Mexico boasts some of the hottest beach towns in the world, and the coastal region of the Riviera Maya is a heaven for trendy beachgoers.
The entire Riviera lies in the state of Quintana Roo along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, and for decades, this seaside stretch has been a popular hub for beach-going tourists from far and wide.
Cancun, though not officially a member of the Riviera club, acts as the world’s portal to the rest of the crew. The Cancun airport is the main bastion of access to pure beach town bliss for the thousands of sun-seeking travelers who head to the Yucatan area every year.
The golden sandy beaches, as well as the festive chaos of the downtown Avenida Tulum, make for a perfect holiday backdrop for families and spring breakers alike.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen’s beaches are not necessarily as spectacular as some of our other contenders. However, what she lacks in looks, she makes up for with style. The pedestrian-friendly walking street of Quinta Avenida is a hub for shopping and dining with an array of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Playa del Carmen has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small fishing center. Now, it is celebrated as a top travel destination, having become a scuba diving hotspot with a thriving nightlife.
Located about 19 kilometers east of the mainland across from Playa del Carmen lies the island of Cozumel. The island’s shoreline is dotted with sandy, rocky, and man-made beaches, leaving nothing to be desired by sunbathers and water activity enthusiasts alike.
An impressive collection of coral and under-the-sea life live just beneath the surface of the crystal clear waters that surround Mexico’s largest island. As a result, much like it’s sister town across the water, Playa del Carmen, it has become renowned as a diving and snorkeling paradise for those who like to venture beyond the shoreline.
Nestled between Playa del Carmen and Tulum in the middle of the Riviera is the resort area of Akumal. With a longstanding reputation as a go-to resort area in the Peninsula, Akumal (Place of the Turtles) is known for more than just its beautiful beach.
Amongst the yearly visitors are the town’s namesakes – turtles continue to come to lay their eggs on the nearly 5 kilometers of beach throughout the summer and fall despite the tourist traffic. The area also boasts a swimmable Yal-ku lagoon invites visitors to grab their snorkel and take a dip.
Last but not least as you continue southward along the Riviera Maya is the increasingly trendy town of Tulum. Sweeping beachfront, eco-chic hotels and Mayan ruins all await the visitors who venture far enough down to the Yucatan coastline.
Tulum’s bohemian vibe is subtly intoxicating. It might not seem like much at first, but this once sleepy town is now a seaside utopia oozing with local culture, hipster chic and overall panache. More about Tulum here.