Playa del Carmen is a great place to hang out, chill and relax. There is more than enough to keep you busy between the beach, 5th Ave, Restaurants and events. Part of the charm of the Riviera Maya is the proximity to the beach AND the jungle, proximity to cenotes AND Mayan ruins, proximity to Sian Kaan Biosphere AND Tulum.
We do have some favorite ‘outside of Playa del Carmen’ guided tours or self-guided adventures that we always recommend. Any of these activities can be done by a tour company and tour guide or ventured to on your own. If you venture on your own, public transportation is a great way to get around with the option of collectivos (public vans) or bus. Either way you are up to learning more about Mexico, the community, what all of us love about the Riviera Maya and through some pretty cool diversity into your vacation.
1. Coba Ruins – This Mayan ruin is closer to Playa del Carmen then Chichen Itza and we think a better ruin. The Castillo is taller, the grounds less excavated so you see jungle, buildings not yet uncovered and you can tour through the vast grounds on a bicycle or be driven by a guide on a tricycle ! 5 hours from Playa del Carmen with some great stops along the way. A car rental is recommended for your self guided tour to Coba or a tour company that will have you back in Playa de Carmen before dinner.
2. Aktun Chen – If you are curious about the cenotes in the Riviera Maya this is the place to learn about them. The guides are knowledgeable, the tour covers a dry and wet cenote with snorkeling at the end of the tour. The development of the cenotes is fascinating and with over 750 km of explored caves in the area, this is really something to explore.
3. Cesiak – The Sian Kaan is a protected Biosphere just south of Tulum with over 1.3 million hectares of protected jungle, ocean and lagoons that have small ruins in the mangroves. The park can only be viewed by boat and Cesiak has a great group of local tour guides that love the park, love the area and respect the flora and fauna indigenous to the area. Boat tours are in the morning and early afternoon, and for die hard kayakers, you can view the area in a kayak with or without a guide. Our suggestion is to have a guide. There is so much to learn in the park it is shame not to have someone fill you in on the secrets of this area.
4. Whalesharks – This is a killer once in a life time tour and can only be done with a tour company. Whalesharks migrate to the Gulf of Mexico each summer (June to September) and hang out for a few months to have babies. Literally, there are hundreds of them and snorkel only tours are available daily. It is a full day tour but an experience of a life time. If you can bring a wetsuit so you don’t have to try and swim with a life jacket. Tours are monitored pretty heavily to ensure that the whalesharks are not bothered by the people who want to snorkel with them.Hands down for us, the best tour ever!
5. Scuba diving and snorkeling – We are lovers of the ocean and think that anyone who visits the area needs to see what is out there! Oceans make up 73% of the planet so enjoy your discovery and find out how the other 73% lives. Diving and snorkeling can be done all along the coast and there are lost of dive centers to choose from. If you want to snorkel on a self guided tour, Akumal is a great place to snorkel and you will see Turtles, that is a guarantee. Scuba certification is not required though Playa is a great place to get certified. All dive centers have a beginners course that you can participate in and discover the sport of diving.
All of these tours are great and will give you a different view of the Riviera Maya then just Playa del Carmen. All of these tours are half day or full day tours and are easy to get to access either by tour operator or on a self guided tour. If you are keen to book in advance or talk to our front receptionists about their other suggestions, email them today and book your vacation before you arrive at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask a question on Facebook so see what other Hotel Cielo guests recommend.