Before a Riviera Maya vacation there are lots of questions people have. And we receive many questions from our guests. Below are the 10 most common questions when planning a Riviera Maya holiday so that you’ll be better prepared for your vacation to the Riviera Maya. And we’ve provided many links throughout this article where you can find more detailed information on many topics.
Sargassum seaweed grows and declines based on seasonal changes in water temperature. Only a few years ago, there were concerns about declining Sargassum. At that time, restrictions limited the amount harvested for animal feed and fertilizer. Then from 2011, the amount of Sargassum increased until it peaked in 2019. At that time, many strategies were developed to remove or prevent it from landing on the beaches. Since then, the amounts have declined. For example, between 2019 and 2020, the amount dropped by 80%.
But it also doesn’t arrive all year round continuously. Sargassum increases over the summer and peaks in July and August. From then, the amount decreases each month until May. So, you should expect more Sargassum seaweed on your Riviera Maya vacation if you travel in July and August. But if it’s a year without a lot of Sargassum, you might not notice it.
If it is a year with lots of Sargassum, some beaches receive much less than others. You can find info here on which beaches are likely to have less Sargassum so you can fully enjoy your Riviera Maya vacation.
If you’re staying in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen and don’t care about exploring beyond the resort you’ve booked, you don’t need to rent a car. But, if you’re staying elsewhere on your Riviera Maya vacation, there are collectivos you can get, which are inexpensive and run up and down the main highway. From Ocean Breeze Akumal, they are about a 10-15 minute walk away. Another option is that you can also take taxis. We can arrange airport transfers for you as a taxi from the airport is super expensive.
But my recommendation if you’re not staying in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen is that you do get a car. At least for part of your stay. One of the best things about a Riviera Maya vacation is exploring all there is to do. There are many different beaches, cenotes, Mayan Ruins, Adventure, Water Parks, etc., for you to explore. So, if you don’t do some exploring, you are really missing out. And the best way to see these is by renting a car and exploring yourself. You can book group and private tours, but these are, in comparison, quite expensive and often more restrictive. For example, a group tour will waste a lot of your time as they pick up and drop people off at many resorts and hotels. And really, is that how you want to be spending your Riviera Maya vacation?
The Riviera Maya runs along the Caribbean coastline for 100 km. In this stretch of coastline lie the best beaches in the Riviera Maya, spectacular white sand beaches, and a warm crystal-clear Caribbean ocean. My favorites are Akumal Bay and Xpu Ha. But this article lists 21 of the best beaches you can visit on your Riviera Maya vacation.
This is really up to you. Getting a car from the airport is relatively straightforward, and the drive is easy along one highway. For example, getting to Akumal takes just over an hour. However, if you arrive late at night after a long flight or have to leave early for your return, you might want to get an airport transfer. And then rent a car locally. The local car rental company we recommend at Ocean Breeze Akumal will bring the vehicle to your Riviera Maya vacation rental. And we can arrange airport transfers for you. This option allows you to rent a car for only a portion of your trip and stay at home or use taxi’s/collectivos for part of your trip.
There are several options for buying groceries. There are several large grocery stores all throughout the Riviera Maya. Suppose you are driving from the airport, or taking a private airport transfer we’ve arranged. You can stop at the Super Chedraui near Puerto Aventuras. It is a Mexican version of Walmart, only about 10 mins from us, where you can buy any supplies you might need for your Riviera Maya holiday.
There are also stores in the local Pueblos, and some have a weekly market, such as in Akumal Pueblo, where you can buy supplies. And if you’re lucky, you may have a local convenience store nearby for those essentials you run out of. Where our vacation apartment rentals are located in the Sirenis Community in Akumal, we have an OXXO store only a few min’s walk away.
Alternatively, we can arrange grocery deliveries to your apartment if that’s more convenient for you on your Riviera Maya vacation.
Many people plan their Rivera Maya vacation based on the weather. And one of the best things about the weather in the Riviera Maya is that it has a warm tropical climate all year round. As you can see from the chart on the right, the monthly temperatures vary only by a few degrees across the year. Similarly, the number of daylight hours doesn’t differ much across the year.
Rainfall could be a factor when you go on your Riviera Maya vacation. Seventy percent of the year’s rainfall arrives between July and September. But, even in the wettest period, the rain falls on average only 6 days a month! And as we are in the tropics, even when it rains, it usually falls in a very short time.
The weather varies a little from Cancun to Tulum but not significantly. For example, you can see the specific weather averages month by month in this article about the weather in Akumal.
Many people from North America plan their vacation in the Riviera Maya in the Fall and Winter to escape the harsh cold weather climate at home. Others, such as Europeans and people from other parts of Latin America, like the summer months because it coincides with the school holidays. An advantage of this time of year is that prices of flights and accommodations are usually less than in the high-season Fall and Winter months. And we are seeing more and more people plan their Riviera Maya vacation for Spring. The weather is excellent, and the prices are also lower than high season.
There are some fabulous Mayan ruins for you to visit. These make a great break after a few full beach days. But which of the many ruins should you see while on your Riviera Maya holiday? That depends on where you are and what Mayan ruins you’ve already seen. A quick overview follows, but read Best Mayan Ruins In Mexico when planning your vacation in the Riviera Maya.
The most famous Mayan ruin is Chichen Itza. It’s the most visited of all the Mayan ruins and is spectacular. The history of these ruins dates from AD 600 to 1500. During that time, many architectural styles were used, and it developed into one of the largest Mayan cities. It is a magnificent site featuring many outstanding structures. For example, the Temple of Kukulkan, a Mayan feathered serpent, dominates the north platform of the site at nearly 100 ft tall. And also the impressive Great Ball Court near the Temple of Kukulkan. It measures 170 m by 70 m (550 ft by 230 ft) and is the largest in the Americas. The only downside is that it is two hours from most Riviera Maya vacation destinations, including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum.
The second most popular, by the number of visitors, Mayan ruin you could visit on your Riviera Maya vacation is Tulum. This is very close if you are staying in the heart of the Riviera Maya, in Akumal or Tulum. The Mayan ruins of Tulum are set in a spectacular setting, making them one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. They have become a must-visit 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. The site dates from before 564 AD.
Coba is located nearby to Tulum and is an excellent alternative to Tulum. If you’ve already been to Tulum, don’t want to go to Chichen Itza, or want to avoid the huge crowd – add Coba to your Riviera Maya vacation list. While Coba is a large site, 80 km2 mostly unexcavated, it has many interesting structures. This includes the most stone causeways (called Sacbes) of any ancient Mayan ruins. And one of the most fascinating Mayan ruins is the Nohoch Mul Pyramid which is 140 ft tall (42 m). It is the tallest temple structure in the Yucatan Peninsula. Unlike Chichen Itza, you can climb the pyramid. But be careful, especially when descending, as it is steep. The view, however, is worth the effort.
Ek Balam is also highly recommended and can be combined with Chichen Itza for a one-day tour of both. If you want more off-the-beaten-path Ruins consider Muyil, Xel-Ha, and others discussed in the Best Mayan Ruins In Mexico.
Doing some scuba diving on your Riviera Maya vacation is a great option. We have many guests at Ocean Breeze Akumal who are divers or wannabe divers. Most regard scuba diving here as the best diving in Mexico. First, because of the Mesoamerican barrier reef. It is the most significant barrier reef outside of Australia. Which National Geographic describes as more remarkable than the Great Barrier Reef. This provides many unique and inspiring Mayan Riviera scuba diving sites. You can dive with sharks, turtles, rays and many other marine species and hundreds of fish species. And the water is warm enough that many people don’t need either a dry or wet suit.
Taking a PADI-certified course to upgrade your skills is definitely an option, but the most popular is guests taking their Open Water Certification course. This takes 4 days to complete, and we offer special diving/accommodation packages, which many guests take advantage of. Contact us for more info on these.
There are many restaurants throughout the Riviera Maya and lots in Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. But some of the best places to eat are in the heart of the Riviera Maya, between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. A few highlights for your Riviera Maya vacation list are those below, but for more info, find out the SECRETS OF THE 10 BEST MAYAN RIVIERA RESTAURANTS NEAR AKUMAL.
Turtle Bay Café: It’s a local institution in the heart of Akumal. Located in a beautiful setting in the center of the small ‘village’ of Akumal, it serves Mexican and North American favourites for your special breakfast or brunch. Established in 1997, it is owned by Bartley and Jennifer Smith. It exudes a funky, inspiring, fun atmosphere.
Taverna is a fabulous place to linger over dinner. While an excellent venue for families, it’s also great for groups. And it has enough space to find you a secluded table for a romantic dinner. Owned by the Lombardi Family, it is one of 18 restaurants owned they own. In Italy, a taverna is a special place where patrons become friends and family. It is no different here. La Taverna sits upstairs in a large open-air palapa and is a comforting, friendly atmosphere to enjoy superb authentic Italian cooking. If you’re in the neighborhood, visit Taverna on your Riviera Maya holiday.
From the outside, La Lunita looks like a surprising location for one of the best restaurants in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, don’t let the undistinguished façade put you off. While located on the 1st floor of the La Tortuga Condo Building, La Lunita is the best Mayan Riviera restaurant for a romantic dinner. It has a spectacular Caribbean ocean view on the edge of the white sand beach. And it has some of the best food you will find anywhere. As the name suggests, there is no better restaurant to have a fabulous meal on the beach, listening to the waves under a moonlight sky. They serve contemporary Mexican cuisine with seafood as their specialty. They respect traditional cooking techniques and serve food with a modern twist. Fabulous menu items include a fantastic selection of ceviche, lobster, and lots of fish and seafood.
We can’t just recommend one, so here are three recommendations for consideration when on your vacation in the Riviera Maya.
Lol-Ha Snack Bar and Restaurant: Lol-Ha is an institution and a great place to go if you want to hang out at the beach and enjoy some good food and drinks. Located right on Akumal Bay, you can’t miss it. The menu includes authentic local dishes prepared by hand by Mayan cooks. There are also Mexican favorites, fish and seafood dishes, and possibly the best burgers in Akumal. The house specialty, the Lol-Ha Burger, is stuffed with Poblano peppers and cheese and topped with avocado and bacon.
La Playa Xpu Ha: This is another great option while you’re at the beach. It’s located on one of the beaches you must visit during your Riviera Maya vacation, Xpu Ha. Situated on the white powder sand, it serves excellent seafood and great food for the whole family.
La Buena Vida: This is an excellent place if you’re looking for a cocktail and happy hour while on your Riviera Maya vacation. The menu includes an extensive list of tacos, burritos, and other Mexican menu items. You can choose to hang out in the rope swing bar seats or take a table overlooking the beach and the Caribbean ocean. Or, move upstairs into an enclosed palapa area to take an elevated view.
The weather in the Riviera Maya can include tropical storms ⛈️ as they do occur here as they do in other tropical regions. But, the number of tropical storms that land here, categorized as Hurricanes, is very few. The Riviera Maya has only been hit by 2 hurricanes (category 5) in its lifetime. The first was in Sept 1988 (hurricane Gilbert), and the second was in Oct 2005 (Wilma).
The likelihood of being on your Riviera Maya vacation when a hurricane strikes land is quite remote. While the tropical storm season is technically from June to November the highest chance is in Sept/Oct. If you want to track tropical storms in the area, an informative website is from the US National Hurricane Center.
We get many questions from guests and those looking into planning their Riviera Maya vacation. And some are a little odd! Below are a sample of questions we’ve been asked that we think are more on the bizarre side. What do you think?
Google says we are 2,768 miles from San Diego 🤣🤣
There used to be a restaurant that cruelly housed a caged tiger for diners to look at while eating. Fortunately, that no longer exists.
Who knows if this person was referring to the El Castillo at Tulum, Chichen Itza, or elsewhere. Why they wanted to know this for their Riviera Maya vacation is any ones guess! But either way, I have no idea, and nor apparently does Google.
While we’ve discussed the 10 most common questions asked by people planning their Riviera Maya vacation, there are many other questions too. If you have additional questions, contact us. We’ll send you a response and perhaps add your inquiry to this article later.
Hopefully, by discussing the most common questions people have when planning their Riviera Maya vacation, we’ve dealt with many of your questions as well. And we’ve provided many links throughout this article where you can find more detailed information on many topics. So you’ll be better prepared for your vacation to the Riviera Maya. But if there’s something else you need to know, don’t hesitate to contact us. Hopefully, your question doesn’t end up in the oddball section of questions we get. 😊
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., for your Riviera Maya vacation. 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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