Turtle Sanctuary, a reserve dedicated to preserving Caribbean sea turtles and educating the public about them.
Beaches – Playa del Carmen offers the same quality of beaches as Cancun with fewer people, although it is growing in popularity. A few minutes by ferry will take you to the island of Cozumel, which has wonderful beaches such as Playa San Francisco and Playa Palancar.
Swimming – If you are in Isla Mujeres, then we recommend Playa Norte. Anywhere there is a great beach in the Riviera Maya you will find a great swimming experience.
Fish – Riviera Maya offers a great fishing experience. To arrange a fishing day, contact the Tourist Cooperative Society. Alternatively, your travel agent can arrange a fishing tour for you. The best months to fish are from April to September.
Mayan Ruins and Museums – On rainy afternoons, you may want to visit a museum or two. In Cazumel, the Museum of the Island of Cozumel is worth a visit. The Mayan ruins are definitely worth visiting when you are in the Riviera Maya. One notable site is the Ruins of Tulum, a Mayan fortress-city overlooking the Caribbean. These are located thirteen kilometers (8 miles) south of Xel-ha.
There are too many activities in the Riviera Maya to be able to list them all in a short article like this one. In the near future look for more articles dedicated to one or a few destinations in the Riviera Maya.
If you end up going to the Riviera Maya, we hope you have a fabulous time there.