Cancún & The Riviera Maya
A GUIDE TO THE TOURISM CORRIDOR
Mexico is home to some of the most incredible places in the world, and the Yucatán peninsula is no exception. Stretching into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, this region is rich with culture, adventure, and beauty. Cancún marks the north east corner of this peninsula, and The Riviera Maya encompasses the incredible stretch of coast all the way south to Tulum. It’s this area where tourists and locals enjoy the warm ocean waters, amazing food, and countless activities. Once you’ve visited, you’ll be counting down the days until you can return.
One of the first tourist areas in Mexico to develop. This 30 km stretch located between the Nichupté lagoon and the Atlantic and Caribbean, offers white sandy shores, turquoise waters and modern surroundings. Ideal location for guests wanting to explore, the bus system makes it easy to get around to shopping malls, marinas and tourist attractions. Long known as a spring break location, don’t be fooled, Cancún offers sophisticated and elegant options that will please adults and children alike. It is also one of the only areas on the east coast of Mexico that can offer you a magnificent sunset wedding with venues facing west and over the beautiful lagoon.
Puerto Morelos is a small fishing village nestled in between the growing cities of Cancún and Playa del Carmen. In spite of the size and growth of its neighbors, Puerto Morelos has retained its small town charm. The downtown area of Puerto Morelos has a lovely plaza and several small, shop-lined streets. No, here you won’t find the mega-resorts commanding all the beachfront property for exclusive guests. In Puerto Morelos, locals and tourists alike can enjoy a day at the beach in all its tropical wonder.
Playa del Carmen:
Playa del Carmen is located right in the middle of the Riviera Maya and is easily accessible from all the resorts in the area. This is the main town in the Riviera Maya and most tourists will plan time during their vacation to take a stroll down the famous 5th avenue, enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants, or dance the night away at one of the nightclubs. You can easily spend a day (or more) exploring Playa del Carmen and all it has to offer.
Puerto Aventuras is a newly built small town surrounded by lush tropical jungle and two beautiful crystal-clear marinas. Characterized by its stunning marinas, upscale accommodations, quirky eateries, everyone has a reason to explore this warm and friendly community. What started as a small village with little more than an elementary school, some stores, and a church has grown into a charming port town where personal yachts and large recreational fishing boats glimmer and bob along the ocean’s surface.
Tulum is located 1.5 hours south of the Cancún airport and is known for the Mayan Ruins bearing the location’s name. Comprised of a village area and a beach area, this zone has recently exploded with tourists seeking its bohemian vibe. The stunning white sandy beaches and clear blue waters offer the perfect combination of total relaxation, tranquility and seclusion, yet can fill your day with the many interesting and rich activities in the area. The Tulum beach strip is a small road that runs the length of the beach and leads you to the arch, which is the access to the famous Sian Ka’an biosphere.
Travel times & tips for the Riviera Maya
Most travellers arrive by plane at the well-known Cancún International Airport (CUN). It is the 2nd busiest airport in Mexico and is located just 15-20 minutes south of both Cancún center and the hotel zone. Currently, this is the primary airport for visitors travelling to the Riviera Maya, however there are plans for a second International airport just north of Tulum.
Cancún — Playa del Carmen
The two largest cities on the Caribbean coast, Cancún & Playa del Carmen, attract visitors from around the globe. Getting to and-from is easy as both cities are connected by the main highway. The road is well-maintained and very safe. If you’re travelling from the Cancún city center, it will take about 1 hour to drive from Cancún to Playa del Carmen. Whether you’re going by bus, rental car, or private van, you’re sure to enjoy the scenic drive with the beautiful Caribbean waters to the east. You’ll shave off 10 minutes if you travel directly from the Cancún airport to Playa del Carmen.
The opposite route, Playa del Carmen to Cancún, follows along the same highway for similar travel time, depending on time of day. Travellers enjoy spending time in both these cities, and each has something unique to offer.
Playa del Carmen — Tulum
As you travel south down the coastline, you will continue to experience the incredible scenery of the Riviera Maya. This route is a continuation of the highway that connects to Cancún, and it takes about 1 hour to drive from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Along the way, you’ll pass through countless resorts and activity centers. Cenotes, snorkelling, river tours, bungee jumping & ziplining, ATV rides — it’s clear that you won’t run out of activities in this area! There are countless things to do in Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and everywhere in between.
Of course, travelling from Tulum to Playa del Carmen, also takes around 1 hour, and follows the same highway.
Cancún — Tulum
The total trip takes about 2 hours to drive from Cancún to Tulum. A little less if you’re leaving directly from the Cancún airport. You’ll pass through Playa del Carmen around the halfway point, and will have plenty of scenic spots to stop and explore. This drive follows one divided-highway the whole way. It is a very safe and simple journey.
Travelling from Tulum to Cancún is just as easy
How to book private transportation in Cancún, Mexico:
As you’re exploring this beautiful region, we can help you organize private transportation. Whether you’re looking for a detailed tour, or simply an airport transfer to your accommodation, we’ve got you covered door-to-door. Reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to assist.