Destination Overview: Riviera Maya Mexico
If you are thinking about taking a vacation in Riviera Maya, this article will give you a quick overview of this popular destination in Mexico.
Riviera Maya is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the eastern side of the Yucatán Peninsula. It stretches 100 miles along the Caribbean coastline just south of Cancun. This area starts around the fishing village of Puerto Morelos and extends on down past Tulum to the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an.
The Riviera Maya is a vast stretch of land that lies south of Cancun and is widely known for its spectacular white sand beaches, warm turquoise waters, luxurious all-inclusive resorts, the Mayan ruins, and the colorful town of Playa del Carmen. To the west you will find lush mangrove forests, and to the east you have the Caribbean Sea. Just off the coast you will find the 700-mile-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef also known as the Mayan Reef.
Exploring and discovering the amazing Riviera Maya is easy, because there is one well-paved road called the Carretera 307 that runs from North to South all the way down to the border of Belize. This well traveled road is lined with majestic gates marking the entrance of numerous grand resorts.
This region begins in the quaint town of Puerto Morelos, which is one of the few coastal towns that has managed to maintain its authenticity over the years. Anyone who wants to spend significant time at the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef will want to take advantage of the fact that it is only 1,800 feet from the shoreline in this town.
A little way down the coastline is Maroma Beach which is ranked as one of the best in all of Mexico. Playa del Carmen is in the center of Riviera Maya and it is one of Latin America’s fastest growing communities. Many people visit Playa del Carmen to experience the liveliness of the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The hotels in the area are fantastic and people can shop at the numerous boutiques that line the downtown streets. Playa del Carmen is not just about shopping and partying though, and the pristine white sands on the beach will draw even the most reluctant person to the shoreline.
The communities of Puerto Aventuras and Akumal are to the South of Playa del Carmen and both have become quite Americanized in recent years. This doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying the beach on Akumal Bay, which is special, because it is one of the best locations to view sea turtles.
Down in the Southern section of Riviera Maya is where you can explore the Mayan Ruins in Tulum which are the only ruins that overlook the sea. Carretera 307 ends near the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing else waiting to be discovered in Riviera Maya. Approximately thirty-five minutes northwest of Tulum is Coba. Coba is a very remote place, but the massive temples and pyramids are well worth the drive. The best way to see all the ruins at the site in Coba is to explore it by bicycle.
There are many sporting activities that visitors can participate in while in Riviera Maya including snorkeling, diving, and boating. A few of the best ways to see the forests and wildlife in Riviera Maya is to go on a Jungle Tour, a Nature and Wildlife Tour, or a 4 wheel-drive, ATV, or an Off Road Tour. Ziplining is for those people who love adventure and there is nothing better than flying past the treetops while looking at the breathtaking scenery of Riviera Maya.
Riviera Maya is a very safe region in Mexico and it is one of the safest places to vacation in the country. People traveling to this region of Mexico should not be too concerned because even the popular town of Playa del Carmen, is more safe and secure than most cities in North America.
People who are planning a fantastic vacation will want to choose Riviera Maya if they want to spend time relaxing on a tranquil beach filled with soft sugary sand or if they want to relax in a world class spa. Others may choose Riviera Maya for the lively nightlife, shopping, and dining options that are available in Playa del Carmen as well as activities that include exploring the ancient Mayan ruins, snorkeling or diving near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, or going on a jungle adventure.
When to go:
Peak season for Riviera Maya is November through April. This is an ideal time to go because you are likely to have near perfect weather. Prices for hotels during Christmas break are typically 50% higher than the regular rates and rooms fill up fast. You should book at least 6 months in advance if you want to go during this busy time. The months of September and October tend to have the most rain and bring the greatest risk of hurricanes. Budget conscious travelers can save about 20% to 50% if you travel during low season which is May through October.
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