It’s no secret that you’ve arrived at one of Mexico’s most coveted beach destinations. Set along the sparkling Mexican Caribbean coastline, here you’ll also discover ancient ruins, rich Mayan culture, otherworldly cenotes (natural swimming holes) and of course, miles of pristine white-sand beaches. Below, we’re sharing a list of some hidden gems in this lush Mexican playground (sunscreen required!).
Visit Ancient Mayan Ruins Two-Ways
Just an hour south of Playa del Carmen, Tulum, beloved for its famed beaches, is also a haven for its pristine ruins. Dating back to 564CE, and perched atop rocky limestone cliffs, the town’s namesake archaeological ruins features a grid-like structure with waterfront temples that backs up to azure waters. You’ll also get the perfect primer on Mayan culture – an ancient group known for its advanced math, architecture and astronomical studies (pro tip: arrive early to beat the crowds). Nearby, take in the deep sensory experience at Mystika Tulum, an immersive 3D venue created by Mexican photographer Pepe Soho, and featuring moving photographs (i.e., the Tulum ruins under a starry sky) and a 360° cosmic dome.
Magical Cenotes and Surfs Up!
Once thought to be used by Mayans as a portal to communicate with gods and the underworld, today you can visit a bounty of caves and cenotes – those aforementioned deep swimming pools. Sandwiched in between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Cenote Dos Ojos, offers stunning natural light and mineral waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, cliff jumping and scuba diving. Adventure seekers can also explore the nearby open-air cenotes of Tajma Ha, Dos Ojos, Cristialino and Jardin del Eden (Garden of Eden). For a truly hidden experience ten minutes south of Tulum, spend a day relaxing at Kaan Luum Lagoon, where a deep contrast of blue water will have you grabbing for your camera. Looking for some tasty waves? Sign up for a beginner surf camp at Nohoch Surf School and paddle out in Puerto Aventuras, one of the top surfing beaches in the Riviera Maya known for its ideal swells and water conditions.
Immersive Art and Mayan Cooking
For a dreamlike art-meets-nature mash-up, SFER IK (pronounced spheric), designed by artists Artur Lescher and Ernesto Neto, doubles as contemporary museum that allows guests to walk barefoot through beautiful bejuco-lined wood corridors (resembling twisted vines) while taking in groundbreaking art exhibits. Later, dig into authentic Yucantan and Mayan cuisine and enroll in a cooking class at Maya Immersion where you’ll learn about traditional dishes, ingredients and cooking methods. You’ll also discover how specifically processed masa (corn dough) is made, alongside trying your hand at wrapping mouthwatering tamales. The best part? Eating your creations of course.
In early 2024, we’re opening our first-ever all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Kimpton Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort, Spa & Nature Park will be an all-inclusive beachfront resort flush with want-for-nothing amenities and activities such as 11 unique culinary concepts, five swimming pools, private beach access, a world-class spa, fitness center and several family-friendly facilities ranging from a Kids Club to water sports. Located in the heart of Riviera Maya in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Kimpton Hacienda Tres Ríos will fully embrace its namesake thanks to the three freshwater rivers that flow through the Tres Ríos Nature Park’s 326 acres of well-preserved tropical forest. A new Kimpton hotel will open in Playa Del Carmen in early 2024. See you soon!