20 Unimaginable Issues to Do in Riviera Maya (Up to date 2022)


Mexico’s Riviera Maya is an absolute hotspot for vacationers – and for good motive! It actually has just a little little bit of all the pieces for everybody: historical past, tradition, meals, and nature. 

In case you’re searching for a information on the very best issues to do in Riviera Maya, look no additional, as a result of we’ve got you lined.

The founders of this weblog really spent over a 12 months residing in Playa del Carmen which is among the hotspots in Riviera Maya area. Because of this this publish is stuffed with tons of useful insider data!

Whereas it could be tempting to easily sit back all day by the seaside and simply let the times go by, there’s really so many great issues to do and locations to see.

From the gorgeous ruins of Chichen Itza, all the way in which to the magical cenotes unfold all around the area, a Riviera Maya is stuffed with unimaginable sights!

isla holbox
Stunning shores of Isla Holbox

The place is Riviera Maya?

Let’s start by saying that Cancun historically isn’t a part of the Riviera Maya… however today, it’s usually thought-about a part of the realm. The Cancun airport is often the touchdown level for vacationers wanting to discover the Riviera Maya. 

Positioned on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Riviera Maya is an nearly 100-mile stretch of shoreline that begins south of Cancun within the city of Puerto Morelos and winds all the way in which to the fishing village of Punta Allen.

Seashore cities like Tulum and Playa del Carmen in addition to islands similar to Cozumel and Isla Mujeres are all a part of Riviera Maya. 

There are hundreds to discover on this lovely space, so listed here are our picks for the very best issues to do in Riviera Maya. 

things to do in riviera maya
Having fun with the gorgeous Isla Mujeres

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Riviera Maya Issues to Do Highlights

There are such a lot of Riviera Maya excursions, on condition that the cities of Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun are in style locations. Listed here are a few beneficial native excursions inside a number of locations.

  • Cenotes Tour: Cenotes are one among Mexico’s most well-known options, and Riviera Maya is a superb place to find a number of of those pure wonders and snap some Instagram-worthy pics. 
  • Prepare dinner a meal with a neighborhood household: If you wish to immerse your self within the native tradition, try this superior foodie tour the place you get to cook dinner native delicacies with a household. Extremely beneficial!
  • Uncover the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and Muyil Ruins: In case you’re searching for a novel expertise, look no additional. This distinctive tour will take you thru historic Mayan Ruins, jungles, and extra.
  • Ruins Day Journey: After all, no journey to Mexico is full with out seeing the magnificent Mayan ruins, and this journey is an effective way to just do that if you are exploring the Riviera Maya.
  • Holbox Day Journey: In case you’re tight on time and solely have a day, contemplate reserving today tour to Holbox Island, residence to one among Mexico’s most lovely seashores.
  • Turtles and Cenote Tour: This magical tour takes you thru a few of the greatest cenotes within the Riviera Maya in addition to to a couple snorkeling spots the place you’ll be able to spot some turtles.

Riviera Maya: Finest Issues to Do

1. Go to A few of the Finest Seashores within the World 

Mexico is well-loved as a seaside vacation spot and for good motive! And when you’re headed to Riviera Maya, you undoubtedly can’t miss the seashores. The truth is, I’d guess that the seashores are an enormous motive in your go to! 

Tulum and Playa del Carmen are examples of in style seaside facet cities throughout the Riviera Maya however when you ask us, a few of the greatest seashores are positioned outdoors these in style locations. The Yucatan Peninsula is stuffed with them so try to be spoilt for alternative.

Some seashores to place in your record are Puerto Morelos, Punta Allen, Xpu-Ha, Xcacel Seashore, Punta Bete, and Maroma Seashore. Earlier than you head out for some solar and sea, be sure to have all the pieces you want with our seaside packing record.

For extra on Mexico’s greatest seashores, try our full article.

With the intention to get round these seashores, we advocate renting a automobile and visiting them independently. Whereas there are many excursions you’ll be able to be part of, having the liberty to see and discover each provides to the general appeal of those locations.

We advocate Discovery Automobiles as they work as an aggregator, permitting you to see how a lot it prices to hire a automobile from a number of corporations directly. We’ve rented automobiles within the Riviera Maya and located the driving to be fairly straight ahead. We undoubtedly advocate that you simply get insurance coverage when renting a automobile in Mexico.

Exploring Punta Allen, among the finest seashores in Riviera Maya

2. Discover Cenotes within the Mexican Jungle

One unmissable expertise you should have whereas within the Riviera Maya: visiting a cenote (or two… or extra!). 

This pure surprise will take your breath away, irrespective of which cenote you resolve to go to. Whether or not it’s a completely open cenote, a half-open one, and even one which’s cavernous, these Mexican water holes are so spectacular. With crystal clear waters and plush greenery round you, you’ll really feel such as you’ve entered a mystical paradise. 

There are many cenotes within the space, so simply test which of them are the closest to you after which resolve those which might be price visiting. 

Listed here are a number of beneficial cenote excursions:

You possibly can DIY your cenote go to or go for a guided tour that takes care of all the main points. Try this four-cenote journey from Tulum (sure, 4!) or this full-day tour from Cancun that features cenotes and numerous actions.

Most cenote excursions can help you both swim/ snorkel in cenotes. Some cenotes additionally can help you go scuba diving, catering to each newbie and authorized scuba divers.

Wish to Discover Independently? Try our articles on Tulum Cenotes, Playa del Carmen Cenotes, and Finest Cenotes in Mayan Riviera

Anna, founder and editor of Adventure in You in a cenote
Having fun with the various cenotes within the Riviera Maya- this one was 40 minutes from Playa del Carmen

3. Uncover Mayan Historical past at Chichen Itza

One of many primary sights in Riviera Maya is the magnificent Mayan ruins known as Chichen Itza which is a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.

Chichen Itza was pre-Hispanic metropolis was constructed by the Mayans and there are over 4 sq. miles of it so that you can discover. Chichen Itza is taken into account as one of many New 7 Wonders of the World and is believed to have been based between 600 – 750AD.

Aside from the Chichen Itza pyramid, you even have El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan), and dozens of different buildings (together with the Nice Ball Court docket, Temple of the Warriors, and Temple of the Skulls)

This place is so wealthy in historical past that it’s effectively price it to get a information to get probably the most of your go to! After we have been there, our information even identified historic “basketball” sport courts.

Not solely will you get to know the wealthy historical past of Chichen Itza however most excursions additionally embrace a go to to close by ruins or cenotes. A go to to Chichen Itza is a should when within the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tip: Make a time out of it with this tour of Chichen Itza! It contains round-trip transportation, a neighborhood information, entrance payment, lunch, and a go to to a cenote. 

mayan ruins in mexico

4. Take to the Skies by Parasailing

See the beautiful shoreline of Riviera Maya from a brand new perspective. Fly above the Caribbean Sea on a parasail and benefit from the thrill of all of it!

On this parasailing journey, you are taking to the skies at Playa Maroma, one of the crucial well-known seashores within the space. You’ll spend an exhilarating 12 minutes up within the air, so make sure to have your digicam with you to seize the expertise. 

After your flight, you’ll get some snacks and drinks earlier than heading again to your lodge.

5. Get Up Shut with Whale Sharks

For a very unforgettable expertise, getting within the water with whale sharks is certainly among the finest issues to do in Mayan Riviera.

The waters on this space are a part of the whale sharks migration route and this exercise is on the market from Could to September. You’ll be taken to the positioning the place you’ll get the possibility to leap into the water and snorkel alongside these spectacular creatures. Grownup whales can measure as much as 13 meters in size! 

After two hours within the water with the whales, you’ll get pleasure from lunch at Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres earlier than heading again. In case you love marine life and being within the water, this can be a must-do exercise in Riviera Maya!

This small group tour is extremely rated because the guides are very protected and take correct precaution to ensure friends don’t get too shut to those creatures.

6. Snorkel with Turtles at Akumal Bay

Is the considered swimming with whale sharks just a little bit an excessive amount of? How about snorkeling with sea turtles? Akumal Bay is among the solely locations on this planet the place you’ll be able to swim with turtles!

An exercise that’s obtainable all-year-round, that is an superior method to see sea turtles within the wild. Three turtle species are generally discovered right here, and when you’re fortunate you’ll see all of them! A visit to Akumal is a well-liked factor to do within the Mayan Riviera for out of doors lovers.

You possibly can go to Akumal and do the exercise by yourself (there’s a dive store the place you’ll be able to hire gear) however for a hassle-free day, contemplate taking a guided journey. This may usually embrace transportation, snorkeling gear, and a information. Some journeys additionally embrace different actions like a go to to a cenote. 

Journey Should: We love renting automobiles each time we journey — it simply provides you a lot freedom to discover at your personal tempo. Click on right here to check automobile rental costs. You’ll be stunned at how reasonably priced it’s!

7. Snap Pictures in Instagram-worthy Spots in Tulum

Calling all IG-addicts! You’re gonna completely love Tulum. This seaside city is so picturesque, with its spectacular seashores, cenotes, and plush inexperienced jungle. Opposite to the information, Tulum is protected and is a should go to when within the Riviera Maya.

Make your pals and followers envious of your travels by hitting up these Instagram hotspots in Tulum:

  • Observe That Dream signal: For a dose of inspo, take a snap with the favored “Observe That Dream” signal. To search out it, simply enter “Sueños Tulum lodge” in your GoogleMaps – the signal is simply reverse and also you gained’t miss the gang!
  • Matcha Mama: The picket swings at this cute smoothie stall are all the trend. Pop by early within the morning to get the proper shot with none wait time. 
  • Crooked Palm Tree: Head to Playa Paraiso Seashore Membership and search for the blue umbrellas so as to discover this in style photospot. (PS: You’ll have to buy meals or drinks there to validate bike parking.)
  • Casa Malca: For the last word bragging rights, make a beeline to Casa Malca which used to belong to Pablo Escobar. Now an upscale boutique lodge, this mansion is stuffed with picture hotspots. Non-hotel friends should spend a minimal of 1000 pesos/$50 USD on meals and drinks to entry the property. 

Editor’s Observe: Casa Malca is completely price a keep! We have been utterly blown away once we have been there. Learn our evaluation to study extra or to see it in our roundup of the very best Tulum Seashore Golf equipment.

casa malca art

8. See the Tulum Ruins

For one more dose of Mayan historical past and tradition, try the Tulum ruins. Whereas it’s not fairly as spectacular as Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins in Tulum are nonetheless price a go to. For one factor, it’s located on a cliffside overlooking the ocean!

It’s a reasonably in style spot within the Mayan Riviera so I’d counsel coming early within the morning or late afternoon earlier than it closes to keep away from giant teams of vacationers

We advocate trying out this Tulum Ruins with out the Crowds tour. Go to the well-known Tulum ruins with none crowds with a educated native information who’s supplying you with perception into the distinctive Mayan tradition.

Pssst… convey your swimwear together with you! On the ruins, you’ll be able to entry a “secret seaside” you could swim in. 

Tulum ruins

9. Climb the Pyramid on the Coba Ruins

Add a go to to this historic Mayan metropolis to your record of issues to do in Riviera Maya! Positioned throughout the Mexican jungle, this Mayan destroy is a bit much less in style than others, because of its distant location.

Right here, you’ll be able to really climb the tallest pyramid on the positioning, Ixmoja. It’s a reasonably cool expertise particularly because it appears like one thing out of a Tomb Raider film. The view from up there may be undoubtedly well worth the effort!

These historic ruins are well worth the go to alongside apart with the favored Chichen Itza. To discover the realm, hire a motorbike and get misplaced within the winding trails. 

Visiting these historic cities and ruins is an effective way to grasp the wealthy Mayan tradition and is a well-liked day journey from Cancun.

10. Marvel on the Underground Rivers and Caves of Rio Secreto

There’s a marvellous underground world at Rio Secreto simply ready for you. This community of underground rivers and caves are merely superb and well-worth a go to throughout your keep within the Riviera Maya space. 

You possibly can solely go to this pure reserve on a tour which is able to take you thru a few one-kilometer stretch of river and cave. As soon as inside, you’ll be strolling in addition to swimming/wading and also you’ll study all about stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations that make up this secret world. 

This can be a fairly cool expertise so don’t miss it! 

11. Examine Out Cozumel

A forty five-minute ferry journey from Playa del Carmen could have you touchdown on the island paradise that’s Cozumel. This world-class island vacation spot is recognized for 2 issues. Cruises and scuba diving.

Whereas the recognition of cruise ships can flip off some individuals, in all honesty, Cozumel continues to be price a go to… even when solely to grasp why it’s so in style.

The seashores on Cozumel are, unsurprisingly, tremendous lovely. Try Playa Bonita which completely lives as much as its identify with white sand and gorgeous blue waters… plus a close-by small Mayan destroy for further factors.

On the other facet of the island, there’s Allegro Cozumel – you may be blown away by how spectacular the water appears.

We spent a number of days in Cozumel exploring its lovely underwater world. Belief me, when you’re a diver, the scuba diving in Cozumel is one among a form. It boasts of gorgeous blue waters which belong to the Caribbean Sea.

The underwater life is unreal however what stood out for us once we have been scuba diving was the distinctive rock and coral formations! We had a blast swimming by giant cave swim throughs and coral followers.

Other than the seashores (plus snorkeling and scuba diving), Cozumel additionally has a Mayan archaeological website and a few artsy vibes because of the murals, sculptures, and avenue artwork scattered across the island. 

Tip: For a brilliant enjoyable method to see Cozumel, try this Superb Race-style scavenger hunt!

scubatony cozumel

12. Chill Out in a Small Seashore City within the Riviera Maya

In case you’re staying at one of many extra in style vacationer hotspots like Tulum or Playa del Carmen, take a while to enterprise to a few of the smaller cities and villages alongside the coast for a change of surroundings and vibe. 

Take the time to go to smaller locations like Puerto Morelos or Xpu Ha.

Puerto Morelos is historically generally known as the beginning level of Riviera Maya. This low-key seaside city not solely has nice seashores, it additionally has a extra calm vibe because it doesn’t appeal to the identical large vacationer hoard. No big-name lodges, no resorts, no nightclubs.  

Another choice is Xpu Ha. At this laid-back city that’s below the vacationer radar, you’ll be able to actually have a soothing seaside day and benefit from the city’s quaint ambiance. 

As talked about to start with of this text, you’ll be able to simply go to these beachside locations as a day journey by renting a automobile. Visiting these small seaside cities are one among my favourite issues to do within the Mayan Riviera.

13. Get Immersed in Mexican Meals

Studying concerning the meals in a rustic is an superior method to get to know the place so get your self on a meals tour whilst you’re within the Riviera Maya! The meals in Mexico is various and extremely wealthy.

Whereas most individuals suppose that meals excursions within the Riviera Maya include tacos and tacos alone, put together to be stunned. Most meals excursions will introduce you to a few of the native foodie spots the place you’ll be able to gorge your self on tamales, tostadas, desserts, and extra… be sure to go along with an empty abdomen!

Listed here are a number of native experiences that we extremely advocate:

14. Attend a Cooking Class

In case you’re visiting Riviera Maya however need to go even deeper into Mexican delicacies, then a Mexican cooking class is for you! 

Taking a cooking class is a superb “memento” from a visit as a result of you’ll be able to then recreate all of the delish stuff you had on trip! 

We love taking cooking courses wherever we go as it’s simply the proper introduction to their delicacies, whereas nonetheless offering a fingers on expertise.

Plus, don’t neglect that you simply’ll get to eat all that tasty meals you cooked – yummy!

In case you’re in Playa del Carmen, try this cooking class by the touring chef. It comes extremely rated and the evaluations communicate for themselves. An alternate exercise whereas in Playa del Carmen is that this cooking class in a chef’s home.

In case you’re in Cancun, this immersive cooking class can be effectively beneficial because it takes you to the native market in addition to a neighborhood restaurant to cook dinner your Mexican delicacies.

Associated: Is Playa Del Carmen Secure?

plate of mexican food

15. Marvel at Nature on the Sian Ka’an Biosphere

This UNESCO World Heritage Web site will knock your socks off! This nature heaven is so ecologically various and is not like another place you’ll see within the Riviera Maya. 

This nature reserve is significantly big; it’s larger than even Cozumel! There are two common areas within the reserve: the coastal Sian Ka’an the place you’ll be able to snorkel, fish, and see underwater life, and the inland jungle Sian Ka’an which options mangroves, Mayan ruins, wetlands, and extra. 

You are able to do a go to to the biosphere by yourself, particularly in case you have a rental automobile, however it’s simply a lot simpler to get an organized tour. Positioned near Tulum, a go to here’s a should when within the Riviera Maya and is in style day journey!

This tour will take you to the ocean facet of the reserve the place you’ll get on a ship to snorkel and spot marine life. Alternatively, this full-day tour will take you on an exploration of the inland a part of the biosphere.

Editor’s Observe: Throughout our journey right here, we noticed dolphins, flamingoes, manatees, and turtles, all inside 30 minutes of our boat tour!

dolphins in Sian Kaan

16. Hop Over to Isla Mujeres

Positioned simply off the coast, this quaint little Mexican island will win your coronary heart. For one, it’s much less crowded and way more quiet, supplying you with the chance to unwind and soak within the island vibes. Isla de Mujeres is a hidden gem and is one among our favourite spots in Mexico!

Zip across the island and discover on a golf cart. Or just arrange store on Playa Norte (the most well-liked seaside on the island) and bask within the solar. Don’t neglect to absorb the “downtown” and get a memento or two!

You possibly can simply go to Isla Mujeres by yourself as a Riviera Maya day journey however there are additionally some enjoyable tour choices obtainable from Cancun and different cities within the Riviera Maya.

This tour will get you extra outing within the water, with a 45-minute cease at a coral reef for snorkeling and one other alternative to snorkel at Playa Norte. Alternatively, this tour contains each Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy and is an effective way to see two islands in someday.

You probably have the time, a visit to Isla Mujeres is certainly a must-do whilst you’re within the Riviera Maya. It’s one among our favourite locations within the Yucatan Peninsula and is extremely beneficial.

The island itself is past lovely and is laid again, providing a peaceable escape from busy seaside cities like Cancun.

17. Go to Laguna de Bacalar (Laguna de Siete Colores)

As you’ll be able to most likely inform by now, this space is stuffed with pure wonders and a go to to Laguna de Bacalar isn’t amiss on a listing of the very best issues to do in Riviera Maya.

This huge freshwater lake and its clear waters will completely wow you (and all of your Instagram followers)! The insanely blue water is harking back to Maldives and Fiji… however hey, you’re nonetheless in Mexico!

Lounge within the waters, swim, and take a bazillion pictures… as a result of it truly is that gorgeous.

We spent a few days in Bacalar and completely find it irresistible. It’s also generally known as the Lake of seven colours because the lagoon itself has a number of shades of blue starting from darkish to turquoise blue. It’s an unimaginable sight to see and is among the the reason why it’s so in style.

In case you make it Bacalar, we advocate the next experiences:

In case you’re tight on time, you’ll be able to go to Bacalar on a day tour.

lying in hammock in bacalar

18. Get to Know Tulum on a Bike Tour

For a simple and enjoyable method to get acquainted with Tulum, hop on a motorbike tour that can take you thru the city’s historical past, nature, meals, and extra. 

This five-hour bike tour could have you studying about Mayan historical past and tradition with a go to to the Mayan ruins, adopted by a jaunt downtown for a style of native Tulum. You’ll finish the day by cooling off with a swim in a cenote. An ideal method to spend a Mexican morning!

This is among the hottest Riviera Maya actions.

19. Cocktail-Making Class

What’s a vacation with out a drink or two, proper? Effectively, on this case, how about three drinks? This cocktail making class in Cancun could have you consuming and tasting your manner by the very best Mezcals that Mexico can supply.

In case you’re in Tulum, we advocate trying out this cocktail making class / Mezcal expertise. It is among the most extremely rated meals excursions in Tulum, and for a superb motive! You’ll begin off with a Mezcal tasting earlier than transferring on to fundamental mixology ideas earlier than you go off and create your personal.

20. Escape to Isla Holbox

Right here’s a hidden gem within the Riviera Maya: Isla Holbox. 

Only a 20-minute boat journey from the coast, you’ll be removed from the hustle and bustle of vacationers when you land on Holbox. No paved roads, white-sand seashores, and a laid-back vibe, this island is the place to go to flee from life (and your telephone — cell sign and wifi might be spotty right here). 

You gained’t need to miss the lagoon with flamingos, white sand seashores, the clear blue waters, and the gorgeous sundown from the pier. And whilst you’re right here, make sure to have one of many island’s distinctive eats: lobster pizza.

For extra on Isla Holbox, try our detailed information which incorporates what to do, the place to remain, and methods to get there.

beach in isla holbox

What NOT to Do in Riviera Maya 

There’s numerous lovely nature and animal life in Riviera Maya and one of the best ways to understand these animals is to see them of their pure habitat. Snorkeling and diving are superior methods to get nearer to marine life similar to whale sharks and sea turtles however as at all times, make sure to preserve your distance and be respectful when collaborating in such actions. 

Earlier than signing up for any nature-related exercise, it’s a good suggestion to study precisely what the exercise entails and whether or not it’s carried out in an moral, accountable method. And make sure to observe the directions given by your information — they’re there to maintain you protected and shield nature as a lot as attainable.

Editor’s Observe: We don’t assist sights that preserve marine animals in captivity and as such, we can’t advocate visiting two of the most well-liked eco theme parks within the space: Xcaret Park and Xel-Há Park.

We additionally advocate you keep away from locations like Dolphin Discovery Riviera Maya (they’ve branches in Isla Mujeres and Cozumel) for a similar motive said above.

Additionally preserve an eye fixed out for different locations that provide unethical animal encounters like swimming with dolphins or manatees which might be in captivity.

If you’d like data on WHY swimming with dolphins must be prevented, this text is price a learn.

The place to Keep in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya is thought for having some nice resorts and lodges but when like us, you like extra of a neighborhood and unbiased expertise, we’d undoubtedly counsel staying in an Airbnb.

In locations like Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, there are some tremendous fashionable and distinctive Airbnbs that will make for a wonderful keep. In case you’re touring in a bunch, an superior villa or big residence could be a nice choice!

Try our suggestions right here:

For Riviera Maya lodges, we advocate trying out reserving.com to get the very best charges.

FAQ on Riviera Maya

What are the highest sights to go to within the Riviera Maya?

Aside from visiting the principle hotspots of Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Morelos, the opposite primary sights within the Riviera Maya is Akumal, Xpu-ha, Isla Holbox, and Isla de Mujeres.

What’s the greatest month to go to the Riviera Maya?

Wet / hurricane season within the Riviera Maya lasts from June by October so it’s best to keep away from these months when you can. The greatest time to go to Riviera Maya can be from December to March. Throughout these months, it isn’t too scorching, making your keep much more snug.

What are the very best issues to do in Riviera Maya with youngsters?

Opposite to different blogs on the market, we don’t advocate paying a go to to in style parks like Xcaret as they’ve animals saved in captivity. As a substitute, we advocate visiting numerous cenotes, historic sights, and its many pristine seashores. There are many different journey excursions to get pleasure from with out supporting this horrible apply.

Is it protected in Riviera Maya?

Typically talking, sure it’s protected to journey across the Riviera Maya. So long as you thoughts your drinks and keep away from something drug associated, try to be discover. We’ve lived within the space for over and 12 months and have gone out a number of instances as a solo traveler and have by no means felt unsafe.

As you’ll be able to see, there are simply so many superior issues to do and see in Riviera Maya! You would simply spend a month or two exploring this area.

From white sand seashores, historic ruins, low-key seaside cities, journey excursions, to various marine life, you gained’t run out of issues to do. What we love probably the most about this a part of Mexico is that it doesn’t matter what you’re occupied with, there’s one thing right here for you.

Hopefully, this information has given you a ton of concepts on the very best issues to do within the Riviera Maya. Get pleasure from!

For extra on Mexico, try our Mexico journey suggestions!


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Things to Do in Riviera Maya | Mexico's Riviera Maya is a hotspot for travel. Here are the best things to do in Riviera Maya for any traveler!





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