Things To Do in The Riviera Maya
Perfect activities for a week long vacation in paradise
7. Swim in a Cenote
Take a refreshing dip in these mysterious water caves.
Cenotes are large natural sinkholes, and an iconic feature of the Yucatan Peninsula’s geography. In Mayan times, they were used for fresh water supply and religious ceremonies, but nowadays make the perfect place for tourists who want to swim, snorkel and relax in a unique environment.
Most cenotes are filled with fresh water that has been filtered slowly through the ground, so it is very pure and clean. With the water visibility being so high, they’re a perfect spot for snorkelling and scuba diving.
You don’t have to be a particularly strong swimmer to enjoy a swimming trip to a cenote, but as many are up to 45 feet deep you should be confident at floating out of your depth. Many of the more popular cenotes offer lifejacket and snorkelling hire.
6. Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Meet the spectacular sea life of the world’s second largest reef system.
The Great Maya Reef, which extends over 600 miles from the top of the Yucatan Peninsula down to Honduras, is home to some of the best snorkelling in the Americas.
The warm ocean and the stunning variety of coral, tropical fish and larger sea creatures make it a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.
One of the best places to get started is on the beach at Akumal, a nesting ground for turtles. Spend the day relaxing on the white sands under a palm tree, or floating in the warm waters, watching the tropical fish and turtles graze and float around you.
Those who already hold an open water qualification will find no shortage of scuba dive excursions leaving from locations up and down the coast. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a lemon or nurse shark amongst the beautiful array of Caribbean sea creatures.
5. XCaret Park
The richness of Mexican biodiversity and history mix in this park.
More than 40 different attractions await in this eco-archaeological park. You can start your day by exploring the jungle ruins or forest trails and then float along the underground rivers in the comfort of raft.
If you prefer your days more active, swap your shorts and shirt for swimming gear, pick up a snorkel and set off to explore the underground rivers or tropical waters at your own pace. The site also includes a colourful wild bird aviary, orchid greenhouse and aquarium.
When night falls, guests head to the on-site theatre for a colourful show featuring the best in Mexican culture, song and dance both old and new.
XCaret Park covers a large area just to the south of Playa Del Carmen, and given that there is so much to do on site, get there early to enjoy the park to its fullest.
Picture perfect beaches meet Mayan history.
With picture-perfect sands, azure waters and a refreshingly laid back vibe, Tulum is a town like no other. Worth a visit for the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins alone, the much-loved coastal region has a great deal to offer beyond its ancient sites.
From relaxing beachside yoga to brave kitesurfing, Tulum is undeniably zen yet action-packed too. A dip in the cool waters of Tulum's many cenotes is a must-do activity and - if you’re on a quest for adventure - a snorkelling tour with one of the town’s excellent diving schools is highly recommended.
After a lunchtime treat of fresh ceviche at one of Tulum’s many beautiful beachside restaurants, venture a few minutes south to Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve where you could spot alligators and even shy manatees in the picturesque lagoon.
For a taste of traditional Mexico, head inland to Tulum town. Straddling the highway, the town itself is a far cry from the idyllic beach resort but well worth a visit to sample local tacos al pastor and colourful fresh fruit paletas. Tulum is less than an hour’s drive south of Playa del Carmen.
3. Playa del Carmen Nightlife
Dine out and party all night in this refined hotspot.
Vibrant and full of character, Playa del Carmen’s nightlife is something to behold. While neighbouring Cancun is well-known for its party scene, Playa del Carmen offers something a little more refined, without losing a resounding sense of fun.
Nightlife in Playa del Carmen centres on the beach and Fifth Avenue, while smaller local hotspots can be found within walking distance. You can enjoy some of the Riviera's finest cuisine, sip cocktails at one of the Playa's many beachside bars and dance the night away in several popular clubs.
One of Playa del Carmen’s biggest night time attractions is the flamboyant Coco Bongo, where entertainment is comparable to the glittering shows of Las Vegas. Enjoy a tribute to some of the all-time musical greats including Elvis and The Beatles, watch an energetic acrobatic display or experience a fabulous homage to Broadway.
For something a little quirky look out for Beercicleta, a pedal-powered pub tour. Local favourite Don Mezcal serves up traditional drinks in a central location, while Alux Caverna Restaurant offers a magical place to eat and chat in a striking naturally formed cave.
2. Chichen Itza
Absorb the rich culture of the Mayans at these world famous monuments.
Hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza truly deserve their status as the second most popular attraction in all of Mexico. Situated between Valladolid and Merida - 125km west of Cancun - the ancient city can be visited on a full day trip from Playa del Carmen.
The pyramids, temples and incredible stone monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Perhaps the most famous of all the Chichen Itza ruins is the Temple of Kukulkan - otherwise known as El Castillo - showcasing Mayan astronomy and the beginning of the 365 day calendar. During the spring and autumn equinox, a serpent-shaped shadow is visible at El Castillo - just one magnificent design feature of this ancient site.
When visiting Chichen Itza, be sure to pack comfortable shoes, plenty of water and sunscreen. The site is large and the sunshine strong all year round.
Just kick back, enjoy the beach… and the cocktails.
While the Riviera Maya has all of the incredible activities above nearby, it's also a brilliant place to relax and unwind. After all, this is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
At BlueBay Resorts, we offer all inclusive five star luxury. So hop on a beachside hammock and sip a cocktail – you’ve well and truly deserved this vacation!