The famous Riviera Maya combines ancient Mayan culture, modern-day resorts and water sports action galore. The absolute best time to visit is September to December, though any time of year is prime time. From Cancun on the northern coast to Xcaret and south to Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo, the Riviera Maya is filled with coastal and cultural attractions.
Day 1: Theme Parks Galore
The water and wildlife eco-park at Xcaret has a mystical Mexican theme, with lagoons and landscaped gardens, dolphin swims and spectacular entertainment. Zipline courses and cave rafting crank up the adrenaline at the Xplor adventure park, and at Xel-Ha you can swim with dolphins for a one-on-one encounter in nature’s largest aquarium and water park.
Day 2: Beach Babies
The Riviera Maya beaches come in all shapes and sizes, from white-sand sunning and beachside Mayan ruins at Tulum, downtown stretches of sand at Puerto Morelos, and resort facilities at Puerto Aventuras marina for reef adventures, kayaking and beach bars. Go snorkeling on Isla Mujeres off the coast from Cancun, dive the turquoise waters surrounding the island of Cozumel, or just lie back in a hammock strung between palm trees at Playa del Carmen or a secluded beach hideaway.
Day 3: Wildlife Action
Scan the Caribbean waters for turtles and whale sharks, manatees and other sea life, and enjoy interactive swims with dolphins. Dip your toes in a hidden cenote (pool) or underground river in the jungle near Tulum, or go deep-sea fishing for tarpon and marlin in the blue Caribbean Sea.