The Riviera Maya, Cancun - Tourist Attraction

The Riviera Maya is a 72-mile stretch of coast along the eastern shoreline of the Yucatan Peninsula. This area has become on of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico due to the huge assortment of attractions. From tranquil, unspoiled beaches and jungle to prominent international hotels offering a multitude of water sports, there is something for everyone. The biggest attraction for many is the abundance of historical sites in the area. Ancient Mayan ruins can be found at just about every destination along the route offering visitors many opportunities to learn more about the culture and history of the local people.

Although it's not clearly defined, the general consensus is that the Riviera Maya begins just south of the Cancun International Airport and ends at Punta Allen where the Costa Maya begins. Highway 307 runs all the way from Cancun down to Belize and will take you through the Riviera. The first destination on the Riviera Maya would be Puerto Morelos, a small fishing community just 15 minutes south of Cancun international airport.

Driving along the Riviera Maya

Driving along this route you're never more than a mile from the beach and with numerous resorts along the way, you could stop for a quick refreshing swim before continuing on your way. The scenery is breath-taking with emerald green jungle and crystal blue waters providing a stunning backdrop for the journey. The highway itself was recently widened and is in good condition, making the driving experience that much more pleasurable. The same cannot be said for other roads in the area so if you intend on exploring

The question of what to do once you have arrived at the airport depends entirely on personal taste. Every activity conceivable is available along the Riviera route from lazing on the beach to playing tennis at your resort and taking jungle treks on foot or horseback. Visitors can choose to stay in built-up tourist towns, such as Playa del Carmen, or they can opt for the less frequented fishing villages like Punta Allen. Private family-run cabins on the edge of the jungle or beaches are sprinkled all along the route.

For the more adventurous visitors, one of the biggest attractions of this area is the opportunity for some truly memorable diving experiences. The world's second largest reef, the Great Maya Reef, lies just off the coast spanning almost the entire length of the Riviera Maya. Another popular activity is cave diving. There are a number of subterranean rivers at various locations, such as Aktun Chen which is approximately two hours drive from Cancun.

The incredible biodiversity of the region means there are a number of Eco Parks along the route with the two most popular being Xcaret and Xel-Ha. They offer visitors the chance to experience local wildlife, nature and culture up close. Another well-known park is the Sian Ka'an reserve near Punta Allen at the end of the Riviera Maya route.

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