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The Perfect Weekend in Cancun and Riviera Maya

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When warm weather beckons but time is short, a weekend trip to Cancun and Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula is your perfect go-to. Beautiful beaches, inclusive resorts, and an easy trip from the United States add up to a weekend of ease. But there's much more to the area than white sand beaches, including day trips to explore Mayan culture ruins, the caves and calm waters of Dog Ojos Cenote, and nights out dancing. Yes, spring breakers, the area is your paradise too: head straight to the clubs in the hotel zone. You can sleep when you get back to school.
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Carretera Federal Cancún-Tulum. Km 124, Jacinto Pat, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
My fiance and I were hanging out in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for the week and we decided to get away from the resort and Quinta Avenida for a while. We met a German gentleman named Roman who's lived in town for 20 years. He urged us to check out...
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Swimming with these harmless sharks is an experience to remember. The gentle giants are incredible to see in their natural habitat. Flotation gear is required for all whale shark tours leaving from Isla Mujeres, however a wetsuit counts! Bring...
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Carretera Cancún -Tulum Km 282, Puerto Juarez, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
If you like having fun while checking out the wonders of nature, Xplor is your place to be in Cancun. Here you can paddle through natural underground caves and then zip line above it all. On land, you can drive an ATV over a bridge, under a...
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Carretera Federal Libre Chetumal- Puerto Juárez Km. 283.5 Ejido Sur, 77712 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
For millions of years, this mystical underworld stayed hidden deep underground in the Riveria Maya, Mexico. It’s where the underworld meets the heavens. This womb of the earth is a sacred place to the Mayans who believed it was the doorway...
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Calle 10 Margaritas 25, 22, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
If you are in Cancun looking for an awesome, authentic meal in a very cool setting with outdoor seating, and super friendly staff this place is the best. It's not off the beaten path, but it's delicious, authentic and presents a scene. We stumbled...
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km 19.4, Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Even though it’s right across the street from top Cancún resorts near the southern end of the Hotel Zone, the entrance to this open-air restaurant remains known only to locals plus a few in-the-know travelers. Walk down the wooden...
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Carretera Tulum a Boca Paila Km 8.2, Ejido Pino Suarez, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Embodying the city’s beach-chic vibe, this oceanside hotel restaurant and bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. La Zebra serves authentic Mexican dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, some from the Riviera Maya region and...
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Boulevard Punta Nizuc - Cancun Km 22.5, Nizuc, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
With just a few plastic tables beneath some palapas, this hidden gem on Cancún’s more natural southern side has an incredible location right at the mouth of the river that connects the Nichupté Lagoon to the Caribbean. The ...
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Calle 10 Nte, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
A local favorite, Bar La Ranita (Little Frog) is attached to the Hotel Rana Cansada (Tired Frog) and has been around since 1984. The ambiance is laid back, but the prices are affordable and the margaritas pack a powerful punch.
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Calle Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
A branch of a popular restaurant in Cuba which was founded in 1942, La Bodeguita del Medio is small, simple and a hit with anyone who visits. The bar is a special draw with lively waiters pushing signature mojitos along free salsa lessons on...
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Boulevard Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
The beat goes on till dawn in this innovative cavern-style "hot spot" in the hotel zone. Six bars, live entertainment, laser shows and loud music from the 80s, 90s and hip-hop, combined with special effects - such as blasts of C02 - add to the...
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Boca de paila Km 5.5, 77766 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
On the beach in Tulum, Amansala is a rustic and low-key place to stay and eat. I'm here on my second annual yoga retreat—three hours of yoga in the morning and an hour-and-a-half of Pilates in the evening. The food is fresh, healthy, and...
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Calle 38 norte Mz 4 Lote 3, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
“We hope you adapt to our bohemian philosophy,” say the staff at Hotel La Semilla, by way of explanation when guests ask why rooms have no televisions (there is, however, Wi-Fi and AC). With distressed walls and furniture, the hotel...
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Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km.10, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Be Tulum describes itself as a resort, but with 64 rooms and a no-child-under-12 policy, the property feels considerably more intimate than its name and marketing might suggest. The hotel enjoys beachfront status, with powdered-sugar...
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Boulevard Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Look out Las Vegas, Coco Bongo is in town. This wild dance club, in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone, is packed with live shows—everything from faux Queen or Madonna to bar-top conga lines and airborne acrobats. Make sure to bring your dancing...