Ancient Energies and a New Age of Health
Ancient kings of the Maya came to these shores to receive the blessings of the sun, bathe in the emerald waters of sacred cenotes and tap the energy of an earth vortex. In modern times, the village of Tulum has become an intentional mecca for spiritual awakening and physical renewal, where New Age sensibilities go native when met with laid-back beach culture. Whatever your metaphysical inclinations, or lack thereof, the Riviera Maya is a place of renewal, relaxation and inspiration. For some, this could mean a session in a Temazcal sweat lodge or a Mayakoba energy alignment, while others find renewal with a simple sunrise walk on the beach.
- 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
Mind and Spirit in Riviera Maya Overview
The central coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, known as the Riviera Maya, provides a wide range of experiences and accommodations for those seeking renewal and rediscovery. The Tulum community is a focal point for a variety of wellness traditions. Along the coast, world-class resorts and spas offering upscale indulgences, while guest houses and beachside campgrounds provide relaxed settings for paddling, cycling and beach time.
Mind and Spirit in Riviera Maya Tips
For the full Riviera Maya experience, be willing to go beyond the usual beach-chair routine and try new things. This is an excellent destination for self-discovery, whether that takes the form of practices such as yoga and meditation, sampling alternative wellness therapies, or just engaging in favorite activities in the natural environment.
Best Places for Mind and Spirit in Riviera Maya
While some visitors seek out the energy of resort centers such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, most who come for reflection and relaxation gravitate farther south to smaller beach communities closer to Tulum. One of the region's premier wellness destinations is Secrets Akumal, which is located in the heart of the historic coastal village of Akumal, overlooking a quiet Caribbean bay.
What to Pack for Mind and Spirit in Riviera Maya
Pack the yoga pants, but save room for some swimsuits. For days filled with a mix of outdoor experiences and adventures, choose fast-drying fabrics that will provide sun protection. If visiting in summer, go for lighter, loose fitting garments that will wick away midday heat.
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.