You know how it is; you are in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on vacation, lying by the beach for days on end and before you know it you’re sunburned and waterlogged. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives in the beautiful Riviera Maya, including these top three.
1. Chichen Itza
Rent a car and drive to Chichen Itza, a pre-Columbian city built by the Mayans. It is one of the largest and most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. The size and scale of this massive site is stunning and will take your breath away. For the best experience, hire a guide once you get there to show you around and to get a brief history lesson of this incredible village. If you are not an independent traveler, local hotels sell 5:45 AM departures for a 3-hour coach bus trip out to the village with full tour guides included. Either way, this is a must do activity.
Go to the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid, where you can sit and watch life stroll by in the tranquil park or you can spend your day exploring the history and culture that the Riviera Maya has to offer. Valladolid has it all from great architecture to refreshing cenotes and its chessboard-style street grid makes the city easy to explore. Don’t forget to try out the coconut ice cream sold by the many vendors on the main square, it’s delicious! The city is a great pit stop before or after visiting the nearby Chichen Itza ruins.
Last, but certainly not least: Xcaret . What did you say? Pronounced “Shh car et,” this place is a fun-filled day trip from Cancun. It is an eco-friendly day park, and a cross between Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo, only better, because it has a floating cave system, an animal and butterfly sanctuary, an authentic Mexican cemetery and a show called the History of Mexico that will blow your socks off. In my opinion, the show itself is worth the price of admission into this remarkable park. Do bring your swimsuit, as you will most likely want to float down the cenote river, even if you are waterlogged!
There you have it, three non-beach things to do in the Riviera Maya during your next visit. Where would you like to go first?