Home #WHERETONEXT Mexico What to do in the Riviera Maya

What to do in the Riviera Maya

Photo by Eduardo Cano Photo Co.

Imagine what it would be like to stroll down pristine beaches with the gentle crystalline waters lapping at your ankles. Perhaps swimming in crystal clear cenotes, hiking through ancient runes, or eating your weight in delicious cuisine speaks to your very core. All this can be yours when visiting the Riviera Maya. With so many adventures available, most visitors must pick and choose what they wish to see on their trip. To help you narrow it down, we have provided our top picks for what to do in the Riviera Maya.

How to Plan Your Trip

When visiting this beautiful destination, there are various ways in which you can plan your vacation. You can certainly research and review options online, booking them before you even board the plane. However, if you want to go where the wind takes you, you can always figure it out when you arrive. For options on what to do in the Riviera Maya, we recommend simply talking with the concierge or travel shop at your accommodation for insider tips and discounts.

Make Base in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is an excellent location to make the base of your vacation. Smack in the center of Tulum, Cancun, and Cozumel, this gorgeous destination isn’t nearly as swamped by tourists but still has easy access to everything you could want to see. Stunning beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and a plethora of tour options make it easy to relax, explore, and take on new adventures each and every day should you so choose.

Top 3 Things to do in the Riviera Maya

  1. Swim in a Cenote

When traveling to Mexico, swimming in a cenote should be at the top of your bucket list. These freshwater swimming holes are formed when limestone collapses to essentially create an underground sinkhole. Tour companies will take you to safe and stunning cenotes where you can swim, snorkel, and even scuba dive. Just remember to bring biodegradable sunscreen, as regular sunscreen is typically banned due to its harmful effects on the environment that damages the cenote.

  1. Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Approximately a two-hour drive from Playa del Carmen, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is worth a day trip, without a doubt. Declared a World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna you certainly won’t find back home. Various tour guides will take you out into the reserve, from nature encounters to snorkeling to birdwatching and even fly fishing.

  1. Eat Everything You Can

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to try new foods. With a wealth of fresh, locally grown ingredients, restaurants and cafes will tempt you at every turn. We recommend researching and choosing one restaurant to try each day and then leaving the rest up to fate, whether that means eating at your resort or picking a spot on the fly as you walk through town.

Honorable Mentions for What to do in the Riviera Maya:

There is so much to do in the Riviera Maya that the list could go on. However, we want to give a few more of our top favorites:

  • Taking a boat tour to the Isla Mujeres
  • Booking a day trip to Chicken Itza
  • Shopping 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen
  • Relax on any of the gorgeous beaches!