Mexico's coolest stretch of coast
The Riviera Maya is Mexico’s Caribbean coastline at its most picture-perfect. More than 30 kilometres of white sand and sun-baked beach resorts roll out along this north-eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. Meanwhile, the second-largest coral reef in the world unravels just offshore. It’s chock-full of tropical fish and anemones, making it one of the top diving spots in Mexico.
With a setting like that, it’s no surprise the Riviera Maya is big on eco-parks. Xcaret offers family-friendly activities like river tubing, snorkelling and zip lining. Look out for cenotes, too – these natural sinkholes are scattered across the region and double as miniature swimming pools filled with mineral-rich freshwater.
If it’s nightlife you’re after, Playa del Carmen’s chic cobbled streets are lined with bars, restaurants and clubs that wouldn’t look out of place in Marbella. There’s a tropical 18-hole golf course here, too.
Flight time from the UK is around 11 hours.
Transfer time from Cancun airport to the Riviera Maya is approximately 35 minutes.
Mexico is a year-round beach destination, with temperatures rarely dipping below 20°C – even in winter. The summer months are at their hottest between May and September, which have average temperatures of 28°C. While short rain showers are possible, they are helpful in taking the edge off the heat.
UK citizens travelling to Mexico do not currently require a visa. You will need to fill out a tourist card, which you will be provided with on arrival.
Mexico has a tipping etiquette similar to the USA. Service employees typically receive little or no base salary, so tips make up the bulk of their salary. Try to tip about 15% of the bill in restaurants and bars unless the bill includes propina (gratuity). Taxi drivers do not usually get tipped unless they have provided an extra service like loading or unloading your bags.
The official language of Mexico is Spanish. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.