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.