Sun, sea, and the romance of the ancient Mayan temples surrounded by South American jungle: what more could you ask for? How about a great party destination, and hotels that sit right on the edge of sandy, palm-tree lined beaches where, if you’re lucky, you might see the occasional sea turtle or a pod of whales swimming offshore? This is Riviera Maya, and it’s one of Mexico’s best holiday destinations. We love it, and we’re sure you will too.
The nearby jungles are littered with the remains of the Mayan culture. So yes, there really are pyramids and temples hidden away in the undergrowth, so it’s time to unleash your inner Indiana Jones or Lara Croft and head into the wilds. Guided tours take you into the heart of the jungle, or you can head to the coast and visit the impressive 13th century Tulum fortress. This magnificent clifftop citadel towered above the coastline as a warning to the local pirates to stay away, but today it’s much more welcoming and a great place to spend a day exploring. The views are amazing, too.
Riviera Maya holidays are all about having fun, and if you love dancing until the sun comes up then you’re in the right place. Serious clubbers flock to the hotspot of Player del Carmen in January, when the annual BPM Festival keeps everyone jumping and pumping to some serious electronic music. Head here in November and you can chill out to the smooth sounds at the annual Jazz Festival, or celebrate Carnival during February. Riviera Maya is a very family-friendly destination, and there’s plenty of kid’s clubs and entertainment for youngsters, including some amazing experiences to be had at the various Eco theme parks. Check out Xcaret, where a day’s excitement includes swimming in lagoons, meeting the local cheeky monkeys, and exploring a network of underground rivers.
Towns and cities
Riviera Maya’s towns and cities are a great chance to pick up some souvenirs, head to some of Mexico’s best upmarket restaurants, or discover the markets that are full of colour and energy. From local art at the Puerto Morelos art market or the spices and noises of the Tulum Bazaar, shopping in Riviera Maya is a wonderfully exciting experience. In cities like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Playacar you’ll also get the chance to try authentic Mexican cuisine, explore the bars and clubs, and take a wander around museums and art galleries. It’s a great chance to take a break from all that sunbathing on the beach (well, a short break, at least…)