Tapping the Ancient Elements of Healing
These are not your run-of-the-mill rub downs. At the spas of the Riviera Maya, healing wisdom and relaxation therapies from around the world are blended with indigenous organic elements and ancient Mayan beliefs in the powers of earth, wind, water and fire. This synthesis can take the form of hot stone treatments and herbal steam baths, restorative limestone mineral soaks, saltwater and seaweed detoxifications, hydrotherapy muscle relief and plant-based skin nourishments. Many of these same spas offer additional enticements such as rain-shower therapies, saunas, fitness centers, relaxation lounges and juice bars, turning an hour of relaxation into a day of wellness.
- 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
Spa and Wellness in Riviera Maya Overview
From the five-star resorts of Cancun to boutique beachfront properties to the south,the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula is home to some of the finest spas in the Caribbean. Programs include a wide range of treatment regimens from around the world, along with unique therapies based on local traditions and indigenous materials.
Spa and Wellness in Riviera Maya Tips
The environment can play an important role in the effectiveness many therapies. In addition to private indoor studios, you may be able to receive treatments in open-air pavilions, on beaches, or in a palapa nestled in the jungle.
Best Places for Spa and Wellness in Riviera Maya
Some of the most innovative and authentic spa experiences offered in the Riviera Maya take place in the villages of Akumal and Tulum. At Secrets Akumal, signature therapies empower the body to absorb vitamins, minerals and enzymes from natural seaweeds and sea salts and tap the detoxifying properties of indigenous flora such as chaya and aloe vera.
What to Pack for Spa and Wellness in Riviera Maya
This is a place where those loose-fitting, un-dyed cotton cover-ups and pants that models wear in resort brochures actually would make sense, as they are easy to slip in and out of on the way to the spa, will stay cool in the mid-day sunshine, and also provide a bit of barrier against cooler evening breezes.
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.