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Things to Do in the Riviera Maya Part 1

by Daniela Lee on August 23, 2021

 Hello, fellow readers; I just returned from a fabulous vacation at the Riviera Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula. Being there inspired me to share things to do should you decide to visit.

 What is the Yucatán Peninsula?

Located in the Southeastern Mexico region, it separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. It comprises three Mexican states - Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Campeche, and portions of Belize and Guatemala. 

 What is the Riviera Maya?

It is a stretch of coastline located in the Caribbean, specifically on Mexico's northeastern Yucatán Peninsula. It is widely known for its emerald and turquoise waters, soft white coral sand beaches, and lush tropical forests that hide ancient Mayan ruins that were once part of a vast civilization, not to mention its numerous all-inclusive resorts, smaller boutique hotels, nightlife, and several fine-dining restaurants. 

So, if you ever find yourself in that part of the world and are feeling adventurous, here are a few places that I recommend you look into!


Visit Cobá 

Cobá is located near four lakes; these lakes are believed to have given the city its name, which translates to "Waters stirred by the wind." 

 Due to its remote location, this site doesn't see the number of tourists that other Mayan ruins do. Still, Cobá is the place to go if you are looking for adventure since it is not as excavated as other archaeological sites, which adds to the feeling of discovery and adventure!

 One thing to note is that archaeologists are now convinced that in time, Cobá will prove to be one of the most extensive Mayan excavations, with more than 5,000 mounds that have yet to be uncovered!

 Cobá was one of my favorite activities; it feels like you traveled back in time. I highly recommend you go early in the morning, it won't be as crowded, and you will feel that much closer to nature.  

You also should hire a tour guide to tell you about the history of Cobá and all there is to know about the location. 


Swim in a Cenote

What is a Cenote? Cenotes are natural sinkholes that result from the collapse of limestone bedrock exposing freshwater. 

There are numerous stunning cenotes one can visit, but if you are near Cobá, there are 3 cenotes worth visiting.

  1. Choo-Ha is a shallow water cenote with stalagmites hanging from the top.
  2. Tankach-Ha is a deep underground cavern with two platforms where you can jump off. 
  3. Multun-Ha contains a large wooden deck to help you ease into the very refreshing blue water. 

I had the pleasure of visiting Multun-Ha after exploring Cobá. Walking up to the cenote entrance is not what you expect; it looks like a small hut with a long round staircase. When you finally get to the wooden deck, you will be amazed! This Cenote has a bit of a spooky feel to it just because it's a bit darker than you'd expect. Still, after being out in the sun, you will want to immerse yourself in the cool and refreshing water. They do have some ropes attached from the deck to the other side of the Cenote - in case you feel the need to hold on for dear life, like me!


The second Cenote I visited was after exploring Tulum is called "El Sueño." This gorgeous Cenote has stalagmites all over the cave ceiling, and some are almost reaching the water! If you dare, you can use snorkeling equipment to explore the cave; some areas are very enclosed with just a tiny opening to pass through; it can get a bit claustrophobic, but if you can get past that, you should try it!  


Swim with Turtles in Akumal

Just 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen lies Akumal; on this beach, you will find 3 types of sea turtles, and the best part is you can snorkel with them! Locals offer organized tours, and some hotels in the area will rent gear so you can swim up to their feeding grounds and see the turtles up close. 



Scuba Diving

I will say Scuba diving is not for everyone (me), but it is incredible, according to the family members that did go through with it.

In Playa del Carmen, they have several companies that will teach you the basics, have you test it out in a pool, and then take you out to sea, where you'll get to encounter schools of fish and fantastic coral reefs. 

 The number of things to do in the Riviera Maya can't be summed up to one post, so if you are looking for more things to do, stay tuned for my next post! 





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