Riviera Maya Travel Guide 2024 | Tourism Mexico

  • Plalla Real Estate by Plalla Real Estate
  • 3 years ago
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Beach club with palm trees, palapas and lounge chairs in the Riviera Maya

Would you like to take a beach vacation, live by the ocean or invest in real estate in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Riviera Maya?

We created this comprehensive Riviera Maya Travel Guide, where you will discover the best of Riviera Maya so you can plan your trip right

You will also find answers to all your questions, you will learn what the Riviera Maya is, where it is located, what places are part of it, what is the difference with Cancun, when is the best time to visit it, how to get here and around, and as a foreigner you will discover other important things before traveling.

This guide will also help you if you want to buy a home in Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Riviera Maya, you will discover what kind of lifestyle you can have, where to invest and count on us to help you during the buying process. We will save you time, money and hassle!

If you have any questions, please write them in the comments section at the bottom of this page and we will gladly answer them.

What is Riviera Maya known for?

The Riviera Maya is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, it is located in Mexico, along the Caribbean Sea. It receives millions of tourists every year who come to enjoy a beach vacation, although many end up missing out on the great wonders it has.

Hotels
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Mexican Tourists by Air
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Imagine all-inclusive hotels for all tastes and budgets, restaurants, bars and nightclubs on the beach, water sports, countless tours and activities, festivals, shows, international events, golf, yachts, spa, temazcal, galleries and museums same as all major tourist destinations.

But what makes it so special are its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, second largest coral barrier in the world, cenotes, lagoons, underground rivers, ecological reserves, flora and fauna diversity, archaeological sites, Mayan towns, theme parks and ecotourism.

It’s paradise on earth!

Tulum pyramids in front of the beach

What means Riviera Maya?

Riviera Maya comes from the words: “Riviera” which represents the exclusivity and glamor of the area and “Maya” in honor of the Mayan culture, since here are several of the most important cities of the Mayan civilization.

The Riviera Maya is truly unique in the world, it is very difficult to find other destination with so many activities to do, places to visit, a great diversity of its ecosystem, the Mayan culture, food, accommodation for all budgets and tours for all tastes.

Romance is everywhere, being one of the favorite places for those looking for a beach wedding and honeymoon. Love Is In The Air!

Portal Maya oceanfront sculpture at sunset in Playa del Carmen

Where is the Riviera Maya?

The Riviera Maya is located in the Mexican Caribbean in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. Just south of the Cancun, the famous tourist resort and starts from the small town of Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

The two mayor cities are Playa del Carmen with an exclusive and cosmopolitan atmosphere, and Tulum with a bohemian and mystical atmosphere.

Map of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen and Tulum

What cities are in the Mexican Riviera?

  • Punta Maroma
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Puerto Aventuras
  • Xpuha
  • Akumal
  • Tulum
  • Coba
  • Sian Ka’an

The Riviera Maya along with Cancun receive 40% of all tourists in Mexico. That’s right, Cancun is not part of the Riviera Maya and many people don’t know it. Cancun’s development boom was until 2005. Cancun continues to grow, but not at the same pace as before and now we are experiencing the Riviera Maya’s real estate boom in its 2 main cities: Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the fastest growing in Latin America.

Ecological sculpture in front of the beach in Tulum

What cities are not in the Mexican Riviera?

  • Cancun
  • Chichen Itza
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Puerto Morelos
  • Cozumel island
  • Holbox island
  • Bacalar
  • Mahahual or Costa Maya

These are hot tourist spots around the Riviera Maya, an excellent option for one day trip, although it is worth investing 2 or 3 days in Holbox island and Mahahual because of its gorgeous beaches.

Aerial view of Chichen Itza pyramid at sunset

Is Cancun and Riviera Maya the same thing?

No, it is not the same thing. Cancun is a city of 900,000 inhabitants with all its tourist services in a touristic area. In contrast, the Riviera Maya is an area, which includes small cities and towns, it has  399,726 inhabitants, only Playa del Carmen has 304,942 residents and Tulum just 46,721 residents.

10.9% of the population are born in other countries, where the majority of foreign residents come from the United States, Canada, Europe and South America, influencing the local gastronomy.

Foreign Residents
43,570
National Inhabitants
399,726
Tourists per year by Air
11,844,068

Is Riviera Maya nicer than Cancun?

If you want an all-inclusive hotel, you just want to rest and you do not plan to go out then both tourist destinations are very good options, but if you want to get to know the area and all its wonders then we think it is better to stay in the Riviera Maya because the vast majority of the attractions are in the Riviera Maya, and thus you will save time and avoid traveling every day.

Interesting Fact: the Riviera Maya has more luxury hotels and grand tourism than Cancun, despite being a much newer tourist destination.

Which one do you think is better Riviera Maya or Cancun?

Luxury beachfront hotel in the Riviera Maya

What is the best time of year to go to Riviera Maya?

Well it depends on you and when you have your vacation, but if you can choose when to travel then there are 3 variables that you must take into account: weather, school breaks and holidays.

  • What is the hottest month in Riviera Maya? They are 2 months, July and August, on average 32°C or 90°F.
  • What are the coldest months of the year? December, January and February, on average 23°C or 73°F.
  • What is the rainy season in Riviera Maya? Sometimes it rains all day during the rain season from September to November.

When is low season in the Riviera Maya?

The off-season in the Riviera Maya is the same than the wet season from September to November because they are the months with the most rain.

When is high season in the Riviera Maya?

The dry season in the Riviera Maya is from the end of November to August, having as a shoulder season the months of November and March to August, while the peak season, when most people prefer to take their vacations, especially tourists from cold countries, is from December to February.

We experienced several peaks during Easter, Spring Break and during the mexican school breaks in July and August. Keep in mind that many people plan their trips on these dates so flights and accommodation prices will increase.

Group of people meditating in front of the beach at sunrise

What is hurricane season in Riviera Maya?

The Riviera Maya and Cancun hurricane season is from June to November, normally the months of June, July and August are months where we can get some light rains occasionally and they might become tropical storms.

The season with the highest probability of hurricanes in the Riviera Maya is from September to November, we get usually category 1 or 2 hurricanes, nothing to worry about. This zone has not received any dangerous hurricanes since 2005, on top of that, the geographic location of the Riviera Maya is privileged since it is protected against hurricanes by Cozumel island and other islands of the Caribbean.

What is the best month to visit Riviera Maya?

The best month to visit Riviera Maya can be any month from November to August, as it has a subtropical climate with a very pleasant temperature throughout the year, an average temperature of 25°C or 77°F in approximately 250 sunny days.

Riviera Maya Climate

 Celsius (°C)Fahrenheit (°F)
MonthMaxMinRain (mm)MaxMinRain (in)
January26.522.552.379.772.52.06
February27.122.841.280.8731.62
March27.823.236.48273.81.43
April29.524.418.685.175.90.73
May30.625.368.28777.52.68
June31.125.8110.58878.44.35
July31.826.343.489.279.31.71
August32.126.485.689.879.33.37
September31.826.3113.189.279.34.45
October30.225.2135.386.477.45.32
November28.423.782.883.174.73.26
December27.523.564.681.574.32.54

How to get to the Riviera Maya?

The vast majority of tourists arrive to the Riviera Maya by plane from Cancun International Airport, with direct flights from some of the most important cities in Mexico, United States, Canada, Europe and South America.

Some venture to travel by bus, car and motorcycle from different places in the Mexican Republic, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, the United States and even Canada.

Likewise, tourists arrive by cruise ships to Cozumel, Calica and Progreso ports. The Cozumel port is the largest in Mexico and from there you can take a Ferry to Playa del Carmen.

Four cruise ships parked in the port of Cozumel

How far is Riviera Maya from airport?

It depends on what part of the Riviera Maya you want to visit, but you can travel from 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, check out our table of distances.

Table of distances of the main touristic spots in the Riviera Maya and its surroundings

StartDestination
 AirportPlaya del CarmenTulum
Airport 

40 min

52 km

32.3 mi

1 h 25 min

117 km

72.7 mi

Puerto Morelos

18 min

23 km

14.3 mi

20 min

34 km

21.1 mi

1 h 05 min

96 km

59.7 mi

Playa del Carmen

40 min

52 km

32.3 mi

 

45 min

62 km

38.5 mi

Xcaret

49 min

61 km

37.9 mi

9 min

9 km

5.6 mi

36 min

53 km

32.9 mi

Puerto Aventuras

55 min

74 km

45.9 mi

15 min

22 km

13.7 mi

30 min

40 km

24.9 mi

Xpuha

58 min

79 km

49.1 mi

18 min

27 km

16.8 mi

27 min

35 km

21.7 mi

Akumal

1h 05 min

89 km

55.3 mi

25 min

37 km

22.9 mi

20 min

25 km

15.5 mi

Tulum

1 h 25 min

114 km

70.8 mi

45 min

62 km

38.5 mi

 
Sian Ka’an

2 h 10 min

134 km

83.3 mi

1 h 30 min

82 km

50.9 mi

45 min

20 km

12.4 mi

Coba

2 h 05 min

161 km

100.1 mi

1 h 25 min

109 km

67.7 mi

40 min

47 km

29.2 mi

Cancun

15 min

14 km

8.7 mi

56 min

73 km

45.4 mi

1 h 33 min

128 km

79.5 mi

Isla Mujeres

1 h 06 min

30 km

18.6 mi

1 h 44 min

89 km

55.3 mi

2 h 23 min

144 km

89.5 mi

Cozumel island

1 h 20 min

70 km

43.5 mi

40 min

18 km

11.2 mi

1 h 27 min

80 km

49.7 mi

Chichen Itzá

2 h 27 min

201 km

124.9 mi

2 h 17 min

186 km

115.6 mi

1 h 56 min

147 km

91.3 mi

Holbox island

2 h 30 min

143 km

88.9 mi

2 h 24 min

137 km

85.1 mi

3 h 06 min

182 km

113.1 mi

Bacalar

3 h 43 min

330 km

205.1 mi

3 h 03 min

278 km

172.7 mi

2 h 21 min

216 km

134.2 mi

Mahahual / Costa Maya

3 h 51 min

340 km

211.3 mi

3 h 11 min

288 km

178.9 mi

2 h 28 min

226 km

140.4 mi

How do you get to Riviera Maya from Cancun airport?

Bus

The ADO bus company offers the bus service from the Cancun airport to the Riviera Maya, they travel frequently, they have air conditioning, Wi-Fi and all the amenities. Travel to the main cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Bus is the best option for people who want to travel comfortably to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and want the best price.

How much does it cost from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen and Tulum?
Bus Price List from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen and Tulum
CityPassengerPrice
Playa del CarmenAdult

$216 MXN

$11 USD

 Children

$108 MXN

$5.50 USD

TulumAdult

$288 MXN

$14 USD

 

Children

$144 MXN

$7 USD

Taxi

Taxis from the Cancun airport to the Riviera Maya provide you with more comfort since you do not have to wait and they take you directly to your hotel, but it is important to agree on the price before boarding a taxi to avoid being overcharged.

Taxi is the best option for small families or groups of friends of 3 or 4 people.

How much does a taxi cost from Cancun airport to Riviera Maya?
Taxi Price List from Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya
CityPrice
Puerto Morelos

$600 MXN

$30 USD

Playa del Carmen

$900 MXN

$45 USD

Akumal

$1,400 MXN

$70 USD

Tulum

$1,600 MXN

$80 USD

Car Rental

Rent a car is very easy and versatile, since you can travel everywhere comfortably and can find public and private parking lots and some parking meters at any destination. You can find car rental agencies in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancun airport with: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Europcar, Expedia, Hertz, National Car Rental, etc.

Car rental is the best option for tourists who want to move freely, especially to places where there is little transportation.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Riviera Maya?

Car Rental Price List for Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancun Airport
CarPrice

Mini

$281 MXN

$14 USD

Compact

$304 MXN

$15 USD

Medium

$326 MXN

$16 USD

Big

$397 MXN

$20 USD

SUV

$715 MXN

$36 USD

Shuttle

The Shuttles are small buses or vans that provide transfers from the Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya, they only pick up and drop off passagers at the large hotels in Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It works as a shared taxi, but larger and more comfortable. Prior reservation is required on their websites.

Shuttle is the best option for solo travelers and couples staying in Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

How much are shuttles in Cancun?
Price List for Cancun Airport Transfers to Playa del Carmen and Tulum
CityPrice
Playa del Carmen

$480 MXN

$24 USD

Tulum

$800 MXN

$40 USD

Private Transfer

It is the most comfortable and fastest way to get anywhere, but it is also the most expensive. They will pick you up at the airport, terminal or your accommodation, they wait for you as long as you need and they do not charge you for excess luggage. You can request the one-way trip or round trip where they can wait up to 7 hours. They also offer transportation services for groups, weddings and tours.

Private Transfer is the best option for those looking for comfort and do not mind paying a little more.

How much does a private transfer cost from the Cancun airport?

Cancun Airport Private Transportation Price List
CityPrivate Transfer (1 to 7 pax)VIP Transfer (1 to 5 pax)Economy Limousine (1 to 8 pax)Limousine (1 to 8 pax)
Private TransferOne wayRound tripOne wayRound tripOne wayRound tripOne wayRound trip
Puerto Morelos

$780 MXN

$39 USD

$1,200 MXN

$60 USD

$1,180 MXN

$59 USD

$1,980 MXN

$99 USD

$3,400 MXN

$170 USD

$6,000 MXN

$300 USD

$3,900 MXN

$195 USD

$6,400 MXN

$320 USD

Playa Del Carmen

$1,000 MXN

$50 USD

$1,800 MXN

$90 USD

$1,380 MXN

$69 USD

$1,480 MXN

$124 USD

$4,000 MXN

$200 USD

$7,600 MXN

$380 USD

$5,560 MXN

$278 USD

$8,120 MXN

$406 USD

Puerto Aventuras

$1,200 MXN

$60 USD

$2,200 MXN

$110 USD

$1,580 MXN

$79 USD

$2,580 MXN

$129 USD

n/an/a

$6,980 MXN

$349 USD

$8,480 MXN

$424 USD

Akumal

$1,480 MXN

$74 USD

$2,540 MXN

$127 USD

$1,600 MXN

$80 USD

$2,700 MXN

$135 USD

n/an/a

$6,300 MXN

$315 USD

$10,200 MXN

$510 USD

Tulum

$1,400 MXN

$70 USD

$2,700 MXN

$135 USD

$1,980 MXN

$99 USD

$3,280 MXN

$164 USD

n/an/a

$8,400 MXN

$420 USD

$1,240 MXN

$620 USD

Bike

Traveling by bicycle in Tulum and Playa del Carmen is very popular, you can find bicycle rentals everywhere like in your accommodation, Bike Rentals or Rent a Bike businesses and even Playa del Carmen has a Shared Public Bike Rental System that you can find everywhere.

Bike is the best option for people who want to travel short distances and in an ecological way.

How much is it to rent a bike in Tulum?
Bike Rental Price List in Tulum and Playa del Carmen
CityTimePrice
Tulum

1 Day

$150 MXN

$8 USD

 2 Days

$300 MXN

$16 USD

 3 Days

$450 MXN

$24 USD

 7 Days

$1,050 MXN

$56 USD

Playa del Carmen1 Day

$98 MXN

$5 USD

 3 Days

$196 MXN

$10 USD

 7 Days

$328 MXN

$16 USD

 365 Days

$420 MXN

$21 USD

Family traveling by bike in Tulum

Do you want to live or invest in real estate in Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Riviera Maya?

If you like the Riviera Maya and are planning to invest in Real Estate, contact us at (+52) 984 218 2330 we answer phone calls, WhatsApp and Telegram messages. If you’re not ready to invest yet, check out our real estate listings: https://plalla.com/en/real-estate/

Also, subscribe to our newsletter and find out about new homes and the latest news.

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There are over 400 developments for sale in the area and new ones appear every week. We will help you find the best option for your lifestyle or investment strategy, according to your needs, wishes, dreams and budget. We will save you time, money and hassle! Contact us!

Conclusion

This is the end of our Riviera Maya Travel Guide and by now you already know why you should come here and although it is impossible to stop thinking about its white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters and all inclusive hotels, you know you can find much more than that.

The Riviera Maya is full of activities to do and places to visit, such as: the pyramids of Tulum and Chichen Itzá, explore cenotes and underground rivers, dive in the second largest corral barrier in the world, swim with dolphins, turtles or sharks, visit Xcaret and other theme parks, take a yoga class on the beach, etc.

Do you like music? Check out 12th street in Playa del Carmen where you will find the already renowned Coco Bongo, and many more clubs and bars. Do you like electronic music? Try Mamitas beach or if you are looking for something more bohemian you will find it at Boca Paila street in Tulum.

Explore the Riviera Maya and be amazed!

A person swinging in a Cenote full of tree roots

What do you think this guide is missing?

If you have any comments or questions, write them in the comment section at the bottom of this page and we will gladly answer them.

If you liked this Riviera Maya travel guide then share it on social media and send them by email or WhatsApp to all your family and friends. Thank you very much and remember that we are plalla.com with three “L” 🙂

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