Riviera Maya

Paamul, 87km south of Cancún, is a de facto private beach on a sheltered bay. Like many other spots along the Caribbean coast, it has signs prohibiting entry to nonguests, and parking is limited. The attractions here are great diving and a sandy, palm-fringed beach, which, though lovely, has many small rocks, shells and spiked sea urchins in the shallows offshore; take appropriate measures. An attractive alabaster sand beach lies about 2km north.

Giant sea turtles come ashore here at night in July and August to lay their eggs. If you run across one during an evening stroll along the beach, keep your distance and don’t turn your flashlight on – or take flash photography – or you might scare it away. If you come by bus, it’s a 500m walk from the highway to the hotel, beach and onsite dive shop. A large recreational vehicle (RV) park here is greatly favored by snowbirds; the ‘BC’ license plates you see are from British Columbia, not Baja California.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Riviera Maya attractions

1. Cenote Azul

4.47 MILES

Conveniently located right off the main highway, Cenote Azul is one of the easiest Riviera Maya cenotes to visit. It’s also one of the region’s most…

2. Xpu-Há

5.29 MILES

Xpu-Há (shpoo-ha) is a beach area about 95km south of Cancún that extends for several kilometers. It’s reached by numbered access roads (most of them…

3. Parque la Ceiba


Two blocks west of the highway, this pretty park has play areas for kids, shady picnic spots and walking trails as well as activities such as movie…

4. Parque Los Fundadores

10.28 MILES

Playa del Carmen’s most iconic park is bordered by the famous Quinta Avenida on one side and by a popular local beach on the other side. Here, kids can…

5. Museo Frida Kahlo Riviera Maya

10.57 MILES

This 'museum' is mainly info about Kahlo rather than displays of her artwork. It's also small. But if you're looking for something to do on a non-beach…

6. Quinta Avenida

10.68 MILES

Restaurants, bars, stores and craft stalls line a 2km stretch of this busy pedestrian thoroughfare.

7. Punta Esmeralda

12.68 MILES

Emerald Point has become a favorite beach among Playa del Carmen locals, set on the northern edge of the city. Here, a shallow cenote provides a calm…

8. Punta Bete

14.95 MILES

A rocky, reef-hugged point 65km south of Cancún, Punta Bete is reached by a dirt road that runs past a housing development and weaves 2.5km from Hwy 307 …