Looking for a new way to spend the Holidays with a Tropical vibe? We had an amazing time as a family with our two young children in the Mayan Riviera at Christmas Time. The Mayan Riviera is a destination that offers adventures for everyone.
Choosing where to stay is important. Always do your research on location and read the reviews. The Mayan Riviera is famous for their all inclusive resorts. The glitzy resorts do offer you many amenities in a touristic bubble. We stayed in a condo in Playa Del Carmen. We prefer more space and privacy. The Condo provided a more authentic experience in Mexico than a gated resort.
Playa Del Carmen is also a great central location. It provides easy access to the key highlights of the Mayan Riviera. These include the temples of Chitch’en Itz’a, which I wouldn’t recommend more than a few hours at. Chitch’en Itz’a is very famous, but also very crowded and there is little shade. I do recommend spending more time exploring the archaeological park of Coba near the charming town of Tulum. In Coba take the guided two hour rickshaw bike tours to see the whole park in comfort. The history information included is great and it only costs about fifteen dollars. Beautiful areas, restaurants, National Parks and beaches are all around the area of Tulum.
On the way back from Chitch’en Itz’a visit the beautiful local town Valladolid. This is a charming experience with beautiful architecture. It’s a great place to shop for hand crafted Mexican silver and leather souvenirs.
Don’t miss swimming and exploring in the many beautiful cenotes! These beautiful natural caves offer incredible views and clear cold water. A nice break from the heat. My favorite was Cenotes Dos Ojos, which means Two Eyes Cenote in English. This area offers two natural pools to swim in. The pools are breathtaking. Small cleaning fish nibble your toes and feel like a massage. You can even Scuba dive here. Make reservations well in advance for the scuba diving.
A fun day for the whole Family is available through the all inclusive Xcaret Park. There are several theme parks available in this area. Xcaret Park is an eco-Archaeological park that offers more nature focused adventures. I definitely recommend the lazy river inner tube adventure down a natural river. Cliff jumping and zip lining are offered along the sides of the River. Exotic Animal interactions, dolphin shows, and water activities such as snorkeling are included.
A must visit is the Blue Lagoon. The blue waters are warm yet refreshing. Bring your water proof camera! There are so many interactive and memorable photo opportunities in the shallow waters. It’s a photographer’s paradise. A small archaeological park with great temples and hiking is close by. The lagoon has a food bar where you can try local fresh coconuts! After you drink the juice, the local way is to chop up the coconut meat and serve it with lime and chili. Very good!
We spent Christmas Eve on the tropical and laid back Holbox Island. Definitely rent a golf cart to explore the Island. The Island is small, but the days are long and hot even in December. The beaches are gorgeous and the food is fresh and amazing! The surrounding waters are teaming with life. Snorkeling and scuba diving are wonderful here. It’s one of the only areas in the world you have a likely chance of seeing a whale shark.
We went on a guided snorkeling tour on Christmas day at Akumal Bay & Beach resort. It’s home to a beautiful sea turtle reserve! We also saw squid and tropical fish. The resort there offers delicious food. Don’t worry about finding places open on Christmas day in the Mexican Riviera. In Mexico, the big celebrations happen on Christmas Eve. Christmas day is considered a regular day albeit a recovery day for most locals.
We felt safe during our stay and explorations of the Mayan Riviera. Protecting Tourists is key for the local economy. The Marines and local police now patrol the area along the coast in armored cars with machine guns. The local residents are very friendly, helpful, and polite. Most speak English in the Mayan Riviera. Although we felt safe in our guarded condo, I still didn’t walk around alone late at night.
The Mayan Rivera is a beautiful region with a rich history, adventures, and great cuisine. It is an incredible Family friendly destination. Come to the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico!