Looking for an amazing vacation destination that can offer both sunny beaches with soft white sand and clear water, and incredible historic sites where you can dive into the historic atmosphere and discover the vestiges of ancient civilizations? Then, it’s time to pack your bags and discover the Maya Riviera.
Located on the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, it is known for its impressive turquoise waters, luxuriant vegetation, and exotic wildlife, all gathered around the remains of one of the most impressive civilizations of the world. We are talking Mayan pyramids and temples, hidden into the immensity of the jungle. Furthermore, the peninsula offers a great variety of activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding or kayaking. Not to mention that the food is fresh and exotic, with plenty of fish dishes, and you can easily find a luxury hotel where you can rest after a day of adventures.
A great trip that will leave you with fantastic memories requires planning. Although there’s nothing wrong with spontaneity, you should have a ground plan so you can cover as many places as possible. That’s why we’ve gathered the most iconic and sublime places and the most interesting activities the Maya Riviera has to offer. So, here’s what you can do:
Imagine your feet touching a sea of powder and the sun shining gently above your head. The ocean breeze fills your lungs with happiness. You are walking the Yucatan beaches in the morning, when lazy birds are just waking up, or in the evening when the tired tourists gather their stuff and prepare for a well-deserved rest at the hotel. Whether you choose Maroma Beach, Xcacel, Xpu-Ha or Akumal, you will only get pristine shores and the clearest water you’ve ever seen.
Taste the authentic Mexican food or delight yourself with worldwide renowned dishes offered by luxury restaurants or cozy pubs. The offer includes seafood, chilies, maize and a great variety of herbs that combine into magnificent dishes. Furthermore, if you need something to lighten up the mood, serve yourself and your friends with some authentic tequila or mescal, and we guarantee that the fun will keep you all night.
The ocean is a mysterious place, and there are plenty of miracles hiding in its dark depths. So, when you’ve done exploring the beaches and contemplating the amazing color of the water, you should consider diving in. Cozumel is renowned for its enormous barrier reef system which is the second largest in the world. You will find here up to 25 dive sites where you can practice scuba diving and snorkeling. Moreover, the magnificent underworld is highly visible through the clear water, so you’ll be able to use your underwater camera and bring back the best memories.
Comparable with Egyptians and Chinese, the Mayas still amaze us with their ingenious constructions and artifacts. A tremendous civilization has lived here and their lifestyle can still be partially reconstituted by analyzing the ruins. So, if you are up for a real-life history lesson, you should visit the pyramids and temples at Coba or stop for a few hours to see the Tulum ruins and admire the breathtaking cliffy landscape.
Cenotes are sinkholes that have formed over millions of years, and today they attract tourists in great numbers due to the clear water that fills them and the mesmerizing landscapes that surround them. Cenote Ik Kil is highly popular among tourists, especially because it is easier to reach than other cenotes. However, we recommend to visit it in the morning, as in the afternoon it tends to get crowded. Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman will conquer you through its blue waters and exotic vegetation. It is located near the town of Valladolid, so if you find yourself in the area, make sure you visit it.
Both tourists and locals love this activity, so you will easily find a center to rent you a stand up paddle board. Furthermore, the waters are calm and friendly, so you’ll be able to safely practice your moves or even learn this sport from scratch. The scenery is amazing, with turtles, dolphins and little sharks swimming around you, so you shouldn’t expect less than a beautiful, relaxing afternoon.
However, if recreational paddle boarding at a slow pace doesn’t seem all that appealing to you as you would rather enjoy a more adrenaline-filled activity, you can always SUP surf. It is a bit more beginner-friendly than classic surfing due to the design of the board, and with a top-tier inflatable sup board you are sure to get a hang of the sport quick as maneuvering it to ride the tide is a cinch, especially considering the fact that SUP surfing is preferably performed when waves are tamer.
Incredible sights and a huge number of animal species, this is what turns Sian Ka’an Biosphere in one of the most popular places on the Maya Riviera. Every nature enthusiast will be thrilled to see manatees, sea turtles, dolphins and even rare birds wandering in their natural habitat. However, you need to book a tour and it’s best to do it from Tulum so you don’t spend too much time in a van.
Cozy local restaurants, a temple, a lighthouse, and the sight of the endless ocean, this is what expects you there, and the best way to visit them all in one day is by golf cart. Moreover, you will be able to visit a wonderful sculpture garden or relax on the quiet shores of Playa Norte.
Their name shouldn’t scare you as the whale sharks are in fact incredibly large fish, and they are harmless. You will get the chance to swim along with them and closely admire their beauty and calmness. All you need to do is book a tour at Isla Holbox, and the best moment of the year is between May and September when they migrate and you will have better chances to see them.
Including the most extreme ziplines in Latin America, this is the place if you wish to do some serious ziplining. Give yourself the chance to fly 150 feet above the ground or end your trip in an amazingly-blue cenote. Your heart will be pumping like crazy, and you will get one of the most amazing experiences in your life.
Now you’ve got your ground plan, but feel free to explore other astonishing places and adventures in the Maya Riviera if your time and budget permit it. Moreover, relax and enjoy every moment, and don’t forget to lock them forever through photos and videos, so your friends can enjoy them as well.