The Riviera Maya
Beaches with white sand and turquoise sea, the second largest coral barrier reef system in the world, a thousand-year-old town with Maya Civilization, routes with hidden cenotes, turtles, jungle landscapes and very active nightlife are just some of the wonders waiting for you in the Mexican Caribbean, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean and in the whole world.
Both the Riviera Maya and Cancun, which are located on the East coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, are two dream resorts that meet the expectations of all guest types: families, couples and groups. Enjoy a vacation with your partner in The Riviera Maya or celebrate your dream honeymoon in Cancun. Just imagine yourself relaxing on a beach with white sand and crystalline waters, while enjoying your favorite cocktail or diving between coral reefs and colorful fish.
The Riviera Maya is also an ideal destination if you are traveling with children, thanks to its family-friendly resorts with water parks and entertainment, such as Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Resort. Its water park which has 14 slides, 2 rivers and 6 swimming pools, as well as a kid’s club with entertainment and endless sporting activities, will guarantee you an unforgettable vacation.
At the same time, don’t hesitate to organize visits to Cancun with a group of friends. This resort’s nightlife, beaches and unlimited leisure options makes it a top destination for vacations with friends. For this reason, Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Resort is an excellent hotel if you want to discover the secrets of the Maya culture and the exotic landscapes of the Yucatan Peninsula.
What you need to know when you come to Cancun
The best time of year to visit Cancun
The Mexican Caribbean can be visited at any time of year, as the average temperature ranges from 24-29 degrees. The months of July and August are the warmest, and January and February are the coolest. However, temperatures can still reach 26 or 27 degrees even during these cooler months, so you don’t need to worry about being cold. Temperatures are pleasant all year round in The Riviera Maya, allowing guests to enjoy the beaches and water sports.
However, if your vacation dates are flexible, the best time to visit The Riviera Maya is between November and May, which is the dry season. During this period, you will enjoy sunny days and hardly any rain, less humidity and it doesn’t feel as hot. Consequently, the average temperatures are still summery, ranging from 23 to 36 degrees.
The rainy season is from May to November, when it is more humid and it feels much hotter. Even so, it usually rains heavily at a given moment of the day and then this passes quickly leaving clear skies, and guests can still enjoy the beach and the sea. If you wish to travel during this period, don’t let the weather put you off.
Transfer from the airport to the resort
Cancun International Airport is just 11 km away from Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Resort. You can travel from the airport to the hotel by taxi or transfer for a very reasonable price.
The local time in the state of Quintana Roo is the Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5), one hour ahead of the rest of the country.
Mexico City is the country’s capital, and Chetumal is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo.
The official language is Spanish, although hotel staff have a good level of English, French and German, among other languages.
Electricity usually operates at 110 V/ 60 Hz, the same as in North America.
The official currency is the Mexican peso. You can exchange currency in the hotel, at the airport or in other touristic places.
The minimum legal age to consume alcoholic drinks is 18 years old.
What to see in the Riviera Maya
The city of Cancun is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean. You can’t leave The Riviera Maya without having visited this city, which is located just 30 km away from Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Resort.
You will have a great day in Cancun, starting with a visit to the El Rey archaeological zone and the Maya Museum. Spend the afternoon on one of the spectacular beaches, such as Chac Mool or Marlin. Afterwards, watch the sunset from the Delfines beach observatory, and finish your day with a walk through the city center or the La Isla square, which has many shops and restaurants.
If you want to dance, Cancun is a top party destination, thanks to its famous nightclubs such as The City or Coco Bongo.
Isla Mujeres is a small island located just 13 km away from Cancun. It boasts postcard-perfect long beaches with white sand, palm trees and turquoise water. You can get there by ferry (20 minute ride from Cancun). Once you reach the island, one of the most popular ways to get around is to hire a golf buggy, although you can also rent a car or a private chauffeur.
This resort has a reputation for being a great place to go snorkeling and scuba diving because of its beautiful coral reefs.
In addition, the Underwater Museum of Art is located on the island. There are more than 500 sculptures created by the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, submerged at the bottom of the sea. Don’t miss the chance to dive between these famous figures and take some of the most entertaining pictures of your whole trip.
In the South of the island, you can visit the ruins of the Temple of the Goddess Ixchel, the first female Maya goddess. If you have some free time, this place and its beautiful views are worth a visit.
One of the seven marvels of the modern world and the main icon of The Riviera Maya is the Chichen Itza archeological site. Without a doubt, this is a must-see if you want to learn about the country’s intriguing Maya history.
You can’t leave without taking the classic photo next to the Kukulkán pyramid and immortalizing one of the best moments of your trip. A top recommendation is to go early in the morning, before the hoards of tourists descend. In the afternoon you can visit some of the region’s most impressive and popular cenotes and their surrounding areas, such as Cenote Xkekén and Cenote Samulá. To round everything off nicely, stop in the city of Valladolid to admire the colorful colonial houses and important buildings such as the San Servacio church, and immerse yourself in Mexican culture.
Cozumel is the third largest island in Mexico, and another tourist destination in The Riviera Maya that is worth discovering, not only because of its spectacular beaches but also because of the vast biodiversity hidden beneath its clear waters. Some of the most highly recommended diving spots are La Herradura and the Palancar reef. The El Cielo sand bank is also one of the most popular places for snorkeling, because it is home to a large colony of starfish.
The easiest way to get to Cozumel is by boat from Playa del Carmen, which is just 19 km away from the island.
If you are looking for peace, tranquility and a place to reconnect with nature, you can’t miss a visit to Tulum. It’s 130 km away from Cancun, and is one of the most beautiful places in the entire Yucatán Peninsula. Tulum combines the charm of the exotic Caribbean beaches with the relics of the Maya Civilization. The ruins are located on a cliff overlooking the sea, so you can take one of the most beautiful snapshots of your entire trip and enjoy yourself in one of the most beautiful parts of Mexico after a perfect day at the beach.
From Tulum, you can also visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the largest protected area in Mexican Caribbean and one of the most spectacular natural spots with beaches, cenotes, coral reefs, dunes, swamps and a tropical rainforest which is home to thousands of different animals. Here you will be able to spot dolphins and visit abandoned archaeological sites.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is, alongside Cancun, another of the most legendary destinations in The Riviera Maya, as it has many hotels, restaurants, shops and other leisure services. In the afternoon you can enjoy a walk along Quinta Avenida, the main commercial street full of shops and local businesses. On the beach, coconuts and chopped mangos, as well as other local products, are sold by locals. Sunset is the perfect moment to sit on the sand and contemplate the spectacular colors in the sky.
What to do in Cancun
Quintana Roo has the second largest barrier reef in the world: the great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. You will spot sharks, turtles, parrotfish, manatees and thousands of other species by signing up to a course or tours. The best diving spots are Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Tulum. Other very famous spots are Mahahual and Chinchorro Bank.
Besides the romantic image of paradisiacal beaches, The Riviera Maya is also a popular party hotspot. You can go out in both Cancun and Playa del Carmen at any time of day, throughout the year. You with find some of the most spectacular nightclubs in the Caribbean in both cities, such as Coco Bongo, Palazzo or Mandala. You will be given a wristband in the majority of these, granting you access to the open bar so you won’t need to worry about your wallet while you party. If you are looking for something a bit more chilled, Calle 12 in Playa del Carmen is full of bars where you can enjoy a drink, as well as the Puerto Morelos, which has many bars offering all your favorite cocktails.
Route of the Cenotes
More than 7000 cenotes are dotted around the Yucatán Peninsula. These are stunningly beautiful natural wells which form between exterior and underwater rock formations. It is possible to swim and dive in them. One of the most famous routes starts in Puerto Morelos, which is just 22 km away from the Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Resort. From here you can discover the Cenotes of Las Morrajas, Siete Bocas, Boca del Puma, Verde Lucero, Chilam Balam, La noria, KinHa and Zapote. All of them are authentic wonders of nature, and diving or going for a relaxing swim in them is a real pleasure. Don’t miss the Chac Mool cenote in Puerto Aventuras with its caves full of stalagmites. Here fresh water meets sea water, provoking the scientific phenomenon known as halocline.
One of the best ways to enjoy the sea and fantastic natural environments is to go on a Catamaran trip or tour. Some of the most popular catamaran cruise destinations are Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel or private beach clubs. There are all-inclusive catamaran trips offering activities to suit all tastes, such as snorkeling or scuba diving, partying, all a great way to celebrate a wedding, bachelorette or stag party or graduation. Whatever you are looking for, you will find the perfect catamaran trip for you. Enjoy a perfect day visiting everything that the marvelous Riviera Maya has to offer.
The Riviera Maya offers top-quality gastronomy, characterized by the use of fresh ingredients and a combination of the ancient Maya culture and Spanish culture. If you wish to try one of the most typical regional dishes, such as tikin xic fish, poc chuc, cochinita pibil or panuchos, or other delicacies, don’t miss any of these restaurants located in Playa de Carmen. One of these is Maíz de Mar, located in Quinta Avenida, where you can try some delicious dishes made with local products. Another restaurant worth a visit is the Fishería Playa, which offers an exquisite version of the ceviche de camarón and pescado enclamatado.
On the other hand, if you are after a good burger and local beer infused with wild oranges from the rainforest, don’t miss a trip to Mu. Burguerhouse. However, if you are interested in signature cuisine, chef Martín Berasategui also offers nouvelle cuisine in Playa del Carmen. As you can see, The Riviera Maya offers a wide variety of restaurants to suit all tastes.
The Riviera Maya has many shopping districts and places where you can buy local products, handmade gifts, Yucatan jewelry or souvenirs. Without a doubt, the most popular is Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen. This boulevard has many shops where you can buy ornaments, jewelry, clothes made from natural fabrics, tequila, cocoa or gifts. Another shopping option is Paseo del Carmen. Here you will also find international brands and exclusive boutiques where you can buy clothes, cosmetics and other accessories. Finally, Puerto Aventuras is another nearby place which exudes glamour from each of its shops and restaurants.
The Riviera Maya is the ideal vacation destination for families with children. For this reason, the entire Eastern coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula is full of theme parks and attractive leisure options for all the family.
One of the most well-known places is Xcaret, a natural theme park located in a former Maya settlement, which boasts a butterfly farm and a reef aquarium.
Alternatively, Xel-Há is a water park with waterfalls, where you can go snorkeling or swim between cenotes. Xenses is also one of the newest theme parks, with several outdoor activity routes, designed to stimulate all five senses.
Xplor is a popular option for older children, an adventure park with rivers, caves and cenotes as well as underground paths and zip wires. There is also the newest park, Xavage, which offers extreme experiences, only suitable for the most adventurous visitors.
If you wish to see turtles, one of the most famous places in all of Cancun is Tortugranja, a natural zone where these animals come to lay their eggs during the summer months.
The best beaches in the Riviera Maya
Senator Riviera Cancun Spa Hotel is located on a spectacular white sandy beach, which is more than 600 meters long and surrounded by exotic vegetation and natural swamps. You won’t fail to enjoy the sun here, relaxing in a hammock or in the crystalline water.
Other beaches that are worth discovering include Sian Ka’an, which one of the Mexican Caribbean’s last untouched corners, Xpu-Ha, with shallow water ideal for small children, Akumal, where you can see sea turtle eggs hatching in an unrivaled setting, Holbox which has more than 35 km of practically untouched beaches where, if you are lucky, you might spot some whale sharks, Chemuyil, which boasts the Yunaan-Ha cenote, or Xcacel, a paradisiacal place where you can disconnect, enjoy fishing and see the old shipwreck.
Playa Maroma, with its clear water and all the necessary facilities, Paamul, a rocky bay with a reef which is perfect for snorkeling, or Playa Mamitas, which hosts many events and beach clubs to create a fun environment, are also great options in the Playa del Carmen area.