Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya at a Glance

The Riviera Maya is located in southeast Mexico, beginning east of the Yucatán Peninsula, and is bordered by vegetation, white sand, and the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea. It runs from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen and is approximately 200 kilometers long. It combines a variety of distinct locations, including modern cities, attractive villages, archaeological remains, beaches with crystal clear water, deep cenotes in caves and in the open air, mangroves, and lagoons.

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Brief overview of the area's history

For millennia, the Mayans occupied this portion of the peninsula that is now known as the Riviera Maya, and their lordships flourished in places like Tikal, Calakmul, Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Cobá, where remnants of their ancestral knowledge in mathematics, architecture, and art can still be found.
Today, the Riviera is considered one of Mexico’s premier destinations, with its beautiful beaches, mysterious cenotes, and activities to satisfy even the most discerning travelers. Come and discover the magical Riviera, you won’t be disappointed.

Riviera Maya Higlights

Isla Mujeres

Discovered in 1517 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, Isla Mujeres is located 13 km from Cancun, it is one of the beautiful islands in the Mexican Caribbean.  Read More

Recognized for its warm and transparent waters, it is home to a great variety of marine life, dolphins and turtles, being able to interact with them by swimming is one of the most recognized activities on the island.
To get there you must take a ferry from Puerto Juárez, the transfer takes about 15 minutes. Its name is due to the fact that upon the arrival of the Spanish to the island, they discovered offerings in a female form, the island was consecrated to the Mayan goddess of the moon and fertility: “Ixchel”. Mayan’s women made their pilgrimage to the island as part of their transition from girl to woman. When you arrive at the island, you can rent a golf cart or bicycles to be able to move around the place.

Contoy Island

National park and protected area since 1998 by the Mexican government, also known as the island of the birds.  Read More

The island is part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world, with the “Ixlaché” reef. It has a land area of ​​230 hectares and its highest point does not exceed 6 meters.
Regulated visits are allowed to a maximum of 200 visitors per day, requesting a permit that can be processed in Cancun or Isla Mujeres.
Turtles of different species spawn on the island and marine life is recognized due to the characteristics of the currents and nutrients in the sea, which attract the majestic whale sharks to swim in its waters.

Cozumel Island

Discovered in 1518 by Juan de Grijalva, Cozumel is one of the largest and most populated islands in the country, it is also considered Read More

one of the most sought-after ports in the Caribbean.
Paradise for diving and snorkeling as it has one of the most extensive and famous reefs in the world, with an extension of more than 30 km, being Palancar one of the most recommended spots for multiple water activities.
San Miguel is the largest town on the island and the tourist center of the area with shops of all kinds, car rentals, bars, restaurants, and nightlife.

Cobá Archeological Site

 Located in the bowels of the jungle of the region, 90 km east of Chichén Itzá, it is a perfectly preserved city belonging to the pre-Columbian period of the Mayan culture. Read More

The Señorío Maya that began its history between 200 and 100 BC and at its peak covered an area of ​​around 80 km2 and housed more than 45,000 inhabitants, it remained the predominant center between 1200 and 1500. It is worth mentioning that at the time of the arrival of the Spanish to the city, (during the conquest), it was already uninhabited.

From then until the publication of the studies of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood with their wonderful illustrations of the area, the city comes to life in history books and today with the thousands of tourists who visit it annually.

Tulúm Archeological Site

One of the jewels of the Mayan culture by the sea, a walled city that reached its peak when the Mayan lords moved their urban centers out of the jungle and near the sea in the post-classic period. Read More

Today, this archaeological zone is located next to a modern tourist center with impressive real estate growth.
In ancient times this city was known as Zama, the name of Tulum was given to it when the city was already in ruins. The castle is its most important building and is part of the cosmological vision of the Mayans, referring to the sun and Venus. An excellent example of the wonderful Mayan culture that dominated Mexico and parts of Central America until before the arrival of the Spanish to the continent. 

Bacalar Lagoon

Bacalar, often known as “The Seven Color Lagoon,” is a lagoon in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, adjacent to the state capital of Chetumal. Read More

  It gets its name from the Mayan word Bakhalal, which translates “near or surrounded by reeds.” The lagoon is round in shape and shallow, allowing for comfortable swimming. It is surrounded by private homes and modest inns that provide access to the lagoon. 

Blue Cenote

This stunning natural marvel is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and its lovely turquoise colored waters are a must-see. Read More

The Cenote welcomes visitors to explore its depths, which allow you to participate in various sports such as snorkeling or even diving at the deepest portion, the area also provides space for picnics and to spend an enjoyable day with the family in a magical setting. Also, because of its proximity to other cenotes such as the Garden of Eden and Kantunchi, you can plan a whole expedition to this beautiful area revered by the Mayans.

The admission charge to this Paradise, one of the largest open formations in the Riviera Maya, is roughly $8 USD for adults and $6 USD for children.
Public transportation between Playa del Carmen and Tulum will drop you off close to the entrance if you ask the driver to stop there.
Open all year, the hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


The little town of Mahahual, just south of Playa del Carmen, is a beauty of the Mexican Caribbean, with white beaches that contrast with the turquoise blue of the ocean. Read More

Most of the year, temperatures range between 78 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The malecón area is where the action is, with stores, bars, and restaurants, as well as several tour operators who will gladly show you the underwater wonders of this magnificent site, whether it is snorkeling with manatees or diving, paddleboarding, and ecotourism, Mahahual has a little of everything for everyone.

Playa del Carmen

What was once a small fishing village from which you might take one of the ferries to Cozumel has now become one of the Riviera Maya’s most popular destinations. Read More

Luxury hotels, tours, and attractions of all types, as well as bars, restaurants, and boutiques, all with a more Mexican flavor than in other locations of the peninsula.
With the jungle behind the town and the Caribbean in front, it is the ideal setting because the number of activities available is impressive, including zip lines, buggies, diving, snorkeling, cenotes, and the various activities found in the Xcaret park, which is a short distance from the archaeological site of Cobá.
There are hotels for all budgets along this beautiful stretch of coastline, and don’t miss out on visiting LA QUINTA, the town’s main street, where the bustle of people lasts all day and most of the night.

Puerto Morelos

It is a lovely community south of Cancun that has worked hard to retain its original fishing essence; its beaches are the quietest, and a reef borders the marine area, making it ideal for snorkeling. There are various cenotes nearby, as well as adventure rides like zip lines and amusement parks.


XCARET is Mexico’s most well-known theme park, known globally for its quality and service. Visiting XCARET means experiencing a variety of activities in a perfectly safe atmosphere. Read More

More than 50 attractions surrounded by jungle, underground rivers, and the Caribbean Sea, archaeological sites, traditional Mexican performances, and all the amenities you’d expect from such a fun and fascinating setting.


Best Beaches

Beach Gallery

Photos by:  Eric Blanc,  Adrián Ibarra, Ale Ga, Gala Franco Gaytán, Nallely Martínez, Citizen Walk, Travel Drone Blog, Paco en Riviera Maya, Andreas Vega, ViajeFest, The Country Collectors, AdunadjTV, Chavos Vlogs, Corresponsal Vloggero, Kammeran Gonzalez Keola, La Bitácora de Carlos y Eli, Uri Ortega, Jesús Milán, Mariel de Viaje, Sin Postal, Intriper, Holt&Ashley, Akumal & Más, Akumal Direct reservations, Rubén y el mundo,Oscar Cat, @Joss.Barron, Jumping Places 

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Located in the jungle of the Yucatán peninsula, the glamorous Riviera Maya presents visitors with an almost indescribable biodiversity, with one of the most complex and balanced ecosystems in nature.  An example of the majesty that exists in the area is the SAM or Mesoamerican Reef System, being the second-largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, it ranges from Mexico to Honduras, being home to more than 600 species of mollusks, fish, and crustaceans as well as 65 different coral species. Read More

Whale sharks, bull sharks, billfish (Marlin, Sailfish, and Swordfish) barracudas, groupers, jacks, Manta rays, dolphins, as well as 4 of the 7 species of sea turtles spawn on the beaches of the Riviera Maya.
On land the wonders continue, as the peninsula has more than 2,500 cenotes forming part of a system of fresh underground water interconnected by hundreds of kilometers of canals.
This ecosystem also has populations of crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles and in caves, birds and bats.
The jungle is also home to spider monkeys, howler monkeys, coatis, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, possums, wild boars, pumas and the mythical Jaguar!!! 


The Riviera maya is a combination of beautiful resorts and outstanding sports fishing, making this location a world-class fishing destination. Its waters are a nutrient- rich environment , where the deep-water passage off the Yucatan Peninsula squeezes the Gulf Stream as it travels northward, This “funnel” effect creates an upwelling and a supply of bait fish. Both pelagic and reef fish enjoy it out here since there are plenty of prey fish to eat on, Billfish, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish and Swordfish, Barracudas, Dorado, Grouper, Sea Bass, Mackerel, Red Snapper, and a variety of other species are available. Read More

A day of deep sea fishing, bottom fishing, or shore fishing on the Riviera Maya can satisfy even the most discerning anglers.
Going on a fishing charter may be one of the ideal opportunities to experience the Riviera Maya’s Caribbean waters. You can book any boat depending on your preferred fishing style. Shore fishing is another option that does not require a fishing license, we just recommend that you avoid fishing too close to swimmers and, in general, avoid fishing in front of or near hotels. 


Golf is one of the most popular sports in North America and Riviera Maya has several very high-level courses to practice this activity.

Considered the best golf course in Latin America, this wonderful work designed by Robert Trent Jones II consists of an 18-hole professional course and another 9-hole course.
The design took into account the geographic characteristics of the peninsula, intertwining the natural resources of the area, the jungle, mangroves, and cenotes are the perfect setting for any golfer who wants to fully push himself to finish this course. The course opened in 2010 and attracts players of all levels who like a challenging experience on the 9-hole course.

Beautiful 6,800 yard (ca. a 6 km) par 72 course designed by Dye, it has been the scene of several international tournaments and is recognized as one of the best in the Riviera Maya. The course has various starting points and is a delight for golfers of any level.

Located at Fairmont Mayakoba, El Camaleón is Latin America’s first PGA Tour course, and is the work of the iconic Greg Norman. A design mix that integrates the natural beauties of the region with cenote, underground caves, dense jungles, mangroves and various freshwater channels, at the same time that two of the holes offer you views of the impressive Caribbean Sea.
Tees offer different distances to accommodate any level of play. The field has been certified by Audubon International as a sanctuary for its ecosystem conservation practices.

This dynamic championship course, inaugurated in 2011, with 18 holes par 71 designed by Nick Price, its impeccable fairways and greens are integrated into the environment to reduce the impact on the area and offers players a course that challenges them, no matter the level of play.

Course located in Playa del Carmen within the exclusive area of ​​Playacar, it was inaugurated in 1994 and was designed by Robert Von Hagge. With 18 holes par 72 it is a field open to the public that integrates the fauna and flora of the area to create an environment that invites players of any level, being located within the tourist area one can enjoy an excellent game and then walk to Fifth Avenue to eat something in a few minutes.

Designed by the famous Jack Nicklaus, this course is located 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen and represents a challenge for all those players who wish to try an 18-hole course, 2923 yards (2.67 km) par 54 and the only par 3 in the region, demanding to maximum with sand traps and lakes that limit the player’s options.
Hole 7 consists of three sand traps and wind conditions, a challenge, hole 17 or Donna-Green as they know it, has a lake surrounding part of the green, two sand traps, ending with another lake behind, which makes this hole a celebratory par !!!


The Riviera Maya has everything you need to return home with gifts and that special piece that you have been looking for yourself. All hotels have commercial areas and in towns like Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Puerto Morelos you can find various shopping centers and handicraft markets with things you have never seen before! La Quinta in Playa del Carmen is the pedestrian street where you can find a bit of everything, Ah Cacao, Artevelas, Hacienda tequila, Aldea Corazón and La Hierbabuena Artesanías are some of the best Mexican art stores in the area. Paseo del Carmen, Quinta Alegría and Plaza Playacar are highly recommended open-air plazas to spend an excellent day of shopping.


As the sun sets, the Riviera transforms and lights up to create a totally different, unforgettable experience for all budgets. From bars to entertainment centers, you can find different types of atmosphere and music to enjoy a very fun night. Coco Bongo is the nightclub par excellence, and you should not miss it, it has two locations: Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and both offer spectacular displays of light, sound and an artistic production of international level. Playacrawl, Nana rooftop bar, L’Ambassade, La Vaquita Playa del Carmen or Palazzo Disco are highly recommended places with a good atmosphere and lots of fun.