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You are here: Riviera Maya Information and Vacation Guide
Riviera Maya Information and Vacation Guide
Blessed with white sandy beaches, the Riviera Maya Mexico has a whole host of places to discover and explore. You’ll have the chance to try your hand at all manner of water sports, and visit countless phenomenal Mayan Ruins. The ever alluring Riviera Maya with its stunning resorts has it all. It’s a wonderful place for relaxing vacations, cultural discovery and, most importantly, lots of fun.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen attracts thousands of Mexican and international visitors every year, because of its fantastic location, about 30 minutes south of Cancun International Airport. It’s unique characteristics of urban chic, jungle and crystal blue sea make it the beating heart of the Riviera Maya. Playa del Carmen has evolved from a sleepy Mayan fishing village into a cosmopolitan, fashionable beach destination full of ultra cool boutique hotels and resorts.
There’s so much to do here the fun never ends, from amazing restaurants, nightclubs and stores to manicured golf courses, sailing, deep sea fishing and diving and snorkeling that is simply out of this world.
Out of all of the Mayan cities, Tulum is the only one overlooking the sea and that features a fortified wall. As the Spanish approached in the 16th century it was the first Mayan city they ever saw, and also the last one to fall into their hands. Still standing is a gorgeous structure called The Castle, which the Spaniards actually used as a lighthouse to keep them from running ashore on the barrier reef. The Temple of Frescoes still has traces of the original pigments and color in its murals and really gives the visitor an intriguing insight into the Maya’s complex writing systems and advanced cultural facets.
This quaint fishing village has managed to hold off from the high rise developments in the neighboring town of Cancun, still preserving a slower pace of life. With a small tourism industry and a stunning barrier reef, that attracts those who love scuba diving and snorkeling, it really is a great place to visit. With its picturesque cenotes and uncrowded beaches it a great place to stay for people who want to discover all the Mexican Caribbean has to offer, without having to sacrifice delicious cuisine in the restaurants and modern conveniences.
Puerto Aventuras is an incredible tranquil area located a little further south than Playa del Carmen. It features a gorgeous marina with fishing boats and yachts. The attractions available range from deep sea fishing to swimming with dolphins, golf courses and incredible restaurants. Puerto Aventuras also has beautiful hotels and resorts, plenty of entertainment options and several stores, making it the perfect place for a fantastic vacation.
In the ancient Maya language Akumal means “place of turtles”, an apt name because of the hundreds of beautiful green turtles that come here each year to nest and lay their eggs. Stunning sunsets and incredible resorts make this the perfect place for a dream vacation.
Kantenah Bay features over two and a half miles of soft white sand, fringed by an abundance of palm trees, gently swaying in the breeze. It's a great place to explore or simply relax in a hammock and let the world pass you by. The barrier reef here is full of tropical fish and it's great for both snorkeling and scuba diving. There are a few small restaurants should you want to try the local cuisine and a day in this tropical paradise.
Xpu Ha, in the Riviera Maya is an idyllic stretch of beach, surrounded by luxury all inclusive resorts. The area features a beautiful cenote (freshwater sinkhole) a lagoon, the beach and an incredible expanse of sand.
If you are interested in the Mayan civilization then a trip to Coba is a must. The ruins at Coba are distributed over an incredible 50 mile square area, built between to immense lakes. The main pyramid is in fact the tallest in the whole peninsula, standing an incredible 46 feet high.
A short 10 minute drive south of Playa del Carmen and you'll end up at the most famous eco-adventure park in Mexico. You can't come to the Riviera Maya without visiting either Xcaret or the other park, Xel-Ha. You'll have the opportunity to swim with bottlenose dolphins, snorkel in the subterranean rivers, the lagoon, or the estuary and hundreds more activities.
Xel-Ha is know as the world's largest natural aquarium. It features a huge estuary, chock full of beautiful tropical fish, as well as Mayan ruins, caves and cenotes. There are restaurants, lockers and showers at the park.
In the language of the ancient Maya Aktun Chen means ''a cavern with a cenote inside'', an apt name for this 650 yard long cavern, which runs 40 feet deep. Located in the jungle, surrounded by incredible flora and fauna, those who enjoy nature should definitely stop here.
Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve
This national park is located at the southern end of the Riviera Maya, and is know as ''the place where the sky begins''. Its easy to see why, when you come here and experience the wonderful natural scenery, the sunsets and the flora and fauna of the region. The area is home to pumas, spider monkeys, deer, jaguars, crocodiles, 345 species of bird and some others yet to be discovered! A guided tour of the area is highly recommended.
Known as the place where the sky begins, this natural reserve is located in the southernmost point of the Riviera Maya, with an ecosystem that is habitat to hundreds of species, such as pumas, spider monkeys, jaguars, deer, crocodiles and 345 species of birds, as well as extensive flora with hundreds of rainforest species, many of which are not even known to man. You can visit the reserve on a guided boat tour that takes about 3 hours.
The Riviera Maya has an abundance of stunning golf courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, and Robert Trent Jones. All of them offer incredible facilities for pros and amateur golfers alike. Many important competitions have also been held in the area, so if you don’t fancy playing you can always watch the masters at work.
The Riviera Maya offers the Anglera an abundance of different fish to catch, including wahoo, Atlantic bumper, cubera snapper, bonitos and Atlantic mackerel and for deep sea fishing fans there are also plenty of sailfish, marlins, tuna, and mahi-mahi, especially during the season between March and June.
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