The Top things to do in Riviera Maya

Adventure and Exploration

Mayan Ruins

Explore the spectacular Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, and Ek-Balam. All are located within a one- to three-hour drive and day trips can be easily arranged from Hotel Las Palapas. Marvels of architecture and engineering, the ruins offer breathtaking vistas and a firsthand glimpse of Maya civilization.


XCaret is an eco-archaeological theme park offering activities and experiences that explore that natural and cultural wonders of the region. Learn about the coral reef in the aquarium, explore an ancient Mayan village, and snorkel through a natural network of underground rivers at this park with activities for the whole family.


Akumal means "place of the turtles" in the Mayan language, and the name still rings true today. In Akumal, fresh rainwater trickles into the salty Caribbean Sea, creating a nutrient-rich environment that supports a wide variety of marine life, including sea turtles! A top destination for snorkeling, Akumal is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, making it a great stop on the way to see the ruins or a day trip in itself.

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

A UNESCO biosphere preserve, Sian Ka'an means "Origin of the sky" in the Mayan language. Tropical forests, mangroves, and a barrier reef provide a habitat for a remarkable number of species in this hub of biodiversity. Local residents include jaguars, ocelots, spider monkeys, manatees, and over 300 species of tropical birds! Sian Ka'an is achingly beautiful and a must-see for any nature lover or animal enthusiast.


On a clear day, it's easy to spot the island of Cozumel from the beach at Hotel Las Palapas. Located 6.2 miles from the mainland, you can catch a ferry from Playa del Carmen and take the roughly 45-minute ride out for a fun-filled day on the island.


Cenotes are deep water-filled sinkholes formed by rainwater seeping through the porous limestone of the Yucatan Peninsula. An underground network of rivers and caves has formed over the centuries, and many cenotes are easily accessible for diving and snorkeling. These magnificent places are heavily adorned with stalagmites and stalactites surrounding deep pools of crystal-clear water, creating a dramatic natural wonder. Day trips to visit these other-worldly caverns can easily be arranged through the front desk.


Founded in 1543, Valladolid is a Spanish Colonial town that has played a large role in Mexico's history. Stroll through the main plaza for a good dose of colonial charm and visit the stunning cathedral.

Aktun Chen

Aktun Chen is a hidden gem of ecological wonder near Akumal. Explore an incredible cave, explore the jungle canopy via zip line, snorkel through a vast cenote, and meet native species like spider monkeys and parrots.