I also took a trip for the first time to the Riviera Maya, and before doing so I would have liked to see first-hand recommendations. I finally spent two months there exploring unmissable places.
In this post you will find a collection of topics including tips and places I think you should see in the Riviera Maya, tips based on my trip exploring between Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. If you travel there, you’ll probably think about staying in a hotel making that easy and relaxed all-inclusive life. But nothing is further from what I would recommend doing. This region is full of wonders that make it more than recommendable to move around a lot, and this doesn’t mean that you won’t rest, but that if it happens to you as it did to me, you will enjoy it very much.
Best of all, it’s easy to do, even cheap. There are taxis, there is transport from the hotels, there are vans that take tourists from one place to another along the coast. They come and go, and they’ll drop you off wherever you ask them to, and right there you’ll take another combi back to the hotel. There are also tour agencies that will schedule you a full day exploring.
Tips before traveling to the Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya covers a sector of the coast that begins just a little south of Cancun and goes up to a few more kilometers also south of Tulum, an extension that can be traveled along 140 kilometers, especially to do by car point to point or by public transport. But before starting, it’s good to introduce yourself to the main cities and destinations on the Riviera, as well as some tips for getting around:
If you choose Playa del Carmen, here you have a selection of 15 resorts with excellent quality and price ratio recommended by zones in this city, plus it’s very easy to use a transportation from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen.
To continue diagramming our stay, once we know in which city to stay, anyway my recommendation will be to move around a lot. To start, I leave a suggestion of a route through ten points of beach and cenotes in the Riviera Maya.
- Not so well known cities, cenotes and unmissable beaches on the coast.
Below are detailed the beaches and some beach towns that for me are absolutely recommended to see. It is a selection of the most paradisiacal spots that best represent that Caribbean postcard that everyone comes to look for at this latitude:
- Inland excursions (Cenotes and underground rivers)
As explained in each of these posts, the cenotes are one of the attractions that must be seen in the Riviera Maya. They are a type of formation in the limestone that makes up the bed of the Yucatan Peninsula. Underground rivers were breaking up some parts of the rock to form amazing natural pools in the jungle. Some of the most recommended cenotes (among thousands of them) are
- Ruins and archaeological sites
If we add to the beaches and cenotes the archeological ruins in the Riviera Maya, the package to amaze us is complete (that of adding tropical paradise, cenotes in the jungle and sets of the Mayan culture that are heritage of humanity). One of the must-see ruins in any visit to the Riviera is the archaeological site of Tulum
Frequently asked questions about excursions and stay in the Riviera Maya.
How many days do I need to tour the main attractions of the Riviera Maya?
A minimum of ten days is ideal to tour at least part of everything suggested in a varied way (choose from one to two cenotes, one to two beaches in addition to our hotel, and some excursions to archaeological ruins). Everything can depend on our style of vacation, if we just want to stay at the resort on the beach, or schedule excursions every day. All of the above is too much to see in ten days. Perhaps 20 days is ideal to get a full picture of many of the beaches and places we recommend.
Is it ideal to stay the whole stay in the same city or hotel, or to vary?
It is also a question of taste. In any case, we could combine a more urban destination (a resort in Cancun and Playa del Carmen) with another part of the stay in a smaller city (see how to choose a hotel in the tips before traveling), or even a secluded resort. Either way, everything is close and well connected by public transportation (there are minibuses that pass every five or 10 minutes through any point of the Riviera Maya), or you can easily take a transportation from Cancun to Playa del Carmen.