Located in the state of Quintana Roo, the Riviera Maya undoubtedly has some of the most spectacular scenery ever created by nature. It runs more than 120 kilometers along the northern coast of the Mexican Caribbean Sea, in front of the second largest reef in the world. The Riviera Maya has beautiful beaches with soft sands and warm waters, lush jungles, ancients cenotes, archeological sites, ecological reserves, thematic parks, picturesque towns and many other tourist developments. With its history, traditions and cultural diversity, this amazing place is like very few others in the world and all this makes the Riviera Maya the perfect place to enjoy life.
Activities at the most visited locations include Jet Skiing, scuba diving, swimming in cenotes, swimming with dolphins, zip-lining, horse riding, and guided jungle tours. Archeology is also a big tourist draw in the area, including the popular archeological sites such as Tulum on the coast, and Chichen Itza, recently named one of the new seven wonders of the world, and Coba located some distance inland. The self-named ecoparks of Xcaret, and Xel-Ha also include some smaller archeological ruins as part of their attractions, but these natural water theme parks operated by private business consortia attract much larger crowds due to the diversity and range of activities provided, such as swimming with captive dolphins.
Click city name to see additional information on each city below:
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a young city full of life and energy just 45 minutes south of the Cancun international airport and 45 minutes north of the city of Tulum. Playa del Carmen is ideally located along the Mexican Caribbean coastal stretch known as the Riviera Maya. The ancient Mayans were called Xaman-Ha which in their language means ¨water from the north.¨ it has become one of the cities with the fastest growth and tourist influence and it’s known mainly for its paradise like beaches with white sands and turquoise waters, and all the fun sports that take place in this area.
With a strong European influence and stringent building code restrictions, Playa del Carmen retains its old world charm and is the hub of social activity all year round.
The real growth of Playa del Carmen started at the beginning of the 20th century when the inhabitants from other regions of Mexico, mainly the peninsula of Yucatan, due to the insecurity generated by the castes battles, began to migrate to this region seeking better opportunities. The first activity that attracted this migration was the exploitation of gum and wood. Later, it is believed that many of these workers decided to become independent and began to work as fishermen. It is this way that the population in Playa del Carmen began to consolidate.
The rapid growth and major economic activity this city had in the following years, was always considered as part of Cozumel, and it wasn’t until 1993 that by the Supreme Decree the county of Solidaridad was created as part of the state of Quintana Roo to which Playa del Carmen is named head. Once it was considered a city, it had its first political leader, Esteban Quiam Lopez, who was one of the first to promote its development, streets and business openings. This encouraged the people of playa to name him as the ¨founder¨.
In the last two decades, the development of Playa, as it is known worldwide, has changed its focus, changing to a city whose economy is based on the tourist industry, taking advantage of its majestic beaches and its tropical vegetation, that are creating the necessary infrastructure to make this one of the main tourist spots in Mexico and Latin America.
Playa currently has 60,000 permanent inhabitants, which represent 50% of the total county population (according to the II Conteo de Población y Vivienda in 2005). The male female ratio is equal, and as it has been mentioned, close to 75% of its economically active population is employed in the tourist and commerce field. The county of Solidaridad has about 4,240 squared kilometers (8% of the state) and its population density represents one of the fastest growing in the whole country.
Today millions flock to the “Riviera Maya” annually to experience a piece of its warmth, beauty and relaxed ambiance. The local people are some of the most cordial and loving in the world. With its great beaches, year round tropical weather and richness of culture, Playa del Carmen is now and is sure to continue to be one of the world´s hottest tourist destinations.
The activity in the city of Playa del Carmen is concentrated mainly around 5th Avenue, on which, most night clubs, restaurants and stores are located. Currently the area named Playacar is developing rapidly, with the objective to keep increasing the number of hotel rooms. There are currently more than 23,500 guestrooms able to lodge the more than 2 million people per year that come to visit this young fascinating city of the Mexican Caribbean.
THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND PLAYA
Shopping has to be Playa's biggest attraction. “La Quinta” is a pedestrian mall lined with little shops and malls. Bargaining is expected here.
Skydiving is available on the beach just south of the ferry dock at Sky Dive Playa.
Playacar boasts an excellent golf course. It is a little pricey, but well worth the fee, as it includes food and a cart. Worth trying once.
Tres Rios Ecopark is located 10 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Explore nature in this tropical reserve.
Cenotes: natural limestone and coral wells that lead to underground rivers, caverns and cave systems. They provide fabulous views of stalactite and stalagmite formations, halagtites, rim pools and a rainbow of coloured tropical fish.
Aktun Chen: In the jungle between Akumal and Xel-Ha. Beautiful underground dry caves with stalactite and stalagmite formations and a spectacular fresh water cenote. You might even be lucky enough to see spider monkeys. Poisonous and non-poisonous snakes can be seen at the serpentarium. Open 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Entrance fee.
Deep Sea Fishing: Sport fishing boat charters for day or half day excursions. For more information on Sport Fishing see:
Excursions on horse back through the jungle and along beaches.
Pac Chen Jungle Tour: Enjoy a traditional meal cooked the Mayan way at an authentic Mayan community tucked away in the jungle. This expedition includes canoeing and rappelling.
Punta Laguna: Spend time with spider monkeys and howler monkeys in their natural habitat. You can trek in the jungle and travel Punta Laguna by boat. Birds, deer, turtles and crocodiles are among the other wildlife to be seen. Punta Laguna is northwest of Coba.
Xaman-Ha Aviary: Home to exotic birds including scarlet macaws, flamingos and herons. Xaman-Ha is in the development of Playacar.
Yal Ku Lagoon: Swim and snorkel in the fresh water of this aqua coloured lagoon in Akumal. Entrance fee.
Akumal: Akumal is located just south of Playa del Carmen and is the place in the region for snorkeling. Akumel has beautiful beaches, restaurants, dive shop and Yal Ku Lagoon is located there as well.
Tulum is located between the crystalline white-sand beaches of the Caribbean Sea and the lush tropical jungle, the only Mayan city that was ever built next to the ocean. It is located in the Yucatan peninsula in the southeastern Mexico state of Quintana Roo and borders the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is 145 km south of Cancun.
Tulum is divided into three distinct areas, the hotel zone, a small town and a splendid archaeological site. The hotel zone boasts some of the finest beaches in the world. Many are still considered virgin. The zone employs a simple architecture that evokes an utmost respect for the environment. Its quaint hotels and rustic thatched-roof cabanas were built to virtually blend into the natural surroundings.
The town is actually one main avenue where all the commercial and social activity takes place. It features handcrafts, grocery shops, small restaurants and basic services such as the bus station, bank and post office. In the area called “Zona Maya” and in the small neighboring towns, the local Maya townsfolk still maintain their ancient language and customs. Most continue to live in traditional thatched-roof palapas. Their main economic activities are fishing, palapa building and the creation of handicrafts and rustic furniture, among others.
Tulum’s breathtaking ancient walled Maya city is ideally located overlooking the Caribbean Sea atop a 12-meter-tall cliff. It encompasses the vestiges of one of the most exquisite cities ever built by the ancestral Maya people. Other important archaeological sites lie close at hand, such as Cobá, located 42 km northeast of Tulum, and Chichén Itzá, which is found 19 km in the same direction.
Blanketed in natural beauty, the area boasts a prodigious jungle that keep a series of natural sinkholes, called “cenotes” by the ancient Maya. These cenotes provide dozens of locations for Tulum’s world renowned cave diving opportunities. Year after year, its never-ending and peaceful beaches receive thousands of sea turtle’s that chose this paradise to lay their precious load of eggs.
For many years, Tulum has been the pilgrimage destination for millions of travelers seeking physical and spiritual relaxation. The possibility of practicing meditation and yoga or taking a traditional Maya Temazcal steam bath are also part of the ever-growing allure it offers its visitors.
Unequivocally, Tulum is truly the nirvana for eco-tourism and archaeology, the destination for nature, sun and ancient history lovers.
Cancun is the most important tourist area in Mexico and has been the most recognized worldwide for the past 37 years. This resort city located at the northern most point of the state of Quintana Roo on the Mexican Caribbean coast line has an incomparable beauty with its white sand beaches and picturesque clear blue waters. All types of activities and water sports can be enjoyed here, as well as the services and comforts that the impressive Hotel zone has to offer. You can enjoy old world Mexico in hotels for under $30 USD/night or relax in world class 5-star hotels that cater to your every need.
Cancun offers something for everyone.
THINGS TO DO…
Naturally, the Beaches are the biggest draw in Cancun with their soft, white sand and their warm, brilliant turquoise-blue water.
Boats & Watersports
For fun in and on the water in boats, jet skis, fishing charters, party boats, or dinner cruises, visit our Boats & Watersports page.
Cenotes are caves in underground rivers. They make for fantastic places to swim, snorkel, and dive in the underwater caves.
Looking for some local cultural activities? Take part in Cancun's many Cultural Activities, such as bullfights, folkloric ballets, museums, and much more.
Parks & Nature
Cancun's Eco-Parks give you the opportunity to visit gorgeous natural environments, explore nature, swim with dolphins, and take wild rides on water slides.
For fun on land, our Golf page provides you with information on golf courses and green fees for golf courses in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.
No visit would be complete without visiting at least one of the numerous Mayan Ruins scattered throughout the Yucatán Peninsula.
Scuba & Snorkeling
For some undersea adventure, our Scuba & Snorkeling page provides you with info you need for underwater exploration.
The impressive and beautiful Cozumel is the largest island in Mexico, and is surrounded by coral reefs that make it one of the most famous diving sites in the world. The island has a large pier and picturesque, timeless streets with many hotels, restaurants and shops. It is the most important port for international cruise ships in Mexico where tourist come searching for the peace and serenity that this island has to offer.
Cozumel has ranked for years among the top five dive destinations in the world. Tall reefs line the southwest coast, creating towering walls for divers to explore. For non-divers, it has the beautiful water of the Caribbean with all the accompanying water sports and seaside activities. Cozumel's hotels are all on the island's west side. Divers and snorkelers tend to congregate at the southern properties. And sailors and anglers prefer the hotels to the north.
Cozumel can be reached directly by plane as it houses its own international airport or as most do, by ferry leaving from Playa del Carmen hourly. The laid back atmosphere and true Caribbean island feel keep visitors coming back year after year. Cozumel Real Estate offers some of the best values anywhere in the Riviera Maya and is sure to continue to be one of the hottest Mexico Real Estate destinations.
Puerto Aventuras is a private gated community located 20 minutes south of the world famous “Playa Del Carmen” and 30 minutes north of Tulum the Mayan Ruin site located on the beach where it is known that Mayan Kings vacationed and it is all located in the heart of Mexico's Riviera Maya on the Mexican Caribbean. If you are thinking about vacationing in this beautiful destination you will not be disappointed. Travelers to Puerto Aventuras can enjoy their vacations in the comfort of a Luxury 5 Star Hotel or you can choose one of the all inclusive 4 star hotel options available.
Puerto Aventuras is especially popular with families as it is one of just a few places you can swim with dolphins, manatees and California sea lions.
If you want more of the comforts of home while on vacation in Puerto Aventuras you can rent one of the many condos, villas or houses that line the beach, marina, and golf course. Puerto Aventuras has everything from Studios on the Marina to Luxury Estate Homes on the Beach and Golf Course that can be rented by week or month, most are luxuriously furnished and have maid service included or available.
Whatever option you choose for your visit to Puerto Aventuras you will find many activities, restaurants and shops just a short walk from your door. Once you visit Puerto Aventuras we are sure that you will consider making it your home or second home in the Caribbean so please check out our Section on Real Estate in Puerto Aventuras, we are the best Puerto Aventuras Real Estate Option.
The Puerto Aventuras Golf course is an exciting and challenging course. This beautiful 36 par jungle golf course was designed in 1991 by Thomas Leman and is still one of the best kept secrets in the area. The fairways and greens are covered by a smooth carpet of Bermuda grass and surrounded by Palm trees, bugambilias and lush foliage.
The Puerto Aventuras Marina is a full service facility that offers dockside area for private tents and direct access from the dock to every single private slip. It accommodates yachts with full service power boxes. Puerto Aventuras gets especially busy during the late spring and early summer months as this is our peak deep sea fishing season.
The best of Puerto Aventuras dates from millions of years ago. Described as having the finest white sand beaches in the Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras is a community resort with a blend of tropical beauty and an easy going, gentile atmosphere.
Lake Bacalar,Q. Roo México , Lagoon of the seven colors , is a retirement paradise. With a length of some 50 miles from North to South it seems like a wide turquoise river flowing through the jungle. Bacalar´s turquoise waters are enhanced by the deep green tone of the mangroves and reed beds.
Bacalar is one of the most interesting places for investing in Mexico. Water front lots and condos are still affordable. Safe and peaceful, this breathtaking turquoise lagoon is now becoming the favorite retirement option for American and Canadian senior citizens. Also young investors are now buying property foreseeing a rapid appreciation.
Laguna Bacalar is the second largest sweet water lake in Mexico and still the best kept secret. Its breathtaking scenery is still little known by international tourism. But this will soon change since developers, retired or semiretired citizens, tourism and local authorities are now realizing the enormous potential of this incredibly beautiful area.
Located in the southern part of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, just 15 miles from the state's capital Chetumal and 3 hours from Cancun, it sits near the coast just before Belize and the river that divides Belize from Mexico. Bacalar lagoon is linked to the Rio Hondo by the Chaac canal. The perfect place to access the mayan ruins of Kohunlich and Chacchoben. Majahual, Costa Maya port. Care Free Retiring, Investing, Casino Gambling , Duty Free Shopping , Water Front condos, Premium Real Estate, Rentals . Costa Maya , Majahual, Chinchorro , Fishing , Restaurant , Spa , Safari Park , Cave diving , Windsurfing , Boating , Canoeing , Kayaking, Bird watching , Mayan ruins of Kohunlich and Chacchoben.
Cenote Azul: Bacalar owes its name to the Mayan word Halal which means "place surrounded by reeds." and it features one of the most impressive and deep "holy holes" in the whole Yucatan Peninsula. Estimated deepness of this "holy hole" is about 200 mts. (600 ft).
With a population of only 10,000 people, it has an enviable cultural level for such a small town due to the fact that it lodges the state's Teachers college . A large amount of residents of Bacalar have attended this college to become a school professor, giving Bacalar an unusual HIGH level of educated persons for such a small population.
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