This north-eastern corner of the Yucatan Peninsula is known for its impressive Mayan ruins, picturesque cenotes, and lively yet relaxing atmosphere. Whatever you’re looking for in your holiday, the Riviera Maya provides.
When to Visit
Thanks to its tropical climate, the Riviera Maya offers high temperatures year-round. However, the best time to visit is between December and March, when rainfall is at its lowest and the weather is the most settled.
Even during the wetter months, rain usually comes in the form of heavy showers which clear away quickly, making the Riviera Maya a fantastic option for both a summer and winter holiday.
The Riviera Maya is lined with stunning resort towns, each offering its own interpretation of the rich Mexican culture. From all-night parties in Cancun to the laid-back yoga vibes of Tulum, there’s something for every kind of holiday-goer.
Best for: Party lovers and shopping fanatics
The most lively and popular destination along the Riviera Maya, Cancun is well-known for its buzzing bars and impressive clubs, great for groups and couples on their villa holiday in Mexico.
Most of the beach clubs – including Cancun’s most popular hotspot, Mandela Beach – are located along a thin strip of picturesque white sand. Spend the day lazing among the waves before heading back to your villa to prepare for the night.
Cancun is also a great place to indulge in retail therapy. In downtown Cancun, there’s the Laz Plazas Outlet where you’ll find tons of discounted items. Over in the hotel zone, Luxury Avenue is home to all the world’s biggest labels such as Burberry, Coach, Cartier, and Fendi. For souvenirs and local bargains, head to the Coral Negro Flea Market where you can pick up traditional Mexican clothing, pottery, and more.
Best for: Families and explorers
Head south from Cancun along the Yucatan Peninsula and you’ll arrive at Playa del Carmen, a resort town that’s a hit for families, couples, and groups alike.
The pedestrianised avenue, Quinta Avenida, is the most popular area of the town, home to everything from high-end boutiques, souvenir shops, local foodie spots, world-inspired restaurants, to bars and clubs.
For those on a family villa holiday in Mexico, there’s a wealth of entertainment to keep your kids occupied – not least the beautiful palm-tree lined beaches! The 3D Museum of Wonders is a fantastic way to spend a few hours (and a great place to hide from those unpredictable downpours!). For older kids and teens, the Frida Kahlo Museum will immerse them in the life and work of Mexico’s most iconic artist.
Best for: Yogis and foodies
On the other end of the Riviera Maya sits Tulum, known for its zen atmosphere. The ultimate place of relaxation, head here if you want to truly unwind during your villa holiday in Mexico.
Of course, the yoga retreats are what initially draw holiday-goers to the area, yet Tulum is also so much more.
The small town is a hub of unique restaurants, with ambitious chefs pushing the boundaries to create delicious, locally-inspired dishes.
Arca uses produce from nearby Maya farms to create wonderful, fresh Maya-Mexican cuisine. For an off-the-grid fine dining experience, book a table at Hartwood; the restaurant cooks all its locally-sourced food over an open fire and the majority of the lighting comes from candles! Clan-Destino is another must-visit – this hamburger restaurant is built around a private cenote in the jungle. Tulum is widely popular among vegans, with raw-food restaurant Raw Love being one of the big hitters. The restaurant has hammock seating and sandy floors, creating a chilled out vibe.
The Riviera Maya is easy to navigate, whatever your preferred method of transport.
To experience life as the locals see it, hop on a Colectivo, small vans that run between Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Cheap and frequent, you can request stops anywhere along the routes, making them a great way to visit all the local cenotes such as Cenote Azul and Cenote Jardin del Eden.
For trips further afield, the ADO buses are another affordable option where you can book tickets in advance. Use this bus charter service to see the Mayan ruins, including Coba, Uxmal and of course, Chichen Itza.
Hiring a car means you’ll have even greater freedom to explore. Spend the day at one of the quieter beach spots like Akumal (which literally means ‘place of the turtle’!) and Xpu Ha.
There’s also Xcaret, the huge nature park that is a great place to swim, snorkel, and whizz down water slides.
Ready to start planning your Mexican getaway? We’ve got a wide selection of beautiful luxury villas in the Riviera Maya, perfect for any type of holiday.
Request the assistance of the Oliver’s Travels concierge team, and make your villa holiday in Mexico even more unforgettable.