The Riviera Maya is the newest and most recent resort on the Mexican Caribbean Coast. It is a tropical paradise of crystal clear waters that harbors true living treasures, some of the world's most beautiful beaches, and an exuberant tropical rainforest teeming with rare wildlife.
The Riviera Maya is the perfect place for a romantic hideaway, where you can do extreme sports or enjoy the coolest nighttime entertainment. Experience the Caribbean at its fullest, surrounded by magic places like the Sian Ka'an Nature Reserve, the Tulum archaeological site and hundreds of natural cenotes (sink holes that harbor several plant and animal species).
The Riviera Maya is a long strip of coast that extends along 80 miles of white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, on Mexico's easternmost frontier, in what is the State of Quintana Roo. It comprises of an area that includes isolated beaches, as well as modern resorts with hotels, marinas, sports facilities and restaurants.
This area has become a first-class destination for foreign and domestic tourists, who come here for its unique geographic conditions, embracing diverse environments. There are jungles, rivers, subterranean rivers and cenotes to savannas, lakes, lagoons, mangroves, and of course the incomparable turquoise blue sea that turns silver, in the light of the moon. Enjoy the gorgeous soft white sand on the beaches, several of which are still virgin and isolated.
Pyramids, stelae, ball courts, temples and plazas are just some of the vestiges of the great Mayan civilization that have endured throughout the ages and have helped scholars uncover some of the mysteries that still shroud this great civilization. Their legacy is part of the living culture of the modern day Mayan people who still live in the area and appreciate the many customs, traditions, religion, and social structure.
There is plenty to do in the Riviera Maya. Frequent theme parks. Take part in eco-touristic activities and extreme sports. Attend golf or tennis tournaments. Take a hiking trip to the jungle or go and visit the archaeological treasures of the Maya
All along the Riviera Maya, there are a number of interesting towns worth visiting. Start with Playa del Carmen, considered the heart of the Riviera Maya for its economic importance, as well as for the rate of its population growth. Then there is Puerto Morelos, located half-way between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, a former fishing village. Further south, you can find Tulum and Punta Allen.
The urban sprawl and the natural beauty of the area have given rise to residential communities, such as Puerto Aventuras, with its first-class marina, golf courses, hotels and condos. Akumal and Chemuyil which were first populated by the workers of the tourist industry, now attract a lot of tourists through their own merit.
There are archaeological remains of the mythical Mayan culture all throughout the Riviera Maya, which are protected by the federal government, as well as by individual organizations, such is the case of Xcaret and Xel-Ha that shelter some small remains that can be seen when visiting these eco-archaeological parks.
Tulum is the only Mayan city-state built on the coast, on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean Sea, a unique feature that makes it a fascinating place to visit. It is one of the most important sites in the region and one that attracts thousands of tourists each year.
Another important site is Coba, an ancient city that stands out for its incredible size. It is a 50-mile area comprising hundreds of structures distributed throughout a lush jungle habitat, home to several animal and bird species that people can see when they visit the site. Visiting Coba takes up most of the day so expect to do a lot of walking and climbing.
Other important sites nearby include Muyil, Kohunlich, Dzibanche, and Chacchoben in the southern part of the state. You can also go to the Puuc Route, a 3-hour journey to the center of the Yucatan peninsula that takes you on a tour of several sites including Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Labna, as well as Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The beaches on the Mexican Caribbean are famous for their soft and powdery sand composed of coral and seashell fragments, which reflects sunlight without trapping heat, so it is always fresh and cool. The sand at the bottom of the sea and the crystal clear water produce a marvelous color effect, which change to different hues of blue, from sky blue to green and then to the famous turquoise blue that so characterizes the Caribbean Sea.
Considered by many as some of the most beautiful beaches of the world, not only for their soft white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters, the Riviera Maya offers an extension comprising of 75 miles that include towns like Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Paamul, Akumal, Tulum, Tankah and Punta Allen. All along the coast of Quintana Roo, the geography includes bays, inlets, and capes, creating breathtaking landscapes.
The beaches of the Riviera Maya are also the backdrop for a variety of activities, which are as much on water as they are underwater endeavors, sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, ski and even fishing. You can also engage in land activities such as hiking, volleyball, making sand sculptures or basking in the sun.
There are several beaches that you absolutely can't miss going to, such as Playa del Secreto and Playa Paraiso in Puerto Morelos, as well as Punta Maroma, ranked as Mexico's most best hidden treasure by the Travel Channel. There are also Punta Bete, Xcalacoco, Xpu-ha, and Paamul and all of Kantenah Bay, known for its long strip of beach, washed by calm shallow waters. On Akumal and Xcacel, located near the Sian Ka'an Nature Reserve, you can sometimes spot turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. On Tankah Bay, there is a pristine cenote called the Manatee, where you can snorkel or dive. Tulum, Boca Paila, Yalcu Inlet and Punta Allen are just some of the other gorgeous beaches you can go to.
The Riviera Maya is a great place for eco-touristic activities because of the many natural attractions found in the area, starting with the rich colorful coral reefs of the Mexican Caribbean, a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. There are also amazing cenotes and subterranean rivers found nowhere else in the world. Bicycling and hiking the virgin natural reserves and even zip lining through them will certainly thrill most adventurers and extreme sports enthusiasts.