You’ve been planning your family vacations to Mexico all year long, and suddenly it hits you. “what are some experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya worth doing while you are down there?” You’ve heard wonderful things about Cancun and Riviera Maya and yet are struggling to narrow it down. You are in need of some travel inspiration
First, let us warn you of some unfortunate side affects you will experience after you’ve traveled to the amazing country Mexico is, as told by Scott in his blog entry while recollecting his trips south of the border.
- You will be exposed to new and interesting cultures.
- You won´t like your country´s street food anymore.
- You’ll notice friendliness is contagious.
- You’ll develop an aversion to frozen seafood, Chipotle, Taco Bell to name a few
- You may notice an Increased tendency to relax.
- You will be bitten by the Foodie Bug.
- You’ll experience spontaneous occurrences of fun.
- And most interestingly, you will develop an urge to return.
Dare to learn and experience new stuff
Few destinations in the world can dazzle you all in one fell swoop with:
- Ancient Maya ruins
- Azure Caribbean waters and;
- Colonial cities
Lucky for you the experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya can satisfy your wanderlust spirit to the fullest.
We aren’t going to deny the fact that traveling to another country might be a little worrying for some. Although the odds are that any trip to a Mexican resort will be a safe experience. Anyway, why risk it? when it comes to moving around the area, we recommend you always hire private transportation. Tourists should avoid flagging taxis on the street, therefore avoiding any negative experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya.
Anyway, let’s get down to business. Maybe you’ve been living in some smog-choked city waaay too long or are running away from the cold; and are wondering if what you’ve heard of the Yucatan Peninsula is true. Can an ocean or lake really have that many shades of blue? Do jungles and mangroves really look so chlorophyll green? Are there really so many outdoorsy things to do? Maya ruins, swimming and taking a dip in crystal-clear water limestone sinkholes or Cenotes or explore coral reefs?
Here’s our list we composed from various blogs and our own preferences of experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya you can’t miss out on while in the Yucatan Peninsula:
- Sightseeing in Cancun’s Mirador: Although a popular one already, you won’t be dissapointed. The first of our recommended experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya, consists of an incredible view into the Caribbean Sea will dazzle you. This is a popular stop among locals and tourist alike, you must get a picture taken with that backdrop. You have an amazing vantage point overlooking the ocean Cancun´s worldwide known for at this place. If possible, try to make it to this rest stop on Kukulcan Blvd at sunrise for some incredible views.
- Swimming in Cenotes: Cenotes are massive limestone formations with stalactites hanging from their ceiling. There are plenty to choose from, either in Yucatan or along the Rivera Maya. If you dare to dive in them, you won’t be disappointed by their beauty, these refreshing tunnels that will seem to transport you to another dimension. Where ancient civilizations still have their natural sanctuary, are the perfect off the grid experience. You just can’t imagine your trip to Southern Mexico as complete without crossing Cenotes off your top experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya.
- Holbox: Isn’t life great when it’s low-fi and low-rise? That’s the attitude on friendly Isla Holbox (hol-bosh), with its sandy streets, colorful Caribbean buildings, and lazing, sun-drunk dogs. It’s a welcome refuge for anyone looking to just get away from it all, home to more than 150 bird species, including roseate spoonbills, pelicans, herons, ibis and flamingos. In summer, whale sharks congregate nearby. Definitely a must among our experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya list.
- Tulum Ruins: The ruins of Tulum preside over a rugged coastline, a strip of brilliant beach and green-and-turquoise waters that’ll leave you floored. It’s true the extents and structures are of a modest scale and the late post-Classic design is inferior to those of earlier,
more grandiose projects – but, wow, those Maya occupants must have felt smug each sunrise. The famous “Castillo” perched on top of the cliff has become a worldwide known landmark. At the end of the day, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to visit Tulum when deciding what experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya you should try.
- Diving in Cozumel: Cozumel isn´t another cheesy cruise-ship destination. Leaving the tourist area behind, you see an island of quite cool and genuine authenticity. Of course, there are some holiday things to do, such as diving some of the best reefs in the world. While diving and snorkeling are the main draws, the town square is a pleasant place to spend the afternoon, and it’s highly gratifying to explore the less-visited parts of the island on a rented scooter or convertible bug. The coastal road leads to small Maya ruins, a marine park and captivating scenery along the unforgettable windswept shore.
Doesn’t get more authentic than Bacalar
- Laguna Bacalar: It comes as a surprise in this region of scrubby jungle. More than 60km long with a bottom of sparkling white sand, this crystal-clear lake offers opportunities for camping, swimming, kayaking and simply lazing around. The small, sleepy, lakeside town of Bacalar lies east of the highway, 125km south of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Laguna Balacar is noted mostly for its old Spanish fortress (they were built to protect the village from piracy) and popular balnearios (swimming grounds), its beauty is unapparelled. You may even question why it doesn’t rank higher in our experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya list. We just have one answer for that: it is a hard list to put together.
Best for last
- Merida: Since the Spanish conquest, Merida has been the cultural capital of the entire Yucatan Peninsula. At times provincial, at others ‘muy cosmopolitano,’ it is a town steeped in colonial history, with narrow streets, broad central plazas and the region’s best museums. It’s also a perfect place from which to kick off your adventure into the rest of Yucatan state. Long popular with European travelers looking to go beyond the hubbub of Quintana Roo’s resort towns, Merida is a tourist town, but a tourist town too big to feel like a tourist trap. And as the capital of Yucatan state, Merida is also the cultural crossroads of the region, and there’s something just a smidge elitist about Merida: the people who live here have a beautiful town, and they know it.
- Isla Mujeres: Some people plan their vacation around Cancun and pencil in Isla Mujeres as a side trip. But Isla Mujeres is a destination in its own right, and it’s generally quieter and more affordable than the options you get across the bay. Sure, there are quite a few ticky-tacky tourist shops, but folks still get around by golf cart and the crushed-coral beaches are just breathtaking. It totally belongs in our top experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya list.
The ride’s worth the travel
- Chichen Itza: The most famous and best restored of the Yucatan Maya sites, unfortunately it’s overcrowded – every gawker and his or her grandmother is trying to check off the new seven wonders of the world – however, it will still impress even the most jaded visitor. Many mysteries of the Maya astronomical calendar are made clear when one understands the design of the ‘time temples’ here. Other than a few minor passageways, climbing on the structures is not allowed. At the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (around March 20 and September 22), the morning and afternoon sun produces a light-and-shadow illusion of the serpent ascending or descending the side of El Castillo’s staircase. Indulge your Indiana Jones inner self with this unique feature of our surreal experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya.
- The last is another must to do. Playa del Carmen and its flamboyant Fifth Avenue. Trip Advisor and its followers voted it one of the favorite destinations for vacation, especially in summer. It is an idyllic place located in the heart of the Riviera Maya with fine white sand and blue-green waters, you will always find a Hammock and an umbrella to sunbathe and rest, especially in the
edge of town that offers the quietest beach areas. If you prefer action,
in Playa del Carmen you will find water activities such as windsurfing, jet skis, kayaking or diving in the impressive Mayan coral reef. Great musicians of Mexican and international jazz offer concerts every year. The beauty of the beaches and the many activities that Playa del Carmen has for you will force you to come back.
Lessons learned about the experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya
If you’ve been to Southern Mexico, you must feel like we are leaving some other surreal experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya out. Believe us, when we say it’s hard to do this region of Mexico any justice. Why don’t you be the judge of that? Share with us some personal favorite experiences in Cancun and Riviera Maya of your own.