A Guide to Riviera Maya: Top 5 Must Do’s in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya in my opinion is one of the BEST budget friendly destinations for couples, solo travels, or a girls weekend away. It has everything from all inclusive resorts, quant airbnb’s, gorgeous beaches, and all the activities for the adventure junkies out there.

Here are some  Top 5 MUST DO’s in Cancun/Riviera Maya area. Enjoy!

1. Stay at an All-Inclusive

I had never stayed at an all-inclusive until this trip, and now that I’ve experienced how easy and fun it is, I will definitely return! We stayed at Now Jade Riviera CancunWe booked from bookit.com with airfare included and only paid $598.00 pp for 4 nights. YES per person! We went in December, the start of their high season and best weather, and i checked daily for weeks until I found a good deal.

Now Jade had everything. All the rooms are suites, cute and very clean. The hotel had shows every night from twirling fire to acrobatics. There were many restaurants to choose from, and every one of them were great. My husband is the foodie between the two of us, and he loved everything he tried! The activities team had something different every hour which made our stay so much more fun. You could go play volleyball, tennis, kayaking, snorkeling, bingo, yoga, tequila tasting, casino nights, you name it! For those that just want to get away and stay at the resort, you wouldn’t even have to leave the resort to be completely entertained.




We took a ferry from the port of Cancun to a little island just east of Cancun. It was a 30 minute boat ride, $8 pp, and one of the best things we did on our trip!

Renting a scooter or golfcart is one of the big things to do on the island. It isn’t more than about $30 USD to rent for the whole day, and you can make it around the whole island in probably an hour. We stumbled upon this GORGEOUS beach called “Playa Norte.” It had the best taco stands, chairs to rent, amazing pina coladas, and water that was unbeliveably blue!

When you’re done exploring the beaches of the island, there is some great shopping and art to stumble upon. The best part? you can hop back on the ferry to go back to Cancun, as the ferry leaves every half hour.





About an hour and a half drive south from Riviera Maya, you’ll find Tulum. A place with so much history and culture. The Tulum Ruins are a must on your trip to Cancun. As you walk around the ruins and read up on the history, you’ll make your way to the top where you’ll see a gorgeous beach. Tulum has some amazing airbnb’s you can stay in for cheap too!

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4. Swim in a Cenote

All over Riviera Maya, you can swim in these random swimming holes that are so deep you couldn’t touch the bottom. Surrounded by forests and deep blue water, these cenotes are a must. There are so many different ones you can dive in, snorkel through, and some go back into caves for miles and miles. One of the cenotes called Kin ha had a zipline over it and different levels of jumps to dive into the deep and refreshing water. We also went to Dos Ojos and Mysterioso. Mysterioso is a cave that goes on forever and we were greeted by many bats! When we arrived, they gave us a snorkel, a helmet with a flashlight, and an experienced guide to help us navigate around this PITCH BLACK cave!  It was scary, the water was cold, and it was amazing! This centote was only discovered 11 year ago, some parts haven’t even been reached yet. But it was a blast exploring the crevices of those caves!

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5. Go to Xelha or Xcaret

Have you ever imagined a natural waterpark that was all inclusive where you could snorkel, zipline, cliff jump, AND have unlimited pina coladas? This is your spot. Xelha and Xcaret are beautiful natural waterparks. We chose to go to Xelha because it seemed to be more geared towards the adventure junkie. Tickets were a little pricey, at $80 USD pp. BUT it was unlimited food and drink, offered so many activities, and was one of the highlights of our trip. I recommend booking online, it’s cheaper than paying when you get there! From stingrays, to manatees, snorkeling, rope swings, lounging on a beach of hammocks, this place had it all!

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This is only the beginning to all the fun and beauty Mexico has to offer! There is plenty more to do like atving, shopping on 5th ave in Playa Del carmen, zip lining, or enjoying a spa day!

I hope your travels take you to Riviera Maya soon! 🙂

9 Comments Add yours

  1. pseudonymiclife says:

    What a great and informative article! We have looked into the riviera maya and if we weren’t convinced then, now we really are! Our biggest reservation was staying at an all-inclusive ( we are considering this for the DR), we were afraid that our experience wouldn’t be as authentic-but after reading your article I can see how easy it is to access the rest of the peninsula. Congrats on the new blog, can’t wait to read more about your adventures! -Mel & Zach


  2. AbbyJo says:

    Thanks so much! You guys HAVE to go, you will love it!


  3. susielindau says:

    Love it! I stayed at the Riviera Maya and had a great time. Hardly anyone spoke English which was super fun too!


  4. susielindau says:

    That must not be the name. Ha! I just looked at the title. Hahaha!


  5. Mama Doc says:

    Omg totally jealous right now as I sit in 30 F weather. Beautiful pics!


  6. Looks like you guys had a great trip! I’ve been to Mexico twice: about four years ago my (then) boyfriend and I went to Cancun, then we returned a couple years later and got married in Riveria Maya! The all inclusive resorts are the best– I mean, you can’t beat those prices! The Isla Mujeres sounds absolutely fantastic; I’d never heard of it. Next time we go back, we’ll definitely have to check it out!


  7. I swam in a Cenote when I went to Cancun 8 years back on a trip with my sister. We also went to a zoo where you can interact with a lot of the animals. It was really fun. I’ve always been interested in Riviera Maya and this looks amazing.


    1. Abby's Atlas says:

      Ive heard that zoo is amazing! Im actually going back in March and will have to check it out! 🙂


  8. josypheen says:

    Oh my goodness this looks amaaaazing!
    Those beaches look stunning as do the swimming holes. You must have had a blast.


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