The cool, calm, collected side to Cancun’s more outgoing persona, Riviera Maya is where Mexico’s elite and savvy international travelers go for a weekend immersed in jungle lushness and hotel luxuriousness. Take your next trip to the region to new heights with the following suggestions.
Is it safe to visit the Riviera Maya?
A look at the numbers shows that Cancun, along with the entire Riviera Maya, is as safe to visit as it’s always been. The violence surrounding the Mexican government’s ongoing crackdown on drug cartels has led the U.S. State Department to advise against all unnecessary travel to a number of Mexico’s 31 states, including Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima and Tamaulipas.
However, recent FBI crime statistics suggest that Americans are actually safer in Mexico than in many parts of the United States. (New Orleans’ homicide rate is close to triple that of Mexico’s national rate; even Orlando had a higher murder rate in 2010 than Cancun.)
That said, the rule of thumb when traveling anywhere abroad: Be safe, be smart — but don’t be paranoid — and be mindful not to wear flashy jewelry or brand-name accessories that call attention to yourself.
The best souvenirs to bring home from the Riviera Maya
When sizing up potential souvenirs from the Riviera Maya, it’s certainly easier to think of several contenders for the worst thing to bring home — namely gargantuan sombreros with “Mexico” stitched across the brim.
But for the best item to purchase as a memento, we suggest going original with a bottle of Xtabentún, a Yucatecan anise liqueur made with honey that’s produced by bees from the nectar of xtabentún flowers. Mix it with rum and sour for a mojito-margarita hybrid, or add it to your usual vodka martini.
Should you rent a car in the Riviera Maya?
The ride from Cancun International Airport to Riviera Maya is roughly 45 minutes, making a rental car a fairly smart option for the journey. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that an interaction with a reservationist in Cancun is almost as easy as doing so in Connecticut.)
If you stay on Highway 307 while you’re driving, you won’t run into any major road hazards. Once you get to your actual resort, though, you’ll likely walk or take a shuttle everywhere on campus. But when you take day trips to Tulum or other nearby attractions, a rental car will come in handy.
The best time to visit the Riviera Maya
If you don’t mind regular temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s, just throw a dart at the calendar any time between March and May for a visit. But if the mere thought of those forecasts already has you perspiring, avoid visiting this part of the Yucatan Peninsula during the late spring.
If you can hold off, you’ll find out that the region fluctuates between warm in July, rainy but otherwise pleasant in September and downright heavenly in December.