Best Things to Do in Cancun and Riviera Maya
Collected by AFAR Editors, AFAR Staff
There are plenty of reasons to leave the perfect beaches of Cancun and Riviera Maya--and that includes checking out other perfect (and, at times, family friendly) beaches. Day trips give you the chance to explore one of the Yucatan Peninsula's last underground rivers or take in Mayan ruins. The shopping? There's plenty to enjoy, including craft shopping as a brilliant way to get respite from the sun's hottest work. Fans of all things marine life may find they don't get a moment's rest on the beach. There's so much to see.
Carretera Federal, Cancun - Chetumal Km 230, 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
While not as large as other ancient Mayan cities in the region, Tulum draws in visitors for its stunning setting of centuries-old temples perched on a cliff by the Caribbean Sea. You’ll pass a large market with souvenirs, a casual Mexican...
Carretera Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Each May since 2007, the area has been reenacting La Travesía Sagrada Maya (Sacred Maya Journey), a ritual which was conducted for more than 1,000 years by the ancient Maya. Tracing the steps of their ancestors, current inhabitants of the area...
Carretera Cancún -Tulum Km 282, Puerto Juarez, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
The Riviera Maya’s most beautifully styled adventure park begins with a reception area inside a natural cave. Tours here include Latin America’s highest zip lines over the tropical forest, amphibious vehicles you drive through caves...
Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
If you’ve dreamed of climbing an ancient Mayan ruin yet remaining free from the madding crowd, Cancún has a little secret: the El Rey Ruins, an archaeological treasure tucked into the Hotel Zone and just a 10-minute bus ride from most...
Carretera Federal Cancún-Tulum. Km 124, Jacinto Pat, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
This cenote’s name, which means “Two Eyes” in Spanish, refers to its two separate pools that lead into a large cavern of incredibly clear water. At more than 40 miles long, Dos Ojos is the largest underwater cave system in the...
Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juárez Km 240, locales 1 & 2, módulo B, 77780 Q.R., Mexico
Xel-Há is one of the area's most popular attractions. The name identifies both the archaeological site and the ecotourism marine park and the site attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world, throughout the year. Ceremonial centers and...
Carretera Federal Libre Chetumal- Puerto Juárez Km. 283.5 Ejido Sur, 77712 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Thousands of years ago, the entire Yucatán Peninsula was under water, as evidenced by its massive network of rivers that flow beneath the region’s limestone surface. No place better presents the area’s captivating caverns and...
Boulevard Kukulcan KM 13 , LOCAL 410 y 411A, Benito Juárez, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Beginning right at the entrance to downtown Cancún (kilometer 0, where the median is also home to a spacious outdoor gym) and tracing the Hotel Zone’s entire northern stretch, this wide, red-paved path is a favorite for runners,...
Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
This extensive white-sand beach is the one Cancún locals love the most, and it’s still largely unknown to tourists. Bisected by a lengthy pier, Playa Langosta has calm, shallow, crystal-clear waters like most other beaches on the...
Blvd Kukuklcan Km 9, Zona Hotelera Cancun, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Benito Juarez, Q.R., Mexico
Also called the Party Zone, this block along Cancún’s main boulevard pulsates with lights, music, and gaudy signs inviting partyers into nightclubs lining the street. From smaller open-air clubs like La Vaquita and Congo, to...
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