More than a Beach: The top 10 things to do in Riviera Maya

Cenote in Riviera Maya
As much as one enjoys going to the beach on vacation, sometimes it’s good to switch it up and experience something different. Maybe on a certain day, you are feeling a little sunburnt? The great news with the Riviera Maya is there is so much to see and do, that it is nearly impossible to experience it all. There are many activities that one can only experience in the Riviera Maya and that is what makes this place so unique. Let’s take a look at the top 10 things to see and do in the Riviera Maya when you want to switch up a beach day:

1. Take A Dip In A Cenote

Have you ever gone swimming in a natural sinkhole that is turquoise in color, with fish eating the dead skin off your toes? This is an experience you need to do while visiting the Riviera Maya. It is the perfect picture spot and a great place to spend a few hours. There are cenotes located all over the Riviera Maya with tons located on the outside of Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

2. Visit The Mayan Ruins

You can’t come to the Riviera Maya without visiting a Mayan Ruin… The Mayan Ruins are part of the Mexican heritage and it is a rather unique place to visit. I would recommend the ruins in Tulum or Chichen Itza. If you want a fun day trip from Playa del Carmen, I would recommend the Chichen Itza day trip that includes visiting the Mayan Ruins, lunch, swimming in a cenote, and stopping in a colonial town.

3. Go Shopping On The Famous Fifth Avenue In PDC

There are so many unique shops located along Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Lots of boutique stores that offer handmade clothing and items to take home. There are lots of different restaurants to enjoy on Fifth Ave as well.

4. Watch A Movie At The Cinema

There is a cinema located in the mall ‘Las Americas’ which is on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen. There are movies in English and Spanish so you don’t have to worry about reading subtitles if you don’t want to (of course depending on the movie.) This makes for a fun experience, as cinemas are different in every country.

5. Day Trip To Tulum

You can jump on the ADO bus that leaves Playa del Carmen a couple of times per day and enjoy the day in Tulum. Tulum is a hippy beach town that offers unique cuisine and boutique stores located along the beach. Make sure you visit the Mayan Ruins if you plan a day trip to Tulum. The beach in Tulum is also a must-visit – even though you want to switch things up from the beach. Take a walk and snap a few pictures.

6. Rent A Bike

It’s always fun to rent a bike and cycle around the town that you are visiting. This is an easy way to experience new places in the town and it is affordable too! There are many places around town that are renting bikes for the day, week, or month.

7. Ferry To Cozumel

Jump on the ferry and spend a day in Cozumel. It’s a small island, but it is fun to rent a scooter and drive around the whole island. Why not visit another place while enjoying your vacation in the Riviera Maya. The more places and experiences you have in the Riviera Maya- the more you will want to move here for good.

8. Spend The Day At One Of Our Theme Parks In The Rivera Maya

There are so many interesting and fun theme parks in the Riviera Maya. One being Xcaret- this is a favorite amongst many visitors in the past couple years. Why not enjoy a fun-filled day doing something a little different and learning more about the Mexican heritage. From underground caves to Mexican dances- it’s a fun day for all ages!

9. Play Games At The Café

With all the delicious cafes in the Riviera Maya such as Ah Cacao- why not enjoy a frappe or coffee and have a game of cards with friends. Most of the cafes in the Riviera Maya offer free WIFI, which is great for people who need to catch up on work.

10. Snorkel Or Parasail

Although you will have to go to the beach to do either of these activities, technically you are not spending the day lying on the beach. These activities are great because you have so many things to see. Snorkeling is great in the Riviera Maya with lots of fish and sea creatures to see. Cozumel is another great place to go snorkeling. Parasailing is great because you have incredible views of the Riviera Maya from every angle. It’s also a fun activity to experience if you have never experienced something like this before.
Make sure you spend enough time in the Riviera Maya, so you can experience all these fun activities!

Looking for even more things to do?

Rooftop Pools

The Fives Downtown
Fiesta Americana
Thompson Hotel
The Reef
Be Playa
The Palm Hotel
The Hyatt (not really a rooftop)
The Carmen Hotel
It Hotel, Nice for Sunset Drinks
The Shore


Xenotes Tour
Río Secreto
Isla Mujeres


Chichen Itza
Ek Balam


El Eden
Dos Ojos
Casa Cenote
Gran Cenote
Caleta Tankah

Restaurants (Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch)

Cueva del Chango
Chez Céline
Amate 38
La Brioche
Ojo de Agua
Lara y Luca
The Hyatt (brunch also)

Restaurants (Dinner)

Sonora Grill
The Grill (Hyatt)
It Guilty
El Diez
500 gr
La Parrilla
La Piola
The Fives Downtown
Sushi Club
Sushi Roll
Bajo Café
La Perla
Perché No
El Quijote
C Grill by Thompson Hotels
El Primo
Parrilla Urbana
Papa Charly

Do you have any suggestions for places that we should add to our list? Contact Us and let us know!