Interior View-Cenotes ,Riviera Maya, Mexico-Courtesy of Hidden Worlds


The Riviera Maya’s network of underground rivers, caves and sinkholes can be explored by swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. The fresh water provides incredible visibility, and there’s a bewildering array of stalactites and rock formations to be seen. You’ll notice plenty of signs advertising cenotes along Carretera 307, but since some are geared to more advanced divers, you should ask the concierge at your resort or your Indagare travel adviser which she recommends. A fifteen-minute drive north of Tulum will take you to Hidden Worlds (, which has some striking cenotes, including the Cenote Dos Ojos (two eyes), the world’s third largest known underwater cave system, which was featured in the IMAX film Journey Into Amazing Caves. If you’re the least bit claustrophobic, be sure to check whether your cenotes adventure includes traversing narrow passages. Private guides can also access other cenotes only visited by a handful rather than tour buses. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange a guide and private tour.

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Swimming Pool at Chartering a Boat ,Tulum, Mexico

Chartering a Boat

Sail the turquoise protected waters between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, just north of the Riviera Maya. We can arrange for a boat charter to offer you the unique opportunity to spend a memorable day while sailing in the protected waters on the north shores of Quintana Roo, visiting secluded coral reefs for snorkeling. Your host will pick you up at your hotel where you will be drive to Cancun’s private marina. After a brief introduction with the captain and his crew, you will board your vessel and start your journey into the Caribbean. Drinks, snacks and snorkeling equipment are included, and the captain knows the best private coves and beaches for a crowd-free snorkeling experience.

Sea Tutle at Tulum and Akumal ,Tulum, Mexico-Photo by Serge Melki

Diving & Snorkeling

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef begins north of Cancún, runs all the way to Honduras and is touted as the world’s second largest (after Australia’s Great Barrier). The Yucatán has always been popular with divers and snorkelers, and one of the main diving hubs is Akumal, particularly its scenic Half Moon Bay. Families with younger children should try the Yal-Ku lagoon, which has almost no current and kid-sized life jackets for rent – a perfect place for first-time adventurers to get their feet wet. From May to September, don’t miss the incredible opportunity to swim with migrating whale sharks, gentle giants that often exceed 30 feet in length.


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Interior View-Kinan Spa , Riviera Maya, Mexico

Kinan Spa

The Kinan Spa is widely considered one of the best in the region, and they certainly take wellness very seriously here. Mayan for “energy” or “spirit,” Kinan has been carefully designed, with treatment rooms facing east to west, supposedly to promote better energy flow. The menu is comprehensive and globe-trotting, offering everything from lomi lomi massage to Thai massage, reiki and Mayan herbal poultice wraps. If you’re looking for something unique to the region, though, don’t miss the Temazcal experience: similar to a Hawaiian sweat lodge, this deeply spiritual ancient ritual is performed at dusk by a shaman in a special domed structure. Heated rocks are doused with herb-infused water to create an aromatic, healing steam, then aloe vera is applied to nourish the skin, all while chanting and incantations are sung. Lastly, participants run out into the ocean as the sun is setting.

Aerial View-Chichen Itza & Valladolid ,Tulum, Mexico

Mayan Ruins

The Maya civilization stretched from present-day southern Mexico through Central America, and reached its peak during the Classic period (AD 250-900). Mayan cities featured sophisticated architecture, notably in the forms of stepped pyramids and temples. Within a few hours of Riviera Maya are several outstanding archeological sites, which are best visited with a knowledgeable guide. The Tulum ruins are the remains of a Pre-Columbian walled city, and is a smaller scale of Chichen Itza in nearby Yucatan. Tulum offers a great afternoon trip from Riviera Maya, whereas Chichen Itza is a 3-hour drive. The Indagare bookings team can arrange a helicopter trip or road trip to Chichen Itza with a renowned archeologist for the day.

Editors' Picks
Interior View-Sense Spa ,Riviera Maya, Mexico

Sense Spa

The beautiful, utterly tranquil Sense Spa is set on its own island at the Rosewood Mayakoba, with a private cenote, and offers a host of experiences using therapeutic (and delicious) ingredients: try the Chaya-Mojito Mayakoba Body Glow, Agave Azul Hydrating Experience or a four hands massage experience. Couples can book longer retreats, like the indulgent 5-hourlong “Five Senses” retreat, and participate in Mayan sweat lodge rituals like the temazcal. Guests not staying at the hotel are welcome, although be prepared to send an authorization form with your payment details and ID prior to your appointment in order to secure the time. For visitors wanting to just enjoy the facilities, there is a Spa Day Pass available for $30, which allows access to facilities including the cold plunge, steam room, experience shower, sauna & Jacuzzi.

Exterior View-Thalasso Center & Spa , Riviera Maya, Mexico

Thalasso Center & Spa

The more than 22,000-square-foot spa (North America’s only certified Thalasso therapy center) at the Zoetry resort is open to non-guests and has sixteen treatment rooms. The long menu of dry and wet treatments includes a full range of options like a seaweed body treatment, aromacean and balneotherapy. There’s also a gym with fabulous sea views, as well as a pretty relaxation area and saltwater pool around which spa-goers can lounge.

Sea Tutle at Tulum and Akumal ,Tulum, Mexico-Photo by Serge Melki

Tulum and Akumal

For those who only have limited time, Indagare has designed this great expedition that combines Mayan Culture and the natural experience of snorkeling with wild turtles. Meet your expert guide at your hotel then drive to Tulum (1-2 hours, depending on your hotel location). Tulum’s pre- hispanic name was Zama, which means “dawn”; most archeologists believe this is due to Tulum’s geographic location, perched on a cliff looking eastwards upon the Caribbean Sea, allowing for a full appreciation of the sunrise. After your private guided visit, take a refreshing swim into the turquoise Caribbean sea before heading north to Akumal (only twenty minutes away) for a close encounter with the endangered sea turtles of this coast. In the native Mayan language, Akumal means “Place of the Turtles,” and for years it has been a sanctuary for these ancient and endangered mariners. Your guide will explain how these animals have adapted to the local fishermen and tourists; they are not shy at all and exhibit “friendly behavior,” swimming intrepidly with snorkelers, divers, and visiting tourists.

Interior View-Willow Stream Spa ,Riviera Maya, Mexico

Willow Stream Spa

Treatment rooms at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Mayakoba have private canopies provided by the surrounding jungle, and views are of the mangroves, a setting that should get you in the mood for Mayan-inspired treatments featuring local herbs, essential oils, and extracts. Try the Cha Chac Rain Ritual, based on the Mayan rain ritual, or get slathered in chocolate (well, cacao) during The Food of the Gods Body Nourisher treatment. Afterwards, repair to the spa’s rooftop, where you can bliss out in the signature vitality pool and the sea-mineral soaking pool.

AErial View-Xcaret , Riviera Maya, Mexico


Reviews of the Riviera Maya’s equivalent of Disneyland—complete with spider-monkey and jaguar islands, a bat cave, underground rivers, a saltwater aquarium and a re-creation of a Mayan village—are mixed. Locals will point out that everything on view here can be seen elsewhere in a more authentic setting. You want wildlife? Go to Sian Ka’an. You want to explore the underground cenotes or to visit a Mayan village? Book a tour with a guide. But for families traveling with young kids, who may not be eager to spend time shuttling between activities along the coast, Xcaret is a fun one-stop option. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the unfortunately named Xcaret Mexico Espectacular (included in the entry fee), including some 300 dancers, musicians and artists, is an extremely worthwhile and entertaining journey through Mexican history and folklore. If you buy your tickets online, you save 10 percent off the hefty price tag.

Aerial View-Xel-Há ,Riviera Maya, Mexico


Much like its fellow theme park Xcaret, this vast water wonderland is perfect for families, thanks to a network of cenotes, mangroves and lagoons to play in. Included in the admittedly steep admission price of around $80US is snorkel equipment, life jackets, inner tubes, towels and unlimited food and drink (yes, even alcohol). Kids and adults alike can spend the day snorkeling the magical mangrove-lined lagoons, exploring underground caves and waterways or strolling the jungle while keeping an eye out wildlife, or opt for a more organized adventure by swimming with dolphins or manatees in their enclosures. (These activities involve an extra fee and need to be booked ahead.) When I visited I was expecting something hyper-commercial, but the jungle/lagoon setting is surprisingly natural and the park is large enough that the crowds never reach Disneyland levels. As in all water parks on the Riviera Maya, be sure to wear only biodegradable sunblock to ensure the waterways remain pristine.

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