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mexico’s riviera maya, anyone?


Last year when heading to Maui for our honeymoon, I received such amazing suggestions of things to do from my wonderful readers who had previously been there. So, I thought why not see if anyone’s been to Mexico!…particularly Mexico’s Riviera Maya. We’re thinking about a getaway and I would love to any feedback, if you’ve been. What areas have a decent amount of things to do & any resorts you recommend? If you’d like to share your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment or email me at: info {AT} Thanks!

{Thanks so much to everyone for their great advice, tips, and suggestions! We’re heading there in the Fall for our 1st Anniversary trip and will be sure to give an update on where we end up going!}



  1. I’m from argentina but i live in Mexico City since a year and a half and The coast is incredible, a paradise, Pacific and Atlantic.

  2. My fiance and I went to the Riviera Maya in January. Specifically, we went to a resort called Dreams Tulum. It was gorgeous and we had a great time. We were there for a wedding so we knew quite a few people, but it looked like it would be a good place to vacation regardless. Beware of all the little men when you get off the plane though, it’s crazy! 🙂
    (To see a few pics, go here :: )

  3. I go to Cancun or Cozumel once or twice a year. I would recommend the Grand Xcarat. It has an attached rainforest park! The wild iguanas everywhere are cool too.

  4. Lovely site! I just put a link to your site on my blog.
    I have been to Riveria Maya a few times:) And, I’m very grateful to have been able to go there! My husband and I have stayed at places owned by Karisma. We’ve been to two of their different resorts and both were wonderful!
    Have a great trip!
    ms. em

  5. Definitely go to Tulum, about 30-45 minutes south of Cozumel or 1.5 hours from Cancun. It’s this incredible Mayan ruin right on the beach – wear your swimsuit under your clothes and go swimming during your visit – it’s just incredible.

  6. We are taking our “mini-honeymoon” there is September. Our friends are getting married in Playa so we decided to extend our vacation. we are staying a few nights in Tulum at Azul Blue then driving the jeep we rented up to Merida to stay at Hacienda San Jose. I have heard all these amazing things about the art scene in Merida so I’m excited to check it out.

  7. I would go to Tulum! I went there two years ago (and I also went to playa del carmen and cancun last year) If you want something like the pic you posted Tulum is the way to go. If you go to playa del carmen or cancun you might as well be in vegas…really super depressing touristy! We stayed here really nice combo of chic but chill–but there are a lot of cool places around me if you want to know more!

  8. I´m from Mexico City and I think you should try hotel básico or hotel deseo (playa del carmen), they’re quite something.

  9. We love Riviera Maya and are actually planning a wedding down there!!
    I think that this area has so much to offer and there is a variety of places to stay depending on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.
    As for the area, I personally prefer places fairly close to Playa del Carmen but not right in Playa so that we can easily take a cab to Playa for some excitement, but we’ll have the privacy.
    All the sights are pretty easily accessed from pretty much anywhere as there are multiple tour operators offering tours.
    As previous poss have mentioned, the Mayan ruins are wonderful. Not just Tulum but Chichen Itza. Another highly recommended activity is snorkeling in the cenotes.
    I think the choice of resorts will boil down to whether or not you want to be in a area close to the city or somewhere more remote. Also what your budget is.
    If you are going really upscale Maroma is great.
    For something nice but not too $$$, (as someone already noted) the Karisma resorts are great. Also, Aventura Spa Palace comes highly recommended. I think these places are all over $300/night/couple.
    After viewing tons of resorts for our wedding, we decided on Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda which we loved (also cheaper that the others. there’s a great deal for it on travelocity right now too). You can check that out.
    We good luck with your planning.

  10. We got married at the Royal Hideaway in Playacar. It was the most amazing hotel I’ve ever been to and the food was to die for. Plus, it’s all-inclusive. However, it’s a bit expensive, but you get what you pay for, especially with all-inclusives.

  11. Hey! I’m from Mexico I’ve just passing by to your blog and I saw your post, well, I totally recommended Cancún,is beautiful, You should go to Tulum! Is awesome!! And Cozumel and Xcaret, amazing!
    See ya!

  12. We went for our honeymoon to the Royal Hideaway. It’s one of the priciest placest there but it’s totally worth it. It’s 4 seasons quality AND and all inclusive which is a hard combo to find. there are some pics at the bottom of the web page i listed. good luck!

  13. Joy, I’ve heard amazing things from friends and magazines about the Hotel Basico in Playa del Carmen….if you are looking for an affordable place that is heavy on design. Also, if you are considering any places on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, I just returned from an amazing trip to Zihautanejo and would gladly make some recommendations.

  14. I would suggest that you stay in the Riviera Maya, and take time to visit:
    • Xcaret –
    • Chichen Itzá – it’s a complete mayan city, i’m not very good at my own country’s history, but i know there are some really great tours where you learn a lot about this great civilization.
    • Playa del Carmen – it’s a small town, i’ve heard it’s really nice, and i think you’ll find some very nice restaurants
    • Cancun – good night life

  15. My fiance and I are going to the Secrets Capri riviera maya. It was hit by a hurricane two years ago and has recently been completely renovated. All reviews say it’s 5-star with amazing food and a great spa. The prices are pretty good, and we’ve had two friends go for a mini-vaca and LOVED it! I believe it’s 40 minutes south of Cancun. There’s also a great eco hotel in the area that a lot of people recommend.

  16. my family went to playa del carmen in march. we stayed at the hacienda vista real. very beautiful, but not on the beach. i would recommend going to tulum, coba, muyil, chichen itza, and the samula cenote where you can swim in fresh water, the xcaret park…there is tons to do there!

  17. We vacation in Playa Del Carmen a few times a year. There is a really nice/large downtown (called “Fifth Avenue” with a great mix of authentic Mexican shop/restaurants mixed in with almost every type of restaurant you can think of (including sushi). There are also a number of night spots on the beach that are not spring-breaky at all. The beaches are gorgeous. We stay at a rental house, but we have also stayed at nice inclusives and hotels. Try the Gran Porto Real for all-inclusive or Blue Parrot for hotel (both beachside and walkable to everything). Feel free to email me if you have specific questions. Have a great trip! Encanta Mexico!

  18. You’re going to love it! We stayed in 2 places, and Maroma was AMAZINGLY perfect! We did all the things mentioned above, but our favorite part was going over to Isla Mujeres – definitely look into that.

  19. I just came back from Cancun and it was amazing! I also went to Tulum, Xcaret,and Chichen Itza, all beautiful. I think you can stay almost anywhere (I stayed at the Omni hotel) the key is renting a car. The roads are decent, there are signs for all the sites so you can’t get too lost and you can do what you want when you want. We went on tours and felt rushed through everything. Taxis can be expensive, use sparingly. Also check the times on the sites, we got to Tulum at 3pm only to find out they close at 4pm.

  20. I just came back from Cancun and it was amazing! I also went to Tulum, Xcaret,and Chichen Itza, all beautiful. I think you can stay almost anywhere (I stayed at the Omni hotel) the key is renting a car. The roads are decent, there are signs for all the sites so you can’t get too lost and you can do what you want when you want. We went on tours and felt rushed through everything. Taxis can be expensive, use sparingly. Also check the times on the sites, we got to Tulum at 3pm only to find out they close at 4pm.

  21. My husband and I honeymooned at Xpu-Ha Palace, one of the Palace Resorts. We loved the closer-to-nature atmosphere. It was crafted to be a resort and nature preserve; manatees swam by the kayaks we borrowed on site during a kayak tour of the inlet where fresh and salt water met. We wound our way through densely green pathways and enjoyed quiet sunrises in what felt like our own private paradise. I highly recommend it and echo the other commenters’ notes about Tulum. It’s amazing to see the manmade sunwashed structures next to the brightest greens and blues I have ever encountered. Wear head protection- the sun is very strong! We were relieved to not have a car but to take a couple of resort bus trips to local attractions. I don’t have the guts to drive those roads myself.

  22. Too funny – we just photographed a couple last week who went on their honeymoon there. They get back tomorrow…

  23. Playa del Carmen is incredible. Great mix of mellow days at the beach or pool and nights strolling down 5th Ave and eating at great spots. I have been there a couple times – stayed at the same place both times – Shangri-La Caribe ( It’s a great small to mid-sized resort on the north end of the town. Very friendly, well cared for, clean, nicely designed…. Gorgeous landscaping around the resort, all rooms are in either one story or two story grass-roof structures. It’s right on the beach and a 10 min. walk to 5th Ave shops and restaurants. Tulum is great too – definatel worth checking out – less developed than Playa but great beach resorts. Have fun!

  24. Dreams Tulum is nicer actually than Xcaret, and I would recommend not staying at Azul Blue, it’s kind of stripped down and not nearly as nice as the other resorts. The father from Cancun you get towards Tulum, the prettier the resort is and the amenities are better.

  25. It’s great to hear all the comments about the Riviera Maya area. We have planned a family trip with our 2 kids to Dreams Tulum. Our travel agent told us that Dreams Tulum is a great family resort and the Mayan ruins are beautiful. The only thing that I’m a little worried about is the 75 minute ride from the airport with the kids. But, from all of your comments, I’m sure it’ll be worth it. Anyone have any comments on the ride from the airport to Tulum?

  26. we are planning a honeymoon to riviera maya come oct. looking for a recommendation of a pampering place but is not one of the all inclusives. Any recommendations out there?

  27. Here are some tips 4u. I`m from México, loooove your blog and would love to help you out with your next trip to my country. I have a house in Tulum (Inside the Riviera Maya) and everytime I go, can´t miss these places, check them out:
    – Martini Bar (Doesn´t have a website but it´s a beautiful place and delicious martinis in front of the beach)
    – Playa Paraiso: A beach to relax and enJOY!
    For more info contact me: [email protected]


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