January 23, 2022

Is Cancun and Riviera Maya the same Thing?

Is Cancun and Riviera Maya the same Thing_1

People are generally confused between Cancun and Riviera Maya. Both places are perceived as the same, but, they are actually different. Cancun is a large city. It is located at the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, while Riviera Maya is a region south to Cancun. We are comparing a city with a region. Cancun is the very first tourists specific destination. On the other hand, the Riviera Maya has different cities. Each city has its own diversity and culture.

How Far is Riviera Maya from Cancun Airport?

Riviera Maya is 67.9 km or 60 to 70 miles from Cancun International Airport. It’s an hour ride from the airport.

Cancun Vs Riviera Maya 2020

The tourism of Cancun is usually at its boom in the beachfront area of the city. Everyday life in Cancun is different from holiday life. It’s difficult to explore the city without any guide. Very few visitors choose to explore the local downtown. Cancun has a reputation for “Spring Break Haven”. There are many hotel zones and resorts, which host all the touristy activities. Hotels in Cancun hold the vibe of the whole city.

Riviera Maya is unique in its own way. Every city in this region has some extraordinary attractions. The cities here are less about resorts and more about small hotels and rentals. It is easier for a visitor to explore these ‘walking cities’. It is inexpensive and easy to navigate. The local vibes and the small cities make the place friendlier. People generally visit ruins, local streets, and beaches more.

Cancun and Riviera Maya both have their own attractions.

Are the Beaches Better in Cancun or Riviera Maya?

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Cancun is famous for its turquoise water oceans. They are prettier as well. The beautiful color of the water is going to leave you mesmerized. On the other hand beaches in Riviera Maya are diverse. Some beaches have rocky shores. They may annoy you and you will need special shoes. Some of the beaches in Riviera Maya have coral reefs, which can be great entertainment while swimming, but, they can be uncomfortable sometimes.

Riviera Maya has exotic vibes. The comparison of Cancun and Riviera Maya is no way justified. They both have separate pleasures. Riviera Maya ensures an exotic experience. If you want comfortable swimming, then go for Cancun Beaches.

Cancun or Riviera Maya Beach

You can find some of the best beaches in the world here. Here are some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Playa Chac Mool

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The greenish-blue colored waters give this beach a separate vibe. You can fulfill your desire for water sports on this beach of Cancun. It doesn’t have much rush. But, the calmness of water soothes people. It’s a must-visit place.

Playa Delfines

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It is one of the most visited beaches in Cancun. The stunning white milky sands are a pleasure to eyes as well as the soul. It’s also the famous landmark in Cancun. The feel of thrashing waters on this beach is unique. It has a mixed rush of locals and tourists. Relax here and feel the calmness.

Puerto Morelos

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The villages and beaches in Puerto Morelos are quiet and calm. This trait makes them unique. It’s an escape from the hustle and bustle. Visit there for its quietness and relax your mind.

Playa Tortugas

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You can enjoy water sports and adventures here. The crystal clear water of this beach soothes the crowd. There are shops and food places nearby.

Tulum Ruins Beach

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This beach in Cancun has historic importance. The beach takes the visitors back to the ancient era. You can also see the flora and fauna. The blue ocean background and the several ruined buildings are a delight.

Playa Maroma

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It’s one of the beautiful beaches in Riviera Maya. It’s a private beach. With a day pass, you can enjoy the activities and will not regret it. You can get the opportunity to enjoy some water activities on this beach.

Playa Norte

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Do you want to see the Caribbean? You can see Playa Norte. It’s similar to the image of the Caribbean that you have in mind. The sunset views are exceptional here. It is a must-visit beach in Riviera Maya.


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It’s a gem of Riviere Maya. It’s one of the best beaches in the world. This beach has a calm and tranquil vibe. It is a nature’s reserve having mangroves and coral reefs. It’s perfect for snorkeling and kayaking. It’s a private beach. Invest some money, we are sure you will not regret it.

 Things to do in Riviere Maya

Riviere Maya has a separate fascinating vibe. There are multiple things to do in Riviera Maya. Here is the list of some unforgettable things you can do.

Snorkel or Scuba Dive in Cozumel

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Gear yourself up and jump in the ocean. Make the best of that crystal clear water. It’s one of the top scuba diving destinations. You can’t miss scuba diving here. You can also go for a snorkeling adventure. The shallow turquoise water is beautiful. And, it also allows you to see the colorful reefs and diverse marine life.

Chill in Tulum

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Tulum has some interesting laidback Bohemian town vibe. This idyllic beach attracts tourists and travelers to relax here. You can have some epic photographs here. Tulum is a bit expensive though. Chilling in Tulum is one of the most interesting things to do in Riviera Maya.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere

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It’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Its the home to the second-largest reef system as well. Explore the wide and diverse flora and fauna here. You must be lucky if you saw some flamingos, jaguars, and other species here.

Also, don’t miss visiting ruins. You can also explore the cave system or take a dive in the Cenotes. Riviera Maya is undoubtedly a beautiful place.

Cancun VS Riviera Maya Map

Now that we know that Riviera Maya is different from Cancun. So here is a comparison of both the places with the help of a map.

The Weather of Cancun and Riviera Maya

There is not much difference in the weather of Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Riviera Maya weather

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Riviera Maya has a temperature of 90°F or even higher from May to August. The temperature is 83° F in January and December. September and October have high rainfall.

The best time to visit Riviera Maya is between March and April. The temperature is moderate with low rainfall. You can also visit between May and July.

Cancun Weather

things to do in cancun

The temperatures are similar to Riviera Maya but, the best time to visit Cancun is from December to April. You will get perfect weather. You will also get some cheap flights and affordable rooms. December to April is quite heavy for tourists but it’s perfect.

Cancun Hotel Zone

Cancun is more about hotels and resorts. Mostly tourists and visitors don’t step out of the hotel zone. It’s important to choose the one, which is the depiction of Cancun. It must have all the necessary features with touristy vibes. You must look for the hotel before going. Here is a list of some great hotels in Cancun.

Grand Oasis

It’s a family-friendly huge resort. It’s on a beautiful white sand beach. It’s has a central location. There are restaurants and shopping malls nearby. It has air-conditioned rooms. There are casinos, theatres, spas, and swim-up bars as well. It has an outdoor kid club as well. You can enjoy sports and activities there.

The Ritz Carlton

things to do in cancun

Its located on a gorgeous beachfront. It has modern and serene rooms. It has a full-service spa. Private ocean view balconies and classical European décor make it a delight. It has kid activities and a fitness center for adults. It has a fine-dining option.

Riviera Maya Resorts

Although Riviera Maya has local vibes. But resorts are necessary for tourists. Here are some of the ideas for you.

Royal Hideaway

As the name suggests, it’s a luxurious hotel. Ist on the white sand beach giving a nice vibe to the hotel. Furnished terraces and marble bathrooms are a bonus point. It is an adult-only hotel and has theaters and diners as well.

Grand Velas

Things to do in cancun

The hotel has luxurious touches. It has amazing food and has activities for kids as well. It’s one fo the sophisticated options. It has restaurants and fitness centers. It has it’s own pool, spa, and butler service as well.

Security of Riviera Maya and Cancun

Both places are highly proclaimed for tourists. They both are incredibly safe. Mexico puts a lot of effort into the security of tourist areas. Riviera Maya is proud of her high-security. Cancun has surveillance and security cameras installed. The security of Cancun and Riviera Maya allows you to enjoy peacefully. You can go out and walk safely on the streets. Cancun and Riviera Maya are safe for tourists.

Cancun airport to Riviera Maya

There are multiple ways to get to Riviera Maya.

  • You can buy a ticket and take the public bus on your route.
  • You can catch a shuttle from the airport. The cost is less than private transportation. It’s a good option for single travelers. The shuttle will also leave you at your stop. The only drawback is you have to wait at other passengers’ stops.
  • You can opt for private transportation.
  • Rent a car. If you have decided to rent a car for vacation. It’s a perfect option.

How to get to Cancun from Riviera Maya?

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Cancun Airport is 50-60 mins away from Riviera Maya. You can take a bus from Playa Del Carmen. Buses leave every time. Chose a suitable one. You can also take private transportation.

Recommended Reading

Riviera Maya: Best Of Riviera Maya Mexico, Tourism

A Guide to Punta Cana – A Paradise of Blissful Beaches

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