A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to visit the lovely Riviera Maya for the first time!!!! I know, I know, super shocking ha? Who hasn’t been to Cancun these days…. I can finally say, I joined the club!
I took this lovely, sunny 1 week trip with my family. It is always nice and fun to reunite and spend time with loved ones. I didn’t feel so bad, because my cousins hadn’t been to the Riviera Maya either, only my aunt, so she was our tour guide. Shout-out to my Tia Nory! 😉
The Riviera Maya, seems small but it’s really not close! So, I would highly advise to do what we did, and rent a car. We found a super good deal on the Mexican Groupon! 😉
We relaxed at our hotel Vidanta (a little tooooo big for my taste, 5 hotels in 1) yet, really nice and convenient. It had really cool ocean views and cabanas and even flamingos!
We took a day trip to Xel-Ha ! This place is an amazing water park and ecotourism spot that is part of theXcaret parks. We got to swim with dolphins, zip line, snorkel, go tubing, down crazy water slides and EAT and DRINK as much as we could!
During the day we relaxed some more at our hotel and in the evening, we drove up to Playa del Carmen and walked around the famous 5th Avenue. We had some drinks and apps at the cute patio of Almirante Pech.
This day was a bit intense, but it was jam-packed with adventure! First we drove about 2 hours from our hotel to the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza! They are one of the 7 wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Things to know before going:
– Climbing to the top of the Pyramid is not allowed.
– Chichen Itza site is open to visit 365 days a year from 9am and 5 pm.
– Entrance fee is about $12 USD per person
-Wear sunscreen and bring water.. it’s HOT in the summer!
Fun Fact: Chichen Itza dates back to between 750 and 900 AD and it is now one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico, with over 2.6 million tourists in 2017.
After Chichen Itza, we drove about 5 min to the super cool Cenote Ik Kil. The entrance for this is about $5 USD and the lifejacket rental is about $2.5 USD. The cenote is open to the sky and there is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. The cenote is about 200 ft in diameter and about 130 ft deep, so getting that lifejacket comes in handy!Fun Fact: Cenotes were considered sacred by the Mayans and were used as a location for human sacrifice to their gods.
For dinner, we took a 1.5 hour drive to Merida. We decided to do this in honor of our grandpa who was originally from there.
We enjoyed a delicious meal typical from the Yucatan at La Chaya Maya. The cuisine from the Yucatan is a little different from the usual Mexican food you are used to. It uses different spices that gives it a unique flavor. We recommend you try the: Cochinita Pibil, Papdzules and Crema de Chaya!
At night, we headed back to Chichen Itza to see the Kukulcan (main pyramid’s name) night light show that starts at 8pm. I highly recommend this show, especially because not that many people know about it. 😉 However, you MUST reserve online at least a day before. Entrance fee for this show is about $25 USD.
Another adventurous day! ! We started early at the pyramids of Coba which are closer to Tulum. These pyramids were a bit different because they were inside the jungle. The cool thing was that you could rent bikes or hire pedicabs to drive you around the ruins in the jungle. You can actually climb this pyramid if you are interested!
We advise you check out Tulum afterwards, but we didn’t have time to go because we went to go see the Cirque Du Soleil performance.
Fun Fact: Coba is not a single site but a large group of sites connected to the central pyramid, connected by over 16 Mayan ceremonial “white roads” (sacbéob).
We were so tired all the time after exploring all these wonderful places that we didn’t have the energy to go out at night…. How lame, ha? lol. However, I hear that the 2 must go spots to go are Cocobongoand Mandala. What’s your favorite party spot in Cancun?
There are so many things to do when you fly into Cancun! So I hope this little guide can help you plan your next trip to the beautiful Riviera Maya and do something different. 😉