5 Things You Must Experience on the Riviera Maya

Lapped my the pristine blue waves of the Pacific and lined with seemingly endless stretches of sandy white coastline, the Riviera Maya is nothing less than the quintessential vision of paradise.

Submersed in this world of tranquility, it can be easy to simply lie back, sip on your cocktail and watch this bewitching world roll by. But it is important to remember that the Riviera Maya has myriad of activities awaiting the more spirited adventurer.

Snorkeling and Scuba-DivingSnorkeling and Scuba-Diving

With over 120km of ocean-kissed coastline, it is hardly surprising that the Riviera Maya offers some of the world’s richest and most exciting scuba and snorkeling opportunities. Assisted by highly trained and experienced instructors, the Riviera invites you to plunge into a world illuminated by the majestic shimmer of manta rays, a world shaped by coral and patrolled by harmless nurse sharks. With options ranging from cave-diving to wreck-diving, from the phosphorescence-lighted magic of night dives to the gargantuan creatures that dominate the deep waters, all tastes and brasseries are catered for. Even for the less daring, the shallower waters are no less bountiful with starfish, seahorses and even sea turtles regular visitors to the Riviera.

A woman ziplining in the jungle with Alltournative Mayan Offtrack Adventures, near Riviera Maya, Mexico.Zip-lining through the Jungle

One of the first things you notice when visiting the Riviera Maya is that the natural world in never far away. Day and night the air is alive with the chatter of parrots, the buzzing of insects and what better way to discover this hidden kingdom that from one of the many zip-lining tours that operate along the Riviera. Reconnect with your inner Tarzan as you bullet through the tree-line, catching sight of a multi-cultured flutter of parrots or inquisitive gaze of a spidery monkey or even, if you are lucky, the illusive black glint of a jaguar. Many of the tours, guided by locals, will offer you the chance to explore some of the cave systems beneath the jungle, an unearthly realm a million years in the making.

Mayan RuinsMayan Ruins

No trip to Mexico would be complete without a trip to some of the Riviera Maya’s most famed visitor attractions; the Mayan ruins. Chichen Itza with its great sacrificial alters or Tulum with its spectacular seaside setting are perhaps the most celebrated but with remnants of the great civilization dotted throughout the Riviera, there is seemingly no end to the rich and fascinating history that dwells just beneath your feet.

Underwater MuseumUnderwater Museum

The Riviera Maya simply does not do boring. Far from the stuffy hallways of your local museum is MUSA, an altogether different kind of experience. Situated just a short 20 minutes ferry ride from Cancun, this museum offers visitors the opportunity to don their scuba gear and join their guide into a magical, if rather eerie descent into the world’s largest underwater art exhibit. This ecologically-sustainable collection – the work of world renowned artist Jason de Claires Taylor – consists of 450 life-sized statues that captivate and enthrall thousands of guests each year and rightly lives up to (if not entirely surpasses) Forbes Magazine’s billing as “One of the World’s most Unique Travel Destinations.”

ShopEat, Shop and Relax

Amid this frenzy of excitement it can be easy to get swept up in the seemingly endless list of tours and attractions available on the Riviera Maya and simply forget to relax. After a long day exploring the ocean depths or careering through the treetops, why not treat yourself to a bite to eat at any one of the Riviera’s fine eateries. With seafood, traditional Mexican cuisine and any number of Europeans restaurants represented, there is no palate that will go unsatisfied. Then, well-fed and watered, indulge in a little retail therapy along the fashion-lined highstreets or try your hand at haggling at one of the plentiful and souvenir-stocked marketplaces.

Finally, when the day is winding down, simply retire to the beach where specially trained masseuses are ready to work out your stresses beneath the innumerable stars and blazing red tiki torches, a glass of champagne and bowl-full of strawberries to round off a truly wonderful day.

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