The traditional Rivera Maya spans from just south of Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

However recent tourism marketing has been calling the area just south of Cancun (Puerto Morelos) all the way down to Punta Allen the “Riviera Maya.”

Below we have highlighted the most important areas you will see talked about as part of the Riviera Maya (including the recently added ones).  The area of the Riviera Maya are in order from north to south (Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen).

Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is less than 14 miles south of Cancun and can easily be reached from Cancun

In Puerto Morelos, you can dive the Great Mesoamerican Reef, bike along this authentic Mexican center, swim in a refreshing cenote, arrange an exotic jungle, or take a Mexican cooking class.

Puerto Morelos is the place to go when you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of traveler hot spots but still want the comforts of tourist amenities. This little town has a small town feel while still having a wide variety of activities, accommodations, and dining for all budgets.

Playa del Carmen

In the heart of beautiful Riviera Maya, you will find the centrally located Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen has acclimated to tourist needs while retaining its historical precedence of a charming little fishing town. You will find an array of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping areas to serve your needs.

Playa del Carmen started as a humble fishing village until they started a ferry to the scuba haven of Cozumel. Since then, tourists have been coming here to enjoy the sandy beaches and turquoise waters. While the seawater diving in Playa del Carmen has little to offer in comparison with Cozumel, cenote diving provides a unique and fun experience for everyone.

Playa del Carmen is a larger tourist town and quite popular; please visit All About Playa del Carmen for more information.


Home to the popular Xcaret Eco-Park

Puerto Adventuras

Puerto Aventuras is a luxury marina community offering condominiums, hotels and luxury villas. It has a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts and more



Located approximately 34 kms south of Playa del Carmen.


On the southern side of Riviera Maya, you will find the quaint little town of Akumal

Translated from Mayan, Akumal means “place of turtles” and this is just what you’ll find on your must-see snorkeling excursion. Along with fish and coral, you’ll find some very nice snorkeling. This is due largely to Akumal’s initatives to preserve the natural beauty of the town.

While limited in nightlife and shopping, Akumal has many restaurants to choose from. But more importantly, Akmul is a tranquil town where residents try to harmonize art and nature to create a relaxing ambience for tourists and locals alike.


On the southernmost side of Riviera Maya you will find the historic site of Tulum.

Tulum is home to one of the best-perserved coastal sites of the Mayan civilization. Perched on a 39-foot cliff overlooking the beautiful Caribbean are the ruins of Tulum. This well-preserved site has temples, murals, a fortress, a cenote, and a true sense of historical and cultural richness.

Tulum is also known as the home of Sian Ka’an is a non-profit NGO committed to conservation of the biosphere in this part of the country.

The town is divided into 4 areas, all easily accessible: archaeological site, the pueblo (or town), the zona hotelera (or hotel zone) and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka’an was the first established Biosphere Reserve in Mexico and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is a Mayan phrase meaning “Where The Sky Is Born.” Inside the Biosphere reserve, there are two towns – Boca Paila and Punta Allen.

Boca Paila

There are several small real estate developments in this area as well as several fishing lodges. It’s a great place to go fishing.

Punta Allen

Punta Allen is a small fishing village in the Si’an Ka’an biosphere, with a friendly atmosphere and places to stay.