Last week I talked all about our fantastic vacation to Riviera Maya and our resort. For most of our stay we enjoyed the resort, pool and beach, but we did leave a few times. For those of you who want a little variety in your stay, or are not staying at an all-inclusive resort, I’m sharing our favorite things to do off-resort. These excursions were some of the best parts of our trip while we got to explore Riviera Maya.
What to do in Riviera Maya
- Visit the Ruins
- Swim in a Cenote
- See a Show
Visit the Ruins
We knew we wanted to leave the resort a couple of times to explore the ruins. When else are you around that much history?
We didn’t realize how many options we had to choose from! From Riviera Maya, there are three different ruins you can visit: Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Coba. We chose Tulum, mostly because it was the closest to us (about a half hour away), and we didn’t want to waste an entire day traveling. What we learned was that Tulum has no significance other than the fact that it’s still standing. It also happens to be the closest ruins to the tourist cities. This city may have no historical value, but it was really incredible to see something that’s been around for so long!
About ten years prior, I visited Cancun with my family, and we visited Chichen Itza which a pre-columbian Mayan city. It’s known for the large temple in the city, El Castillo. If you haven’t been here, I highly recommend visiting because it’s full of great history and well-preserved ruins.
Swim in a Cenote
Incuded in our ruins excursion was a full day of exploration which ended with us heading into the jungle to swim in a few cenotes or natural sink holes. First, we rappelled down in to a cenote (read: hole in the ground dropping you into a cave full of water), then we headed out to ride around the jungle on 5 zip lines. One of the zip lines landed us into one of the cenotes, (also in a cave) where we then snorkeled in the dark empty abyss. It was both creepy and amazing at the same time. There were hardly any animals, only tiny micro-organizms and some fish that appeared over time. Since the sink hole isn’t connected to any body of water there isn’t a current, so everything is still and clear. You can see as far as your flashlight shines, and as deep as you’re willing to dive. It was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. If I had to pick a favorite part of our trip, I think that was it. I only wish I was allowed to take photos! (The down side to these excursions is that you can’t take photos because they want you to shell out $50+ to buy theirs.)
See a Show
Our only other trip outside of our resort was to see Cirque du Soleil: Joya. I’ve been a huge Cirque du Soleil fan since I first saw it in Orlando with my family. Since then, I’ve had my eye out of shows to see when I’m traveling. Granted, most of the ones I want to see are in Vegas, Joya happened to be in Riviera Maya, and it was such an amazing show! If you haven’t seen any of the Cirque du Soleil shows, it’s technically a circus, with entertainment and acrobatics. They are full of singing, dancing, and amazing stunts. People swing from the ceiling and flip around on bungees or hoops. There is a huge performance value and just such a great quality show. I’ve never been disappointed with any of the performances I’ve seen and usually leave with my jaw on the floor! Kale was very skeptical when I told him we were going, because he hadn’t seen anything like it before. He really enjoyed it, and (update) talks about it even years later! The best part is each show is unique to the location, so you truly have to travel to see each different performance. If you are in Riviera Maya, please do yourself a favor and go!
There are a few different tickets options. We chose the Show Only tickets, but after seeing everything, the Drinks and Apps option or the Premium seats (dinner is served) option would have been absolutely worth it. NOTE: the prices on the website are in MX pesos, so don’t freak out at the numbers!
Shop my Riviera Maya Looks
Cirque du Soleil Outfit: