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Honeymoon in Riviera Maya

What to do, where to stay, and where to explore in this gorgeous honeymoon destination.

By: Jenna Mahoney

Enter Slideshow
  • About Riviera Maya

    About Riviera Maya

    The Yucatan Peninsula's Riviera Maya may be Mexico's most celebrated destination — and with good reason. The enormous expanse stretches along 86 miles of powdered Caribbean coastline from Cancún south to Puerto Morelos, and is a welcoming oceanside playground brimming with active pursuits, restaurants, historic sites and — you guessed it — gorgeous beaches. Toss in the fact that there are more than 400 hotels and it's easily accessible — there are non-stop flights from nearly every major American airport — and all is left for you to know is how to say "vacation jackpot" en español.

    Photo courtesy of El Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia

  • Outdoor Activities

    Outdoor Activities

    There's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to outdoor activities in Riviera Maya. Pick your watersport — snorkel off the island of Cozumel (the reef is the second largest in the world!), dive around the underwater museum, a collection of submerged sculptures, and check out a cenote (limestone sinkhole). 

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Outdoor Activities

    Outdoor Activities

    Pick your watersport — snorkel off the island of Cozumel (the reef is the second largest in the world!), dive around the underwater museum, a collection of submerged sculptures, and check out a cenote (limestone sinkhole). Excursions involve floating downstream inside the brilliant caves.

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Outdoor Activities

    Outdoor Activities

    But what really raises the bar are the ancient Mayan ruins. Each of the large complexes — Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza — are totally different from each other. One is beachfront, another is set deep in the jungle and the last is a fully excavated site. No matter which one you visit, seeing the temples, buildings and game courts that date to pre-Colombian times is jaw dropping. 

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Must-See: Playa del Carmen

    Must-See: Playa del Carmen

    It was once a sleepy fishing village. Then it became an eco-friendly gathering spot for visitors looking to go off the grid. Now Playa del Carmen is an upscale, beachfront town that serves as the unofficial capital of the Riviera Maya. That's thanks in large part to the Avenida Quinta (5th Avenue), which is lined with upscale boutiques (Louis Vuitton) trendy chains (Zara) and big restaurants (Señor Frogs). 

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Must-See: Playa del Carmen

    Must-See: Playa del Carmen

    The more authentic Mexican experience can still be found at a host of artisan stalls, small shops and local eateries. At night, the clubs, some of which are located right on the beach, are a must do. The Blue Parrot has a fun fire show and the little sister of Cancún's wild Coco Bongo has need-to-see-it-to-believe-it reenactments of your favorite pop stars.

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Where to Stay

    Where to Stay

    One of the reasons Riviera Maya is such a good choice for honeymooners is the array of all-inclusive resorts that line the powdery coastline. So no matter your taste, there's a happily-ever-after hideaway just for you. The Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa offers four different hotels within its jungly property. Each has its own personality and restaurant offerings. Book into the Royal Suites Yucatan and you'll have access to them all. Tip: You can often see rainbows while lounging at the saltwater pool (room rates start at $360 per person, per night and are all inclusive; grandpalladiumrivieramaya.com). 

    Photo courtesy of Palladium Hotel Group

  • Where to Stay

    Where to Stay

    Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso has a similar concept, with access to four gourmet restaurants, two pools, a stunning beach and a really cool Star Wars-themed disco, among other amenities. We especially love the chilled champagne upon check-in (room rates start at $281 per person, per night and are all inclusive; iberostar.com).

    Photo courtesy of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts 

  • What to Eat

    What to Eat

    Fact: Two countries in the world have cuisine so rich and ingrained in their culture that they are protected by UNESCO. One is France. The other is — you guessed it — Mexico. Traditional dishes vary by region, but the emphasis on native ingredients — tomato, avocado, a variety of squashes, cocoa and vanilla — is common. Yucatean cuisine, which is an amalgam of Caribbean spices, European citrus and traditional Mayan ingredients is often heavy on the salsa (called pico de gallo) and chiles. The region's most popular dishes are sopa de lima (turkey, lime and tortilla soup) and conchita pibil (marinated pork). No matter what you savor, be sure to say "buen provecho" (enjoy your meal) to each other before eating.

    Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya DMO

  • Spa Bliss

    Spa Bliss

    The ancient Maya people looked for ways to get closer to the gods. Chocolate and honey were considered foods of the deities and purifying one's mind and body was seen as a way to please them. Today's spa offerings draw from these Mayan traditions. The most common, the temazcal, is a steam experience that celebrates the four elements, the past, present and future.

    Photo courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya 

  • Spa Bliss

    Spa Bliss

    At the Viceroy Riviera Maya, the couples' xaman elk massage utilizes a special "love oil" to balance the body's chakras, and the hunan kab treatment employs honey to calm and nourish (room rates start at $612 a night; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com). 

    Photo courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya 

Honeymoon in Riviera Maya

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