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Riviera Maya Travel Guide


The Riviera Maya, a natural paradise that merges with the waters of the Caribbean Sea, is a coastal strip that stretches more than 120 km (75 mi) from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen, in the state of Quintana Roo. The climate in this Yucatan Peninsula region is subtropical with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F).

Considered one of the fastest growing tourist destinations over the last decade, here you can relax or enjoy recreational activities at luxurious resorts nestled in the jungle. The posh hotels offer exclusive golf courses, spas and white-sand beaches, such as El Secreto and El Paraiso, where you can bask in the sun and indulge in all kinds of water sports. For example, you can scuba dive off the coast at a depth of more than 10 meters (33 feet) as you take in the spectacular sights of the Great Meso-American Barrier Reef. You can also discover ancient Mayan cities such as Coba and Tulum; the latter is located right on the beach. What's more, you can visit incredible ecological reserves such as Sian Ka'an, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Here you can take part in eco-tourism outings, sailfish and marlin fishing, and other outdoor activities such as: long walks or horseback riding, while enjoying the beautiful backdrop of the Caribbean Sea. During your visit to the Riviera Maya, do not miss out on Xcaret and Xel-Há, two of Mexico's most important theme parks, where you can see fascinating indigenous wildlife and live the unforgettable experience of snorkeling in underground rivers. At dusk, don't forget to visit the spectacular nightclubs, where you can chat with friends over drinks, or you can visit a restaurant and treat yourself to a delicious lobster dinner. These are just some of things you can do in the Riviera Maya, which is why it has earned a reputation as the ideal destination to enjoy life.

Getting there
Cancun international Airport; code CUN; located 52 km north of Playa del Carmen. The Cozumel Airport may also be considered for international access to this region (code CZM).

Getting around
From the Cancun Airport one option is to rent a car or jeep to get from spot to spot. There is also private cab service to the region, and some properties may transfers as part of their packages. The bus to Playa del Carmen departs every hour from 10:30 am to 9:30 pm.

A company called ADO provides bus service from the airport to Playa del Carmen. Their terminal is located at the southeast corner of the Main Terminal. If you arrive at the Charter Terminal, you'll need to take the free airport shuttle service (van whit "ASUR" on the side) over to the main terminal.

Around the area, Cabs are available although expensive. There is also frequent bus service along Mexico 307. Several companies operate shuttle-type service between Cancun and Tulum with stops at several spots along the way. Rates are affordable, though service is somewhat irregular.

The highway connecting Cancun to the Riviera Maya region is a modern, four-lane divided highway that now stretches all the way to Calica (10 km south of Playa del Carmen). Two lanes continue from there to Tulum. From Tulum the road is being widened from its narrow two lanes.

Playa del Carmen is located on the stunningly beautiful Yucatan Peninsula it encapsulates everything a beach vacation should be. Blessed with miles of unspoiled white sandy beaches and the crystal clear Caribbean Sea, the town offers the visitor every activity imaginable, from water sports, to fantastic restaurants, clubs and bars, all within a stones throw from the world class hotels and resorts. "Playa" has grown along the beach so wherever you go you are never far from the ocean. The main avenue 5 Ave or Quinta Avenida is a pedestrian zone spanning the length of the town and here you will find the heart of this tropical resort. It has a chic, new age feel with restaurants, beach clubs and bars open to the elements and the balmy Caribbean nights. The whole town has an extremely friendly, laid back atmosphere adding to the charm and attraction for tourists from around the globe.

Puerto Aventuras is the largest and best protected marina on the Yucantan Peninsula. In addition to its beautiful beaches, there are plenty of activities to help you get the most out of your vacation. This deluxe marina offers condominiums, hotels, and luxury villas for those interested in a quiet environment where they can fish, scuba dive, golf, enjoy fine restaurants or just relax. Puerto Aventuras is located 84 km. (56 miles) south of Cancun and only 18 km. (12 miles) south of Playa del Carmen. If you are arriving by bus or a collective van, you will need to either take  a taxi or walk from the main entrance to the center of the marina. The distance is about 700 meters (1/2 mile). The marina is a haven for travelers sailing along the Caribbean, sports fishermen, and yacht owners. Once in Puerto Aventuras, enjoy the international restaurants, shops, bars, and the white sandy beach.

For those who are ready to get out of Cancun and Playa del Carmen and explore, Akumal, or “place of turtles” in Mayan, with its unspoiled natural beauty, is an ideal day trip. It gets its name from the hundreds of sea turtles that come here to lay their eggs in the white sands of its beaches every year from late April through August.

Tulum is the second town in importance in the Riviera Maya, denominated just as the famous archaeological zone, although it is a small town of just a few streets running parallel to the Federal highway which is in reality its main avenue. In Tulum you can find basic services that are no longer available in other coastal settlements of the southern part of the Riviera Maya.

Akumal is located 104 km. (69 miles) south of Cancun and 36 km. (24 miles) south of Playa del Carmen on Carretera 307 (Federal Highway 307). There is a 400 meter (400 yard) road leading from the federal highway to the site. The main and northern entrance looks as if it were the private driveway of the Hotel Las Casitas Akumal, but it is not. Once in the the center of town, you will see an arch. Just after the arch, the roads splits, with one path heading south and the other north. Excellent for a relaxing vacation and to enjoy the beauty of the Mexican Caribbean, offering different options for aquatic activities such as squba diving and snorkeling.