For those who come to Mexico’s Riviera Maya, they probably want to take advantage of the great natural beauty and cultural treasures of the area. If you are going to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum or any other place read this guide to see what are the best things to do on the Riviera Maya.

The best parks to visit on the Riviera Maya

Ecological parks are the most popular options on the Riviera Maya. They may offer a variety of activities such as snorkeling, zip-lining, or things for younger kids. Here are some of the most popular parks and a brief description of them.


Xcaret is the grandfather of the parks. It is the largest and offers the most activities during the day. You can spend more than 12 hours here and not see everything. Explore nature, watch animals, shows and Mexican culture in this park. At the end of the day, see a great show with hundreds of participants. This show covers the history of Mexico and regional dances from around the world. The action continues uninterrupted. This park is suitable for all ages. Ticket options for this park include entry only or with food. For more information on Xcaret, check out our article here.


Xenses is an amusement park aimed at younger children, but is enjoyed by people of all ages. We describe it as a science museum with no boring stuff. You will be able to take part in activities such as water slides, fly on a recumbent zipline and cheat your senses in a side village. See our video and article about Xenses Park here.

Where are the cenotes and which are the best ones to visit?

Cenotes are natural areas carved from the limestone platform that is the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes can be open or in a cave.

Some cenotes are close to the main road and it only costs a few dollars to get in. The other cenotes are a bit off the main route but well worth the trip to.

Where to go shopping

If you like to shop while on vacation, you can go to Tulum or Playa del Carmen.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is the number one destination on the Riviera Maya because it is the place with the most options. You can find everything from designer clothes to gift shops. Most of the time, resort shops are limited, expensive, and not the most authentic.

Shopping in Tulum

If you are going shopping in Tulum, you have the city center along Highway 307 where you will find souvenir shops and a few other options. For fancier shopping options, check out the beach route at the south end.

Cities to visit in Riviera Maya


Technically, Cancun is not in the Riviera Maya and almost everything is in the Hotel Zone. The city center is not that interesting. So if you are staying in Cancun you just have to see the Hotel Zone. Those who don’t stay in Cancun won’t lose much unless they want to go to a club or a Coco Bongo show.

Puerto Morelos

It is a quiet town with a few restaurants and shops. The main attraction here if you are going to visit it is snorkeling. The reef is one of the best on the Riviera Maya coast. You can read more and see our article about snorkeling in Puerto Morelos here.

Carmen Beach

This coastal town is the heart of the Mayan Riviera. Playa Del Carmen has a lot to offer to those staying in resorts or to guests staying in the city. The main tourist attraction is the beach, but Fifth Avenue is nearby. It is the main pedestrian street that runs for about 20 blocks. It has restaurants, clubs, bars and more shops than you can imagine. It’s always full of action and you can enjoy the ride.

Where to eat

A good restaurant is Chef Jesús Gibaj’s Mia. An elegant dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. Its menu includes dishes made mainly of regional products, such as fish and vegetables from the region. You can also find international options and of course vegetarian and vegan options.

At night, the option is Pizza Garden, a bar next to the beach club where you can enjoy cocktails and, as the name suggests, different types of pizza.

Sustainable development

As we mentioned in the previous paragraphs, Riviera Maya cares and cares about maintaining sustainable projects within the capabilities of each property.

Recycling and reuse of building materials. Indoor biodegradable personal care products. Here are some examples of what is done on the Riviera.

Others worth mentioning are the fact that Mia produces water using an environmental moisture capture system. The menu folders are made of waste paper and the sargassum algae that hit the Mexican Caribbean, and instead of treating them as an enemy, projects like Sargánico (authors of the aforementioned folders) have chosen to incorporate them into their daily lives. About one kilogram of sargassum is used to create each of the folders that have an interesting texture that is at least a bit like terrazzo.

Where to stay

On Selina Hotel in Cancun Hotel Zone cozy rooms for remote workers, backpackers and everyone looking for paradise. Discover our hotel chain of rooms designed and adapted to your needs. Types: Micro, Suite, Standard Room, Community.

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