Are you making a port of call in the Riviera Maya? If so, this lively and bustling stretch of coastline, from the top of Puerto Morelos to the bottom of Tulum and beyond, can offer you great experiences, even if you’re only stationed for a short period of time.
1. Tulum ruins
The ruins of the 11th-century walled city are a popular attraction for visitors, so come early to beat the crowds. You can get a guided tour while you’re there, which is well worth it for context and better understanding of the Mayan culture. Many visitors like to end the tour by spending the rest of the afternoon either swimming with turtles, or lounging on the gorgeous public beach nearby. Facilities are sparse, but there is a small changing room.
Cenotes, on the other hand are large natural sinkholes, and an iconic feature of the Riviera Maya’s geography. In Mayan times, they were used for fresh water supply and religious ceremonies, but nowadays make the perfect place for tourists who want to swim, snorkel and relax in a unique environment. Most of the cenotes near Playa del Carmen are filled with fresh water that has been filtered slowly through the ground, so it is very pure and clean.
Here, you can swim in crystal clear waters through caves and tunnels and admire ancient rock formations of this incredible subterranean world. You don’t have to be a particularly strong swimmer to enjoy a swimming through an underground river, but as many are up to 45 feet deep you should be confident at floating out of your depth. Many of the more popular cenotes offer lifejacket and snorkel equipment.
The Riviera Maya mostly consists of fine, startlingly white sand, a warm sea of contrasting blue hues, and not to mention the presence of the world’s second-largest coral reef a short distance offshore, providing the basic ingredients for a contemporary holiday paradise.