The best Riviera Maya beaches or Mayan Riviera of Mexico are rich with white sand and turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The best beach vacation destinations along this area are Cozumel, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, as well as smaller beach destinations such as Tulum, Puerto Morelos, and Akumal
Beachfront & waterfront resorts and hotels in each of these beach vacation destinations are ready to fill your Mexico beach vacation dreams. Filled with luxury, spas, superb food, pools and so much more.
In this beautiful region of Mexico you will find archeological wonders of the ancient Mayan civilization, the diversity of the Biosphere Reserve of San Ka'an, the largest coral reef in the Northern Hemisphere and the city life of Playa del Carmen or Cancun with their exciting night life and all inclusive resorts.
All along Riviera Maya beaches you will find something to do on the water, under the water, above the water and in the air if you love parasailing. Whatever you choose to do... the Riviera Maya most likely has it!
The best time to take a beach vacation is generally during the months of February to May! September and October are hurricane season.
We will cover Riviera Maya beaches and towns from the North to South of this beautiful waterfront destination.
• Isla Mujeres or The Island of Women •
Isla Mujeres or The Island of Women is just outside of Riviera Maya but is a wonderful little island. Here you will find the government sponsored hatchery for sea turtles. Isla Mujeres beaches are North Beach or Playa Norte with beautiful white Caribbean sand. This is the most popular beach on this very small Island and you will find restaurants, a few bars and hotels. Playa Sol is where you will get the best view for romantic sunsets and less crowded than Playa Norte. If you are finding Cancun getting a little too busy for you, you may want to take a day trip here. If you are looking for more excitement than Isla Mujeres has to offer... head over to Cancun! Here are some great waterfront hotels on Isla Mujeres!
Cancun is most likely the biggest tourist destination in all of the Riviera Maya beaches. It offers 22Km. or 14 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Since 2008 Cancun has had major construction on its beaches to make them larger than ever before! Bigger beaches mean more space for you to enjoy your beach vacation in Cancun! Cancun offers a wide variety of hotels along the “ Hotel Zone” where you will be able to just walk out onto these beautiful sandy beaches. Cancun is the main Mexico beach destination for the spring break crowd.
• Puerto Morelos Beaches •
Puerto Morelos is another smaller fishing village and waterfront destination for tourists looking for a quieter resort area on the Mayan Riviera. Once again you will find beautiful beaches, great restaurants and vacation rentals. Just south of Cancun and North of Playa del Carmen, you can enjoy all of the fun activities of these action packed tourist destinations but return to the quieter and more serene atmosphere of Puerto Morelos for your wind down time. Puerto Morelos has been growing rapidly as a tourist destination along the Riviera. Here are some of the best waterfront hotels in Puerto Morelos.
Playa del Carmen has beautiful white sand beaches and similar to Cancun has beautiful resorts and hotels. However, unlike Cancun it has tried to keep a smaller town atmosphere by limiting the height of its hotels. Fresh water cenote diving very popular here.
Cozumel is a cruise ship destination along the Riviera Maya. Renowned for its beautiful beach resorts, great snorkeling, scuba diving and of course, its beaches. Quieter than the spring break destinations of Cancun, the island of Cozumel is more family oriented and has a wide variety of beaches ranging from filled with water activities and sports to very quiet and only suitable for sunbathing, relaxing under the warm Mexican sun.
• Akumal Beaches•
Akumal is a sleepy town known having possibly one of the best Riviera Maya beaches. The fine white sandy beach and Caribbean blue waters are what beach vacations are all about. You will also be able to enjoy great snorkeling and swimming. The Akumal beaches are long and free of the hustle and bustle of the larger resort areas. If you are looking for absolute quiet for your Riviera Maya beach vacation you may find Akumal and its beaches just perfect. Several vacation home rentals and hotels and resorts are available. Akumal means “place of turtles”. Sea turtles lay their eggs in this are from May to October. Sea turtles are an endangered species and are protected by federal laws.
• Tulum Beaches•
Tulum is a major Mayan archeological site and for anyone interested in Mayan history it is a must see attraction. It is the best-preserved coastal Maya site. Not only will you enjoy touring this site but you will also find a beautiful beach to enjoy. If you love cenotes you will find a variety of them in this area as well. You will also find the beautiful biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an in Tulum as well. Tulum offers a great variety of smaller boutique beach hotels.
Here are the best things to do and places to see during your beach vacation on the Mayan Riviera or Riviera Maya
• Why not visit Sian Ka'an where you will find superb diversity of animal and plant life. This area has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
• Protected by off shore reefs you will fall in love with the beaches of Akumal. Akumal has superb scuba diving conditions and a place where turtles lay their eggs.
• Speaking of scuba diving and snorkeling, you will have a vast number of diving and snorkeling areas to choose along the Riviera Maya. The Mayan Riviera offers the largest coral reef in the Northern hemisphere and the second largest in the world! If you have been tempted you may not be able to resist this opportunity of a lifetime.
• Along with Akumal, Xel-Ha Water Park is also fantastic for snorkeling. It is surrounded by jungle, archeological sites, and more. Filled with freshwater from underground rivers and springs you may choose form many activities here. You will also enjoy both freshwater and saltwater fish. Swim with dolphins. It is a giant natural aquarium!
• Another theme park that will be enjoyed by your family is the world renowned Xcaret Theme Park. This is a whole day affair and into the night as well for the show. Xcaret Theme Park is filled with all types of activities and deserves a complete page to itself!
• Aktun Chen is an incredible natural zoo. You may also enjoy exploring the caves, cenotes or swing from the canopy!
• Visiting the Mayan Ruins of Tulum and its temple will be something that you will not soon forget.The beach in Tulum is beautiful.
Tulum has lots of activities for the whole family!
• Golf at any of the world class golf courses. It will be the worst game of golf you will ever have. The reason is that you will be distracted by the sheer beauty that surrounds you!
• Playa del Carmen offers great shopping and entertainment. The festivities go on till the early hours of the morning.
Filled with beautiful Caribbean beaches the Riviera Maya is approximately 120Km. or 75 miles long along the Mexico Caribbean coastline. Taking a "quality" bus tour or renting a car would be a worthwhile excursion to drive along this beautiful coastline.
The Riviera Maya or Mayan Riviera of Mexico originally did not include the areas of Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. These are now being promoted as part of the Riviera Maya and thus are included in this area map.
Here is our interactive Riviera Maya beaches map. This map displays the Mayan Riviera region with the best beach vacation destinations clearly marked. A larger view of this map is available simply by clicking the square at the top right of map. We sincerely hope you have enjoyed our page of Riviera Maya Beaches and that it has helped you to start planning your beach vacation today!
Visit our other Mexico Waterfront Destinations Here!
• Photo Credits to our Riviera Maya Beaches page •
Top photo of Mayan Temple in Tulum: Picasa, Nathan Winder
Riviera Maya Video: rivieramaya.com
Mayan Riviera map: best-waterfront-destinations.com and Google
Isla Mujeres turtles:Picasa: Brian Wahl
Cancun Hotel Zone: Unknown (sorry)
Playa del Carmen waterfront hotel:Flickr: Johnny Lang
Akumal Beach: flickr: Flickr: simpletones
Tulum Beach and Mayan Temple: Flickr: CasaDeQueso
Aktun Chen Canopy ride: Flickr: Dtraveller.com
Thank you to all for your contributions to our page!