Your Riviera Maya vacation
On Mexico's own Riviera, get set to be seduced by the aqua ocean and white sand. From the catwalk-style beaches of Cancun to the deserted stretches further south, there's a sunset view with your name on it.
Nab a budget flight to Cancun and dance 'til dawn or head down the coast. Scale Mayan ruins, zip-line through the jungle and kiss a dolphin -- all before sunset piña coladas on the beach. Divers and snorkelers, get ready to meet the largest coral reef in the Western Hemi.
Let Orbitz show you the way to your Riviera Maya vacation. Our insiders dish on the best time to go and top attractions, including where to find dolphins, nightlife and sinkholes.
Best time to take a trip to Riviera Maya
Anyone craving sun, a slower pace and plenty to do will find it year-round on the Mayan Riviera. Winter is mild, warm and balmy while summer can be a scorcher with plenty of humidity. Rainy season lasts from May through November, and January and February are dry and cooled by El Norte (northerly winds). Summer and September bring high heat and a chance of hurricanes.
Expect a surge of vacationers and higher rates at Christmas and Easter. In March, spring breakers shake up the scene in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Travel in the shoulder seasons to balance tan-inducing temps with reasonable rates: mid-April to mid-June, and October through mid-December.
Insider tips for Riviera Maya travel
Swim at the ruins (Tulum)
Wear your suit under your clothes so you can splash into the cool Caribbean after roaming the seaside ruins in Tulum.
One of the last fishing village holdouts, Puerto Morelas also welcomes tourists and divers. Mingle with loyal clientele over ceviche at Posada Amor, the oldest local restaurant. On most Friday nights, Cantina Habanero's restaurant jams with live music a half block north of town square.
Mexican-German beer garden (Playa del Carmen)
What started as one Berlin man's dream for a beachside sausage shack is now Mannes Biergarten. Find your schnitzel and hausfusel under a thatched roof on 4th Street between 10th and 15th Avenues.
Little touched by tourism, Laguna Bacalar spans 50 miles through the jungle. Stroll through town and count the colors in the sparkling lake. Dine at Cenote Azul restaurant which sits on the rim of one of the purest cenotes in the Yucatan.
Dirty Martini Lounge (Playa del Carmen)
A mixed crowd, a mix of music and a few skilled mix-masters keep this local's bar interesting and unpredictable. Grown-ups sip specialty martinis and classic cocktails a block from the kids whooping it up on 5th Avenue.
Things to do in Riviera Maya
Whether it's a ferry to Isla Mujares or Cozumel, a sunset booze cruise off Cancun, or a private yacht chartered for two, nothing beats the breezy feeling of leaving the crowds back on shore and setting off on open waters.
Catch a Vegas-style aerial show at Coco Bongo, where techno beats blare between the acts. Drink and dance at Senor Frog's, or Carlos and Charlie's where dinner fuels the dance floor.
Coastal ruins at Tulum
While the Yucatan Peninsula is filled with fascinating and well-preserved ruins, none have this beach-side setting. In Tulum, piles of Mayan rubble lead right up to the cliff's edge.
Once a bustling metropolis for ancient Mayan civilization, Chichen Itzá holds its own as one of the "7 Modern Wonders of the World." On a smaller scale, find the pre-Columbian pyramids of Cobá smack in the middle of the jungle.
Playa del Carmen
This former sleepy beach town is wide awake with boutique hotels, European fashions and cafés. Streets lead down to a shoreline of kite-surfing and beach bars. Pedestrian-only 5th Avenue offers a festive alternative to Cancun's hopping Hotel Zone.
Sian Ka'an Biosphere in Tulum
Nature buffs can glide through a portion of this 1.3 million-acre protected UNESCO World Heritage site by small boat or kayak. Flora, fauna, butterflies and birds fill its mangrove swamps, savannahs and lagoons. Book a tent cabin for the full eco-experience.
Plunge into prime snorkeling turf off the shores of Akumal or the miles of living coral surrounding reef-famous Cozumel. Divers dig it, too.
Swim with sea creatures
Count the dolphins, manta rays and whale sharks as your new swim buddies for the day. These adrenaline-pumping experiences for ages 8 and up are a top attraction throughout Riviera Maya.
Snorkel, swim or dive into a cenote, or join a tour to find holes lining the road from Puerto Morelos to Tulum. Tour the underground river and cave at Rio Secreto where thousands of stalactites drip from the ceiling.
Xel-ha, XPLOR and Xcaret
Spend a day or more at this trio of family-friendly outdoor adventure parks. Swim, snorkel, explore jungle caves or sail through the balmy air on a zip line.