- Locations: 13
- Villas: 52
- Private Islands: 0
This strip of Caribbean coastline on the Yucatán Peninsula is one of Mexico's most popular vacation destinations for good reason. In addition to heavenly beaches – think powder-soft sand and warm, turquoise water – there are plenty of one-of-a-kind attractions to discover. Explore Mayan villages and caves, swim by the only archaeological site on the sea, and snorkel along the largest coral reef system in the Northern Hemisphere.
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Playa del Carmen is the ideal spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is just a 5-minute drive from La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) where you will find cafes, bars, outdoor restaurants, shops, boutiques, nightclubs, and more. The area is also home to adventures such as scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, and kiteboarding.
Xcaret is an ecological and archaeological wonder which features natural and cultural activities and attractions – the ideal location for a day trip with your family. You will find beaches, botanical gardens, cenotes, exotic wildlife, and even Mayan ruins, just to name a few, and you can even watch a night show with traditional Mexican performances to further immerse yourself in Mexican culture.
Xel-Ha is an amazing aquarium park in Riviera Maya. It is considered the largest aquarium in the world and is one of the perfect locations in the region to have a little fun in the water. You can snorkel, swim with dolphins, scuba dive, or even sea trek (walk under water) among amazing marine life. If you love water activities and nature, Xel-Ha is a definite must-see.
Xplor is a natural park located in Riviera Maya where you are sure to get a strong dose of adventure. Fly through the trees on any of the park’s zip lines, swim in cenotes and limestone caves, or explore many more natural wonders inside this adventure haven.
Sian Ka’an is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Sian Ka’an allows visitors access to an astounding diversity of wildlife and a fascinating look into Mayan culture.
Riviera Maya is home to an abundance of water sports and jungle adventures. The varied landscape offers ample room for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, swimming, kayaking, surfing, and deep sea fishing as well as land adventures such as hiking, zip lining, and more. Whether you prefer to stay on land or dive into the water, there is plenty of room for sports and adventure during your stay.
Playa del Carmen and Cancun, in fact, are two top night life destinations in Riviera Maya providing the perfect atmosphere for grabbing a drink, dancing, or hang out with friends. Playa del Carmen is home to amazing nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping, which are all accessible on the pedestrian-only Quinta Avenita (5th Avenue), but you will also find all of these just off the main strip.
Riviera Maya has an amazing selection of all-star golf courses among the stunning Yucatan landscape. The region is known for both leisurely and challenging courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Robert Von Hagge, and Thomas Lehman.
Its top courses include El Cameleon at Mayakoba Golf Club, Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, Mayan Resorts Golf Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras Golf Club and The Golf Club at Playacar.
Riviera Maya is bordered by beautiful, palm tree-fringed beaches, providing all visitors with a sunny escape and a spot for adventure.
Beaches such as Playa El Faro are among the area’s most beautiful, boasting soft sand and minimal surf, perfect for relaxing on land or cooling off in the ocean.
The cultural gem of Tulum is home to uninterrupted beaches, which are ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle of tourists and crowds.
Paamul’s wide beaches provide the ultimate relaxation among the warm turquoise waters.
Although the beaches of the Yucatan are ideal for relaxation, you will also find room for adventure among the Caribbean’s warm, azure waters.
Riviera Maya is home to an abundant shopping culture filled with shop-lined streets and lively shopping centers. You will find locally crafted goods all over the region from gifts, souvenirs, clothing, beach wear, and handmade jewelry, hammocks, and bath soaps – all with a distinctive Yucatan flair.
La Quinta Avenida is a lively shopping street that offers the most prestigious brand names in jewelry, clothing, accessories, gifts & more.
Plaza Pelicano is a shopping destination for the whole family. You will find small shops stocked with souvenirs, folk art, clothing, and homemade items like bath soaps and salts.
This is the shopping district of Riviera Maya. It features an outdoor mall with a huge variety of well-known, high-end clothiers including Guess, Diesel, Benetton and more.
When to Go
Riviera Maya is an amazing destination during every time of the year; however, the best time of the year to travel to the Yucatan is between November and May, just after the hot summers and rainy season have come to a close. Peak season for travelers to the Yucatan is between December and Easter and is busiest around holidays.
- Make sure to book your transportation from the airport to the villa prior to departure so that everything is all set when you land and you can begin enjoying your vacation as soon as you step off the plane.
- Gratuities in Mexico go a long way – be sure to tip your staff well, both in your villa and while out-and-about.
- Taxi fares are pre-set in Riviera Maya, so if you’ve done your research you’ll know whether the price you’re being quoted is correct or not. There is a sign at the taxi stand near the main shopping mall in Playa del Carmen (just off La Quinta Avenita) that lists the prices as well.
- Wear sunscreen and bring your bug spray, just in case! Sunscreen can be very expensive in tourist destinations if you need it desperately. The sun is very strong here and you can get burnt despite a cloudy sky, so be prepared.
- Depending on your group, decide if you’ll want to rent a car or if you will book excursions including transportation and rely on taxis to get you elsewhere. Both methods work just as well, but it is helpful to think about it beforehand.