Imagine trekking through the jungle, snorkeling through ancient waterways, exploring underground caves and marveling at Mayan archeological artifacts all on a single tropical holiday. Located on Mexico's Caribbean coast, Riviera Maya has it all.
Pristine beaches edging against turquoise seas provide the perfect spot to laze away the days, but here you will also find a lively atmosphere packed with activity and new discoveries filled with a rich history and the mystique of ancient Mayan civilizations, you will be fascinated by the folklore that surrounds this land. Visit ancient Mayan ruins, or stop by the flea markets or visit the Plaza Playacar Shopping center for best buys including native ceramics, baskets, onyx, silver jewelry, and hand-loomed rugs. Explore the mangroves on a boat tour, or venture into the jungle on an exotic rainforest safari. A diver's delight, Riviera Maya is also home to the second largest reef system in the world. The natural barrier at Akumal is a particular favorite. Don't miss a trip to Cozumel to check out its beautiful beaches, renowned diving and casual, carefree lifestyle - just a ferry ride away!
Enjoy fine dining, window shopping, and romantic sunsets in Playa del Carmen, the heart of the Riviera Maya. As you stroll 5th Avenue, you will hear the strains of traditional Mariachi bands. Stay on at your restaurant, as it transforms itself into a nightclub, or dance to a reggae band on a powdery beach. And if the timing is right, don't miss the special full moon celebrations.
Chichen Itza - dating to as early as 500 B.C., the ruins at Chichen Itza are testament to the ingenuity of the ancient Maya people, whose advances in astronomy and mathematics included the invention of the concept of zero. Among the most important ruins to behold here, where excavation is still ongoing, is the Castillo, whose steps total the number of days in the solar year; during the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun against the pyramid casts a shadow in the shape of a serpent.
Crococun - at this family-friendly crocodile and reptile zoo, you will venture into the tropical forest to the home of more than 200 crocodiles. Learn about the lifestyles and evolution of these prehistoric creatures - and perhaps even try walking through a crocodile cage! Also on view here are monkeys, snakes, boa constrictors, baby deer, parrots, and the hairless Mayan dog.
Coba and Pac-Chen - Delve into the ancient culture of the Maya at Pac-Chen, an authentic, self-sufficient Maya village. Here you can experience centuries-old traditions firsthand and choose from an array of modern-day activities, such as swimming, rappelling down a sacred cenote (sinkhole), canoeing on a pristine lake - or zipping above it on a Z-line. You will also visit Coba, a fascinating archaeological site.
Xcaret - meaning "small inlet", Xcaret is the Riviera Maya's premiere natural wonder park. Wind your way through one of the largest butterfly parks, study the over 100 species of flowers in the botanical gardens, or frolic on a giant innertube in the turquoise water of the peaceful bay.
Tulum and Xel-ha - Explore the cliffside ruins of Tulum - the only Maya archaeological site to offer spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. Continue to Xel-ha, a natural aquarium known for its limestone formations and brilliantly colored tropical fish. Here, you will have a chance to raft, swim or take advantage of one of the world's great sites for snorkeling.