Riviera Maya & Playa del Carmen Things to Do - Mexico Attractions
Ancient Mayan World
Known for their advanced mathematical and astronomical systems, art and spectacular architecture, the Mayans of modern-day Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya, Mexico are also the only known pre-Columbian culture to have a fully-developed written language. The Mayans never disappeared, and sizable populations of Mayan people and their descendants still exist, keeping ancient customs and traditions alive near Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Experience the splendor of the Mayan culture by visiting a Mayan village in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the ruins of ancient Mayan cities and fortresses near Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
This is perhaps the most famous site on the Yucatan peninsula. Exploring Chichén Itzá’s seven square kilometers, you can appreciate the evolution of the Mayan culture in detail. Approximately 3 hours from Grand Velas Riviera Maya, you'll need to plan for a full day to visit the ruins of Chichen Itza and take photographs of the Pyramid of Kukulkan, a massive structure built to display the Maya calendar. You’ll also enjoy the 360° views of the jungle that the site offers.
The Mayan site of Uxmal near the Riviera Maya is known for having ornately carved facades representing great ceremonies in Mexico. At Uxmal, much emphasis was placed on appeasing the rain god Chaac, as the site did not have a cenote or river to provide water. The largest structure on the site is the Pyramid of the Magician, considered one of a kind due to its oval shape. The double-headed jaguar throne at the Governor's Palace at Uxmal is another interesting feature to visit when in Riviera Maya.
Imagine a mystical stone fortress on a bluff overlooking the striking blue expanse of the Mexican Caribbean; it is a photo opportunity you will not want to miss in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The ancient seaport of Tulum near Playa del Carmen and Cancun monitored the trade route between the Yucatan and Honduras, and remained inhabited long after the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico. A white-sand beach at the base of the fortress provides an excellent and refreshing resting place to enjoy.
Still engulfed by the dense jungle of the Riviera Maya, Mexico, Cobá is steadily being excavated and studied by archeologists. Covering approximately 26 miles, its impressive size and imposing ruins near Playa del Carmen are indicative of its status; it was once one of the most important cities in the Mayan civilization. Interesting structures at Cobá include the Pyramid of the Painted Lintel and the Temple of the Church, and it is easy to visit from many Riviera Maya Mexico all-inclusive resorts.
Riviera Maya Mexico Eco-Park
Did you know? Scientists believe that over 65 million years ago the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya in Mexico was rocked by an asteroid, which was a large factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period. Over the years, erosion of the mostly-limestone peninsula created a network of sinkholes (locally known as Cenotes), caves, underground rivers, and even underground freshwater lakes. Combined with the gorgeous tropical fauna and flora of the Riviera Maya and the white sands and azure waters of the Mexican Caribbean, these geological wonders fill the Riviera Maya in Mexico with things to do and create an incredible environment for exploring the natural world.
Known as the world's largest natural aquarium, Xel-Ha park in the Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen is composed of lagoons, inlets and cenotes, at the mouth of the longest underground river in the world. The park’s seemingly-infinite number of activities are near Grand Velas Riviera Maya and include observing colorful tropical fish, mangroves, and cenotes, walking on jungle trails, swinging on ropes into crystal pools, riding bikes, chatting with parrots and even swimming with dolphins.
Featuring a beach, lagoon, pools, exhibitions of butterflies and orchids, a Coral Reef Aquarium, cultural sites such as a Mayan Archeological Site, an authentic Mayan Village and a grand variety of animals, Xcaret near Playa del Carmen is a great way to become immersed in the natural wonders and culture of the Riviera Maya. At Xcaret you can also swim with dolphins near your Riviera Maya all inclusive resort.
Indulge your sense of adventure in the Riviera Maya at Xplor, a unique underground world filled with things to do; featuring seven exhilarating circuits to enjoy. Experience zip lines near Playa del Carmen with amazing water landings, exciting rides in amphibious land/water vehicles, underground rafting, mystical caves full of stalactites and more, all close to Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
Discover a breathtaking underground world near Grand Velas Riviera Maya that hasn't been touched for thousands of years. The partially-submerged Rio Secreto is one of the best things to do in Riviera Maya. It is a protected nature reserve covering over 7.5 miles where you can safely explore the Yucatan Peninsula's best-kept secrets. Observe stunning stalactites, stalagmites, rock formations and crystal-clear fresh waters. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can't miss!
This new Quintana Roo tourism attraction seeks to honor Xochimilco and offer foreign tourists an authentic taste of Mexican culture. Xoximilco is located 5 minutes from Cancun’s International Airport and close to the exclusive Cancun Country Club - a very central location for those who are familiar with the city. The facilities are open to the public at night (from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.) in order to maintain and replicate the concept of Xochimilco as much as possible. The entrance fee for this attraction covers a duration of 3 hours and you can reserve the ticket from Xoximilco’s official website. If you are in the area it is worth your time to visit this new attraction and get to know a little bit more about the beautiful cultural roots of the country.
Riviera Maya Sports
What better way to begin to practice or improve your golf game than by playing amidst the beautiful scenery of the Riviera Maya? Among a number of courses in the Riviera Maya, two stand out for their magnificent composition and spectacular scenery. They are considered by aficionados as some of the best places to play.
El Manglar Golf Course
This course's intensely vibrant greens, marvelous lakes and spectacular view make it a dream destination for lovers of the sport. It is located at km 48 on the Puerto Morales- Playa del Carmen highway.
El Camaleón Mayakobá
Known internationally for hosting the first PGA tournament outside the United States and Canada in 2007, the course is named after a chameleon due to its' ever-changing landscape: exotic jungle, sand dunes and mangroves among others. See our Golf package
In Playa del Carmen you'll find several Kitesurfing schools offering classes; they can explain the recommended areas for the sport and supervise you if you're a beginner. They'll also rent you the right high quality equipment to help you stay safe out on the water. If you're vacationing in the area don't miss the opportunity to try something new and exciting; experience Kitesurfing in one of the most beautiful places in all of Mexico.
Shopping for mementos and souvenirs of your vacation to Riviera Maya is a fun activity for the whole family. Many shopping opportunities are located within close proximity to Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen is one of the most important places to visit when in this region. It is an exciting avenue of over 20 blocks, in which you will find great options for spending your afternoon. The Fifth Avenue is composed of a large number of shops where you can find designer clothes, souvenirs, original artwork and so much more. If you are looking to buy interesting things for loved ones at home, you will find options for every taste and budget. The Quinta Alegría mall located on Fifth Avenue offers a great opportunity for all who enjoy a premium shopping experience. Stores like Victoria’s Secret, Julio, Aldo, American Eagle and The Body Shop are surrounded by the natural beauty of the Playa del Carmen. There is also a variety of large shopping malls are located in Cancun. Many visitors to Riviera Maya enjoy shopping for trinkets on the island of Cozumel. Luxury Avenue in Cancun offers an extravagant experience to all visitors. Its unique concept provides a shopping experience like no other, with the most important international brands and personal assistance; it makes for retail therapy you won’t soon forget. La Isla Shopping Village is an excellent option for the Cancun shopping experience. The mall has 162 stores within international, domestic and regional brands; it also has the only interactive aquarium in the country offering swimming with dolphins and sharks.
The sophisticated and contemporary Koi Bar is an excellent starting point for the nightlife of the Riviera Maya. This bar at Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort is synonymous with elegance, with decor that could easily be compared to any top-notch bar in New York City. It serves up delicious drinks of the highest quality, complemented by the perfect music for a gorgeous evening in the tropics. On the weekends they have live DJ performances. Playa del Carmen, Mexico has something to entertain every age and taste, with an unbeatable nightlife scene. If you’d like to visit a very unique and traditional bar in this town go to Blue Parrot. Overlooking the beautiful turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean, the bar will transform the white sand into an incredible setting for a dance floor. The perfect place to spend the evening surrounded by a truly Mexican atmosphere is Mezcalina Bar -located on 12th Street. Known for its wide selection of mezcals and great music, you can sample this traditional liquor as you experience an incredible night with friends and family. When you are on 10th Avenue you can’t help but notice Coco Bongo. This club is a completely different experience; more than just a club, it’s more like a Vegas-type show. Coco Bongo is non-stop entertainment that lasts for hours; you can also visit its counterpart in Cancun.
Riviera Maya EventsThroughout the year you will find special events in the Riviera Maya. The events here are very diverse and we can assure you that they will really make your vacation unforgettable.
Riviera Maya Film Festival
The Riviera Maya Film Festival continues to expand and improve, providing a world-class cinematic experience for visitors and residents of the Riviera Maya. This event is a six-day long festival showing national and international movies in stunning natural settings in Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The locations used for movie screenings range from a typical movie theater to screenings on the beach or in public parks. Mark the film festival on your calendar and don’t forget to go!
PGA Mayakoba Golf Classic
The first time a PGA was hosted outside the United States or Canada happened in 2007. The Mayakoba Golf Classic remains the only PGA event in Mexico and is considered by aficionados of the sport as one of the finest in its class. The course is named after a chameleon due to its ever-changing landscape: exotic jungle, sand dunes, mangroves and more.
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival presents you with the incredible sounds and vibrant voices of jazz near Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. Having become the great musical event of the destination, it has showcased the talents of legends and Grammy winners like George Duke, Four Play, Sergio Mendes, Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Armando Manzanero and Sacbe, who have graced Playa Mamitas and captured the hearts of music lovers far and wide. This three-day event takes Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, Mexico by storm every fall. Come and join in the fun!