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Exploring Mayan Ruins Riviera Maya

When you consider exploring Riviera Mayan Ruins, Chichen Itza, Tulum Ruins, and the Coba Ruins are likely the first to come to mind. I get it—I’ve personally been and love all three. But all these Riviera Maya Ruins share one thing: they’re full of people and commercialized, especially Tulum. There are so many Tulum Mayan Ruins tours; most go to the same places and offer virtually the same thing.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

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 $45.08. 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.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Off the Beaten Path: Mayan Ruins Riviera Maya

In search of a more authentic experience for my Mayan Ruins tour, I contacted my good friends at Koox to book a cultural ground tour of some Riviera Mayan ruins most tourists don’t see. Koox is one of my favorite tour companies, as I respect the company’s ethics and love the authentic experiences it offers.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Riviera Maya ToursClick here to check out the top Riviera Maya tours
Best Riviera Maya Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Riviera Maya
Best Riviera Maya Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Riviera Maya

Adventures in Mexico | Exploring Riviera Maya Ruins - El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ha

While Koox can take you to Coba and Chichen Itza, you can do those Riviera Maya Ruins tours yourself if you don’t mind extra work. I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten path with a local guide. Koox offers six different Riviera Mayan Ruinss tours, including Las Coloradas Pink Lakes and Sian Ka’an—two places high on my list!

What I love about these ground tours is that even if they take you to famous Riviera Mayan Ruins, they always include unique experiences. For example, almost every tour company that visits Chichen Itza will take you to Cenote Ik Kil, but Koox takes you to Cenote Oxman, a much less popular (but equally beautiful) option.

Mayan Ruins Tour: Visiting El Naranjal Archeological Site Tulum

Adventures in Mexico | Exploring Riviera Maya Ruins - El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ha

Since I’ve already visited the Coba and Chichen Itza Riviera Mayan Ruins, we decided to visit El Naranjal and Cenote Choj Ha. Known as the Hidden Mayan Wonders Tour, this experience is ideal for those interested in learning about Mayan history and exploring a relatively unexcavated site.

Adventures in Mexico | Exploring Riviera Maya Ruins - El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ha

Our Mayan Ruins tour group was the only one on-site, and our local guide shared many fascinating stories and information about the site. At no point did I have to fight for a tourist-free photo or feel afraid to ask questions—it was the perfect Riviera Maya Ruins tour for me.

The site itself is fascinating and pretty huge. There are secret cenotes, and I even saw baby monkeys playing in a tree!

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.

Visiting Choj Ha Cenote

After exploring El Naranjal, it was time to cool off in a cenote. Cenote Choj Ha was found relatively recently, making now the perfect time to go before everyone discovers this hidden gem. The cenote has a place to change and lockers to store your things. You’ll need to shower before entering the cenote, and remember: NO SUNSCREEN! The chemicals could wash off your body into the natural water, so enter the cenote nice and clean.

Adventures in Mexico | Exploring Riviera Maya Ruins - El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ha

I was amazed at how beautiful Cenote Choj Ha was. Unfortunately, it is pretty dark inside, so I couldn’t fully capture its beauty. You need to see it for yourself to believe it!

Why Do Cultural Mayan Ruins Tours?

There are three tours I highly recommend for an authentic Mayan experience. Aside from the El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ja tour, I suggest the Sian Ka’an and Aktun Chac-Mool & Villa Guadalupe tours. All three allow you to visit small Mayan communities in the Tulum area and explore Riviera Mayan ruins before enjoying a fresh and flavorful meal. Not only will you get a glimpse of the area’s history, but you’ll also experience modern life for Tulum locals.

Adventures in Mexico | Exploring Riviera Maya Ruins - El Naranjal & Cenote Choj Ha

How to Book Mayan Ruins Riviera Maya Tours

This is easy since all bookings can be done online via Koox’s website. The company also has a handy chat feature if you have questions or need help.

Riviera Mayan Ruins Tour: Final Thoughts

I don’t do a lot of organized tours since I don’t enjoy crowds, feeling rushed, or paying for a tour I could do myself with some research and effort. These Riviera Maya Ruins tours offer a unique and authentic experience. With these Koox Mayan Ruins tour options, you’ll enjoy exploring Tulum.

Quick Tip: View my full Mexico packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Mexico Essentials shopping list here.

Need Somewhere to Stay in Riviera Maya?

I wrote a guide to the Top Boutique Hotels in TulumWhere to Stay in Tulum, and The Best Hostels in Tulum, Mexico.

Before booking, I always check,, and for the best deals on accommodations. Here are my picks:

Top Budget Pick: Chill Inn
Top Boutique Pick: Elements Tulum Boutique Hotel
Top Resort: Nah Uxibal Villa and Casitas
Top Luxury Pick: Nomade Tulum

Are you traveling in the Riviera Maya? Click to read my guides to accommodation in Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Holbox, and Cancun.

Riviera Maya Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Playa Del Carmen?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Playa Del Carmen which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Playa Del Carmen on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Playa Del Carmen?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Playa Del Carmen?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a  lot of options available!

If you are traveling from Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. 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 above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Pin for Later

Off the beaten path Riviera Maya ruins tour.

This post was proofread by Grammarly.