Cancún + The Riviera Maya
Things to do in Cancún + The Riviera Maya
From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Cancun The Riviera Maya attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.
Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Cancun The Riviera Maya.
Try to nab a couch in front of the aquarium wall—a dramatic backdrop to lantern-lit cabanas and dining palapas rising from a lagoon on stilts.
Modest compared with those on the Yucatán peninsula, Cozumel's Mayan ruins are still distinct. San Gervasio, in the interior, was occupied by the Maya for more than 1,300 years and served as a trading hub as well as the worship center for the goddess Ixchel.
Where It Is: The limestone bedrock that underlies Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is pocked with freshwater-filled sinkholes called cenotes. For divers, one of the best known is the 48-foot-deep Cenote Taj Maja, just south of the Caribbean coastal town of Playa del Carmen.
Sure, you could book shiatsu, but this spa’s specialty is heavenly Mayan-inspired treatments. Everyone’s visit begins with an outdoor steam-cleansing ritual using resin from the revered copal tree.
Modest compared with those on the
Once the most powerful Mayan city-state in the northeastern Yucatán, this 26-square-mile site, crisscrossed by raised limestone roads called sacbéob and home to three pyramids, remains relatively untouched by excavators’ hammers and tourist traffic.
You can actually swim with parrot fish and manta rays in lagoons. You can also hike tropical trails, picnic under a palapa, and sack out in a hammock.
Run by a group of Playa del Carmen adventurers dedicated to sustainable tourism, this company works with Mayan communities to preserve their heritage.
Four compact galleries chronicle the island's Mayan history, Spanish conquest, Caribbean pirates, and ecological diversity (with a focus on the coral ecosystem—the giant underwater mountain of Palanacar Reef lies just off Cozumel).
Jaguars, ocelots, and tapirs, as well as hundreds of species of birds and fish, roam these 1.3 million acres of coastal jungle, home to nearly every Yucatán ecosystem and studded with unexcavated ruins.
A mix of guided jungle and water activities are offered at this park in an up-close, jungle environment. Water activities are focused on snorkeling and diving in the cenotes—underground pools and waterways common in the area.
With its passionate guides and open-ocean enclosures, Dolphin Discovery is the best of several companies in Mexico offering swims with dolphins. Under a guide’s tutelage from afar, you’ll hang onto fins for a ride, practice hands-free waterskiing—and collect a kiss.