If you are planning or are interested in taking a trip to the Caribbean paradise of the Riviera Maya in Mexico, know that you’ll be close to a world of fun activities worth exploring. So don’t just stay confined behind the walls of your all-inclusive resort. Get out there and check out some of these great staples of the Mexican Caribbean paradise:
1. Swim in a cenote. An interesting fact about the Yucatan peninsula is that there are no lakes or rivers. All of the water in the area is confined underground. In fact, the longest underground river in the world was discovered in the region just a few years ago. As such, there exist a number of underground caves, called “cenotes”, full of freshwater throughout the region. A visit to one of these tranquil havens will add a little magic to your trip.
2. Go deep sea fishing. A number of charter fishing companies exist all along the coast of Mexico. You and your group can charter a boat to be taken out to the deep waters of the sea for an afternoon of fishing. The rates are generally very affordable. Shop around a little for the best price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate in Mexico. Just don’t get seasick!
3. Hop in a collectivo van down the highway. If you want to stand out from the typical tourist-in-Mexico crowd, track down where you can get on a collectivo van to head down the highway which runs along the coast. These vans are public transportation available to anyone. Many Mexicans use them for transportation to and from work. The ride is very affordable, 25-80 pesos depending on how long you’re on board, and you can get off at any point you wish. Go get lost and explore a small town in Mexico like Akumal. No worries, in the Riviera Maya region, there is little to fear in the way of crime and violence that gets reported on from the drug war.
4. Take a kite surfing lesson. There are many expert kite surfers all along the Mexican coast who are happy to take a little of your hard-earned money in exchange for showing you how to kite surf. The lesson begins by simply learning to fly the kite on land. Then you gradually build your way up to taking it for a ride out on the sea. It’s an easier thing to learn than you might think!
5. Jump out of a plane for a nice beach landing. Ready for some real adventure? Go jump out of a plane in Playa del Carmen. Skydive Playa offers tandem skydives with a view simply too amazing to believe. Your master instructor will guide the parachute to a soft landing on the beach to conclude the thrill of a lifetime. There’s no better place in the world to jump out of a plane. Check out the video below to get an idea of the experience.
6. Take a yoga class on the beach. There exist a number of early-morning beach yoga classes in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and specifically Tulum. There are typically no previous training requirements for these courses and there’s no better place on earth to try out yoga for the first time than on a tropical beach.
7. Snorkel with the tropical fish. There is no simpler thrill in the Riveria Maya than renting a snorkeling mask and a pair of fins and jumping in the water. Be at peace with the world as you observe and interact with the tropical sea life that exists in and around the second largest coral reef in the world. You can swim with the sea turtles in Akumal; dozens of them regularly linger in the waters just a few meters off the beach.
8. Shop If you’re into fashion and shopping, the best place for that in the Riviera Maya is Playa del Carmen. The city’s fifth avenue is closed to traffic. It’s all pedestrians, shopping, and restaurants. High-end retailers have made their way into the area over the years to cater to the demand of tourists looking for a bargain. Remember, in the souvenir shops the price is always negotiable!
9. Visit the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Hundreds of bird and mammal species thrive in this lush paradise. It offers a view of the Caribbean so magnificent you can actually see the curvature of the earth!
10. Get your scuba certification. There are dozens of dive shops all along the Mexican Caribbean coast. Take 3-4 days to receive your scuba certification. You’ll be in the water on your first day diving to a depth of 30 feet with your instructor. There’s no experience quite like the zero gravity sensation of breathing underwater that scuba can offer.