Yucatan and Riviera Maya
The area known as the Riviera Maya stretches along the Caribbean coast from Cancun south to Tulum. You can travel from Cozumel to the mainland easily by ferry. Ferry costs approximately $14 roundtrip and takes about 35 minutes to cross. Ferries start running early in the morning and continue throughout the day until late evening. Some points of interest along the coast include:
Playa del Carmen: Lots of shops, restaurants and bars. This town has a European flavor and travelers from throughout the world. Topless sunbathers on the beach are common.
Xcaret: A popular ecological park with natural underground rivers, botanical gardens, swimming with dolphins, aquarium, entertainment, restaurants, snorkeling, etc. Easy 5-10 minute taxi ride from Playa.
Puerto Aventuras: A planned development with the only full service marina south of Cancun, golf and tennis, many restaurants. See our selection of villas and condos here.
Akumal: A quiet, laid back community of private villas and condos. There are a series of bays with fine snorkeling. Akumal extends from Half Moon Bay on the north, south to Akumal Bay, Jade Bay and Akumal Sur. The "town" of Akumal is on Akumal Bay. There are two small grocery stores and about 7 restaurants scattered throughout the area. Yal Ku Lagoon, near Half Moon Bay, is well known for it's excellent snorkeling.
Xel-Ha: A natural playground of crystal clear water for snorkeling, rivers and lagoons, caves and jungle paths. spend a day exploring this park setting along the ocean. Admission includes access to all areas of the park, train to the river, float tubes, life vests and parking. Swimming with the dolphins is extra. Snorkel equipment available for rent. Open 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m.
Soliman Bay & Tankah: Mid-way between Akumal & Tulum, these areas are more remote. These areas consist of private villas along the beach. There is one restaurant in the Soliman Bay area called Oscar Y Lalo's. And in Tankah, there is Casa Cenote Restaurant which we highly recommend.
Tulum is one of the most famous Mayan archeological sites. This walled city is perched on a towering cliff overlooking the magnificent Caribbean Sea. Centuries ago, this location provided access to fishing boats for the Mayan culture. Trade was an essential living for the Mayans and this was a primary route. Today, you can view the ruins of this ancient civilization and enjoy unforgettable views of the Caribbean from the lofty seaside cliffs. Take your swim suit!
Coba is the location of another major Mayan archeological site. This site has not been fully excavated and lies deeper in the jungles. Plan to do a lot of walking if you visit Coba, the site is large.
Chichen Itza: Probably the best known ancient Mayan site, recently named one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Allow a full day to explore Chichen Itza with drive time. You can rent a car and make the trip yourself or take a comfortable tour bus.
Cancun to Playa del Carmen: 68 mi.
Playa del Carmen to Xcaret: 6 mi.
Playa del Carmen to Akumal: 37 mi.
Playa del Carmen to Tulum: 63 mi.
Playa del Carmen to Merida: 351 mi.