Ah, the Riviera Maya!
Most Canadians dream of this tropical coastline of Mexico as a retreat from the long, dark, cold days of winter. However it is just as tempting in the off-season and significantly more affordable.
The off-season on the Riviera Maya runs from May to October. Yes, there is a risk of a potential hurricane but it is only a possibility. However, by going in the off-season you are guaranteed lower prices-sometimes as much as 25 per cent and fewer people. My last trip to the Riviera Maya was in August and the weather was perfect.
Choose a resort like the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort, which just finished an $80 million renovation in January or the new Hyatt Playa del Carmen which opens June 1st in the heart of this popular town. The resorts offer fabulous beaches, food and spas but there is more to do in the area. Here are some things to do off the resort in the off-season.
Dive and snorkel reefs and cenotes
The Riviera Maya is a dream destination for divers and snorkelers. With the second largest reef in the world, plus fresh water cenotes (pronounced say-note-tays with the emphasis on the last syllable) you have two exceptional options. I chose the cenotes.
Cenotes are pools or sinkholes that connect you to the Riviera Maya’s huge underground river system. Slip into the pool and let the current take you for a ride. It’s a magical experience as you rush by the roots of jungle plants that are growing above the surface. The cenotes are marked on the roadway so that you can find these yourself or you can join a tour.
Visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins
Built on a cliff facing the east, Tulum is the only Mayan settlement on the beaches of the Caribbean and a notable archaeological site due to its spectacular location. A short day trip from a resort, the Tulum Mayan Ruins is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day and parking is available though it’s an 800-metre walk from the parking area to the ruins.
Go to town
Playa del Carma is the main town of the Riviera Maya. Originally a fishing village known as Xaman Há in the Mayan language, Playa, as it is simply known by locals and tourists alike, has luxury hotels, great food, many bars (most of which are open to the street), shopping centres, and restaurants serving traditional and international cuisine. La Quinta Avenida is the main walkway.
Explore nature in an eco-themed park
Unlike a North American theme park that is built into the environment, the Xcaret Eco Park was built out from the environment. Located near Playa del Carma, it uses the jungle, water and history as the basis for activities, education and fun. Explore the caves, enjoy the Butterfly Pavilion and the Coral Reef Aquarium, Mayan ruins and the Mexican Folk Art Museum.
Check out more things to do in Riviera Maya
What activity would you choose in the Riviera Maya?