A true vacationer’s paradise, Riviera Maya, Mexico, consists of a 75-mile stretch of tropical oasis that runs along the Yucatan Peninsula. Bordered by the powdery beaches and gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea, the region includes the major tourist destination of Cancun, along with Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and the Mayan oceanfront archeological site, Tulum.
Among the many attractions and sights in Riviera Maya, Xcaret and Xel-Ha are ecological parks open to the public featuring restored Mayan archeological sites, wildlife exhibits, grottos, natural aquariums and theme parks. Rio Secreto is an underground labyrinth of passageways formed by ancient geological formations and one of the most-visited natural marvels in the region. There are a wide variety of bars, restaurants and shops along La Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen. Underwater adventures begin with snorkeling and diving around the Great Maya Reef, the largest coral reef in the Northern Hemisphere. For rest and relaxation, Riviera Maya has a plethora of state-of-the-art spas that will help to replenish and rejuvenate the body while on vacation.
From authentic Mexican restaurants to international fusion and fresh seafood spots right on the water, Riviera Maya’s culinary scene combines local flavor with the many luxury resort dining options. Carboncitos is a Mexican joint in Playa del Carmen that may be geared toward tourists, but definitely doesn’t skimp on flavor and authenticity. For fresh and local seafood, Peskayitos in Puerto Morelos is known for its shrimp tacos and ceviche. La Mediterranean serves homemade pastas along with a variety of classic Italian dishes.
Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the region’s largest and most widely used airport for both domestic and international travel. Most major cities, including Cancun and Playa del Carmen, have car rental agencies, as it’s the best way to get around if traveling on your own and you’re not staying at a resort. Taxis are also available, though they should be pre-arranged by the hotel or resort.
With a semi-tropical climate, there is no bad time to visit Riviera Maya. The yearly average temperature is a beautiful 78° F (25.5° C), though it can easily rise to a steamy 98° F (36.6° C) in the summer months. The most abundant rainfall occurs during the months of April and May, as well as September through January, when tropical storms and hurricanes are known to blow through.