Absolutely The Best List Of 113 Things To Do In The Riviera Maya

It's the best vacation destination in Mexico because of all the things to do in the Riviera Maya. Yes, it has spectacular white sand beaches, and a warm tropical year-round climate. But is that all? Definitely not as you will see from 113 best things to do in the Riviera Maya listed below.

Our list of the best 113 things to do in the Riviera Maya covers:

  • Adventure and Theme Parks
  • Beaches (duh!)
  • Festivals
  • Cenotes
  • Eco Adventures
  • Mayan Ruins
  • Sports
  • Eating & Drinking
  • Exercise
  • Night Time Activities
  • Arts and Culture
  • Shopping
  • Romance
  • Simple Pleasures, and last but definitely not least,
  • Water Activities

Things To Do in the Riviera Maya – Adventure and Theme Parks

While visiting the beaches are the top things to do in the Riviera Maya, people are often surprised by the number of adventure parks there are here. Most are great for families who want to add some adventure and fun to their vacation. But they are fun for adults too. For example, I went to Xel-Ha Water Park with my teenage daughter and her friends. And I thought it was one of the best Riviera Maya things to do. And not something I would have gone to without my daughter (and her friends).

1.Xel-Ha Water Park: $, 👪 - Xel-Há is an aquatic theme park where guests can snorkel, relax and enjoy the sparkling Caribbean waters. It's great fun for adults and kids alike. There are inner tube floats down the river, ziplines across the cenote, cliff jumping, children's pools, and lots of fun things to do in the Riviera Maya.

2. Monkey Sanctuary Tour: $, 👪 – This 2-hour tour of the animal sanctuary features 55 species of rescued animals that you can meet, touch, and learn about. An excellent family activity.

3. Xplor Adventure Park: $, 👪 – At Xplor, there are many things to do in the Riviera Maya. You can drive amphibious vehicles through the jungle and caves. Or fly on 13 zip lines over lush vegetation. And swim or raft exploring a fascinating underground cave system with beautiful rock formations. All you need is an adventurous spirit!

4. Aktun Chen Natural Park: $, 👪 - Aktun Chen is one of the popular things to do in the Mayan Riviera. It is a remarkable natural eco-park ranked as a Top 10 Underground Walk by National Geographic. It also has zip lines, and a cave as well as an underground river.

5. Croco Cun Zoo: $, 👪 - Croco Cun is an interactive Zoo. You can connect with nature with a guided tour among crocodiles, deer, parrots, spider monkeys, and other species.

6. Selva/Jungle Maya Eco Adventure Park: $ - At Selva Maya, you can fly on 9 ziplines. Or go over 5 hanging bridges, and rock climb to a pyramid. Or rappel down overlooking a cenote, go swimming or cliff jumping at a cenote, and visit a cavern for snorkeling. Or go ATV’ing.

7. Xenses Park: $ 👪 - Set in the dense jungle south of Playa del Carmen, Xenses Park offers outdoor adventure with a multisensory twist. As well as a zipline, lazy river, and waterslide, the park also uses optical illusions. And natural exhibits, and interactive features to get your adrenaline going. Making it a top choice for thrill-seekers of any age. This exciting park is hours of fun with its sensory stimulation tours, 3D movies, and artificial pools to confuse your senses.

8. Xcaret Adventure Park: $$ 👪 – Xcaret is like a North American amusement park but it is built into the natural environment. It includes quiet jungle trails, an underground river, caverns, and diverse wildlife. And a Coral Reef Aquarium teeming with colorful fish. As well as an Orchid Greenhouse (with over 80 species of orchids), and our favorite, the Butterfly Farm. And swimming with nurse sharks !! 

Mayan Riviera Things To Do – Beaches

The popularity of the Riviera Maya is due to the vast number of activities, natural beauty, wildlife, and Mayan culture. But, the most popular things to do in the Rivera Maya are visits to the spectacular white-sand beaches. And the warm crystal-clear Caribbean ocean. And there are so many beaches to choose from. While we mention a few below, get a bonus upgrade to receive your guide to 21 of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya.

9. XpuHa Beach: $ 👪 - Xpu Há is one of the spectacular white sand beaches in the Riviera Maya. And definitely is top of the list of the things to do in the Riviera Maya. It’s a big hit with the locals but is only slowly becoming known by tourists and visitors. XpuHa a hidden gem for most people visiting the area.

10. Mamitas Beach: $$ - Does your list of the Riviera Maya things to do include a trendy and hip beach? One that’s popular for the fashionable crowd? If so then Mamitas is the place. In Playa Del Carmen it’s 3 blocks from 5th Avenue. Here are the trendy beach clubs, DJs, dancing, and beach beds. For a price, you can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, beach beds, use the beachside pools, or the VIP lounge. There are also many water activities such as jet skis, parasailing, and catamaran boats for hire.

11. Playa Paraiso: 👪 Described in Forbes Magazine as "A quintessential beach destination for travelers on the hunt for perfection." It ranked Playa Paraiso #7 on its list of the top 50 beaches around the world. So, it is definitely one of the things to do in the Mayan Riviera. Access to Playa Paraiso is free. It is located 500 m away from the Mayan Ruins at Tulum.

12. Maroma Beach: $$ 👪Travel Channel viewers voted this one of the top ten beaches in the world. And it should be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. Maroma beach is two miles long and has gentle water, powder-soft sand, and a tropical backdrop. Located on 500 acres of beach and rain forest, it is a fabulous setting for swimming in an exclusive getaway. But access is only for those staying at one of the luxurious villas or boutique hotels. Unless that is, you have a reservation for lunch at a local restaurant!

13. Chamicos in Soliman Bay: $ 👪 – If you are more interested in ‘off-the-beaten-path’ places then Chamico’s should be on your list of Riviera Maya things to do. A little more than halfway from Akumal to Tulum, Soliman Beach is a great place to visit if you want a secluded bay. Though not as wide as the other beaches in this area, the sand is just as soft. Moreover, the bay is very protected by the reef making for calm water even in rough weather. As a result, this is a good destination for families, and it's also much quieter since it is a gated community. Chamico’s, a seafood shack, is a fabulous rustic beach club. Its located in the southern part of the bay. Think laid back hang-out, of mostly locals. There are lots of hammocks hung between palms trees to chill out in. But, before you go confirm that it is open since it was closed due to the Covid pandemic.

14. Ziggy’s Beach: $$ - Ziggy's is a popular Tulum beach. Like other beaches in the area, it has remarkable marine life and is a great place for snorkeling and diving. If one of the Riviera Maya things to do on your list is pampering then look no further than Ziggy's Beach Club. It has luxurious beachfront amenities and a relaxing ambiance.

15. Boca Paila Beach: - This is for those of you who want adventurous things to do in the Riviera Maya. This is a remote beach destination at the entrance of the Sian Kaan biosphere reserve. The biggest attraction is sport fishing. And there is a fishing lodge you can stay in. Or, you can also camp. In short, if you are looking for a natural, tranquil, and extremely remote beach experience Boca Paila is it.

Things to Do in the Riviera Maya – Festivals

When people think about things to do in the Riviera Maya they don’t often think about festivals. But there are many festivals and similar events throughout the year in the Riviera Maya.

16. Riviera Maya Film Festival: $ - This is one of the really fun things to do in the Riviera Maya. Go to a film festival and watch a movie on the beach in the evening. The film festival has been going on since 2006, but check for future events after Covid restrictions.

17. The BFM Music Festival: $$ - This touring BFM concert festival usually has a stop in the Riviera Maya in January. If you want late-night dancing and partying then check it out.

18. Candelmas Religious Festival: 👪 There are many religious festivals throughout the year in Mexico. Candlemas, is a religious holiday and is celebrated with processions, and dancing. Also the blessing of seeds and candles. It is celebrated on February 2nd and also marks the day that the Nativity scene is put away.

19. Sea Turtle Festival: 👪 Each October there is a sea turtle festival to promote awareness and preservation of sea turtles in the Riviera Maya. There are many activities during this time.

20. Arena Festival: $$$ - This is Mexico’s biggest gay and lesbian dance music festival. It occurs in the Riviera Maya, from late October through early November.

21. Akumal Street Art Festival: 👪 – One of the unique things to do in the Riviera Maya is to attend the Akumal Street Art festival. Once a year, over 100 artists from around the world come together in the pueblo of Akumal. They paint murals, offer workshops, performances, and engage with the local community and each other. Even if you aren’t able to attend the festival you can take a walking tour year-round. And still, experience and learn about the art, the artists, and the community impact.

22. Carnaval: 👪 – One of the highlights of things to do in the Riviera Maya is to attend this five-day celebration before Catholic lent. Carnaval is an exuberant celebration of parades, music, dancing, floats, and costumes between February 19 and 26th.

23.Tulum, Food, Spirits, and Wine Festival: $-$$ - A 6-day gastronomic festival and restaurant week that occurs in Tulum each year. If you’re a foodie it's one of the best Riviera Maya things to do.

24. Spring and Fall Equinox at Chichen Itza: – Twice a year, one of the unique things to do n the Riviera Maya is to attend an equinox celebration at Chichen Itza. This is a special evening festival.

Riviera Maya Things to Do – Cenotes

Cenotes are a natural phenomenon and the Riviera Maya has the majority of the world's cenotes. A cenote is a natural sinkhole created where a cave ceiling has collapsed. These caves were formed by coral limestone gradually dissolving. And they are definitely one of the things to do in the Mayan Riviera. As well as being a great place to swim in the warm freshwater, cenotes attract cave divers who explore the extensive labyrinth of the caves. Some have been explored for 340 km or more!

25. Wade in Cenote Azul: $, 👪 – Cenote Azul is a small, open-air cenote. If you have small kids then it's definitely one of the Riviera Maya things to do. There’s usually a good mix of visitors and locals. And there are many areas around the cenote in sun or shade for you to choose to wade and paddle around.

26. Cenote Nicte-Ha a hidden gem: $, 👪 – Located on the way to Tulum Nicte-Ha is a lesser-known cenote but one of the nicest things to do in the Riviera Maya. It has a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere and is a great place to swim, scuba dive, or relax.

27. Dos Ojos Cenote: $, 👪 - Dos Ojos is one of the top 3 longest underwater cave systems in the world. One of the things to do in the Riviera Maya for many is to scuba dive through this cenote. Its deepest section at 391 feet is known as ‘The Pit’. But it's also great for snorkeling with a year-round water temperature of 24-25 C (75-77 F).

28. Cristalano Cenote: $ 👪 – Cristalano is a really nice cenote and as the name implies it has crystal clear water. It’s an open-air cenote in a U-shape and has lots of fish that tickle your feet and legs as they devour minuscule pieces of dead skin! There is also an area to jump off a cliff into the water. And a cave area to explore for snorkelers and divers. It's one of the nicer cenotes in the Riviera Maya.

29. Cenote Jardin Del Eden: $, 👪 - If you like snorkeling then this cenote is one of the things to do in the Riviera Maya for you. Jardin Del Eden is a large natural freshwater pool, surrounded by a lush jungle. With its massive rock formations covered in green moss, its translucent green water and full of aquatic life.

30. KanTunchi: $$, 👪 – Kantunchi is a series of 5 cenotes in one beautifully landscaped area. With lots of spaces to relax in. At some of the cenotes, you can paddle in a small kayak and also order food at their restaurant. This is one of the things to do in the Riviera Maya if you want a special relaxing day.

31. Casa Tortugas Cenote Tour: $$ - One of the best things to do in the Riviera Maya is a visit to Casa Tortugas. There are 3 very different cenotes here that you are guided through. The water is crystal clear and as well as an open-air ‘river style’ cenote they have underground caverns which you are guided through. Here you can see stalagmites and stalactites and lots of other underwater cave formations.

Things To Do In The Riviera Maya – Eco Adventures

Many of the things to do in the Riviera Maya are surrounded by pristine nature. But there are also some unique eco-adventures, including volunteer opportunities.

32. Sian Kaan Biosphere: - The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is a 530,000 ha protected area. It is home to vast biodiversity, especially bird and marine species, in its tropical forests, mangroves, marshes, and barrier reefs. The diverse tropical forests, savannahs, pristine wetlands provide for remarkable flora and fauna. And is home to more than 300 species of birds.

33. Volunteer for a Turtle Conservation Program: - The Centro Ecologico Akumal is a nonprofit organization. Each year during turtle nesting season they have teams of volunteers for up to 4 weeks between May and November. This is a very unique thing to do in the Riviera Maya which contributes to the protection and preservation of turtle species.

34. Jardín Botánico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín: $ 👪 – Interested in plants? Then this has to be on your list of the things to do in the Riviera Maya. This is the largest botanical garden (65 hectares) in Mexico and was founded in 1982. There is 2 km of trails and areas dedicated to orchids, palms, ferns, succulents, and plants used in traditional Maya medicine.

35. Bird Watching Tours: $ - With the Yucatan Peninsula being home to over 500 species of birds it’s a great place for bird watching. If you’re a birder this will definitely be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. But even if you’re no birding aficionado there are some fun tours you can take.

36. Coral Restoration Programs: $ to $$$ - If you’re a certified scuba diver then you could volunteer to help preserve and restore the 2nd largest coral reef in the world.

37. Mayan Hawk Eco-Tour: $$, 👪 - Interested in flying, handling, and feeding authentic Mayan Hawks? Then place this on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. A great family experience.

Things To Do In The Riviera Maya – Mayan Ruins

Mexico is a North American nation with lots of Mayan Ruins and the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many of these ruins date back as far as 2600 BC. Visiting Mayan Ruins during your stay has to be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. It makes a great break from the powder white sand beaches!  And get your bonus Guide to the Best Mayan Ruins in the Riviera Maya.

38. Spectacular Mayan Ruins at Tulum: $, 👪 - The Mayan ruins of Tulum are in a spectacular setting making them one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. They are one of the things to do in the Mayan Riviera for millions of people each year. Located on a 12 m high cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean and the rising sun. It is the only Mayan community on the beaches of the Caribbean and dates from before 564 AD.

39. Coba Mayan Ruins: $, 👪 – The Mayan Ruins at Coba are well worth a visit and should be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. Not as crowded as Tulum or Chichen Itza and it has the tallest Mayan temple in the Yucatan Peninsula.

40. Chichen Itza: $$, 👪 - Chichen Itza is Mexico’s #1 visited archeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage site. As well, in 2007, it was voted in a global survey as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Each year 2.6 M people visit, can they and UNESCO be wrong? No, they’re not. Chichen Itza has to be one of your Mayan Riviera things to do during your visit. Don't forget to claim you bonus INSIDERS GUIDE TO CHICHEN ITZA

41. Ek Balam Mayan Ruins: $$, 👪 - Near the Yucatan town of Valladolid, the Ek Balam, Mayan ruins date from 600 BC. It is 12 km2 in size and includes a walled city and 45 structures. This is an excellent archeological site to visit and can be combined with visiting Chichen Itza, especially if you plan an overnight trip.

42. Muyil Mayan Ruins: $ - Muyil was one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya settlements on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The artifacts date from 350 BC to 1500 AD. Interested in an off-the-beaten-path ruin? Or want to combine it with a visit to the Sian Kaan Biosphere then this should be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya.

Sporting Things To Do In The Riviera Maya

For many visitors sporting events and activities won’t be the top of their list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. But, there are many sporting activities that you can do to take a break from all the white sand beaches and the turquoise Caribbean ocean.

43. Go golfing: $$ to $$$ - If you’re a golfer then this will be on your list of Riviera Maya things to do. And with 15 top-class courses to choose from it should be. From the Greg Norman designed Mayakoba to the Nice Price designed El Tinto there’s plenty of choices.

44. Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA Tournament: $$$ - At the end of November and beginning of December the PGA tour comes to town. Along with 132 pro golfers. Why not watch the pros at play?

45. Big Game Fishing: $$ - Fishing is another of the fabulous things to do in the Riviera Maya. There is excellent year-round fishing. Whether it's deep-sea fishing, bottom fishing, or fishing and snorkeling combination trips. Some of the plentiful species found are Sailfish, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Tuna, Barracuda, and Mahi Mahi. This line up is what makes the Riviera Maya a highly sought-after and respected sport fishing destination.

46. Fancy going to a ball game?: $ - The Quintana Roo Tigers are the local baseball team. Established in 1955 they have 12 titles under their belt.

47. Beach Volleyball: – Wander the beaches here and you’ll often find a beach volleyball or soccer game underway. Ask if you can join in, most of the locals love having some visitors playing too.

48. Spear Fishing: $$$ - This is a unique fishing experience. And another of the things to do in the Riviera Maya. Combine plentiful fish, with warm and clear waters, and you are set for a superb experience.

49. Horseback Riding: $ - There are several ranches where you can go on a horseback riding tour. You can ride through the mangrove jungle, or on the beach, or both.

50. Fly Fishing: – There are many lagoons and shallow inlets that provide perfect conditions for the avid fly fisher. If that’s you then make sure fly fishing is on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya.

Mayan Riviera Things To Do – Eating and Drinking

Of all the things to do in the Riviera Maya eating and drinking is definitely going to be one of them! Interested in sampling the Caribbean cocktails on la playa? Or eating fresh ceviche straight from the ocean? Or the many other culinary delights here on the coast.

51. Take a Food Tour: $-$$ - Mexico has fabulous traditional food and the Riviera Maya has many internationally renowned restaurants. So, if you’re a foodie one of the Riviera Maya things to do for you would be a food tour. There are lots available. Select your area and the style/region of food that interests you.

Your 7 Bonus Traditional Mexican Recipes

52. Chilaquiles for breakfast: $ 👪 – Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican staple breakfast. Strips of fried corn tortillas, simmered in salsa and served with cheese, eggs, and beans!

53. The Iconic Margarita: $ - Any visit to Mexico conjures up images of sipping a classic margarita on the beach. Enjoy yours with your toes in the soft sand, listening to the waves rolling in.

54. Roadside Tacos: $ 👪 – Tacos are one of Mexico’s favorite foods and they come in all flavors. They are on every restaurant menu, but some of the best taco’s are those served at the roadside taco stands. Try them – you won’t regret it.

55. Beachside Ceviche: $ - The Riviera Maya has some of the freshest fish and seafood anywhere. And ceviche is a specialty here. Take a break from the sun and relax in a beachside restaurant in the shade and sample the local ceviche.

56. Jalapeno Margarita: $ - Learn how to make a unique Mexican twist on the classic and iconic Margarita. Make your own here following these instructions.Or go straight to the source and order one from Beto at Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar.

57. Fabulous Breakfast: $ - Interested in a fabulous breakfast? There’s none better than that at the Turtle Bay Café and Bakery. This is definitely one of the things to do in the Riviera Maya if you’re in the Akumal area.

58. Cooking Classes: $$ - While in Mexico why not take a cooking class? There are many to choose from and it’s a fun way to learn about Mexican cuisine. And a unique memory to bring back from your visit here.

59. Mexican Wine: $ - Yes there is a wine produced in Mexico! And some of them are really good. But, you’ll want to get a recommendation or some expert advice. For example, Taverna Akumal (one of my favorite restaurants and they are always on my list of things to do in the Riviera Maya) has some fabulous Mexican wine on their menu. Of special note is the Monte Xanic Calixa Cab-Merlot-Tempranillo Blend. Try it if you get a chance – exquisite.

60. Cochinita Pibil: $ - Cochinita Pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula. And should definitely be something you try. The pork is marinated in acidic citrus juice, adding annatto seed. This imparts a vivid burnt orange color, before roasting the meat wrapped in banana leaf. It’s a great dish that you can also make from home from this fabulous recipe in 6 easy steps.

61. Mexico’s Favorite Cocktail: $ - Obviously a Margarita surely? No – it’s a Paloma. And it's more popular in Mexico than a margarita. It's tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. It's sweet, sour, a little bitter, and salty. Perfect over ice on a hot sunny day.

Things To Do In The Mayan Riviera – Exercise

After all that great food and refreshing cocktails, you might want to get some exercise during your visit. That is if all the water activities (see below) haven’t tired you out too much. Below are a few things to do in the Riviera Maya that’ll help keep you in shape.

62. Yoga on the beach: $ - Yoga is a popular activity in the Riviera Maya and there are many classes on or overlooking a beach. Usually done early morning to avoid the heat of the day it’s a great way to start your day.

63. Salsa Dancing: $$ - How about taking a salsa dancing class to help you keep trim, and learn a new dance at the same time.

64. Fitness Center: $ - Many of the resorts have a fitness center or gym. Even if you’re not staying at the resort often you can pay to use the facilities. That is if you can’t find a place outside a resort. The nice thing is that as it's air-conditioned you don’t have to get up earlier to workout!

65. Beach Run: What better place to go for some exercise than a jog (or walk) along the beach? There are hundreds of kilometers of beach to choose from and an early morning run can be just what the doctor ordered.

66. Biking: Biking along the beach is another way to get some exercise. But, if you are a serious rider then on your list of Mayan Riviera things to do is to enter one of the long-distance rides. These take place from and are organized by local bike stores. They are in the early morning along highway 307 and are vehicle escorted for safety. Often there are 30-40 riders in each group.

Riviera Maya Things To Do – Nocturnal Activities!

There are also many fantastic things to do in the Riviera Maya at night too. Some are more obvious activities but several are pretty unique and ones you likely wouldn’t have thought of.

67. Turtles Hatching: 👪 All along the Riviera Maya between June and November you’re liable to see dozens of baby turtles. All hatching and scurrying off into the ocean. But, they only hatch at nighttime to reduce the chances of meeting predators. If you do head down to the beach at night to look for baby turtles hatching, make sure you take precautions not to disturb them. And especially don’t shine lights at them as this could inhibit their ability to quickly find the ocean.

68. Dinner Show: $$ - Interested in dinner and some evening entertainment? Then consider going to one of several dinner shows in the Riviera Maya. You can choose from Mexican fiestas to the Xcaret spectacular evening show with over 300 entertainers.

69. Night Dive: $ - If you’re a scuba diver then on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya will be taking a nighttime dive. Explore the second largest coral reef at night – it’s a completely different experience. For example, Octopus, Nurse Sharks, and Moray Eels are all more prevalent after dark! And you’ll get to experience the wonderful glittering from the bioluminescent plankton.

70. Bar Hopping: $-$$$ - There are plenty of places to go bar hopping especially if you’re in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, or Tulum. Even in sleepy Akumal, you can visit several bars between those on the beachside and those in Akumal Pueblo. Just make sure you have a taxi ready or a designated driver to take you home!

71. Ziplining !: $$ - Ziplining at night time? Yes, you can at Xplor Fuego. Fly over the Mayan jungle and treetops, while watching the stars to experience a real rush!

72. Night Clubs: $$ - If nightclubbing is your thing then you’ll definitely want to add Coco Bongos to your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya. With a capacity of 1200 people, there are still long line-ups to get into the biggest nightclub in Playa Del Carmen.

Things To Do In The Riviera Maya – Arts and Culture

If Coco Bongo’s isn’t your idea of art and culture don’t worry. There are lots of cultural and art activities for you to put on your list of Riviera Maya things to do.

73. Cirque Du Soleil: $$ - While in the Riviera Maya you can attend a performance of Joya, by Cirque Du Soleil. This is the only Cirque du Soleil show in the world that includes a culinary experience. It’s a one of a kind experience and definitely one of the best Riviera Maya things to do if you are interested in performance art.

74. Side Trip to Merida: $$$ 👪 - Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. It is a great place for a short excursion from the Riviera Maya. The city has heavy Mayan, Spanish, French, British, and Lebanese influences. And Mérida has the highest percentage of indigenous population within any large city in Mexico.

75. Folk Art Museum: $ 👪 – Interested in authentic Mexican culture? Then one of the things to do in the Riviera Maya is to go to the Mexican Folk Art Museum. Located within the Xcaret Eco-Park, the Mexican Folk Art Museum is an eye-opening look at indigenous Mexican art from over the decades. You’ll see all kinds of handcrafted artisanal pieces from all over Mexico. Each one representative of a unique part of Mexican life and creativity.

76. Mexican Independence Day: 👪 - Forget Cinco De Mayo. The best celebration in Mexico is on September 15th for Independence Day. This is a time when Mexicans show their national pride – but it’s also a great time for visitors to take part in an unforgettable cultural event.

77. Mayan Museum: $ 👪 – The Museo Maya De Cancun offers an amazing overview of Mayan history, Mayan art, and Mayan archaeology. A must-see for anyone intrigued by one of the world’s most powerful ancient civilizations. Opened in November 2012, it was designed by Mexican architect Alberto García Lascurain. And took six years to build for $15 million. On display are some 400 pieces found at key sites in and around the peninsula, ranging from sculptures to ceramics and jewelry.

78. 3D Museum of Wonders: $ - The 3D Museum of Wonders is one of the best family things to do in the Mayan Riviera. This museum, which opened in Jan 2016, is the largest 3D art museum in the world. This 3D art is the creation of international artist Kurt Wenner. This museum allows people of all ages to interact with it in an extremely fun way! Highly recommended to people of all ages, including children.

79. Street Art Walking Tour: $ 👪 - This is a fun walking tour for all the family. Take a guided walking tour around Akumal Pueblo to view the fabulous street art created by artists during each year's Street Art Festival. See the great artwork and hear the inside stories beyond them.

80. Art Galleries: - There are many local art galleries in the Riviera Maya. These include Riviera Art Gallery, Sol Jaguar, MexicArte, SFER IK, and Gaston Charo Gallery. And you’ll find lots of small local galleries and artisan shops all over the Mayan Riviera.

81. Temazcal Ceremony: $$ 👪 - Temazcal is a unique traditional ceremony that involves a steam bath, used in traditional medicine. These ceremonies were performed by the Aztecs and Mayans. A Temazcal is conducted by a Mayan priest who prepares the herbs and plants needed to release the steam once inside the Temazcal. Doing a Temazcal ritual is one of the favorite cultural things to do in the Riviera Maya.

82. Spanish Classes: $ 👪 – Why not take Spanish language classes while you are in the Riviera Maya? There are many formal classes available. And also lots of individuals happy to tutor and teach you Spanish during your stay.

Things To Do In The Riviera Maya – Shopping

If during your stay you’d enjoy going shopping there are several options available to you. From fancy international shopping malls to local tiendas and crafts stores to bring back a memorable gift from your trip.

83. Tulum Centro: $ 👪 - Along the main street in Tulum (Centro) there are many souvenir and craft stores along a stretch that runs several blocks. And while shopping may be on your list of things to do in the Riviera Maya there are also many bars and café’s here for those in your party needing a rest from shopping!

84. 5th Avenue: $$ - 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen is a mecca for shopaholics. With 22 blocks of shops and restaurants, it’s either exhilarating or exhausting. You’ll find stores selling anything you want, and a few things you might not want!

85. The Basics: $ - If you’re looking for the basics in an environment that you are more familiar with then look for a Chedraui Superstore. They’re the Mexican version of a big box store (Walmart) in North America.

86. Local Pueblos and Markets: $ - Many of the pueblos across the Riviera Maya have lots of local stores and markets. Wander around these and you’ll get some bargains (not the tourist prices) and will have an adventure too.

87. Ultimate in Malls: $-$$$ - If you want the ultimate in malls then head to Plaza Las Americas in Cancun. And you get 2 for 1 because it's right next door to Malecon Americas, another large mall.

Romantic Things To Do In The Riviera Maya

With 120 km’s of silky white sand coastline, there’s plenty of opportunities for some romance. But here are some especially romantic things to do in the Riviera Maya.

88. Dinner Under a Palapa Roof: $$ - One of the things to do in the Riviera Maya should be to have a romantic dinner under a palapa roof. And there’s no better place for that than the internationally acclaimed Italian restaurant, Taverna Akumal.

89. His or Hers Massage: $ - Have a super relaxing massage at the local spa. Or have the massages on the beach or even better at your apartment or accommodation.

90. Raunchy Dinner Show?: $$ - There’s only one Rauxa. The only cabaret dinner and burlesque show in the Riviera Maya. Described by some as the Mexican version of Les Moulin Rouge.

91. Romantic Photo Shoot: $$ - Want to create spectacular memories that you can share with one another later on? Then one of the Mayan Riviera things to do is to visually record your special memories. Hire a photographer to record those special moments so you can relive them later on.

92. Dinner in a 10,000-year-old cavern: $$$ - Experience an extraordinary romantic dinner in a unique setting. Alux Restaurant offers a wonderful dinner experience featuring Mexican cuisine with Prehispanic and international touches. All in a 10,000-year-old cavern.

93. Wedding Vow Renewal: $$ - What says romance more than a ceremony to renew your wedding vows? As well as a traditional renewal ceremony you can also have a ceremonial Mayan ceremony.

94. Private Chef Created Meal: $$ - Mark that special romantic moment by having your own executive chef prepare a special meal in your apartment or vacation rental. What better way to start that romantic evening.

95. Sunset Dinner Cruise: $$-$$$ - What that special romantic memory? How about a sunset dinner cruise? It's one of the things to do in the Riviera Maya with our fabulous sunsets as the sun drops across the aquamarine Caribbean ocean.

Things To Do In The Mayan Riviera – The Simple Pleasures

As you are beginning to see there are many, many things to do in the Riviera Maya. And these include a lot of the simple pleasures in life too.

96. Sunrise Over the Caribbean: There really isn’t a more beautiful sight to behold than watching the sunrise over the Caribbean ocean. With your morning coffee, watching from the beach. Or from a rooftop terrace, it’s one of the most magnificent experiences. And a phenomenal start to your day.

97. Stroll Along the Beach: 👪 - Take some time to take a few leisurely strolls along some of the beaches. They’re spectacular and often make for a long stroll. And as the coast is a series of bays and headlines walk around some of the rocky headlands and find the next bay and beach beyond. It's great for looking at tidepools at low tide.

98. Siesta: One of the best things to do in the Riviera Maya is to relax in a hammock and take a siesta. The long Mexican hammocks are common here so find one in, at least, partial shade and take a load off.

99. All-Inclusive Resort: $ 👪 - If you’re not staying at an all-inclusive resort consider spending a day at one of them. Most of the resorts allow you to buy a day pass and use all the facilities. It's far cheaper than staying there for your whole stay, and you can get to spend an enjoyable day there. And better still you get to return to your vacation rental afterward.

100. Spa-Day: $ - Have a spa day or a massage on the beach.

101. Jacuzzi Watching The Sunset: How about settling into a jacuzzi hot-tub around 5:30 – 6 pm, with a cool glass of wine. As you relax in the hot soothing bubbles, watch the sunset over the Mayan jungle.

Riviera Maya Things To Do – Water Activities

The last category of things to do in the Riviera Maya are water activities. And there are lots of them. Below are a few for you to consider.

102. Snorkeling with turtles: $ 👪 - Snorkeling is a must in the Riviera Maya. At many of the beaches and bays, you can see some tropical reef fish. But, the place to go snorkeling is Akumal bay. Here you are pretty much guaranteed to snorkel with turtles. It is the place to go for snorkeling and the Insiders Guide to Akumal Snorkeling has everything you need to know about it.

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103. Dive with Bull Sharks: $$ - One of the best things to do in the Mayan Riviera is scuba diving. It's breathtaking and from the end of November to February is Bull shark season. So, hook up with a reputable dive shop and hang out with these large, heavy sharks. A large female can weigh in at 290 lbs!

104. Kitesurfing: $$ - Kite surfing is one of the most exciting things you can do in the Riviera Maya. A cross between windsurfing, wakeboarding, and paragliding, kiteboarding delivers a real thrill. If you’re a novice then take a lesson.

105. Paddleboarding: $ 👪 - Stand up paddleboarding is a fun and relaxing activity that you can do in many of the protected bays of the Rivera Maya. As well, you can go paddleboarding in some cenotes as well!

106. Sian Kaan Lagoon Boat Ride: $$ 👪 - The Sian Kaan Biosphere is a protected area of great beauty and diversity. It includes many lagoons and inlets making it perfect for a spectacular boat ride. It’s a one-of-a-kind Mayan Riviera thing to do. You won’t experience this anywhere else.

107. Windsurfing: $$ - With the regular breeze coming off the ocean, windsurfing is one of the great things to do in the Riviera Maya. If you’re a novice don’t worry you can take lessons too.

108. Yalku Snorkeling: $$ 👪 - Another great place to snorkel is Yalku. It’s a large inlet running out into the ocean where huge numbers of tropical fish hang out. Its located in the bay just north of Akumal Beach.

109. Wreck Diving: $$ - One of the best diving things to do in the Riviera Maya is the wreck dive off the coast of Puerto Morelos. Located 90 ft deep just offshore is the C-56 Juan Escutia, a 120 ft US Navy ship.

110. Bacalar: $$ 👪 - Bacalar is a beautiful town set upon the edge of a fabulous multicolored lake. It is the second-largest freshwater lake in Mexico. You can take a boat ride, kayak, or jet ski around the lake.

111. Parasailing: $$ - Ever been parasailing before? There’s plenty of opportunities to try it here. Not only do get to have great fun but the views are amazing!

112. Whale Sharks: $ - Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean. Growing up to 40 feet long and weighing up to 11 tons!!!! And from early June to mid-September you can go snorkeling with these mammoth creatures.

113. Cavern & Cave Diving: $$ - The Riviera Maya is one of the best places in the world for cavern and cave diving. With over 6000 cenotes and some with hundreds of kilometers of caverns and caves, it's the mecca for cave and cavern divers. And if you’re new to cavern or cave diving there’s no better place to get your specialty certification.

In Summary - Absolutely The Best List Of 113 Things To Do In The Riviera Maya

The Mayan Riviera is the best vacation destination in Mexico. And now you know why from our list of 113 things to do in the Riviera Maya. If you’re a seasoned visitor I’m sure there are many you haven’t done yet. And if you’ve never been here before why not? You have a lot of catch up to do!

About Our Blog

Exploring The Riviera Maya is Ocean Breeze Akumal's Blog. Here we explore the diversity of Mexico's best tourism destination to highlight the best beaches, cenotes, restaurants, attractions, Mayan ruins, etc., etc. We provide information to help you explore this spectacular part of the world and give you tips and tricks that only the locals know. Helping to give you the vacation experience of a lifetime.

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Contact Us

For information about accommodation, vacation options, or questions about the Riviera Maya, contact us.

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