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The Best Places to See in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Top Tourist Spots in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Tulum Riviera Maya Mexico Beach

Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Riviera Maya (wiki) stretches from Cancun to the north and Tulum to the south. It dates back to Christopher Columbus and has jungles, ancient ruins, nightlife, and world-class beaches. All of this makes the area one of the most sought-after travel destinations. There are great hotels and huge resorts to stay at and lots to see. Here are some of the best places to see in the Riviera Maya.

Sunset in Riviera Maya
Sunset in Riviera Maya


Turtle and fish, off Akumal by Rainer Schmidt via Wikimedia cc
Turtle and fish, off Akumal by Rainer Schmidt via Wikimedia cc

One of the best places to see in Akumal, which means ‘place of turtles.’ These beautiful creatures swim in the bay and make Akumal one of the best places to snorkel. The water is clear and calm and it isn’t hard to see or even swim next to one of these turtles. There are also tropical fish and reef plants to view here. And if you’re hungry, there are some very good restaurants nearby.

Riviera Maya Cenotes by Jorge Fernandez Salas via Unsplash
Riviera Maya Cenotes by Jorge Fernandez Salas via Unsplash


Another thing you’ll want to see and experience are the cenotes that are all around the area. You’ll see the locals drop down into these sinkholes that lead to underground canals. You can explore these passages to go swimming, wading, snorkeling, and, of course, cave diving like the locals.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

We’ve all seen the pictures but now you can see it in real life. Chichen Itza is the grand pyramid created by the Mayan civilization that still stands today. You can easily take a bus trip and spend the day not only viewing this great ruin but also the other ruins in the area. And since so many people travel inland to view it, there are a lot of locally crafted items to buy from local Mayan sellers.

Riviera Maya Coba by Laura LaBrie via Unsplash
Riviera Maya Coba by Laura LaBrie via Unsplash


Continuing the Mayan ruin theme, you’ll want to see Coba. This is another pyramid, but smaller than Chichen Itza. This one is located deep in the jungle so you can also explore the forest in addition to seeing the pyramid. A local guide will show you the unique fauna in the area or you can rent a bike to blaze the trails.

Mesoamerican Reef

Back to nature, you’ll also want to see the Mesoamerican Reef. Although you can’t see it all, it’s over 600 miles long, and you can see the best parts. Go scuba diving to see the fish, coral, sea turtles, and more. There are plenty of great companies and guides that will set up your entire experience and show you where to go and what to look for.

Tulum Riviera Maya Mexico Beach
Tulum Riviera Maya Mexico Beach

Now that you know some of the best places to see, you’ll want to book a room in one of the best hotels in Riviera Maya. Stay at a great hotel and they will help you plan your stay. Mention these places in this article and they will guide you. With a great hotel experience and a lot of places to see, your Riviera Maya vacation will be one of the most memorable ever.

How to get to Riviera Maya, Mexico

To get to Riviera Maya, Mexico, you have several options:

  1. Flying: The most common way to reach Riviera Maya is by flying into Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is located approximately 45 minutes north of the Riviera Maya region.
  2. Driving: If you are already in Mexico, you can drive to the Riviera Maya region. Just be sure to have a reliable GPS and a map of the area to help navigate.
  3. Bus: If you are traveling within Mexico, there are also long-distance bus services available that connect Cancun to other cities.

Once you arrive in the Riviera Maya, you can take a taxi or rent a car to get to your desired destination.

Riviera Maya, Mexico Travel Tips

Here are 7 travel tips for your trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico:

  1. Know the currency: The local currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso, but US dollars are widely accepted. Make sure to have some cash on hand, as some smaller establishments may not accept credit cards.
  2. Pack appropriately: The climate in the Riviera Maya is warm and humid, so pack light, breathable clothing and sunscreen.
  3. Be aware of safety: As with any international travel, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take basic safety precautions. Avoid displaying valuables in public, keep an eye on your belongings, and be aware of pickpocketing scams.
  4. Learn some Spanish: While many people in tourist areas speak English, it can be helpful to know a few basic Spanish phrases to communicate with locals and navigate the area.
  5. Respect local customs: Mexico has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly when visiting religious sites, and avoiding loud or disrespectful behavior in public spaces.
  6. Try the local cuisine: Mexican cuisine is diverse and delicious, and the Riviera Maya region is known for its fresh seafood and local specialties like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork). Don’t miss the chance to try some of the local street food, as well!
  7. Get out and explore: The Riviera Maya has a lot to offer, from its beautiful beaches and turquoise waters to its ancient Mayan ruins and vibrant local markets. Take some time to explore the area and experience all it has to offer!

Check out our complete list of recommended Hotels and Resorts in Riviera Maya, Mexico via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Follow the Out of Town Travel Blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest if you want more travel and food-related updates.


Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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