The Riviera Maya offers the best of both worlds: peaceful relaxation for those who prefer a slower pace, and lively activities for those who want to experience some of the most popular destinations in Mexico. Visitors can enjoy everything from cliff diving to zip-lining and deep-sea fishing!
It is a beautiful place to visit year-round, but the best time of year to visit the Riviera Maya is during the winter months. It also has one of the best reefs in the world, which is a stunning underwater destination for anyone who loves to snorkel also home to some of the best diving spots in the world and there are plenty of excursions for both beginners and experts. A great place to visit in the summertime, especially for those who enjoy water sports.
If you’re planning a visit to the Riviera Maya, here are our top 12 most unforgettable things to do in the Riviera Maya!
Best Things To Do In Riviera Maya, Mexico
1: Tulum Archaeological Zone
Located in the Municipality of Tulum, and close to the Guatemalan border, the Tulum archaeological zone is a cultural hotspot. It was home to a group of Mayan cities, whose civilization prospered between 800 and 1500 CE. The most famous archaeological site in the area is known as “El Castillo”, where the Temple of the Descending God resides
Visitors are free to explore all of the archaeological sites in the zone. That includes the ancient city of Tulum, which is located just 12 miles from the city of Playa del Carmen.
In the middle of the tropical jungle, visitors can marvel at the incredible temple ruins and find out how this area was once a bustling port city. The Tulum ruins are filled with thousands of artifacts, including Mayan stelae and stairways that span the majestic heights of the jungle.
2: Discover Xcaret Park
Xcaret Park is the perfect place for a vacation. It has everything from water parks to all-inclusive resorts. Xcaret Park is located in Riviera Maya, Mexico, a beautifully crafted, oceanfront destination with a variety of stunning activities and amenities.
The park was built from the ground up, following the successful formula of a previous Disney Park. “Xcaret” means “beloved by God” in general, the language of the Aztecs and ancient Mayans.
The park’s signature attraction is the Xcaret-Xel-Ha: a lagoon featuring 52 different freshwater ecosystems and more than 60 species of fish and birds.
3: Xel-Há Park
For families looking for the perfect vacation, this park offers a world of natural beauty. Xel-Ha is a topwater park where visitors can explore an underwater river filled with catfish, turtles, and lobsters. Additionally, Xel-Ha features a 10 km boardwalk and swimming lagoon where visitors can swim with the local population of manatees and dolphins.
The park also contains 2 miles of the Río Tiznado, which flows from its headwaters to the Caribbean Sea. The Xel-Ha park is filled with Spanish moss, palm trees, and beautiful waterfalls cascading down into the blue lagoons.
4: Gran Cenote
The Gran Cenote is one of the most popular and cherished attractions in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
There are several cenotes that have formed in the last 20 years, however, Gran Cenote is probably the most popular. The gran cenote is located at the edge of the Mayan village of Yal-Ku and is formed by the waters of a natural underground waterfall.
Gran Cenote is most often visited by snorkelers, however, the waters are too deep to swim in. The Gran Cenote is located about four hours away from Cancun, and you will have to take a taxi to get there.
The Cenote swim is an exhilarating experience, and one of the best ways to explore the Riviera Maya. This swim will take you to an underwater cave that was once a deep underground sinkhole. There are spots along the route where you can jump into the water and swim to the bottom, or just float on your back, gazing up at the sky.
5: Xplor Park
Xplor Park is a spectacular adventure park located in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This park has something for everyone; a thrilling, fun, and educational experience for all ages.
Activities at Xplor Park include ziplining, canyoning, water slides, jungle gym, laser tag, as well as more thrilling adventures. As one of the expensive adventure parks in Riviera Maya, Xplor Park is a perfect choice for those looking to go beyond their usual vacation.
You get to see rainforest animals and wildlife, as well as ancient Mayan ruins. Since it is an all-inclusive resort, the tours are included in the price. You can make your choice from a few different areas, either a zipline or trek.
6: Rio Secreto
Nature lovers will love the Riviera Maya and all its unforgettable things to do. One of the most popular options that you can do is swimming in Río Secreto, which is one of the best reasons to visit. In this river, you will be able to enjoy the unique scenery and experience an amazing adventure. Deep down, the Río Secreto is a sanctuary of huge underground caverns with crystal-clear waters that flow from limestone formations. This isn’t a trip you want to miss.
Also, it is considered to be the best place to see dolphins in Mexico and is a wonderful activity for families.
7: Playa Akumal
The Riviera Maya destination of Playa Akumal is a top destination for travelers who want an unforgettable vacation.
Here you will be able to experience some of the best activities, such as fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming with dolphins. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try caving. These activities are not only fun but also excellent for practicing your skills.
To make the most of your trip to Playa Akumal, there are many things you can do. Do not forget to go snorkeling and Whale Sharks in Akumal from June to Mid September. They have many reefs that you can see while you are scuba diving. The Whale Sharks migration is one of the best times to swim with them.
8: Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
As Riviera Maya’s top attraction, Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park is home to some of the most unforgettable things you’ll experience in a day. Located just 8 minutes away from Playa del Carmen, Chankanaab is a perfect place for families to enjoy themselves. It has 2 large swimming pools, a large buffet restaurant, sports areas for kids and adults, a diving center with different options (coral reef snorkeling, coral wall, tec courses, cavern dives, shark caving), and a night show for all ages.
Getyourguide.com offers private and group adventure activities at Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park. They offer tours, classes, and trips as well as guided tours to the Puerto Morelos and Tulum ruins.
It has an access to all these activities at a very affordable price. You will have a variety of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy your favorite drinks and foods.
9: Gran Coyote Golf
Riviera Maya is a hotspot for vacationers of all types. If you are looking for a place with green space, good food, and lots of relaxation, this is the perfect place for you. Golfers will love the variety of courses available that range from challenging to easy.
There are over 15 different courses to choose from in the region. Golfers can check out both top-ranked courses and those that offer a more affordable way to enjoy the green stuff.
Golf courses include Coyote Creek Golf Club, La Brea Golf Club, Santa Rosa Golf Club, Puerto Aventuras Golf Course, among others.
10: Dos Ojos Cenote
Cenote Dos Ojos is a great option for the avid explorer and adventurer in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The history behind this well-known cenote begins in early Mayan civilization where caves were used as spiritual ceremonies and sacrificial sites.
Dos Ojos Cenote is a perfect place to relax. It’s the second most popular natural attraction in the Riviera Maya and has won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. It’s located in Cenote Dos Ojos, a narrow cave that connects to a larger cave, Cenote Santa Rosa. In 2007, the caves were named by National Geographic as one of the top 15 most beautiful cenotes in the world.
11: Xaman Ha Aviary
Xaman Ha Aviary offers visitors the opportunity to explore the natural world of the Riviera Maya in a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience. The aviary provides a unique opportunity to learn and discover as you view the world’s most amazing birds.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya has over 150 bird species. Xaman Ha Aviary, where many of the birds come from, is an animal rehabilitation center where volunteers provide food and care for injured birds. After healing, the birds are free to fly in the aviary. Among its inhabitants are several kinds of parrots, including the threatened white-bellied parrot.
As of 2007, Xaman Ha Aviary is open to the public. Its entrance is at a kilometer 9.5 on Highway 307 in Playa del Carmen. You may go directly to the aviary, but there are several other stops along the way, too.
12: Zip-lining, Canopy, And Tree Canopy Tours
The Riviera Maya is a popular destination for tourists and it’s easy to see why. The Riviera Maya offers beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and a variety of things to do including zip lines, snorkeling, and spelunking. There are many ways to explore the Riviera Maya but the most popular way is by zip lining.
Zip lining through the jungle canopy is an unforgettable experience as you soar over the forest floor. It is great fun for all ages. Check out the Turtle Sanctuary tour where you can touch the sea turtles or even hold them if you dare! If you are a golf enthusiast, there are some beautiful courses right near the ocean.
The Riviera Maya is a place that will become unforgettable to you after you visit it. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Its vibrant and colorful culture will seduce you with its warmth and excellent food.
If you have enough time try the following activities and things to do in Riviera Maya as well
1. Visit the Chichen Itza archaeological site
2. Take an ATV tour in the jungle
3. Swim with dolphins
4. Go to the White Washing Ceremony in Uxmal
5. Visit Akumal, a small island off the coast where you can snorkel and swim with turtles.
6. Marvel at the Mayan archaeological sites of Tulum and Coba, two ancient cities that are so popular they now attract more than a million tourists a year.
7. Feast on Yucatecan cuisine in one of Mérida’s fabulous hole-in-the-wall restaurants, such as the open-air Mi Terlindo or Las Casuelas de Josefina.
8. Stroll the cobblestone streets of colonial Merida’s San Juan neighborhood, home to some lovely boutique hotels and art galleries.
9. Experience both the quiet beauty and overwhelming grandeur of Yucatán’s Sacred Groves, designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010.
10. Rummage through a collection of Maya artifacts in Chichén Itzá or Mérida’s Museum of Anthropology.
11. Marvel at the thought-provoking murals in the Castillo de Kukulcán pyramid at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán’s premier Maya ruin.
The Riviera Maya offers a diverse range of activities that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you want to spend your time on the beach, exploring archaeological sites, or taking in some of the local cultures, the Riviera Maya has something for everyone.
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