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MAYAN RIVIERA - RIVIERA MAYA TRAVEL INFO
Mayan Riviera - Stretching from Punta Brava just south of Cancun International Airport to Punta Allen just south of Tulum, exists one of the most fascinating destination spots in the world. Tropical beaches, ancient ruins, abundant marine and wildlife abound. The Great Mayan Reef is the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.
Mexicans refer to the Riviera as "Riviera Maya" while foreigners call it the "Mayan Riviera" or "Maya Riviera". It is used all three ways in this web site.
We do not know if there exists an exact spot where the Mayan Riviera - Riviera Maya starts but the general concensus is that once you get onto highway 307 along the coast in Quintana Roo you are pretty well in the Mayan Riviera. This highway runs from Cancun all the way down to Belize. The Mayan Riviera ends after Tulum, where the Costa Maya begins.
As you drive along highway 307 you are usually around a kilometer away from the beach. The land is flat and the scenery will appear similar to that of any flat-forested region of Canada or Europe. The highway itself is brand-new having just been widened in recent years and is in impeccable shape.
Along the Mayan Riviera, on the highway there is the occasional Mexican craft market, small industrial center, and lots of resort entrances. On the shoreline there are numerous privately owned rental cabanas, fishing and diving operations and beaches.
The most popular travel destination in the Mayan Riviera is Playa del Carmen which is where you get the ferry to go to Cozumel. After Playa del Carmen the next town of any great size is Tulum.
MAYAN RIVIERA HOTELSFor current Mayan Riviera hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see: Mayan Riviera Hotels
Cancun Airport to HotelsTransfer Information
DESTINATIONS IN THE MAYAN RIVIERA
Puerto Morelos was a small fishing village that has grown to become a quaint tourist destination, close to Cancun. There are nice beaches here, Internet, restaurants and all the amenities you would expect.
For more info see: Puerto Morelos Travel Info
PLAYA DEL CARMEN
Depending on how fast you drive, "Playa" as the locals call it is about an hour's drive from the airport. The highway is brand new and road conditions are excellent. If you have rented a car there are overhead traffic signs in Spanish and English to guide you.
Playa is the regional capital. It is a bustling beach town filled with excitement and unique experiences. A walk down 5th Avenue, the local strip, and you can pet wild lions, play with a boa constrictor, sit on a curb and watch a Maruichi band perform for one of the local restaurant cafes. You can enter one of the many beautiful restaurants for a healthy delicious sampling of Mexican or international cuisine.
There are numerous jewelry stores and arts and crafts stores where many great deals can be had if you know how to bargain. The cruise ships dock here on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the town fills up with new faces for a day.
The beaches at Playa are excellent and perfect for children. There is not that much coral so the snorkeling is not good here. However you can catch the ferry to Cozumel where the snorkeling and diving is world famous. Lifeguards are on duty on the main Playa beach. If you wish to snorkel there are some coral reefs just north of Ave. Contituyentes.
TIP!: If you really need to visit more shops a trip to Cozumel is recommended. However you may find prices slightly higher on the island. People on cruise ships may purchase items duty free and avoid paying taxes on items such as silver.
For more info see: Playa del Carmen Travel Info
South of Playa del Carmen just a short walk is Playacar, an upscale development garnishing many five star all-inclusive resorts, a world class golf course, shopping mall and International restaurants. The beaches are beautiful and totally suited for children. There is also an extensive variety of condominiums and villas to rent.
The Playacar golf course was carved out of the jungle and is a treat to simply walk around let alone play. It is a commanding course that will challenge even the most aggressive player. Green fees range from $65 to $110 and golf carts are available.
Something not to be missed is the Xaman-Ha aviary. A colorful array of tropical birds including macaws, toucans, flamingos and parrots can be found here in their natural habitat. The botanical garden covers almost 4 acres and also contains cenotes. Cavernas Sache, a beautiful cavern filled with stalagmites and stalactites is also located in Xaman-Ha.
For more info see: Playacar Travel Info
Paamul has a deep bay that rests on the shoreline making it quite a choice spot. The reef is right out front and excellent for snorkeling. There are dive and fishing boats here as well. Backpackers, Mexicans and general bohemians use this destination and many clean affordable cabanas and private homes can be found here. There are also restaurants and of course amazing beaches. This is a great place to meet people!
For more info see: Paamul Travel Info
Puerto Adventuras is an exclusive resort community boasting the only full-service marina between Cancun and Belize. It is a gated community, access off of highway 307. Fully modern luxury facilities abound here as well as quaint bed and breakfasts. You also find private homes, villas, condos and apartments for rent or sale.
Cozy restaurants and interesting shops line the marina's edge. Sailboats, fishing charters and yachts anchor in its deep blue water. Cigar stores offering Cuban brands and experienced personnel to assist you sit amongst the many unique shops. There are also many beautiful restaurants for a delicious samplings of Mexican or international cuisine.
There are all the beach activities one would expect like windsurfing, snorkeling and ski-jets. You can also visit the Cedam Museum, which houses various artifacts from sunken ships along the reefs. There is also tennis and a 9-hole golf course with no reservations needed. Green fees start at $44 and special memberships are available.
For more info see: Puerto Adventuras Travel Info
Enter off highway 307 onto a dirt road. There is a sign that says Xpu-Ha. This is a rustic beach community for adventurous travelers. The beach is excellent; there is a cenote on the north side and restaurants on the main beach. Cabanas are available for $10-$25 per night. This is a great place for backpackers.
For more info see: Xpu-Ha Travel Info
Playa Kantenal [Kantenah] is next to the El Dorodo Resort, which has an excellent natural beach for snorkeling. You may be hardpressed to find a nice sandy beach to swim into however the snorkeling is fantastic along here. There are Cabanas for rent by the night and a restaurant. The Palladium is located along Kantenah and has nice beaches.
For more info see: Kantenah Travel Info
Akumal is in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Because of its location and beautiful beaches it is a perfect place to either stay local or use to launch numerous adventures. You are close to many things. There are a number of large resorts and lots of rentals, condos, villas and apartments. There are many small convenience stores and many local shops and restaurants. Many of the beaches are natural beaches however many have white sand areas for children and swimmers.
This is a great place for snorkelers especially if you want to see sea turtles.
Activities in the area include diving, snorkeling, game fishing and the Akumal Ecological Center.
For more info see: Akumal Travel Info
Chemuyil is a small Maya village off the beaten path. The beach and the bay are private property and closed to the public. You can however travel down a windy road to Xunaan-Ha where a sacred cenote may be found. You will want to swim in it, as it is breathtakingly beautiful. It costs $3 for adults and $1.50 for kids.
After your swim you can wander around town. The Maya are friendly people but keep in mind that many old Maya may show indifference towards you. It is not advisable to take photographs here.
For more info see: Chemuyil Travel Info
Xcacel has one of the nicest beaches on the Riviera. It is also the place many sea turtles lay their eggs. It is not recommended to go there.
For more info see: Xcacel Travel Info
There is Tulum Ruins and there is the town Tulum. The town Tulum is around 5 kilometers south of the Tulum Ruins.
The town is small but has many restaurants, bars and hotels. There are some nice hotels in the area and many miles of white sandy beaches.
There are of course villas, cabana, apartments and houses to rent by the day or week. Much of the stuff you will find in the shops in Playa can be found here but not in quite as abundance. Also the beach resorts are secluded and not as busy as Playa del Carmen.
There is a gas station here and numerous dive shops and fishing charters. Tulum town is also close to the ruin sites of Coba, Muyil and Tulum.
For more info see: Tulum Travel Info
RIVIERA MAYA HIGHLIGHTS