The Riviera Maya in Mexico has everything you could want from an all-inclusive holiday; sun, sea, sand, great weather even in the winter, and luxury hotels. As well as being ideal for families looking to spend some relaxing time together, there’s an abundance of excursions for more adventurous, experienced holidaymakers who want to save a bit of money.
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Riviera Maya is one of the few places where you can practically guarantee year-round warmth. On average it rarely reaches 20°C for average lows, and highs vary a few degrees around the ideal holiday temperature of 30°C. Be sure to pack summery clothes and plenty of sun cream for the family.
*Please note that the following temperatures were correct at the time of writing.
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The cuisine in Riviera Maya is exceptionally varied and has something for everyone. Some hotels are adults-only, but at the more family friendly hotels, you’ll find that they offer dedicated children’s choices, along with the opportunity to dine in a child-free environment if you need a bit of ‘you time’.
While most hotels have an international buffet, in Riviera Maya there’s a notable focus on à la carte dining from around the world, including American, Asian, European, and of course, local favourites. You should also find Vegetarian options readily available, as well as healthier options alongside quick and simple barbeques and grills, and even crêperies and ice cream parlours for those with a sweet tooth.
Being so close to the sea you’ll find an abundance of seafood available and many of the hotels offer dining on the beach, often in more secluded romantic settings if you’re travelling as a couple. Alongside an abundance of gourmet dining choices, many all-inclusive Riviera Maya hotels offer snacks and room service, and if you’re travelling in the festive season, you should be able to book a Christmas and New Year’s gala dinner.
Given the favourable climate of Riviera Maya, it’s unsurprising that the swimming pool is the main feature at all-inclusive hotels. Expect to find family friendly pools that feature children’s sections alongside waterparks featuring slides and other aquatic activities, as well as dedicated adults-only pools.
Water sports are exceptionally popular, meaning there’s a great choice of activities for children and adults, including snorkelling, scuba diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, a variety of sailing activities including canoeing, kayaking and motorboats, and more. Riviera Maya is also great for sports, with facilities for football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, pool tables, table tennis and more.
When the evening comes along you’ll find that many hotels have on-site nightclubs and even casinos, as well as holiday favourites such as karaoke, themed evenings, live music and shows, and mini-discos for younger tourists.
You’ll also find that family friendly all-inclusive hotels have clubs for children and teenagers that include dedicated activities and, of course, video games.
As the Riviera part of the name suggests; the Riviera Maya is a coastal resort, and because of this practically every all-inclusive hotel in the region is located either on or right next to the beach, meaning you’re not far from your next bite to eat or emergency bottle of sun cream.
Some hotels feature private beaches including secluded areas that provide a little more privacy, although keep in mind that use of these beaches can incur additional costs.
Who Goes There?
As with other parts of Mexico, the Riviera Maya is very popular with Americans who make up around half of the tourists who flock here in the summer months. Aside from other British tourists expect to run into a number of Canadian holidaymakers as well as a number of visitors from the equally nearby Brazil.
Unlike some tourist destinations, the taxis in Mexico generally avoid relying on scams to get more money out of you. The cost of your journey should be agreed upfront as it’s usually worked out to a set rate, but keep in mind that tipping is expected, so try to keep a few spare pesos to hand (generally at least 10, depending on the distance).
If you’re planning on doing a lot of exploring outside of your resort, a cheaper alternative is a Colectivo, otherwise known as “combis” or a “collective”. Thankfully nothing to do with science fiction cyborgs; these mini-vans are used readily by locals, and while they won’t take you to your destination as directly as a taxi, they can save you some money. Just keep in mind that you won’t receive the same service and attention as you would in a taxi.
The Riviera Maya has plenty to offer everyone, whether you’re travelling with or without children. The region has lots of fun activities, but it’s also steeped in ancient history and has a rich ecosystem. Keep in mind that some excursions can take a whole day and while some include lunch, it is worth checking with your holiday representative before you book, as you might be able to secure an all-inclusive packed lunch to take with you.
Great for families and big kids
Go for Surf and Turf with Captain Hook – If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to dine with Captain Jack Sparrow, then we recommend looking into this particular excursion. Sail off on a replica galleon with a crew of 18th-century style Caribbean pirates while enjoying some hearty grub and grog, with shows that will entertain adventurous adults and children alike.
Feel the burn on a Xplor Fire Tour – Fancy a bit of thrill seeking? Got a fearless little one who likes to push it to the limit? Xplor is a natural adventure park where you can zip around the jungle on zip lines, drive amphibious vehicles, explore caves and caverns and go rafting, all while safe in the knowledge that the comfort of your hotel bed isn’t far away.
Learn about Coba Mayan traditions – Take a trip to the ancient Mayan city of ancient Mayan city of Coba where you’ll learn more about Mayan culture and traditions as part of a guided tour around an ancient hidden city. Great for adults as well as children who want something different to talk about when they go back to school.
Go on a jungle tour – It’s not all beaches and resorts in Riviera Maya, and just off the beaten path you can find a breath-taking rainforest brimming with exotic wildlife. Many tour operators offer jeep tours, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you might be able to track down excursions by quad bike.
Great for adults and teenagers
Take in the underwater sights – At this Playa del Carmen excursion you can swim and snorkel in an ancient underground pool in Tak Be Ha, otherwise known as The Place of Hidden Waters. Most excursions to this geological attraction include a tour of the jungle, ensuring that you have plenty of time to dry off before returning to your hotel.
Enjoy Xcaret – Xcaret is considered to be one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason. The park features a pristine white sand beach, jungle lagoons, exotic wildlife and an underwater river for snorkelling. If you can get here before the crowds arrive we highly recommend that you do.
Explore the ruins in Tulum – Part of the Riviera Maya; Tulum is a great discover more about the history of Mexico without having to travel too far away from your resort. Many of the ruins are located next to some stunning stretches of coastline, so you’ll have the opportunity to relax on the beach while taking in the sights.
Visit the Kukulkan Pyramid Temple – If you’ve ever wanted to really indulge your inner Indiana Jones, then a trip to the El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulkan, in Chichen Itza could be for you. Considered to be one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, this Mayan marvel is ideal for those wanting to really show off some exciting holiday snaps when they get home.
Chill out on a Fat Cat Catamaran – Ideal for sun worshippers, this catamaran has rigging nets set up for sunbathing and serves drinks and fresh fruit, and for those who don’t take to the sun so well, there’s even a shaded area. Trips usually include a chance to swim away from the shore, as well as stops at cenotes (underground caves).
Retail therapy – Be sure to explore the streets around your resort for some great souvenirs and bargains, but if you’re looking for a retail experience closer to what you could find at home, then the Paseo del Carmen mall in Playa del Carmen is home to big fashion brands.
*Details correct as of November 2016, however, errors can occur, deals can expire and facilities can change. Please treat this information as a rough guideline. If you notice an obvious error or a better price, let us know and we’ll update this page.