The clue’s in the name with Riviera Maya holidays. If ‘Riviera’ conjures up images of sandy beaches, sparkling blue sea and swaying palm trees, then you’re on the right track. Next, the ‘Maya’ bit, which comes from the awe-inspiring ruins that pepper this region - the last vestiges of the ancient Maya Empire. Put them together, add in a string of attractive resorts, some amazing ecological parks and a scattering of freshwater cenotes, and you’ve got a pretty amazing holiday destination.
Stretching from rollicking Cancun in the north to serene Tulum in the south, the Riviera Maya is home to a succession of fabulous beaches that offer something for everyone. This coast’s linchpin is Playa del Carmen, which packs quite a punch with watersports, great shopping and rocking nightlife. But there are plenty of other superb spots to seek out: Puerto Morales holds onto its fishing village charm; the turquoise waters of Akumal are cushioned by silken sands and an offshore reef; and kicked-back Xpu-Ha is nothing short of picture postcard-perfect.
If you can tear yourself away from your beach towel, then there’s more than enough to keep you occupied. Cenotes are a speciality of Riviera Maya holidays, and swimming in the cool waters of a limestone sinkhole, with the sun shafting down through a hole in the ground high above your head, is an experience not to be forgotten. So, too, is wandering among the Maya ruins at age-old sites like Tulum and Coba, or coming face-to-face with a parrot fish while snorkelling on the Riviera’s reef.
Needless to say the food is fantastic, and you can enjoy tucking into traditional Mexican fare like tacos and enchiladas, as well as fish pulled fresh from the sea. Wash it down with an ice-cold beer or a tequila cocktail, and you’ll never want to go home.