This sun-drenched stretch of Mexican coastline blends the natural wonders of the Yucatán Peninsula with the awe-inspiring ruins of Mayan civilizations.
The Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is a relaxing mix of picture-perfect tropical beaches, stylish resorts, breathtaking aquatic wonders and some of the most popular archeological sites in Mexico.
The resort town of Playa del Carmen is a great place to begin your Riviera Maya adventure and offers superb beaches, dining and nightlife. From Playa, hop on a ferry to Cozumel, an island endowed with a rich history, world-renowned dive sites and lush jungles.
Cozumel’s main town, San Miguel, is home to the Museum of the Island of Cozumel (Museo de la Isla de Cozumel), an excellent place to learn about the island’s Mayan past as well as the evolution of the surrounding marine park.
Head to Cozumel’s south where, in the Chankanaab National Park, you can explore extensive botanical gardens, swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery and unwind in one of the many health spas.
Further south from Chankanaab is the relaxing Palancar Beach, where the water is clear and calm enough to spot fish from the shore.
Head to Punta Sur Ecological Park on the island’s southern tip, to see this stunning ecological reserve featuring more than 200 bird species, crocodiles, giant turtles and an ancient Mayan observatory.
For more impressive archaeological sites, head back to the mainland to Chichen Itza and the Tulum Mayan Ruins. At over 1,000 years old, the wondrous ruins of Chichen Itza showcase the architectural feats of the Mayan and Toltec cultures. The Tulum Mayan Ruins are perched high on a dramatic stretch of Caribbean coastline.
At the Kantun-Chi ecological park, swim, snorkel and dive spectacular cenotes (sinkholes), and explore tropical gardens and abundant wildlife.
The Riviera Maya’s climate is tropical, with an average temperature of 93 F (34 C). Local transport options range from buses to colectivos (white minivans), private limos to bicycles.