Moments That Basically Sum Up Your Riviera Maya Experience
• Swimming (or diving) in a cenote
Nothing defines the Riviera Maya experience more than these sacred underground rivers. There are plenty of them scattered around the whole Yucatan Peninsula, and no matter which one you choose to visit, they all offer an impressive and unique experience. Most cenotes are like small lagoons surrounded by huge caves, but underground water paths connect them. That’s why they are so attractive for divers that visit the region from all over the world, as you can dive into one cenote and follow these underground currents discovering amazing caverns in the process.
• A bohemian evening at Tulum
Tulum is this gorgeous beach town 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, famous for its spectacular Mayan ruins overlooking the Caribbean Sea. And well, yes, you should visit the ruins, maybe as part of a long day trip planned to finish at Tulum’s hotel zone. Just don’t think in a big resort hotel zone like those of Cancun and Cabo; this is a small coastal road along with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, where a series of stylish boho-chic hotel boutiques have established themselves. This is not an all-inclusive area, but a pretty exclusive section of the Riviera Maya where spotting celebrities are common and extravagant practices, such as topless or even full nudity by the beach allowed. The place is filled with top-notch restaurants and bars, with famous Chefs and Mixologists offering outstanding culinary experiences. Once again, if you are looking for noisy nightclubs, this is not the place for you, but if a more intimate and refined type of evening is your thing, then you will fall in love with Tulum.
• Watching the sunset on top of the Kukulcan Pyramid in Chichen Itza
Here we are talking about climbing to the top of one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World and the most up-close-and-personal interaction with the Mayan culture you can get. The Kukulcan Pyramid is just the crowning jewel of the ancient city of Chichen Itza, one of the most impressive and well-preserved Mayan archaeological sites. There is no better place to watch the sunset in the whole Yucatan Peninsula.
• Shopping in La Quinta Avenida
Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, La Quinta Avenida (The Fifth Avenue) is a long pedestrian street filled with high-end boutiques and all kinds of shops. Here you will find some of the most exclusive brands in the world mixed with the unavoidable cheesy t-shirts and Mexican handcrafts made in China. But the place is an amazing kaleidoscope of colors, cultures, restaurants, cafés, and the best shopping in the Riviera Maya. It has something for everyone. You can arrive in the morning and enjoy a delicious French pastry, or walk a block down to the beach and sip a coffee while looking at the Caribbean. By noon, most shops are open, and then it’s shopping season until your feet start complaining. Then, getting into one of the several state-of-the-art restaurants in the area is an experience in itself. For something really out of this world, try Frida, an outstanding restaurant inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, where food is extraordinary but just the start of the story.