Approximately one hour south of Cancoon on Mexico’s Riviera Maya is the upmarket resort of Akumal. This small vacation resort, with two beautiful bays lined with palm-fringed beaches, has a more laid back feel than most of the larger resorts on the Riviera Maya. In addition to the excellent beaches, Akumal's coral reefs provide excellent snorkelling and scuba diving.
Esencia - Esencia is small luxury resort set on Playa Xpu-Ha, a beautiful sand beach. Esencia has just 30 rooms and a restaurant specializing in Mexican cuisine. This is one of the best small hotels on the Yucatan's coastline, and is great for a relaxing vacation in Mexico.
Club Oasis Akumal - Located one hour south of Cancun, in the heart of the Riviera Maya, is the Club Oasis Acumal. The remote 200 room resort is located on a beautiful white sand beach, on a bay in the relaxed, upmarket community of Akumal.
Villas Akumal - This resort is made up of thatched cabanas set beside one of the Riviera Maya's finest sandy beaches. There are 12 suites in total at this self catering resort which is perfect for villa rentals.
Xpuha Palace - Xpuha is an all-inclusive resort that is essentially a wildlife park bordering a small, white sand beach, 90km south of Cancun. The resort town of Akumal is just 15km away.
Playa Del Carmen
The best way to describe Playa del Carmen is as a mini-Cancun. The beaches are excellent making a good base for diving and swimming. There are numerous hotels to choose from. It's all a little less crowded compared to the larger Cancun. In depth info about Playa del Carmen.
Maroma resort - One of the best hotels of the Riviera Maya, the beautiful Maroma Resort is located 45 mins drive from Cancun and 15 mins from Playa del Carmen. Maroma is surrounded by jungle, with only one other resort adjacent, and faces a long, sweeping stretch of sandy beach.
Las Palapas - Las Palapas is a spacious beach complex 2km from Playa del Carmen. There are 75 cabins in total.
Mosquito Blue and Spa - an attractive hotel located in the lively heart of Playa del Carmen. Facilities include a spa, two swimming pools and small restaurant serving Mexican and Italian cuisine.
The Tides Riviera Maya – previously known as Ika del Mar, the Tides Riviera Maya is located 5km north of the resort of Playa del Carmen, and 45 minutes south of Cancun. The Tides Resort is a stylish, upmarket hotel of 30 luxury thatched villas, each with private plunge-pool and small outdoor terrace with hammock. The beach itself is quite small, and rocks underfoot make it inadvisable to swim there, but nonetheless this is one of the best hotels on Mexico's Mayan Riviera.
Shangri-La Caribe - a beach-front complex of thatch roof cabanas about 2km north of Playa del Carmen, or 20 mins walk along the beach. There are 100 rooms in total, and the Shangri La hotel is a good base for diving.
Basico Hotel - an unusual boutique style designer hotel located right in the heart of the bustling centre of Playa Del Carmen. The Basico has a sister hotel - the Deseo, closeby. This is quite a "cool" hotel.
Gran Porto Real - The Porto Real, with 270 rooms, is located on a beautiful stretch of beach in the centre of Playa del Carmen, close to the lively bars, restaurants and shops of its main avenue. There are several restaurants and bars, a gym and two swimming pools.
La Tortuga - a relaxed hotel located on one of Playa del Carmen's quieter streets, on the outskirts and just two blocks from the beach. Facilities include a restaurants, poolside bar, spa and rooftop sun terrace.
Occidental Royal Hideaway - a plush luxury resort located on a lovely stretch of beach 3km south of the main hotel strip of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya, the Occidental Royal Hideway is an all inclusive resort.
The village of Tulum is 130 kms south of Cancun and is a relaxed and simple beach retreat. The beaches here are beautiful and less developed than at other parts of the Riviera Maya. There are some lovely ancient ruins overlooking the beach and sea, making here a very popular day trip from Cancun - beware the crowds during the day. The best hotel is the Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa. More info on Tulum.
A short boat trip from Cancun, laid back Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) makes for a refreshing and relaxing contrast. Buildings higher than three storeys are prohibited, as are American franchises. Like many travel destinations on the Riviera Maya, the island is a good place for scuba diving. The best hotel is the 30 room Villa Rolandi.
Just south of Cancun, this private resort built on recently pristine coast is the centre for sports fishing vacations on the Caribbean coast. Sporting activities include golf, tennis and diving. Puerto Aventuras is a quieter alternative to Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The Omni Puerto Aventuras Resort is a small beach resort while the Club Oasis Puerto Aventuras is a larger all inclusive first class luxury hotel.
Cozumel Island Hotels, Riviera Maya
Once a sleepy backwater island, Cozumel has become so popular that comparisons are now made with the upmarket resorts of Cancún and Playa del Carmen. It's the best spot for for scuba diving and snorkelling and the rugged Caribbean coastline has a wide variety of wildlife. More info on Cozumel.
Fiesta Americana Cozumel Reef - The Feista Americana Cozumel Reef is a large modern hotel located in the south of the island, about ten minutes’ drive from Cozumel town. The Fiesta Americana's main attraction is its proximity to the island’s best diving and snorkeling reef, Palancar.
Melia Cozumel - The all inclusive resort Melia is situated on the largest natural beach in Cozumel. This all-inclusive resort has 150 deluxe rooms. A ‘Country Club’ development in front of the resort has botanical gardens and an 18-hole golf course.
Occidental Allegro - This large Riviera Maya resort is located on Playa San Francisco. It has 300 rooms accommodated in thatched two-level villa blocks. An alternative would be the sister hotel the Occidental Grande, which is very similar in style.
Presidente InterContinental - a perfectly placed resort, accommodation which is spread out along the coastline makes the most of its natural beach surroundings. As well as providing good snorkeling and diving opportunities the resort also has access to a golf course.