In one week, I’ll be boarding a flight headed for the Riviera Maya. It’ll be my second visit to the region and I can hardly wait to return. Here are three things that I missed out on the last time I was there, and that are on my itinerary this time around.
Believe it or not, on my last visit to the Riviera Maya I didn’t manage to visit any of the area cenotes. Cenotes are limestone sinkholes that are created by an underground river system and there are literally thousands of them dotting the Yucatán Peninsula. The ancient Maya believed that the cenotes were sacred and today, many are open to the public for swimming and snorkeling. While in the Riviera Maya, I’m hoping to visit a group of three cenotes — Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Azul and Cenote El Jardín del Eden — all located just a short distance south of Playa del Carmen.
The island of Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island. Cozumel is located off the coast of Playa del Carmen in the Caribbean Sea. It’s a world-famous diving and resort destination and a popular cruise ship port. Select airlines fly to the island of Cozumel and you can also get there on the Cozumel ferry from Playa del Carmen. Since I’ll be based in the town of Playa del Carmen, I’m planning to take the Cozumel ferry over for a day trip to the island. The ferry arrives in the island’s main town, San Miguel de Cozumel, and from there it’s possible to explore more of the island and its beaches.
The small resort town of Akumal is located along the Riviera Maya less than an hour’s drive south of Playa del Carmen. The name Akumal means “Place of the Turtles,” and sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Akumal during the summer months. The Laguna Yal-Kú in Akumal is a great destination for swimming and snorkeling, as is the Cenote Dos Ojos that’s located nearby. Cenote Dos Ojos is part of the third-largest underwater cave system in the world and visitors can tour the underwater caverns. Akumal is one of just a few small beach towns along the Riviera Maya that I have yet to visit.
Share your Riviera Maya travel tips in the comments.