What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya

Cancun is one of the most visited tourist cities in Mexico. In addition, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are some of the main destinations for international tourists.

Within the destinations mentioned above, you will enjoy various activities that will make you enjoy your stay in these places much more.

What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya 1
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Green paradise cenote azul with palm trees and ruins at bottom of the water in the Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula

Cancun is beautiful. It has lovely beaches, high-end gastronomic restaurants, and incredible restaurant bars where you can enjoy shows, drinks, and food like nowhere else. 

Riviera Maya is another place that will undoubtedly leave everyone who visits it with their mouths open. However, it is also a great place to visit natural sites such as parks, archaeological sites, and the most beautiful beaches of the Caribbean Sea.

Visit Chichen Itza

What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya 2
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Early morning in Chichen Itza, Mayan site in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico

One of the world’s Seven Wonders is located near the Riviera Maya, between Valladolid and Merida. You can’t miss a visit to this site, where you can tour the ancient Maya city. Here, you will find a variety of activities, handicraft vendors, and more.

To visit Chichen Itza, you can take a tour with a tour agency or go on your own.

Enjoy the Cenotes

What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya 3
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Woman swimming in freshwater Cenote in Cancun Mexico.

The Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful locations in Mexico, with beaches, rivers, mangroves, lagoons, and cenotes. You can find cenotes on the Playa del Carmen – Tulum road, where you will find many open and closed cenotes. You must wear a life jacket inside the cenotes because these water eyes have caverns and strong currents despite their crystal clear waters.

The cenotes are made up of caverns or caves in the area. This is due to the karst morphology, which was flooded over time.

The most popular cenotes are: Cenote dos ojos, Ik’Kil, Gran Cenote, Chac Mool, Cenote Car Wash, Xkeken, Suytun, Cenote Sagrado, among others.

Practice Scuba Diving

What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya 4
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Female scuba diver swimming with the school of fishes.

Riviera Maya is one of the ideal places for scuba diving or snorkeling. On the coast of the Caribbean Sea in this area is the Mesoamerican reef, which is considered the second largest on earth.

Here you can find an abundant variety of underwater life. You can see sharks, manta rays, fish of all colors, and sea turtles.

The most recommended sites for diving are Cozumel, Chinchorro, or Mahahual.

Enjoy the nightlife

What to do in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya 5
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Explosive confetti at an entertainment party concert

When it comes to nightlife, Riviera Maya is undoubtedly the best option.

In Cancun, for example, you can find nightclubs like Coco Bongo and The City. In Playa del Carmen, La Vaquita and Mandala are among the most popular. While in Tulum, you can enjoy bars and clubs by the sea to have a great time.

In Playa del Carmen, you can visit 5th avenue by 12th street, where you can also find international restaurants and bars such as Blue Parrot. Check out this awesome list of things to do in playa del carmen.

Fishing Practice

If you are a sportfishing lover or a beginner, in Playa del Carmen, you will find the ideal place.

At Marina Playa del Carmen you can rent a boat to go out to sea and fish. You can also hire a fishing guide to advise you on the activity or take fishing in groups.

Cancun also has a fishing site, the Nichupte lagoon, which is ideal for this type of activity. Here you can also rent a boat or buy a fishing tour.

Enjoy an excellent gastronomic offer

Cancun and the Riviera Maya have an excellent gastronomic offer impossible to resist. Being one of the most touristic destinations in Mexico, you will be able to find both national and international food.

The restaurants in the hotel zone of Cancun and Tulum will undoubtedly be the ideal place to try the greatest variety of international food. If, on the other hand, you like to try local and national dishes, the fondas or restaurants in the downtown area will be the best options for you.

Some dishes that you should not miss during your visit to the area are:

  • Papadzules
  • Tortas de cochinita
  • Pescado a la Tikinxic
  • Dzotobichay y Vaporcitos
  • Lomitos
  • Poc chuc

In Riviera Maya, you can enjoy the Wine & Food Festival, where you can enjoy the most exquisite food and wines worldwide.

Transportation in Cancun and Riviera Maya

Before your visit, it is advisable to book a safe method of transportation to take you from the airport to your hotel or to take you from hotel to hotel or any attraction you wish to visit.

To move from Cancun Airport to your destination, either within Cancun or any hotel in the Riviera Maya, the most popular method of transportation is Private Transportation in Cancun.

If you want to move around the city, renting a car in Cancun will be the ideal option for you.

Important Cancun Airport Information

Cancun airport is the only airport operating in the Riviera Maya and the area. The second closest airport is in Merida, Yucatan (3.2 hrs away). Find more information on the Cancun Airport website.

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