Riviera Maya is a popular tourist resort lying on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, situated in the district of Quintana Roo on the east coast of the peninsula. Stretching from Cancun in the north to Tulum in the south, the Riviera Maya is renowned for its superb beaches, stunning natural beauty, rich history, fascinating culture and wonderful weather.
Riviera Maya is a great place to go all year round, however, December to April is especially pleasant in terms of the weather and enjoying the resort at its liveliest. The wettest, and therefore quietest, months are September and October. The hurricane season in Mexico normally runs from June to November and can affect both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Riviera Maya’s wet season still offers plenty of sunshine, not to mention fewer crowds and some great deals.
The small beach-front tourist resort of Akumal, which means ‘place of the turtles’, has pristine white sandy beaches protected by off-shore reefs, a beautiful bay with crystal clear, turquoise waters flowing through its underwater caves and subterranean rivers, and is a haven for underwater enthusiasts and sunbathers alike (not forgetting the turtles).
However, it’s not all about the beaches and the big golden circle in the sky; Quintana Roo’s many ancient Mayan ruins are easy to get to and make for a great day out – history buff or not. Once you’ve had your fill of traipsing around archaeological wonders under the sun, head for one of the many fantastic beaches that offer access to Riviera Maya’s excellent snorkelling and scuba-diving sites – just 150 metres out to sea. From the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and subterranean rivers and ponds to beautiful lakes and cenotes, Riviera Maya really is a diver’s paradise.
It’s well worth keeping in mind that some water sports equipment may not meet UK or international safety standards, and you may not be covered by accident insurance. This applies particularly to scuba diving, parasailing and jet-skiing. Make sure the company meets the required safety standards and check that you’re covered by your travel insurance.
Tulum is one the most beautiful places in Riviera Maya and is known for being the only archaeological site located by the sea. Sat atop a cliff looking out to the Caribbean Sea, Tulum encompasses over 60 well-preserved structures surrounded by three huge walls, a small beach beside the main temple – swimming up to the shore while gazing up at this majestic piece of Mayan history is an unforgettable experience – and a scattering of charming cabanas and low-key eco hotels along the pristine stretch of beach.
Playa Carmen known as Xaman Há in the Maya, is an old fishermen’s village. Now, it offers everything you’d hope for from a Caribbean holiday location, with luxury hotels, superb restaurants, lively bars, water sports, golf, shopping and much more.
Xcaret is a must while visiting Riviera Maya. This one-of-a-kind eco-archaeological park offers a fascinating insight into the area’s ecology and mysterious Maya history, plus the opportunity to relax on the beach, drift down one of two subterranean rivers, explore jungle shrouded trails, and arguably best of all – swim with dolphins.