This guide to the best Riviera Maya excursions is perfect if you’re planning a trip to Mexico and need recommendations for Riviera Maya tours and things to do. I lived in the Riviera Maya for over three years, so I know all the best excursions in the Riviera Maya. I’m sharing the best excursions Riviera Maya is home to, and I’ve even included suggestions of Riviera Maya tours and companies so you can save hassle and book before arriving.
Need Help Planning Riviera Maya Excursions?
If you are looking for all kinds of excursions and car rentals in Riviera Maya, take a look at what my friends from Turismo Channel have! You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the codes above if you need more information.
The Best Riviera Maya Excursions
1. Bike Around the Coba Ruins
Everyone goes crazy for Chichen Itza, but the Coba ruins are where it’s at! They’re easier to access, and the surrounding cenotes are significantly less packed. The best way to see Coba is by renting a bike and cycling around.
Getting to Coba can be challenging if you don’t want to join a tour. I wrote a very detailed guide, which you can read here, but the main issue is that the colectivos (public vehicles) can be tricky, and the ADO only makes one trip daily. It’s generally better to rent a car (read this first) and drive yourself or do a Coba ruins tour with Living Dreams Mexico or my friend Vanessa from Turismo Channel.
QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts
I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.
If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.
2. ATV Through the Mayan Jungle
One of the best excursions in Riviera Maya is an ATV tour, especially if you’re an adrenaline junky. What better way to spend a day than zipping through the jungle on an ATV? If you don’t want to drive yourself, hire a driver. Driving is adults-only, but kids can ride shotgun!
Contact Vanessa (let her know I sent you!) to book an ATV tour, or explore the options below:
3. Relax on a Catamaran Tour of Isla Mujeres
The Riviera Maya has some of the most exquisite waters in the world—the sea temperature is warm year-round, and don’t get me started on the beaches! Embarking on a boat tour is the best way to check out the stunning landscape.
You can take a tour from Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, or Cancun. The boat leaves from Cancun, so the first part of the tour involves a road to Cancun to meet the catamaran. Tours significantly range in price and quality—cheaper tours might not include drinks, so always confirm what’s included before booking.
To inquire about booking a boat tour of Isla Mujeres with Tourismo Channel, complete the form below, and Vanessa will get back to you within 24 hours:
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy. I also use Travel Insurance Master for short trips.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
4. Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling to the Great Mayan Reef
I’m a diver, so I’m probably biased when I say scuba diving is THE best thing to do in the Riviera Maya. If you aren’t a diver yet, don’t worry—it’s a great learning place! I’ve written a whole post on diving in the Riviera Maya, which you can read here. Cozumel has the best diving, hands down. Puerto Morelos comes second, and diving in Playa comes third.
The companies I dive with and recommend are:
5. Spend the Day At One of the Xcaret Parks
One of the most touristy Riviera Maya excursions is visiting Xcaret Parks, but it’s a must if you have children or are traveling in a group. Honestly, this isn’t an ideal solo traveler experience—while you can go alone, it’s more fun in a group!
There are many different parks, so research before booking an excursion. Many offer discounts, so it’s worth checking out their deals by clicking here. I’ve linked a few options below for you, but this is also something Vanessa can handle for you—send her a WhatsApp.
Arrange a hotel pickup if you don’t want to handle transportation yourself.
6. Take a Tour of the Sian Ka’an Biospheres
Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.
If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.
For ultimate nature lovers’ excursions in Riviera Maya, the Sian Ka’an Biospheres are a must-visit. You’ll see many species of animals, including dolphins, sea turtles, mantas, and so many birds!
While you can visit the Biospheres without a guide, I don’t recommend it since travel can be a hassle. Doing a solo excursion can be more expensive than doing an organized tour. To learn more about visiting Sian Ka’an and how to get there yourself, read this blog post.
I recommend touring with Living Dreams Mexico—they provide private tours of Sian Ka’an that are worth every penny. Visiting Sian Ka’an is not a budget-friendly tour, so expect to pay a minimum of $100 USD each and double that for a more luxurious experience. The main reason I suggest doing a private tour is comfort, as the drive from Tulum is rather bumpy.
Riviera Maya Excursions: Final Thoughts
Hopefully, this guide to the best excursions Riviera Maya offers will help you plan an unforgettable trip! There are so many fun and unique Riviera Maya things to do—Riviera Maya tours are an excellent way to explore this beautiful destination.
Need Accommodations in Playa del Carmen?
Here are a few places I recommend. For more detailed information, check out my Playa del Carmen Accommodation Guide here.
Luxury: MAHEKAL BEACH RESORT
Mid: HOTEL MORGANA
Budget: THE YAK HOSTEL