Riviera Maya spans 80 miles along the Mexican Caribbean coastline beginning ten miles south of Cancun at Puerto Morelos, running through Playa del Carmen, before ending in the fast-growing city of Tulum. The peninsula is the perfect embodiment of jungle and ocean, where the world’s second largest barrier reef hangs just off the coast, Mayan ruins and ancient cenotes are waiting to be discovered, and buzzing white-sand beaches are sprinkled between towns and sites still untouched by tourists. Whether you want to sit back on yacht with an itinerary tailored to your liking or bring out your adventurous side at one of the nine adventure theme parks at Xcaret, Valerie Wilson Travel is here to plan your perfect trip to this not-so-little slice of paradise.
Voted one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007, Chichen Itza is the most famous symbol of the once powerful Mayan civilization. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was discovered in 1841 and archaeologists believe that Chichen Itza had emerged as a major economic and cultural center of the region around 600 AD and continued to grow for several centuries. When visiting, guests can see over 26 Mayan Ruins including various sculptures, buildings, a cenote, and the iconic pyramid, El Castillo, or “The Castle.”
Situated in the jungle of Riviera Maya, Kantun-Chi Cenote Ecopark is a relaxing paradise of cenotes (water-caves) full of tropical gardens, spider monkeys, rare bird species, deer, racoons, and reptiles. There are currently five cenotes open for swimming ranging from Saskaleen Ha, where you’ll find a small Mayan shrine that may have been used in purification ceremonies in ancient Maya, to the open-air Uchben Ha where colorful fish are magnificent while snorkeling or observing from above on the hammock islands.
Just across the bay, Isla Mujeres is a laid-back, more tranquil version of Cancun full of water sports, shopping, and white sand beaches making an appearance on Travel + Leisure Best Islands in Mexico and South America. The island is home to an underwater museum of art (MUSA), renowned for snorkeling, natural parks, some of the best beaches in Mexico, and a temple dedicated to Ixhcel, the Mayan goddess of love, the moon, fertility, and health.
Andaz Mayakoba is nestled in an exclusive, gated community, surrounded by lush vegetation and nature on the Caribbean coast. Consistently ranked among the top resorts in Mexico in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, the open-air resort is connected to other neighboring resorts (including the ones mentioned below) and has everything you need to never leave: 214 rooms including extremely spacious 41 suites with private plunge pools, an authentic Mayan Spa, innovative Latin American dining featuring fresh ceviche and local mezcal tastings, and two beautifully landscaped pools.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba is an AAA Five Diamond resort, winner of Trip Advisor’s Best of the Best award. The resort also sits within the private community along Riviera Maya and is an extraordinary blend of Asian culture and Mexican hospitality surrounded by an arcadia of untouched nature in a carefully maintained ecosystem. With a private pool for every villa, a championship Greg Norman-designed golf course (the regions first PGA Tour course), and the signature Banyan Tree Spa, the destination is ideal for deep relaxation, world-class service, and extraordinary beauty unique to this secluded region of the world.
In 2019, The ultraluxury Rosewood Mayakoba unveiled a fresh and modern design to its 129 suites after an extensive, multi-million-dollar renovation. The AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star resort is situated among tranquil lagoons, lush mangroves and white-sand beaches and features six swimming pools and Sense spa located on a private island. Before heading to an oversize accommodation with a private plunge pool, where a butler awaits, guests are transported by boat through lagoons or golf cart right to their front door.