Located on Mexico’s northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, the Riviera Maya is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. From white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters and underwater caves (known as cenotes) to ancient Mayan ruins and sleepy fishing villages, this world-renowned paradise has it all. Whether you wish to explore the coral reefs of Cozumel Island, visit picturesque lagoons surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites or spend a few nights at one of the luxury hotels in the region, here’s the best places to visit in the Rivera Maya…

Spend a Day on the Beach

The Riviera Maya is home to miles of pristine sandy beaches with turquoise waters, so it comes as no surprise that this stretch of Caribbean coastline is one of Mexico’s best travel destinations. Visit Playa del Carmen, a popular but laid-back city on the Riviera that is known for its picturesque white-sand beaches. There is also the Half Moon Bay beach in nearby Akumal where travelers can enjoy water activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. To experience the playful waves of the Caribbean, be sure to pay a visit to the stunning beach in the town of Tulum as well.

Explore Hidden Subterranean Swimming Pools

Travel to the Riviera Maya and discover underwater swimming pools, also known as cenotes. These cenotes are easily one of the best places to visit in the Riviera Maya since this region is actually one of the few places in the world where you can see these natural sinkholes. Their waters are extremely clear and you will have an opportunity to see moray eels, turtles and various multi-colored fish. Some of the most impressive cenotes include Ik Kil near Chichen Itza, Chaak Tun and Dos Ojos near Playa del Carmen, Samula near Valladolid and Gran Cenote which is located right outside of Tulum.

Spend the Weekend in an All-Inclusive Hotel

Welcome to the brand new Barceló Maya Riviera, an all-inclusive, adults-only 5-star hotel located on one of the most stunning stretches of beach in the Caribbean. It’s part of the Barceló Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest tourism companies and hotel chains with more than 250 hotels throughout 22 countries. The Barceló Maya Riviera is an ideal place for travelers who are looking for a luxurious and exclusive experience while visiting this corner of Mexico. From five world-class restaurants to the fantastic U-Spa and the 850 wonderfully-decorated and sophisticated rooms, all of which are suites, you are in for an incredible treat. This recently built property is perfect for both groups on vacation and couples looking for a romantic holiday trip.

Discover Ancient Mayan Ruins

No visit to the Riviera Maya is complete without visiting the Mayan ruins. These ancient archaeological sites are home to large temples and pyramids and offer a glimpse of what life was like for the Mayan people. From the famous oceanfront complex at Tulum to the collection of pyramids and structures in the jungles of Coba (home to Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan) and all the way to the most famous and impressive ruins of Chichen-Itza… Mayan ruins are some of the best places to visit in the Riviera Maya in order to be impressed and awed while learning a great deal about history!

Hop on a Ferry to Cozumel

A visit to Cozumel is another great excursion while visiting this region. You can either hop on a local ferry from Playa del Carmen or join an organized tour to reach this idyllic island. Surrounded by incredible coral reefs, Cozumel is an ideal destination for snorkeling and diving and has nearly 30 major dive sites. Visitors can also explore the island’s jungle and lagoons and visit attractions such as Chankanaab National Park. It’s easy to hire a jeep for the day and drive around the entire island, stopping at all the beaches you wish!