Mexico’s Riviera Maya is situated on the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula, just south of Cancun. Stretching down the coast for over 60 miles, the Riviera Maya takes in fabulous beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and the spectacular Island of Cozumel. The Riviera Maya starts at Puerto Morelos. Just a half hour drive from Cancun, this laid-back fishing town feels a million miles away from the bright lights of Yucatan’s party capital.
Not far from town is the Crococun Zoo, a great place to say ‘hola’ to the region’s wildlife. All the way down the coastline there are family-friendly beaches to explore, such as Akamal Beach and Half Moon Bay.
When it’s time climb out of the hammock, head to Riviera Maya’s largest town. Filled with boutique hotels, fine restaurants and designer stores, Playa del Carmen has a distinctly European feel.
The town works hard to preserve its small town, artistic atmosphere, and is a great base from which to explore the Riviera’s other treasures. From Playa del Carmen, hop on a ferry to the Island of Cozumel.
Mexico’s largest Caribbean Island, Cozumel is filled with dense jungles, sleepy villages and perfect beaches. It’s the kind of place where people come for the day, and end up staying for a month.
Wander around the island’s main town, San Miguel and watch the boats slipping in and out of the harbor. Learn about village life in the time before alarm clocks. Visit ancient cenotes, the freshwater pools which quenched the thirsts and sustained the spirits of the ancient Mayan.
Cozumel is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest reef. Head down to Palancar and Chankanaab on the island’s sheltered western side, where calmer waters make exploring the reef a breeze, even for beginners.
For wilder waters, head to the Punta Sur and Punta Celerain on the islands southeastern tip. Explore the rich mangrove and lagoon habitats, but don’t stray off the paths! Climb to the top of the lighthouse, then visit the navigation museum which preserves the island’s maritime history.
At the end of a long island day, head to the nearest beach-side cantina and just soak up the views with a cold cerveza. The Mayan’s appreciated fine views too. Back on the mainland, the ancient city of Tulum occupies some of the nicest real estate in all of Mexico.
Sitting high on coastal cliffs, these 13th century ruins were one of Mexico’s first resorts, a place where Mayan royalty could take the time to greet the sun each day. Bienvenido to the Riviera Maya, a place where life’s most important rituals, go on, forever.