Riviera Maya Attractions And Things To Do

The Mayan Riviera is a fabulous place to visit because of the enormous amount of attractions and things to do.  That's why Travel Weekly recently voted the Riviera Maya the Best Vacation Destination in Mexico. Our Blog post here was created to give you a glimpse into the Riviera Maya, its beauty, its diversity, and why out of thousands of vacation destinations around the world, it should be at the top of your bucket list.  

While our Blog post describes many things to do and attractions in the Riviera Maya, below we have provided two concise lists.  The first lists things to do within a short walk of Ocean Breeze Akumal, in the heart of the Riviera Maya.  The second lists attractions and things to do in the Riviera Maya within an easy drive of Ocean Breeze Akumal.  As you will see Ocean Breeze Akumal is ideally situated for your vacation adventures.

Things To Do Within Walking Distance of Ocean Breeze Akumal

Playa Xaac

Only a short 400 m stroll from the apartment is our local beach, Playa Xaac.  Usually it has a few turtle nests and is great for a stroll along the coast, or reading a book on the sand in front of the Caribbean. Usually it's deserted and is where you can spend time exploring shells, rock pools, fossils and coral.

Yalkuito Lagoon

Only a few minutes walk from Ocean Breeze Akumal is Yalkuito Lagoon - a must do thing to do! It is a natural lagoon created where the river runs into the Caribbean ocean and provides a great secluded swimming and snorkeling spot between the jungle and the beach. Yalkuito has been described by our guests as a natural beauty because of the secluded spot where you can snorkel with fish and rays.

Our Local Cenote

Our local cenote is just off the jungle trail path, less than 5 minutes walk from our apartment.  Dip your feet into the cenote and sit on the warm rocks, while the small fish give you a free pedicure !

Eco-Sirenis Nursery And Mayan Tour

A short 200 m from the apartment is Eco-Sirenis Nursery. Here they grow all the plants for the Grand Sirenis Resort and the residential area as well. A self-guided path leads you through the garden showcasing indigenous plants, and Mayan culture. Interesting and educational information about local plants and Mayan culture is posted throughout the nursery.

Jungle Trail

A jungle trail starting 200 m from Ocean Breeze Akumal takes you from Eco-Sirenis, past the local cenote, to Playa Xaac and then on to the Grande Sirenis Resort. Walking along the trail, especially in the early morning you can experience the local wildlife: birds, coati, iguanas, and sometimes spider monkeys, in addition to numerous species of tropical birds.

Grand Sirenis Resort

The 5 star Grand Sirenis Resort is located within a 10-15 minute walk of the apartment rental on the other side of the residential area.  As a guest of our accommodation you are able to purchase a day pass to use the facilities of the resort.  This is great if you want to spend 1 or 2 days enjoying the pampering of an all-inclusive resort during your stay. 

Cafe and Bistro

Just past the entrance to the Grande Sirenis Resort, a 10 - 15 minute walk, from Ocean Breeze Akumal, is a local cafe and bistro.  Operated by local resident Edgar, you can get your daily Cappuccino, Latte or Americano.  In addition Edgar produces homemade pizza's, calzones, and grilled sandwiches as well.

Convenience Store

Around the corner from Edgar's cafe and bistro is an Oxxo convenience store.  If you're in need of a few items the Oxxo store will likely have them or similar items until you decide to go to the local Chedraui supermarket.

Riviera Maya Attractions Nearby

Beaches

For most people the biggest attraction of the Riviera Maya are the spectacular white sand beaches, and the warm crystal-clear Caribbean ocean.  Fortunately there are a host of great beaches within a short drive of Ocean Breeze Akumal.  The beaches listed below are all less than a 20 minute drive away us.  So top of your list of things to do is a visit to several of these fabulous local beaches.  

For a comprehensive review of the best beaches along the entire Riviera Maya coastline read our Blog post Best Beaches In The Riviera Maya, Mexico, and look at our maps of where the beaches are located.

BeachDriving Time
Akumal Bay Beachsnorkeling with turtles in Akumal Bay is a must for everyone !7 mins
Xpu-Ha Beachthe beach the locals go to, only a few tourists here! My favorite.9 mins
Aventuras Akumallower key South Akumal Bay10 mins
Xcacel Beacha natural eco beach with a hidden cenote !14 mins
Yal Ku Lagoonnot a beach but great snorkeling in the inlet and lagoon15 mins
Soliman Bayoff the beaten path seclusion...........16 mins
Paamul Beachlooking for ex-pat's?  this is their haven, which they're happy to share16 mins
Tankah Bayswim/snorkel through a mangrove cenote before arriving at the beautiful protected reef20 mins

Beach Clubs

Interested in more than throwing down your towel and soaking up the sun and waves, but not into an all-inclusive resort?  Then a beach club's a thing to add to your to do list.  They range from providing access to sunbeds, shade, and a local bar and restaurant, to luxury amenities including spa's, showers, billiard tables, and personal sleeping shacks.  For a small fee that will increase based on the luxury you are looking for, you can have a fabulous beach experience.

Consider these Riviera Maya beach club attractions which range from providing basic to luxury amenities.

Beach ClubDriving Time
Tao Beach ClubOn South Akumal beach it provides sunbeds, a pool, and the Jungle Fish restaurant (great seafood) and bar.  Well worth a visit.8 mins
KSMLa Playa Beach ClubsBoth are located at Xpu-Ha Beach.  Sunbed, waiter service, bar and restaurant food.  Watersports and spa services are available at KSM.9 mins
Beached Bikini Bar & GrillNot really a beach club, but it does allow access to South Akumal Beach for its customers, they have a bar and restaurant and a few sunbeds. 10 mins
La Buena Vida A charming restaurant overlooking the ocean.  Hang out on a bean bag or in a hammock.11 mins
Chamico'sLow key beach club with a restaurant, loungers, and hammocks on Soliman Bay.18 mins
Ziggy's Beach ClubIf you are looking for luxuries, this is worth the extra drive, just south of Tulum.35 mins

Cenotes

Cenotes are a natural phenomenon and one of Mayan Riviera's greatest attractions because the majority of the worlds cenotes are here!  A Cenote is a natural sinkhole created where a cave ceiling has collapsed. These caves have created lush, freshwater lagoons that are wonderfully refreshing.  In addition they are often great places to snorkel because of the different varieties of fish.  Many cenotes are linked together by underwater channels making them perfect for those interested in scuba diving.  Some can stretch 100's of km.  While there are over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, below are listed a few along the Riviera Maya coastline.

CenoteDriving time
CristalanoReally nice cenote, kid friendly and good amenities.  Good for snorkeling as they have a nice variety of fish.9 mins
Cenote AzulLocated next to Cristalano.  Great for young children as its mostly quite shallow.  Open air with lots of sun.  Popular with the locals.11 mins
KantunchiThere are actually 4 cenotes here so you have lots to explore.  From fabulous stalactites, to open air cenotes.  Bring your snorkel!12 mins
Jardin del EdenNext door to Cenote Azul this is a larger, deeper and more open cenote.  Scuba divers are often here and the snorkeling is good too.  2 jumping platforms.15 mins
Dos OjosThere are 3 cenotes here to explore.  It is the home of the deepest known underwater cave passage, 118 m. The whole cave system is over 60 km long.22 mins
Casa CenoteThis a little different as it is more of a long canal that winds from the ocean.  The water is very clear on a sunny day.23 mins
Gran CenoteA large and popular cenote.  Features lots of dive sites, sited caverns with stalactites and plenty of fish27 mins

Mayan Ruins

One of the great things to do in the Riviera Maya is taking a day or 2 to visit some of the Mayan Ruins during your visit.  Dating back to as far back as 2600 BC there is a rich Mayan culture here.  Review our map of the best Mayan Ruins to visit and for detailed information read our blog post Mayan Ruins in Mexico.  Below are a few local sites you might want to visit.

Mayan RuinDriving time
Xelha MayaA small, hardly visited, site with impressive murals  among the building and an impressive history13 mins
TulumSpectacular site and the 2nd most visited in Mexico.  28 mins
MuyilIf you are interested in a unique, off the beaten path, adventure then Muyil is for you.  A really nice, quiet set of ruins, next to the Sian Kaan Biosphere.45 mins
Coba80 km2 site with lots of interesting ruins and history including the tallest temple in the Yucatan, which you can climb, or can you?63 mins

Adventure and Water Parks

If your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya includes a little more outdoor adventure and excitement then there are plenty of options for you to choose from at these adventure and water parks.

ParkDriving time
Aktunchen Natural ParkA nature park offering a variety of activities including caving, floating through an underground river, and ziplining in a natural environment with a larger variety of animals13 mins
Xel-Ha ParkA water park including snorkeling, caves, river tours, cliff jumping, zip lines, jungle trails, cenotes, floating bridges, and more !14 mins
XplorFly on zip-lines, drive amphibious vehicles in the Mayan jungle, paddle aboard rafts, walk in ancient caverns and caves deep inside the Earth, and swim in an underground river!23 mins
XcaretOver 50 natural and cultural activities for you and your family including beaches, lagoons and underground rivers, a butterfly garden, an aviary,  an orchid museum, and Mayan equestrian and dance shows.31 mins

Restaurants

So another great attraction of the Mayan Rivera are the vast number of excellent restaurant choices available.  From local taco stands, and homemade pizza, to quality and reasonably priced Mexican and international cuisine, to elegant restaurant experiences for that special occasion.  From low key family lunches to romantic dinners on the beach under the stars it has it all.  With so many to choose from, below are a few local favorites.

RestaurantDriving time
Edgar's BistroGreat homemade calzones, pizzas and toasted bocadillos1 min
Lol-Ha RestaurantA perfect setting on Akumal Bay beach to relax for lunch or dinner.  Family friendly with a large variety of menu options at reasonable prices7 mins
Jungle Fish RestaurantJungle Fish is family run and serves great seafood with daily specials.  Access to Akumal beach provided and always a great view.8 mins
La TavernaA fabulous Italian restaurant, La Taverna is a must visit at least once a trip.  Located just before the entrance to Akumal beach. 8 mins
Turtle Bay CafeServes a variety of tasty food for breakfast and lunch, before you hit the Akumal Bay beach.8 mins
La Buena VidaA varied menu that offers dishes for most tastes in a beautiful setting in North Akumal.11 mins
Beached Bikini Bar & GrillLow key bar and grill on the beach at South Akumal beach (Aventuras Akumal).  Good for snacks, and lunches for individuals, small groups and families.11 mins
La LunitaGreat for seafood and Mexican sides in a fabulous setting in North Akumal.13 mins
Chamico'sSeafood literally on the beach.  An exotic, rustic experience.19 mins

Scuba Diving, Fishing, And Other Water Sports

Scuba Diving

In 2019 Scuba Diving Magazine voted the Riviera Maya the #1 place to scuba dive in the world.  One of the reasons for this is that it is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world.  Obviously scuba diving is a major attraction for divers to the Riviera Maya.  The reef has abundant coral and marine life to explore.  Around Akumal the deep reef starts at a depth of approximately 60 to 70 feet and extends out in finger like ridges, and drops to between 100 and 140 feet of beautiful canyons. A second reef ranges from 50 to 70 feet in depth, making this a perfect choice for a second dive of the day. In addition, shallow portions of the reef run between 25 to 45 feet in depth with large Elkhorn formations.

As well as the ocean, cenotes also attract cave divers who explore the extensive labyrinth of the caves which can stretch hundreds of km's.  Cenote diving provides a whole new dimension to your diving options.

The best place to find more information about scuba diving in the region is the Akumal Dive Center.  This is the most established dive center and has been operating since 1975.  In addition to daily dives, they provide scuba diving instruction and PADI classes, and rent equipment and gear.  As a guest of our vacation rental accommodation, you can receive free transportation to and from our accommodation when registering with Akumal Dive Center.  The Akumal Dive Center is only an 8 min drive away.

Fishing

With 100's of km's of coastline fishing is an activity to do for many people.  However, you don't need to bring your own boat to go fishing!  Offshore fishing charters are attractive because of the variety of fish available including Tuna, Billfish, Wahoo & Dorado, Sailfish, White & Blue Marlin, Barracuda, and Mahi Mahi.  Akumal Dive Center have experienced captains who can lead you to the best fishing spots at a reasonable price.  

Another option, a little further away, is to hire an independent charter fishing boat at Puerto Aventuras a 16 minute drive from Ocean Breeze Akumal.

Other Water Sports

At many beaches and beach clubs you will be able to rent equipment and/or receive instruction on a variety of water sports.  From boogie boards, paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, to jet-ski watercraft there are lots of options.  Interested in an evening sail on a catamaran over dinner?  No problem. 

Wildlife Attractions and Experiences

With a coastline surrounded by tropical jungle on the one side, wildlife experiences around here are certainly not uncommon.  Daily you'll see numerous iguanas basking in the sunshine, and not uncommon are Coati (often seen from our pool deck), Capybara, and occasionally spider monkeys.  Added to this there are nearly 400 different bird species in the region ! 

If you are looking for wildlife adventures an things to do then there are several options to consider, including the following.

Wildlife AdventureDriving time
Dolphin Discovery AkumalHave several program packages for dolphin encounters and swims.  Certified under the 'Miracle' program.3 mins (14 min walk)
Akumal Monkey SanctuaryA rescue center for animals and exotic wildlife including spider monkeys, and other primates, numerous species of birds such as the red macaw, African gray parrot etc.  Great family fun.
11 mins
Delphinus Xel-HaDolphin interaction and swimming programs at a highly regarded establishment with several international certifications. 15 mins
Croco Cun ZooLocated near Puerto Morelos has an interactive guided tour where you can touch, hold, and feed a variety of local wild animals. Most of the specimens have come as donations, as well as rescues or seizures.54 mins
Sian Ka'an Biosphere ReserveHome to 103 species of mammals and 345 species of birds, and more than 1,400 species of plants. Including pumas, ocelots and jaguars, as well as tapirs, spider and howler monkeys, white-tailed deer and white-cheeked wild boars. There are several tour operators that offer day trips that may combine hiking, Jeep rides and boat rides to take in the full breadth of the reserve’s natural wonders.60 + mins
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