Roughly an hour south of Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, you'll find the Riviera Maya. An elongated stretch of immaculate, snowy white Caribbean coastline that offers a luxurious selection in upscale boutique hotels, lavish resorts, deluxe villas, five-star dining and first-class spa facilities. Also referred to as the Mayan Riviera, the region is known for pampering its visitors with nothing but the highest quality amenities Mexico has to offer.
The coast includes: Puerto Morelos, known for its clear and calm waters that are perfect for snorkeling; historic Tulum, known for its peaceful and pristine beaches; as well as its own notable contribution to the ancient Mayan civilization; Playa del Carmen, a charming town renowned for its trendy shops, stirring streets, great dining, fun nightlife and chic European style. On the Riviera Maya you're sure to quench your thirst for adventure with a healthy dose of luxurious leisure!
Just 5 kilometres southwest of Playa del Carmen lies a glorious underground river that extends over 700 metres. In Rio Secreto, or the Secret River, explore draping stalactites and curious stalagmites; take a swim in this refreshing body of natural water as you soak in the esoteric experience of the underground.
As the only Maya site that was built on the coast, the ruins in Tulum (the Mayan word for wall) are smaller than Chichen Itza's, but nonetheless offers a wonderful glimpse into this fascinating ancient civilization. Want more, after your tour you'll be rewarded with a trip down to the beautiful beach located just underneath the looming cliffs of this archeological site.
As a destination wedding spot, the Riviera Maya has been in vogue for many years now and does not look to be slowing down any time soon. The Mayan coastline offers such a spectacular backdrop that even the toughest of cynics on your guest list won't be able to deny the enchantment the area presents. The selection of wedding reception venues is unparalleled. Any type of reception from small-scale and intimate to extravagant and lavish, can be achieved here. The region is home to many world-renowned gourmet chefs, so catering your affair can be a culinary adventure in and of itself. It's your special day and the Riviera Maya can achieve your vision with talented wedding planners on hand, the right venues and of course the stunning surroundings.
Most upscale resorts and smaller boutique hotels offer incredible restaurants serving everything from Mexican and Italian, to American classics and even fine Japanese. Along the coastal highway on your way back from a Mayan ruin or a day of touring the fabulous Xcaret (esh-cah-ret) park, you'll even come across many excellent beachfront eateries that serve up delicious freshly caught fish and conch.
For a night on the town, look no further than Playa del Carmen. This once sleepy hamlet is the place to be when the sun sets on the Riviera. The nightclubs are small but all the rage, as the world's hottest DJs love to play here. There's something for everyone from quaint lounges to casual beachfront bars hosting great live folk music nights. If you're situated in the northern tip of the Riviera Maya, then heading into Cancun is also a viable option for the evening.
Charter a private yacht with your closest friends and cruise up/down the coastline for the day. Take a detour over to Cozumel Island for a glorious swim in the clear waters and break out the snorkel gear for an expansive and stunning view of the coral reefs. Speaking of swimming, the Riviera Maya offers beautiful waters underground as well, by way of its well-known and sacred (in ancient times) cenotes, especially in Akumal's Laguna Yal-Ku. The Riviera Maya region sits on top of an immense underground network of freshwater rivers and small lakes located in vast subterranean caverns. The waters are rich with body purifying minerals. Stalactites suspended from the ceiling and the occasional stalagmite cracking through the ground beneath your feet adds to the mysterious feeling; making the experience even more thrilling.
The Riviera Maya is a long stretch of beautiful azure Caribbean waters with soft sugary white sand. This is enough reason to visit, although the plush amenities make this destination a must, especially for romantic getaways. At once a sleepy coast, known by only local fishermen and a handful of travellers, Riviera Maya has now become a world-class escape from the everyday, and a pleasurable retreat for beach lovers.