Riviera Maya

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The Mayan Riviera is the bit on the very tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, including party-central Cancún, dive centre Cozumel and the ancient ruins surrounding Tulum, the most famous of which is Chichén Itzá. Generally the best places to stay on the Riviera Maya for colourful nightlife are in Cancún. Tulum is more laid back and Playa del Carmen is more sophisticated, ideal if you prefer boutique hotels.

The lush jungles of the Mayan Riviera hide many treasures, but while some visit for the ancient Mayan temples, some folks are drawn to the perfect Caribbean coastline the jungles fringe.

See the Riviera Maya's Ancient Treasures

Wonderfully ancient and astronomically correct, Chichén Itzá will be top of many lists, but it's worth popping into the colonial town of Valladolid on your way.

About 90kms east of Chichén Itzá is the Pre-Columbian city of Coba - once home to 50,000 people.

And you probably also want to visit Tulum. Perched on a cliff, overlooking pristine beaches and an aquamarine sea, the ruins here make even the most banal holiday snaps beautiful.

Relax, Caribbean Style

Divers and snorkelers will definitely want to visit Cozumel. Between this island and the mainland are the spectacular coral gardens of the Palancar Reef and the Great Mayan Reef. And as well as being beautiful the reefs are a magnet for marine life.

There are amazing sights to see both for novice divers and snorkelers and for more experienced divers. Right across from Cozumel, Playa del Carmen is definitely one of the best places to stay on the Riviera Maya for divers and snorkelers.

Let Your Hair Down

On the Riviera Maya it's always cerveza time, but in the evenings the places to be are Coco Bongo and Dady'O in the Zona Hotelera. Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen's main pedestrian corridor, is the place to see and be seen. By evening its boutiques and uber chic lounges are where the party starts, but after midnight Playa's fun moves to the beachfront discos.

Our selection of the best places to stay in the Riviera Maya caters for all. From boutique chic in the heart of Playa del Carmen to hidden gems on the Isla Mujeres.

Best Places to Stay in the Riviera Maya

For a special occasion

  • Basico is a once in a lifetime hotel for a once in a lifetime holiday. The design is inventive, witty and modern. And the seafood restaurant, laid out like a marketplace, is excellent.
  • Maroma is luxurious, secluded and beautiful, perfect for honeymooners. The nearby beaches are some of region's most beautiful and the massive range of activities and treatments means you don't have to leave.

For adventurers

  • Casa Ticul in central Playa del Carmen is a favourite of the diving contingent.

To Relax

  • Tides Riviera Maya is a complex of private villas both on the beach and surrounded by forest. It has outdoor showers and private pools to help you make the most of the location and any of their spa treatments draw from Mayan traditions: a cultural pampering.
  • Hotel Secreto is a modern white cubist building, with stylish, but bare interiors - think limestone floors and huge mirrors inside, and daybeds and an infinity pool outside. Situated on the Isla Mujeres, this hidden gem is easily one of the best places to stay in the Riviera Maya if you want to avoid the crowds.

For Fun

  • Deseo, in the centre of Playa del Carmen, caters perfectly to the young, cosmopolitan crowd, with a stylish rooftop pool and terrace bar, plus hammocks on all private balconies. It's also just two blocks from the sea.
  • Soho Playa is in just the right district, surrounded by cool bars, good shopping and a hip vibe - and all just a few steps from the beach. They help you get into the right frame of mind with yoga and meditation in the mornings.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay on the Riviera Maya, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Riviera Maya

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  • Casa Ticul

    Playa del Carmen (LT 08 MZ 151 Col Zacil-Ha)

    Intimate, adult-only boutique hotel combines traditional looks with contemporary comforts. Bright rooms and the courtyard swimming pool make this an ideal place for exploring by day, and relaxing in the evening. Breakfast is served poolside and is the perfect way to start the day. Great beach spot.

    20 rooms from $57
    Romantic Break  -  An adults only hotel built for romance, the palatial suites come with private terraces and hot tubs.
    Swimming Pool  -  Small outdoor plunge pool
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only.
    Full of character
  • Hotel La Semilla

    Playa del Carmen

    This hotel offers a stripped-back, fashionable chic hotel experience with fantastically friendly service. Rooms are decorated with items bought from local flea-markets and TVs are deliberately not supplied to encourage a more adventurous kind of stay. For those looking for something a bit different.

    9 rooms from $110
    Restrictions on children  -  No children allowed
    Bicycles available  -  Bikes are free
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Mezzanine

    Tulum, Riviera Maya

    Trendy barefoot luxury with a secluded beach and tropical gardens. Relax in airy suites and rooms with breathtaking sea views. Enjoy cocktails on the sun terrace or in dappled shade on bean bags. Great water sports and activities on offer. A place to relax in style.

    9 rooms from $157
    Honeymoons  -  Secluded suites boasting Jacuzzis and balconies facing the Caribbean and surrounded by lush jungle and miles unspoilt beaches.
    Eco break  -  Environmentally sound, the hotel operates on solar energy, generators, and recycled rainwater.
    Diving  -  The reefs just off Tulum’s white sand beaches are home to grouper, small reef sharks and numerous colorful fish
    Local markets  -  Check out the local crafts in Tulum, artisans work with clay, wood, and handmade textiles to create treasures.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Tablet
  • Soho Playa

    Playa del Carmen (Quinta Roo)

    Urban hip hotel in cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Playa del Carmen, sprinkled with good restaurants. Close to the beach, with roof top pool. Start with early mooring yoga or meditation on the terrace with ocean views. Pretty colourful Mayan style rooms, with balconies and hammocks.

    23 rooms from $180
    Lively  -  The district has a cool vibe with trendy bars, restaurants, good shopping and plenty happening on the beach
    Restaurant  -  Bistro serving local and international dishes, seafood, Mango Guacamole and tasty salads, plus a detox menu
    Beach nearby  -  Mamita's Beach Club is a short walk form the hotel with a great atmosphere
    Beach Life
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Hotel Secreto

    Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya

    One of Isla's only luxury boutique hotels. A hidden gem with infinity pool overlooking its own private beach. The chic modern rooms boast floor to ceiling windows and original artworks. The new bar serves up dangerously good Margaritas.

    12 rooms from $340
    Total relaxation  -  A sleepy tropical island with a laid back charm, spend your days sunbathing, swimming with dolphins or snorkelling the reefs.
    Sights nearby  -  The hotel can arrange scooter rentals and tours of the island.
    Swimming Pool  -  Infinity pool with spectacular sea views.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Viceroy Riviera Maya

    Playa del Carmen

    Stunning private villas surrounded by tropical forest and white sands. Watersports abound, delicious fresh fish restaurant, and fantastic Mayan spa to top it all off. A thrill for spa-junkies and beach seekers alike.

    41 rooms from $390
    Beach Life  -  Whether it's sitting sipping a cocktail on the white sands or kite surfing across the bay- this is a beach bums paradise!
    Private villas  -  Private luxury villas only.
    Swimming Pool  -  Pools looking on to beach
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Kiwi Collection, Fodors
  • Maroma

    Riviera Maya

    A secluded oasis hotel with beautiful beach and outstanding facilities. This luxury resort is perfect for honeymoons, beach life, and endless pampering. Enjoy tropical relaxation at one of the three hotel pools or explore the area and the many activities on offer.

    63 rooms from $471
    Back to Nature  -  Set on the fringes of 200 acres of jungle and coconut plantations on one of the most beautiful beaches in mexico- utter bliss!
    Total relaxation  -  Indulge in traditional Mayan healing techniques at the spa, or sip cocktails under a palapa overlooking the sea.
    Diving  -  PADI courses are available on the reef as well as cave diving in local cenotes, natural sinkholes.
    Birdwatching  -  Visit Contoy Island - an uninhabited island which is now a protected bird sanctuary.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection, Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Esencia

    Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya

    Boutique at its best, Esencia has it all: direct access to Xpu-Ha beach and two pools, you will have no end of places to sun yourself. That is if you can find the time with all the activities on offer! Simply yet stunningly decorated with an excellent menu. One for the entire family!

    10 rooms from $486
    Local markets  -  Nearby X-plor activity park for kids and the young at heart
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the famous Mayan ruins of Tulum
    Kayaking  -  through the mangroves at Sian Ka'an
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Small Luxury Hotels

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