Riviera Maya Holidays 2019 / 2020
Located on the east of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Riviera Maya is well known as the ultimate getaway for total relaxation. With white sands lined with coconut trees, and the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, Riviera Maya is a true paradise, with a stunning coastline waiting to be explored.
Riviera Maya holidays bring you to the stunning Mexican Caribbean coast, home to some of the best diving sites in the world, and famous for being a playground for watersports fans. Couple this with ancient cultural attractions and historical highlights, and you have one of the most colourful regions in Mexico.
We offer a wide range of Riviera Maya all inclusive holidays, as well as cheap holidays to top Riviera Maya hotels, where you can relax, unwind, or enjoy incredible adventures. The Caribbean island of Cozumel is just a short boat ride away, too!
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 10h 15m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Whether you’re bringing the whole family along, travelling with friends, taking a couples getaway, or even going solo, there are lots of great things to do in Riviera Maya, no matter what the time of year.
- For the adventurous, Riviera Maya is a full on adrenaline-fuelled playground, with watersports, exhilarating zip lines, horse riding, and jungle treks. Thanks to the rich landscape with soft sand beaches and rugged, natural surroundings, adventure really is the name of the game in this part of Mexico.
- Of course, Riviera Maya is famous all around the world for its historic, somewhat mystical Mayan ruins that are steeped in legend and myth. The Tulum ruins are perhaps the closest to the hotels of Riviera Maya, although Coba and the massively popular Chichen Itza ruins can also be explored as a day trip.
- Riviera Maya is a popular place for enthusiastic divers. Whether you’re a complete beginner wanting to learn the ropes in shallow waters, or you’re an experienced diver looking to delve deep in search of endemic wildlife, the local seas provide endless watery exploration for dedicated thrill seekers.
- It’s also possible to explore the waters of Riviera Maya without going too deep. Cenote swimming is a top activity here, giving you a unique opportunity to swim in naturally formed holes in the limestone rock that open into deep wells of fresh water, purified by algae and creating a truly unique place to swim.
- Riviera Maya isn’t just about sun, sea, and sand. The region is actually a thriving, bustling place that’s filled with restaurants and shops. If you’re searching for one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take back home for family and friends, there are some fantastic flea markets selling all sorts of handcrafted products.
- Thanks to the great location of the Yucatán Peninsula, it’s easy to take excursions from Riviera Maya to explore other parts of Mexico and the Caribbean. Why not take an off-road quad tour to see what’s off the beaten track, explore the extensive local cave systems, or hop on a catamaran for some sightseeing?
Many restaurants in Riviera Maya serve up traditional Mexican food, along with a range of speciality dishes that are only found within this particular area. International cuisine is also common in hotels.
- Popular menu items at Riviera Maya restaurants include empanadas, deep fried stuffed tacos, and cochinita pibil, which can be served with chicken, goat, or slow cooked pulled pork. Traditional Mexican cuisine isn’t just served up in restaurants; you can find many delicious foods on street carts, too.
- As a coastal location, fresh fish features heavily on many restaurant menus in Riviera Maya. Ceviche — seafood marinated in onions and chillies — is hugely popular, and will often be made with fish caught that same morning by local fishermen, who head out on the seas early to catch the very best fish.
- Vegetarians and vegans will find that it’s easy to stick to a plant-based diet in Riviera Maya. Thanks to the stunning weather in this part of the world, fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant, with tomatoes, avocados and papayas especially being considered to be specialities in Riviera Maya restaurants.
It’s true that there’s lots of great nightlife for adults, but there’s also plenty for families to enjoy on the Riviera Maya. Family holidays in Riviera Maya give your kids a truly amazing experience in stunning Mexico.
- For a truly unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime excursion, organise a trip to the Xel-Ha aquatic theme park, just down the coast from Playa del Carmen. This park offers the chance to swim with dolphins, snorkel, swim in cenotes, and discover incredible sea life in its natural environment. It’s a fantastic experience.
- If you’re looking for things to do in Riviera Maya with toddlers, even the littlest of travellers will love visiting the local eco parks. The Croco Cun Zoo in Cancun is a popular option; guests are encouraged to touch, hold, feed, and interact with all sorts of animals, including snakes, monkeys, and even crocodiles!
- The most popular family activity in Riviera Maya by far is simply spending some time together on the beautiful beaches. The coastline here is perfect for spending long days topping up your tan, while the little ones build sandcastles and play in the sea. You could easily spend all day at the beach.
A holiday in Riviera Maya has much more to offer than just long days sipping on cocktails and soaking up the sun. If you can pull yourself away from the idyllic beaches, there are lots of cultural experiences to enjoy.
- Visit the region’s Mayan ruins to delve into the country’s past civilisation. There is so much that remains unanswered about the Mayan people, and the ruins are truly fascinating. There are 4 great sites not too far: Tulum, Coba, Ek Balam, and Chichen Itza; one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
- Carnival plays a big role in Riviera Maya culture, and many Yucatan cities host bold, vibrant, colourful events through the year. The main events take place between Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, so if you are visiting the region throughout February and March you are sure to be in for a real treat.
- If you miss Carnival, don’t worry — many fantastic cultural events happen all throughout the year in Riviera Maya. Three Kings Day in January is a foodie’s dream, while you may see locals taking pilgrimages to Tulum for Dia de Guadalupe. And don't forget the Dia de los Muertos celebrations; the Day of the Dead!
- Love to shop? Spend some time away from the big shopping centres and visit some of the local markets in Riviera Maya. Mexican folk art and handicrafts are a big part of the culture here, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to find some one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family back home.
The beaches of Riviera Maya are beautiful and well-kept, with smooth sands and clear blue waters. Best of all, many beaches are close to handy amenities, with plenty of options to shop, eat, and drink.
- The main beach of Puerto Morelos is hugely popular because it’s so convenient, located very close to the centre of town. As one of the biggest and best beaches in Riviera Maya, this beach is well equipped with everything you need to enjoy a great day out, and benefits from having easy entry to the water.
- To the north and south of the main beach, you’ll find smaller stretches of sand owned by local beachfront hotels. The Azul Beach Resort Riviera Maya, for example, boasts its own beach (and comes with private butler service, too!), and many other top coastal hotels offer a similar beachfront setup.
- Whichever beach you choose, you’ll find the waters are excellent for snorkelling. With the coast being a protected National Marine Park, there’s a whole host of colourful underwater life not far from the beach, including turtles and exotic fish species. You may even spot a dolphin if you’re lucky!
A night out on the Riviera Maya offers lots of entertainment opportunities, giving you a chance to let off some steam, dance to your heart’s content, sample local cocktails, and mix with the friendly locals.
- Energetic Riviera Maya nightlife is largely centred around Playa del Carmen, which is massively popular with the younger crowd. The pedestrianised Fifth Avenue, or Quinta Avenida, is where all the action happens, where a thriving crowd of partygoers gets set for a fabulous night out in this vibrant city.
- To really make the most of the great weather in Riviera Maya, look for nightlife hotspots with open fronts that make it feel like you’re sat out on a warm Mexican evening, even though you’re inside. There are lots of open air bars and clubs along Calle 12, which comes to life a little later than Fifth Avenue.
- If you don’t fancy getting dressed up for bars and clubs, there are plenty of more casual options, too. Look for hookah houses and traditional pubs, which are just as plentiful as nightclubs and beachfront bars. Many Riviera Maya hotels also have casual bars for the evening… and there’s room service, too!
Looking for a couples getaway? There are lots of romantic things to do in Riviera Maya, making it a top choice for birthday celebrations, Valentines surprises, or just for a loved-up break with your partner.
- The sands of Riviera Maya are as perfect for couples as they are for families, and it’s easy to spend a romantic holiday here laying by the sea or walking along the beach hand-in-hand in the evenings. There are miles and miles of deserted beachfront in the Sian Ka'an biosphere… a very intimate experience.
- If you want to have a romantic evening to remember, you can take a catamaran for a sunset sail, complete with well-stocked bar and music to help set the mood, help you relax, and ensure you enjoy this truly magical experience before heading back to your hotel for a cocktail or two at the bar.
- Perhaps you fancy heading underground to the Alux Restaurant Bar and Lounge; a unique cave bar in Playa del Carmen where the atmosphere is incredibly romantic. The cave is said to be more than 10,000 years old, and along with a wide range of cocktails also boasts a fantastic Mexican-inspired menu.
People also ask
How do you fly into Riviera Maya from the UK?
There are a number of direct flights from the UK to Cancun from London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, and Nottingham East Midlands Airport. It’s about an hour’s drive to Riviera Maya.
How much are transfers from Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?
Transfer costs vary depending on whether you take a shuttle, taxi, or private transfer, although £45 - £50 one way is standard. It's worth checking with your hotel if they offer reduced price transfers for guests.
What months are best to visit Riviera Maya?
It’s rarely cold in Riviera Maya, with summer temperatures of around 30 degrees, and winter temperatures of around 20 - 25 degrees. July to October are the wettest months of the year.
How does Riviera Maya differ from Cancun?
Cancun is located just to the north of Riviera Maya. The two are very similar, although as a city, Cancun tends to be very concentrated in a small area, while the Riviera Maya region is much more extensive.