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Overview

The 100-mile stretch heading south from Playa del Carmen to Punta Allen is a gem, combining the best of what the Yucatán coast has to offer. In addition to the expected - deserted beaches, crystalline waters teeming with life, and friendly locals - there are some surprises, like nesting turtles (around Akumal in the summer months) and a sprawling cave system, Nohoch Nah Chich, where you can snorkel and dive. Of course, the Maya Riviera is world famous for Tulum, the relatively small but spectacularly-situated Mayan site. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, these ruins are best visited early in the morning or late in the day, ...

The 100-mile stretch heading south from Playa del Carmen to Punta Allen is a gem, combining the best of what the Yucatán coast has to offer. In addition to the expected - deserted beaches, crystalline waters teeming with life, and friendly locals - there are some surprises, like nesting turtles (around Akumal in the summer months) and a sprawling cave system, Nohoch Nah Chich, where you can snorkel and dive. Of course, the Maya Riviera is world famous for Tulum, the relatively small but spectacularly-situated Mayan site. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, these ruins are best visited early in the morning or late in the day, to beat the crowds. Many visitors opt to stay in one of the ubiquitous beach cabanas or go with the DIY alternative, stringing a hammock between two palms and calling it a night. This is one area of the Yucatán where having a car is a real bonus as there are some secret pocket beaches between Tulum and Punta Allen worth exploring. The latter is a world class fishing destination from where tours can also be arranged to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka'an for excellent wildlife viewing including migratory birds, jungle cats, howler monkeys and odiferous, cantankerous peccaries.

Conner Gorry
About the Expert

Conner Gorry is a contributor to more than a dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks and is the lead writer for Lonely Planet's Yucatan, Belize, and Guatemala guides.

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Conner Gorry for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round; summer when sea turtles trundle ashore to lay eggs