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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!