One of the best things to do in Riviera Maya (a stretch of immaculate Mexican beaches spanning the towns between Puerto Morelos and Tulum) during your vacation is to head out on exciting Riviera Maya day trips. There’s so much to uncover in this beautiful and stimulating part of the world. Choose your own adventure from these incredible Riviera Maya day trips during your all inclusive vacation at Riviera Maya’s Occidental at Xcaret Destination, Barceló Maya Grand Resort (comprised of Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Colonial, Barceló Maya Tropical, and the all-suite, AAA Four-Diamond Barceló Maya Palace) or the adults-only, AAA Four-Diamond Royal Hideaway Playacar, as well as Cancun’s Occidental Tucancún or Occidental Costa Cancún.
Tulum: A Journey Through the Past
The walled Mayan city of Tulum isn’t really a day trip. It’s a trip back in time. Located on a tropical beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Tulum was once a major port city for the Mayans. As you explore the ruins here, you’ll gain keen insight into the culture and heritage that once dominated Riviera Maya centuries ago. Don’t miss the so-called Coba ruins here, which include the famed “El Castillo” (the Castle), one of Riviera Maya’s most iconic sightseeing spots. Beyond the historical aspect of Tulum, Tulum Ruina Playa is a must-visit as well.
- Riviera Maya Day Trip Tip: Vacaciones Barceló’s Tulum Explorer offer is a perfect way to experience this one-of-a-kind part of the world. You’ll receive comfortable and quick transportation to and from your hotel, expert guidance throughout the site and much more.
Gran Cenote: Riviera Maya’s Most Beautiful Natural Swimming Hole
Have you ever gone swimming in a cenote? It’s one of the greatest Riviera Maya day trips. But first things first: what’s a cenote? They’re natural swimming holes, formed when limestone bedrock is eroded by rain and caves in. They’re filled with crystal clear water and surrounded by beautiful rock formations. The Yucatán Peninsula is packed with cenotes – estimates suggest there are more than 6,000 throughout the region. Learn more about Riviera Maya cenotes.
One of the most well-known cenotes in all of Mexico, the Gran Cenote is located not too far from Tulum. Its proximity is no coincidence. Open from 10am- 5pm every day, the Gran Cenote was an important resource for the Mayans, for both spiritual and practical reasons. Today, it’s a perfectly preserved spot, with 140 meters of calm, shallow waters (great for kids) and easy-to-use walkways. For adventure seekers, Gran Cenote snorkeling and scuba diving is legendary. The water in the caverns here is so clear that even from the surface you can see down to the bottom. Don’t miss your chance to experience this natural attraction in Riviera Maya. You can easily spend several hours here
- Riviera Maya Day Trip Tip: Gran Cenote is an extremely popular attraction! Beat the crowds by getting there early in the morning. You’ll be able to explore at your leisure.
Chichén Itzá: One of the New Seven Wonders of the World
An astounding complex of Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This incredibly preserved historic marvel was once the cultural and economic capital of the Yucatán Peninsula. As you explore, you’ll feel deeply immersed in the visual splendor of its towering pyramids, ornate temples and expansive ballcourts.
- Riviera Maya Day Trip Tip: Vacacciones Barcelo offers the Chichén Itzá Plus experience, which is one of the easiest and best ways to experience the site. On a roundtrip guided trip, you’ll have plenty of time to wander Chichén Itzá’s best spots. You’ll also visit the Hubikú Cenote, one of the largest in the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as the nearby colonial city of Valladolid, where you can sample authentic Riviera Maya cuisine. All in all, it’s one of the most unforgettable Riviera Maya day trips to take with your family.
Akumal: Place of the Turtles
Riviera Maya is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the entire world. But if you had to narrow it down to just one, Akumal might be the most spectacular beach. It’s got it all – warm turquoise waters, pristine white sands lined by coconut trees, a shallow, protected bay, beautiful offshore reefs and fascinating eco-adventures.
Located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal’s name is a Mayan word that translates to “place of the turtles.” And it’s easy to see why: the beach is a national refuge for sea turtles. Between May and November every year, hundreds of these majestic creatures come to Akumal to lay eggs. The best place to see this incredible natural rite of passage is Half Moon Bay. But no matter what time of year you come to Akumal, you’ll be able to enjoy snorkeling in calm, clear waters, relaxing on the spacious sands, or exploring underground rivers.
- Riviera Maya Day Trip Tip: End your Akumal day trip with a visit to La Buena Vida. This beachfront bar delivers panoramic views, a festive atmosphere and plenty of the area’s best musicians performing live.