If you are about to plan your trip and do not decide between the Riviera Maya or Cancun, do not worry, because you are in a situation that happens very often. Even though both destinations are perfect for an amazing vacation, they are different concepts even though they are very close. It all depends on what you’re looking for and your travel interests.
In this post we reveal everything you need to know about the Riviera Maya and Cancun and give you the keys that will make you decide for one or the other. Here it is very important to define the type of transportation you will use, whether you use private transportation or a Cancun Car Rental to any destination in the Riviera Maya.
Why visit the Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya is the ideal place to relax, enjoy the tranquility of heavenly beaches, discover impressive nature and drink from the Mayan culture. The crystalline and blue waters, the virgin and lonely beaches, the marine life, the wild animals, the archaeological vestiges, caves and the spectacular cenotes are only part of the patrimony of this place.
Where is the Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya is a tourist area that extends along the Caribbean coast in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It stretches from the town of Isla Blanca to Punta Allen. In total it is 140 kilometers long.
Excursions in the Riviera Maya
If you are a restless traveler and when you travel you like to discover everything the country or the city has to offer, you are in luck because the Riviera Maya has an infinite number of areas to visit and things to see.
Riviera Maya must-sees
The Riviera Maya offers a wide range of excursions and tours for all tastes: windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, multi-adventure activities, visits to archaeological ruins and natural reserves… etc. So, you can hire with a travel agency, like ours, the different tours that you want to do during your stay in this area of Mexico.
One of the most paradisiacal beaches in the Riviera Maya since it is not yet very built, thus respecting the fauna and flora of the place. Besides enjoying the landscape, you can see groups of sea turtles swimming peacefully in freedom.
The Mayan ruins of Tulum consist of a walled city founded in the sixth century on a cliff. Besides enjoying this piece of culture and history, Tulum boasts Playa Paraiso or Boca Paila, white sand beaches and hundreds of turquoise tones that shine in the sun.
To get to Tulum you just need to take a shuttle from cancun to tulum, where you can easily reach this magical and special place.
Sian Ka’an Reserve
The Sian Ka’an Reserve is a protected natural area declared a World Heritage Site. In this park you can enjoy nature in its purest form, animals in freedom and incredible landscapes. If you decide to visit it is very important that you take care of any activity you do. Remember to always take care of the environment and especially of these still virgin places.
Why visit Cancun
Cancun is a city with a huge population and is the ideal place for those who give priority to the night over the day. Luxury beachfront hotels, high-rise buildings, shopping malls, luxurious fashion shops and entertainment venues make Cancun a dynamic place where fun and partying are guaranteed.
In general, Cancun is more dominated by cement than by nature. The beaches, despite offering a splendid contrast between the turquoise color and white sand of the Caribbean Sea, are characterized by being crowded all year round.
As you move south towards the Riviera Maya, the hotels are transformed into large resorts and nature is much more abundant and spectacular.
Some of the best activities to do in Cancun or in areas close to the city:
One of the most striking islands within the Riviera Maya area thanks to the coral formations, the variety of multicolored fish and the crystal clear turquoise waters. Dolphins and sharks can be seen. However, this excursion can also be made from other areas of the Riviera Maya, such as Playa del Carmen.
Chac Moo Beach
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The most famous and well-known beach in Cancun thanks to its busy nightlife. The party center is the reference area for partying. There you can find the Mandala Beach Club, Coco Bongo or The city.
Cozumel is one of the largest islands in Mexico. Its reef is one of the most famous in the world and is known to have been a Mayan settlement related to rites of worship to the gods.
From Exotik Mayan Tours we also organize excursions to this island and the reefs, as it is closer to Playa del Carmen than Cancun, although it is usually highlighted as a point to visit from the city.
Tips to choose between Riviera Maya or Cancun
As you will have deduced after reading the whole article, the differences between Riviera Maya or Cancun are minimal, in fact only 70 kilometers separate downtown Cancun from Playa de Carmen, the point where all the hotels in Riviera are located.
Riviera Maya boasts much more vegetation and nature. The beaches are less crowded and more spacious and natural.
If we had to define each place with one word, Riviera Maya would be tranquility and Cancun, party. And that does not mean that you can get both in both areas. In Playa del Carmen there are also a good number of bars and pubs where you can have a drink at the end of the night.
Another interesting option that can make you decide between Riviera Maya or Cancun is the variety of offers you can find, for example, for hotels or packages of offers with excursions.