Must-see places in eastern Mexico
No need to introduce the east coast of Mexico. Cancun, known as the jewel of the region, has long drawn vacationers to its turquoise waters and bustling streets, while Cozumel and the idyllic villages of the Riviera Maya have also stolen the show several times in recent years. Here’s our rundown of all there is to do and see on Mexico’s east coast.
Popular attractions and excursions in Cancun
A museum that is making waves! The Museo Subacuático de Arte offers an unparalleled cultural experience…under the ocean. Dive up to 470 submerged statues carved by different sculptors and comprising one of the largest man-made underwater attractions in the world.
Plan day trips from Cancun to the surrounding islands! Isla Contoy is a sanctuary for exotic seabirds which, thanks to its national park, attracts wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers. Across the bay from Cancun lies a haven of serenity at Isla Mujeres, where gorgeous beaches, a turtle farm, and scenic seaside cliffs share the landscape.
eat and dance
With its prime location on the Yucatán Peninsula, Cancun is the place to be to sample its regional cuisine. At your resort’s restaurant or fine dining spots around town, keep your eyes peeled for local specialties like sopa de lima and ceviche. Tempted to explore the legendary nightlife in Cancun? The very famous Coco Bongo awaits you for a festive evening!
Heading for Chichen Itza
Known as by far the most popular excursion in Cancun, a visit to Chichen Itza will transport you through the most examined and visited Mayan ruins in the world. Learn about every fascinating facet of this incredible complex, including the Pyramid of Kukulcan, the Great Ball Court, the Wall of Skulls and more.
Excursions and attractions in the Riviera Maya
Quality time in Tulum
Discover the ancient Mayan mecca of Tulum, transformed into a seaside bohemian village with gorgeous beaches and stunning cliffside ruins. After exploring historical relics, swim in Xel Há’s vast natural aquarium to go scuba diving. Other must-sees in Tulum include Playa Praiso and Aktún Chen Natural Park.
The exhilarating Xcaret
Xcaret is an ecoarchaeological park near Play del Carmen where you’ll find underground rivers, a butterfly pavilion, a turtle farm, horses, a beach, and Xcaret’s unmistakable celebration: the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.
Discover these natural freshwater sinkholes spread across the Riviera Maya. Dive (or take the limestone stairs) into the bluish water of the Ik Kil cenote or explore the famous Dos Ojos caves. The tropical flora that envelops Gran Cenote and Chaak Tun is also worth the hike.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen has long been considered a more laid-back alternative to the frenetic atmosphere of Cancun. Its popularity has recently exploded, turning it into a trendy destination in the Riviera Maya. Take a break in a hammock before venturing into a city’s cultural scene filled with colorful galleries, bustling shopping streets and frenzied nightlife.
Dive head first
Cozumel’s spectacular coral reefs are arguably the region’s most recognized attraction. An integral part of the Mesoamerican network of coral reefs, they amaze with the splendor of their impressive formations. Top dive spots include Santa Rosa Wall, Palancar Gardens Reef and Chankanaab Reef.
Punta Sur Ecological Park
Fine white sand, tropical wetlands, a historic lighthouse and a crocodile-rich lagoon – welcome to Punta Sur, Cozumel’s largest natural park. Take the time to discover the biodiversity of the island, visit its nautical museum and enjoy its secluded beach.
No need to leave the island to be dazzled by Mayan wonders. Explore the historic site of San Gervasio, a sacred place where the Mayans worshiped the goddess Ixchel. Among the archaeological sites, El Castillo Rel and the ancient ceremonial site El Cedral are worth a visit. For a unique Mayan experience, join a purification ceremony at the Temazcal Mayan Steam Lodge.
… in Cozumel! To find one of the island’s hidden treasures, head to the southern tip where El Cielo beach awaits you. Swim in the company of friendly marine life (starfish, friendly stingrays and many more!) and be lulled by the sparkling waves in different shades of turquoise. Intimacy, serenity… and you!
Eager to explore the east coast? Let’s go! Choose the destination that will satisfy your desires and explore our packages at Cancun, in the Riviera Maya or at Cozumel to find the perfect price. More Mexican inspiration, anyone? Check out our travel guide What to do on the West Coast of Mexico!