More Than Just Beaches: Adventure in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Adventure rating 1

When you think of Mexico, you might picture a Mariachi band bringing life to a party, a huge plate of spicy tacos or a picturesque white sand beach. But ziplining through a jungle? Probably not.

I know that before I visited Mexico’s Riviera Maya I didn’t allow myself to expect much. All I wanted was a nice beach to plonk myself down on for a week or so and recover from my daily stresses. What I found was a region perfectly set up for tourism and full to bursting with activities to drag you from that oh so inviting beach.

occidental xcaret beach

The beach at Occidental Grand Xcaret

Sure, for the first few days, lounging under a sunshade on the squeaky beach of my resort was exactly where you would find me. After a while though I grew restless and wanted to explore.

Here’s what I found.

Xcaret Eco Theme Park

OK, this was a bit of a cheat, as I was staying in the Occidental Grand Xcaret, which is situated right next door to Xcaret Eco Theme Park, so I didn’t have to go far to find this adventure.

This is a theme park / zoo which has a mix of family friendly rides and amazing animals from all over the world. My favourite was this weird looking saggy bull which is actually called a Brahman. How weird this this??

weird cow mexico

There’s also a system of underground caves known as ‘cenotes’, which you can float down in an inner tube. Sometimes you’re totally in the dark, and then you’ll come out into a cave with an open roof. 100% natural and beyond beautiful.

The Cenotes

Outside of Xcaret, there are hundreds of other cenotes all over the Riviera Maya. Take a trip to visit a few in one day, depending on your appetite for adventure. Some you’ll need to abseil or jump into, whereas others you can walk straight into.

There are also cave systems which you can scuba dive through such as Cenotes Dos Ojos (the spring water cave of two eyes), which adds a new perspective to these amazing natural phenomena.

cenote mexico

Abseiling and zip lining

The jungle terrain and thousands of cave systems of the Riviera Maya lend themselves perfectly to abseiling. I had never done it before but managed a 10 metre abseil down a cliff face and lived to tell the tale, but I have to admit, it was terrifying.

Another (slightly less scary) option for getting an adrenaline fix is zip lining. I headed for Xplor Park, the highest zip line in the area, with the highest towering 45 metres above the ground.

You’re high above the tree line and eventually, over 14 zips you find yourself below ground level in a cave. It’s a truly memorable experience and one which  would do again in a heartbeat!

zip lining mexico

The Mayan Ruins of Tulum

A trip to Mexico offers so many options. I definitely wanted to visit some Mayan ruins, and as I only had time for a visit to one, I chose the incomparable ruins of Tulum. These ruins are unique as they sit on 12 metre cliffs and overlook the gorgeous Caribbean Sea, which is so blue, you won’t believe your eyes!

tulum hayley


tulum hayley sea

I spent a good few hours walking around and even venturing inside some of the ancient buildings, but when the 35 degree heat became too much, all I had to do was walk down the stairs and into that cooling sea. Absolute bliss!

Riviera Maya offers so much. Travellers of all ages and interests are sure to find activities they’ll enjoy, from the cenotes, Mayan ruins and zip lining, to active nightlife and festivals. So if you’re heading out there, be sure to experience as much of what this beautiful region has to offer as you can.

tulum hayley 2

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Hayley is the author behind A Life of More, a travel and lifestyle blog with the goal of helping you to live a happier and more fulfilled life, whether you're currently travelling or happily settled.

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Comments 4

  1. Post
    Hayley Griffiths

    For sure, Stephanie! I loved that you could pretty much just plunge straight into the sea from the ruins! There aren’t many places in the world where you can do that! 🙂

  2. Cecilia S.

    Wow, what a wonderful place! I am a person who likes to undertake different activities and your article gave me great ideas for a holiday in Mexico.

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