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Riviera Maya

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Holidays in Riviera Maya

The Mayan Riviera is Mexico's main tourist destination and among the world's most visited. It lies within the tourist district of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, in the east of the Yucatan Peninsula. This historic district begins in the city of Playa del Carmen, ends in the town of Tulum and includes Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Chemuyil.

The Caribbean coastline comprises a series of islands shaped like a crescent moon, home to white sand beaches and crystal-clear, deep turquoise waters. The area's flat lands are covered with lowland rainforest. The average yearly temperature is 24-25ºC. The climate is dominated by a rainy season from May to November, and within the dry season there is a period dominated by northerly winds, called El Norte, which usually occurs in the months of January and February.

The Mayan Riviera is famous for its large scale all-inclusive resorts and a historical tourism base of smaller boutique hotels as well as the many fine-dining restaurants available. Luxury travel entities have been instrumental in increasing luxury villa rentals and yacht charters in the area. However, these represent but a small fraction of the total tourism accommodation available.

A major attraction throughout the Mayan Riviera are aquatic activities dependent on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (the Belize Barrier Reef), the second longest in the world, which begins near Cancún and runs the length of the Mayan Riviera, continuing southward to Guatemala. 

The most highly sought after activities include water skiing, snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming in cenotes, swimming with dolphins, zip-lining, horse riding, sailing and guided jungle tours.  Archaeology is also a big tourist draw in the area, including the popular archaeological sites operated by the National Archaeology Institute, such as Tulum on the coast and Chichen Itza and Coba located some distance inland

The major ecoparks are Xcaret and Xel-Ha, which also include some smaller archaeological ruins as part of their attractions. These natural water theme parks operated by private business consortia, however, attract much larger crowds due to the diversity and range of activities provided, such as swimming with captive dolphins.

Most tourists to the Mayan Riviera arrive through the Cancún International Airport, approximately 50 km (31 mi) north of Playa del Carmen.

Visit the area of Tulum, a unique seafront Mayan archaeological site.
Wander through the Xcaret Archaeological Park, brimming with surprising natural wealth.
Snorkel at Xel-ha, the largest and most beautiful natural aquarium on the planet.

Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and white sands of the Akumal beaches.
Explore the heart of the rainforest and the mysterious Aktun Chen caves. 
Experience the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an.
 Stroll down Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue and enjoy the selection of bars, restaurants and shops.
Travel back in time and channel the ancestral Mayan culture.


This fortified seaside city lies among some of the Mayan Riviera's most beautiful surroundings. Built atop a rocky, sea level spur, it is protected on three sides by stone walls and by the sea on the fourth. The hotel area houses comfortable hotels, cabins and villas integrated with the natural environment, with green facilities combined with the luxury of top level hotels.


The eco-archaeological park Xcaret embodies Mexico's rich heritage: Mayan culture, archaeological tours, flora and fauna, aquatic activities and a chance for once in a lifetime activities, such as swimming with dolphins. 

Thanks to tours along the park's underground rivers, visitors can travel over one kilometre into the depths of the earth, discovering caves, rock formations, Mayan cenotes and marine fossils.

Xcaret Mexico Espectacular is regarded as the best folklore show in Mexico.


A tropical park of indescribable beauty, where the lush rainforest, a turquoise lagoon and a gently flowing river meet the sea, Xel-Ha places a premium on protecting the region's flora, fauna and local environment. The park is home to a turtle camp, a dolphin centre and an aviary, which help preserve these species and protect the region's environment. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful natural aquarium in the world.


In the Mayan language, Akumal means: "land of turtles". Each year, thousands of turtles complete their reproductive cycle on these beaches.  The bay's prominent features include crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches sheltered by coastal reefs, perfect for scuba diving.

Aktun Chen

A tour into the heart of the rainforest, amidst the ruins of temples and ancient cities, exploring intricate caves carved by underground rivers and sacred cenotes surrounded by lush vegetation, without overlooking the majestic barrier reefs.

Sian Ka'an

The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Mayan for "gift from heaven", has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and offers visitors one of the world's most unique biodiversities. 
Sian Ka'an provides guides with expert knowledge on the region's flora and fauna and ancient Mayan culture, who will help you explore one of the most interesting locations on the Mayan Riviera.

5th Avenue and Shopping

Fifth avenue is the main shopping area in Playa del Carmen. It can be visited on foot and boasts comfortable hotels, shops, restaurants, live music bars, clubs and open-air shows, making it the preferred place to go after a day of activities.

It is home to a number of different establishments, including clothes shops, crafts shops, jewellers, restaurants and live music bars, and an ample gastronomic selection, most notably Mexican, Yucatan, French, Italian, German and Asian cuisine.


The Mayan Riviera is not just about the natural environment. Visitors who enjoy a good time out will find a large variety of clubs, bars and restaurants in the region's various locations.

Discover the second largest barrier reef in the world in the majestic Mexican Caribbean, which is teeming with tropical fish, coral and thousands of beautiful animal species and is great for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Departing from the beach, the coral reefs in the area of Akumal, great for scuba diving and snorkelling, are just a 15 minute speed boat ride away.  The famous reef wall near the island of Cozumel also deserves special mention.

The mystical Mayan cenotes are located in the middle of the rainforest and form part of an intricate system of tunnels and caves that house incredible rock formations and light effects.
The Mayan Riviera offers excellent fishing options and attracts professionals and amateurs from all over the world looking for big-game fishing or angling.

Playa del Carmen 
Called Xaman Há in Mayan, Playa del Carmen or, as the natives say, "Playa" is internationally renowned for its natural beauty and diverse attractions and services.

Puerto Aventuras
The gateway to the Mayan Riviera, with all kinds of activity options for couples, groups of friends and families alike. 
At the Puerto Aventuras Reef National Marine Park, you will discover a large variety of multicoloured tropical fish, dolphins and sea turtles and impressive coral formations.

Baptised "murky waters" by the Mayans, the name refers to five cenotes that surround the region: Coba, Macanxoc, Sacalpuc, Yaxlaguna and Xcanh. 
This trek through ancestral temples, rescued from the lush jungle, and down primordial paths helps visitors channel the ancient Mayan culture and allows them to climb the steep steps of the pyramids.



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