Riviera Maya Attractions Guide

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Today - 19th July 2024

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Tomorrow - 20th July 2024

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Thousands of people travel to Riviera Maya, Mexico every year on holiday to take advantage of the huge number of attractions available throughout the resort. Whether you're travelling as an individual, couple or family, there is plenty to keep you entertained here. In Riviera Maya, there is a strong emphasis on protecting the natural environment, which has resulted in many eco-friendly parks and activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Nature & wildlife

The Jungle Place is one of the most popular attractions in Playa del Carmen and is a must-visit for animal lovers and anyone travelling with little ones. This sanctuary takes care of hundreds of endangered spider monkeys in a safe and healthy environment. If you make a reservation, you'll be able to take a tour around the centre and get the chance to interact with some of the sanctuary's residents. Each tour takes around one hour to complete and is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Located within the holiday resort of Tulum, the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary is another great place to spend the day. This sanctuary forms part of a 25 hectare ranch which takes care of white tail deer, donkeys, horses, iguanas, ducks and hundreds of species of birds. Here you can explore a number of trails which wind throughout an open-air enclosure where the monkeys are free to swing, jump and play where they wish. There is also a tour available which includes a trip around the sanctuary, swimming in cenotes and exploring the Mayan jungle. 

Crococun Zoo in Puerto Morelos is popular with couples and families who have a great interest in nature and wildlife. This interactive and conservationist zoo is one of the best places in Riviera Maya to touch, hold and feed a vast array of local wild animals. The one hour tour is highly recommended and provides a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with deer, parrots, snakes, spider monkeys and even crocodiles.

Nature lovers won't want to miss the chance to visit Punta Laguna Nature Reserve near the Gulf Coast. This park forms part of a 5,000 hectare nature reserve and is best visited in the afternoon, around 2pm. There are many guides at hand, eager to take groups on tours around the reserve and show them around the most fascinating parts. As well as exploring, you can also have a go at zip lining, rappelling and swimming in the lagoon. You'll be surrounded by photo opportunities, so don't forget to take your camera.

Centro Ecologico Akumal in Akumal is one of the best places in Riviera Maya to catch a glimpse of sea turtles. The money you pay goes toward the environmental programme which strives to keep the beach and sea clean, as well as educating the public about how they can help to protect the environment. One of the most popular activities at the centre is the snorkel tour which is led by a qualified guide who points out interesting marine life and rock formations along the way. There are also many turtle-themed discussions and presentations held throughout the year which are suitable for the whole family to enjoy.

Water sports

Adrenaline junkies won't want to miss the chance to visit LabnaHa Cenotes & Eco Park in Tulum. Here you'll find a wealth of aqua activities to enjoy, including diving, snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and zip lining into lakes. The activities are open to both children and adults and include transportation, safety briefing and equipment, lockers, multilingual guide and buffet lunch, as well as your chosen tour. The entrance fee you pay goes toward protecting the local flora and fauna and also provides funds for two small Mayan villages.

Riviera Maya is known as one of the best places in the world for diving. If you'd like to have a go at the popular water sports, visit the DiveMex centre in Playa del Carmen. This professional diving school offers tours to small groups of both professional and amateur divers. If you've never been diving before, you can sign up for a one-on-one or two-on-one training session before heading out on an excursion. PADI courses are also available for experienced divers.

If you've ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins, now is your chance. The Dolphinaris Park Riviera Maya in Puerto Aventuras provides dolphin lovers will the opportunity to interact with the gentle creatures in various different programmes. The most popular choice is the dolphin swim programme, which includes the chance to touch, kiss, hug and play with the dolphin in the water. The various other options include dolphin swim and ride, dolphin interactive programme and even the chance to become a trainer for the day. 

Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum is one of the top destinations for scuba diving in Riviera Maya. Diving trips are offered for small groups of no more than four people and are a fantastic opportunity to explore the caverns and cafes in a safe and fun way. Dos Ojos stretches on for over 60km, making it one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world and is also where you'll find the deepest cave passage in Quintana Roo. The name means "two eyes" in English and refers to the two side-by-side cenotes which merge into a large cavern. The water temperature is always between 24 and 25°C, making it a pleasant place for a swim at any time of the year.

Golf courses

Golfers won't want to miss the chance to play a round or two at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Club in Playa del Carmen. This 18-hole par-72 course features two coastal holes and is a challenge for even the most experience of golfers. As well as the green sprinkled with cenotes and water features, El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Club also features golf carts, club house, shower facilities, golf shop, restaurant, snack bar, driving range and putting and pitching greens.

Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Playa Paraiso is another course popular with experienced golfers. Boasting a seafront location, this 18-hole par-72 golf course is known as the best in the resort and includes part of a Mayan jungle. As well as the fairways, greens and sand traps, Playa Paraiso Golf Club also provides a driving range, putting greens, showers, lockers, golf shop and club house.

The Riviera Maya Golf Club in Akumal is a top choice amongst golfers of all abilities. Made up of one 18-hole course and one nine-hole course, Riviera Maya Golf Club offers various types of terrain, including grass, water and rock. Here you'll also find a driving range, club house, golf school, equipment rental and golf shop. There are various deals available throughout the year, including club rental discounts and special rates for multiple rounds.

Historic sites & caves

History buffs won't want to pass up the chance to visit the Mayan ruins in Tulum. This site boasts an amazing seafront location, nestled between the sea and tall dark cliffs, making for some fantastic photo opportunities. With so much to see and do, you can spend hours exploring the various sections of the ruins, including royal burial sites, ancient houses and even a pyramid. You can also join a tour led by an experienced guide who will show you all of the most fascinating parts of the site and answer any questions you may have. Although there are no brochures, there are signs throughout the ruins, offering basic information about each section. As well as the ruins, there is also a great selection of stalls and shops selling Mexican handicrafts, as well as a number of small cafes and bars.

A visit to Riviera Maya isn't complete without stopping by the Aktun Chen in Akumal. This underground cave is full of breathtaking rock formations and is a great place to snorkel or dive. There is also a zip wire and jungle trails in the area which are populated with hundreds of wild monkeys and snakes. Aktun Chen is usually swarming with mosquitoes and other bugs, so be prepared and bring some protective spray with you.

Chaak Tun in Playa del Carmen is also one of the most popular collections of underground caves in the resort and is a great place to spend an afternoon. Here you can explore a network of jungle paths, impressive underground caverns and crystal clear waters which area ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. There are plenty of multilingual experienced guides onsite which offer tours of the area and can tell you everything you could ever want to know about the cenotes. Chaak Tun can be very busy in the morning, so the best time to visit is in the afternoon, between 2pm and 3pm.

Coba Mayan Village in Playa del Carmen is a great place to visit, whether you're holidaying on your own, as a couple or as a family. Mayic Travel offers a comprehensive tour which gives you the chance to explore the village, climb the highest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula, discover how the locals live, hike through the jungle and enjoy lunch in the traditional Mayan restaurant. On your tour you'll be accompanied by a qualified guide who knows everything there is to know about the area and will be happy to answer all your questions.

Excursions

If you want to go on an excursion during your stay in Riviera Maya pop into the Akumal Tour Centre in Akumal. Here you'll find a top selection of trips and tours on offer, including visits to the Mayan ruins, journeys on ATVs, Jeep safaris, boat trips to nearby islands, swimming with dolphins, visits to theme parks, deep sea fishing and snorkelling. Akumal Tour offers great deals and discounts throughout the year for group bookings, making it one of the most popular excursion companies in the resort.

Sian Ka'an Jeep Tour Expedition is one of the most popular excursions based in Playa del Carmen. On this Jeep tour you'll start your journey along the coast, where you'll have several breaks for a chance to eat, drink and enjoy a swim in the sea. You'll then get to board a boat where you'll also have the opportunity to go swimming and might even see some whales and dolphins. This is followed by a snorkelling trip along the Mesoamerican reef and a final buffet before heading back to your accommodation.

Theme parks

When it comes to theme parks in Riviera Maya it doesn't get much better than the Xplor Adventure Park in Playa del Carmen. This natural adventure park is one of the best places in the resort for adrenaline-pumping activities such as zip lining, rafting, amphibious vehicle tours and cave exploring. All the safety equipment will be provided by the park, so all you have to bring with you is comfortable clothing, swimming gear and suitable footwear. On top of the numerous activities, the Xplor Adventure Park also features dressing rooms, lockers, relaxing areas, restaurant and shops.

Xel-Ha Park in Quintana Roo is a must-visit during your holiday in Riviera Maya. This natural aquarium is one of the most popular parks in the resort and is considered to be the largest aquarium in the world. With so many different things to do and see, you'll need to set aside the whole day to really appreciate everything the park has to offer. You can go snorkelling, zip lining, swimming with all sorts of marine life, trekking through the jungle and bike riding, while the kids have the time of their lives at the children's park.