1. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling. If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering if you might have been a fish in another life, then it won’t be a stretch to feel right at home in Riviera Maya. With the largest coral reef system in the Western Hemisphere, there’s an unbeatable variety of marine life just off the shore—from colorful tropical fish to whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays. When your fins turn back into feet, you’ll be equally happy to dry out on a good beach with a cold drink.
2. Exploring the Cenotes. One of Riviera Maya’s most distinguished features is its maze of cenotes, or sinkholes, which are usually noted for their intricate cavern interiors and breathtaking natural lakes. The cenotes are about as plentiful as the Mayan ruins and there is an equally impressive amount of ways to size them up. Kayak? Check. Scuba Dive? Of course. Swing brazenly from a rope and careen yourself into the water with a cannonball? Totally encouraged.
3. Touring the Mayan Ruins. From the famed Chichen Itza and Uxmal to the breathtaking Tulum and Coba, some of Mexico’s best-preserved Mayan ruins call Riviera Maya home. Whether you’re an avid history buff or are just looking for a unique backdrop for photos with your friends and family, the many Mayan ruins are a must-see while in town.
4. Day-tripping to Cozumel. Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, this Mexican Caribbean island draws in snorkelers and divers from around the world with its bright and healthy marine life. Though the island offers plenty of challenging dives, you could just as happily cozy up on one of the powdery white sand beaches or head into town to browse the charming downtown. Either way, this is pretty close to island life at its finest.
5. Visiting an Eco Park in Tulum. Sure, that one friend of yours bragged for weeks about how she got to zip-line on vacation. But imagine the look on her face when you tell her you also went zip-lining through the jungle—but on a tour that led you to an ancient labyrinth of underground lakes to enjoy kayaking, swimming and scuba diving? That just might be hard to top, and we think this combo is an unparalleled recipe for an unforgettable destination wedding excursion.
6. People Watching and Shopping at Quinta Avenida (5th Ave). Grab some comfy walking shoes and a wide-brimmed hat and spend an afternoon exploring the many shops, restaurants and bars along this popular tourist strip in downtown Playa Del Carmen. Whether you’re looking for some local souvenirs or just want to take in the scene, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Oh, and be sure to brush up on your bartering skills. Plenty of the shops will let you haggle if you’re after a bargain.
7. Tulum Monkey Sanctuary. Looking to ‘monkey around’ for a few hours with some colorful locals? Look no further than this primate haven, a privately owned 60 acre ranch with wild and rescued monkeys free to roam in their natural habitat. Though you’ll be quite captivated with these intelligent, playful creatures, the wildlife reserve is also home to a burro, horse, crocodiles and countless birds who are worthy of your attention as well.