From stunning white-sand beaches to the fascinating Mayan Ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, the Riviera Maya is one of the world’s best playgrounds. Mexico’s Caribbean coast consists of three distinct terrains: the developed coast, the national reserve, and the wild coast. The well-paved Carretera 307 runs all the way to the border of Belize making it easy for travelers to explore the region. Use the following travel tips to discover the Costa Maya’s alluring landscapes.
Best Time to Visit
From Cancun southward to Punta Allen, luxury vacation rentals in Riviera Maya are available the year around near lush jungles, pristine beaches, and lively coastal cities, and no time is a bad time for a visit. However, the best weather is from December to April. It’s sunny with less rain and milder temperatures.
What Area to Stay In
Luxury vacation rentals make for a pleasant stay all throughout the Riviera Maya region. Consider the following locations.
- Payla del Carmen, known as ‘Playa’ by the locals has a relaxed ambiance and is popular for miles of sandy beaches and plenty of water sports.
- The intriguing archaeological sites of Tulum are nearby making Playa a good spot to begin exploring the Riviera Maya.
- A ferry-ride away, Cozumel, Mexico’s largest populated island is acclaimed for its tropical marine life and diving scene.
- Tulum is one of the Riviera Maya’s most historic places. The long-ago sacred place to the Mayan Kings is now a walled city with archaeological ruins and tropical beaches.
- Laidback Puerto Morelos is an old fishing village with a quiet atmosphere. All the action is around the harbor where locals listen to traditional Mexican music.
- Akumal, meaning “Land of Turtle”, is a small village south of Playa del Carmen popular for its nestling turtle population.
- Akumal has tranquil bays and secluded cenotes making it a great place for snorkeling while Cancun is popular for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and shopping.
Riviera Maya Beach Clubs
The Riviera Maya has a host of great beach clubs for travelers to enjoy. The following four can be found along the 86-mile corridor between Peurto Morales and Tulum.
- The Papaya Playa Project in Tulum is a roomy and hip beach club with a great restaurant. Relax by the beach and enjoy the Caribbean vibes.
- Chamicos is a hidden oasis at the end of a dirt road a few miles north of the Tulum Ruins. It features tables, hammocks, lounges, cold beer, and good food.
- La Buena Vida in Akumal is one of the most popular beach clubs in the area. Guests can hang out in the tree houses built on the top of palms overlooking the beautiful bay.
- Get away from the crowds at Xpu-Ha just south of Playa del Carmen. The stretch of beach here is wide and it’s never crowded.
Riviera Maya dive spots are numerous and accommodating for different skill levels. Don’t miss out on this great Riviera Maya activity.
- Beginners will enjoy Gran Cenote Island north of Tulum. A stairway leads to a huge crescent-shaped cenote.
- For more of a challenge, head to Pared Verde, one of Playa del Carmen’s most popular reef dives. The reef is teeming with coral and sponge life.
Visit the Ruins
The ancient ruins around the Riviera Maya are not to be missed.
- The walled Mayan Ruins at Tulum National Park overlooks the sea and includes the clifftop Castella which was once a watchtower. The Templo de las Pinturas has a partially restored mural.
- The Cobá archaeological site sits inland and features pyramid-shaped temples surrounded by jungle terrain.
The more than 3,000 cenotes or caves between Cancun and Tulum are fascinating sites to explore.
- Cenote Chac Moo is located south of Playa del Carmen. The cave has two entries that lead to a large cavern with natural light.
- Both cavern and cave divers will be awed by Cenote Taj Mahal about half an hour south of Playa del Carmen. It’s known as one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes.
While planning a visit to the Riviera Maya, book a luxury vacation home for the best traveling experience.