Jungle Adventures Like No Other
There are many places around the world to drive an offroad vehicle through the mud, but only one where the trail leads through a cave and crosses mystical jungle cenotes on a rope bridge. That place is the Riviera Maya, where the limestone landscape that lies beneath the jungle creates unique adventures for ATV riders and offroad buggy pilots. Rides are often paired with rope courses, cave swims, and jungle hikes. And you don't have to be a rugged explorer, because these adventures unfold just miles from coastal resorts, allowing plenty of time to clean up for happy hour after a fun-filled day of riding.
- Best for: Everyone, from budget to luxury travellers, spa enthusiasts, to soft and rugged adventureres
- Best season to visit: Year round
- Weather: Tropical, with winter temperatures in the mid70s, and summer highs reaching into the 90s. East trade winds cool beachside locations. May to December sees passing rain showers, while February to early May tends to be drier
Riviera Maya Information
Offroading in Riviera Maya Overview
Offroading is allowed only in certain areas of the Riviera Maya, and activities take place under the supervision of qualified tour operators. Within these areas, riders are free to proceed at their own pace and will encounter a variety of terrains ranging from lime rock to dirt trails and mud banks.
Offroading in Riviera Maya Tips
If you have a compact sports action video camera, this is the place to use it. You'll protect the lens and get the best point of when you mount the camera high up. ATV riders can use helmet mounts, while buggy riders can attach cameras to roof mounts or roll bars.
Best Places for Offroading in Riviera Maya
The jungles to the east of Playa del Carmen are laced with dirt farm roads and jungle tracks too narrow and rough for cars to pass, but perfect for offroad buggies and ATVs. Tour highlights include crossing water-filled cenotes on a narrow rope bridge and driving through a cave passage decorated with intricate rock formations.
What to Pack for Offroading in Riviera Maya
Wear shoes, not sandals, and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Check to see if outfitters provide goggles, if not bring sunglasses. Pack a towel and swimsuit, or wear fast-drying fabrics. For ATV riders, a fanny pack will hold important personal items without getting in the way. Don't forget the sunscreen.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements
Entry Requirements: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid, undamaged passport. Visas are not required for stays less than 180 days. One blank page is required in your passport for the entry stamp.
Exit Requirements: All persons leaving the Riviera Maya, pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $30, which should be included in your International ticket.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Mexico. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.
Culture and Customs
From ancient Mayan cities to strobe-lit dance clubs, and jungle-clad swimming holes to five-star beach resorts, the attractions of the Riviera Maya run the full gamut. Cancun is one of the western hemisphere's most celebrated vacation destinations, with dazzling beaches flanked by luxury resorts, clubs and upscale eateries. A half-hour to the south, the lively avenues and beach clubs of Playa del Carmen are a favorite with both backpackers and jet setters. Along a 50-mile stretch of the coast, roadside entrance gates lead through coastal greenery to exclusive golf and beach resorts, while farther on, the eclectic seaside village of Akumal remains old-school Caribbean. At the southern end of the resort corridor, the village of Tulum and its namesake beach are a favorite winter haunt of East Coast sophisticates, but savvy budget travelers can still find hostels and campgrounds that cater to the wanderers of the world. English, French, Dutch and German are often heard along the beaches, but areas to the left of Highway 307 are pure Mexico, where tacos or a helado treat can still be purchased from a street vendor for a few pesos, and life proceeds at a more relaxed and accommodating pace.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity in Mexico is 120 volts, 60 cycle, so no adapter will be needed for U.S. visitors. The country code for the Yucatan is 52. Check with your service provider for long distance plans. Internet service is available at many hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
Most restaurants and bars in tourist locations use purified water. Outside of resorts, be cautious with ice in drinks or vegetables which may have been washed in tap water. Bottled water is available for purchase and is recommended for drinking and brushing teeth.
Language & Currency
Spanish is the official language of Mexico, although English is widely spoken. The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Due to new regulations, merchants and business can no longer exchange U.S. Dollars for Pesos. That must be done at a currency exchange office. U.S. credit cards are widely accepted. Check the current exchange rate here.
Mexico spans four different time zones. February 15, 2015, the state of Quintana Roo, which includes the Riviera Maya changed to Eastern Standard Time Zone (Zona Sureste). Riviera Maya does not observe Daylight Savings Time which puts it 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT),
Location, Size and Population
The Riviera Maya is one of the fastest growing areas in Mexico, located in the state of Quintana Roo. Situated north of Cancun, on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, this area includes the areas north of Cancun City including Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Morelos, and Felipe Carrillo Puerto which is 40 kilometers to the south of Tulum. This region is approximately 86 miles long.
The Riviera Maya encompasses a large area with a population estimated around 150,000, with cities like Playa del Carmen with a population of 118,570 and Tulum with a population of 18,370.