If you want your beach with a slice of Mexican heritage, head for spectacular Riviera Maya. This stunning strip of coastline offers some of Mexico’s best tropical beaches and ancient Mayan ruins. Gawk at the ruins of Chichen Itza, enjoy flirty fun in Playa Del Carmen, and feel the quiet charm of Punta Allen. Then retreat to the silky sand beach for a frosty margarita; an exotic end to your perfect Mexican day.
Holidays to the Mayan Riviera offer unique coral reefs and cenotes (sinkholes) that are splendid for snorkelers to explore. Strap on your own snorkelling gear and swim out from the shore or take an organised trip to deeper waters. Puerto Morelos offers a large coral reef chain where the coral is often just six feet below the surface or head to the caves at Tak Be Ha and Hilario’s Well. Numerous scuba diving centres offer dive courses, cenote diving, and ocean diving through the area. Some of the best diving is located around the island of Cozumel or Pared Verde, Playa Del Carmen’s signature reef dive.
The Mexican Riviera’s spectacular coastline offers strips of powdery white sands fringed with jade-green waters. From Cancun toTulum and every single site in between there are stretches of beautiful beaches. The warm, turquoise waters of Akumal are protected by a natural bay and hugged by silky white sand and an offshore reef, or head to Tulum, where jewel-toned water laps just below the spectacular ruins perched on the bluffs above the beach. For a get-away-from-it-all vibe head to Isla Holbox or hide away in Punta Bete.
Rio Secreto is an underground system of rivers, pools, and semi-sunken caves in Riviera Maya’s Yucatan Peninsula. This staggeringly beautiful natural marvel offers an underground labyrinth of passageways through formed geological processes and dramatic mineral formations. Guided tours allow you to hike and swim through a maze of chambers encrusted with elaborate stalactites and stalagmites.
The Mayan Riviera has numerous archaeological ruins stretching along the pure shores. The Tulum ruins form a spectacular backdrop against jade waters and powdery white sand beaches. The ruins of the castillo (castle) stand on a bluff facing the sparkling Caribbean. Look inside the Temple of the Frescoes to see a beautifully preserved mural then wind down the pathway just north of the castillo to the secluded stretch of sandy beach. The Mayan ruins of Cobá are the remains of one of the largest Mayan cities.
Literally meaning ‘place where water is born’, Xel-Ha is the magical location where the ocean meets the freshwater currents of underground rivers and springs. Together this forms a complex ecosystem, with stunning surroundings set beneath a thick jungle, caves, archaeological sites, and beautiful snorkelling. The natural aquarium park offers snorkelling, swimming with the dolphins, and stingray encounters.
Take advantage of Playacar’s dry season to enjoy lazing under the hot sun on the white sand beaches or to swim in the warm Caribbean waters. Even on the hottest day you will find cooling sea breezes make everything comfortable.
Playacar’s white sand beaches are best enjoyed during the shoulder season of May to July. These months offer hot temperatures and blue skies but without the humidity of September and October or the crowds of December to April.
Although technically rainy season in Playacar extends from June to November, the only months that really get much rain are September and October. This is when humidity rises, along with the risk of hurricanes. Brief rainstorms are usually followed by sunny skies.
The dry season in Playa del Carmen is hot, sunny, and very dry. Expect cloudless blue skies and high temperatures, especially between April through July, although December through March are still warm and perfect.
Our favourite time to visit Playa del Carmen is from May to July, when the weather offers up perfect blue skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity. This is also outside of peak season so you won’t experience the crowds Mexico’s coast gets.
Playa del Carmen heads into rainy season around June, but peak rain and the threat of hurricanes occurs in September and October. Outside of those two months you will see sunny days followed by brief afternoon showers the cool and refresh the air.