I have had the privilege of living in the Riviera Maya for one year.
I even had a baby there…. Yup. That happened.
I saw things that made me laugh hysterically! Someone actually tried to fit a washing machine on a moped. You would be AMAZED at the things they can get on a moped...doors, 2x4’s, 5 people, another moped, grandma on a crate in the front, you name it.
I also saw things that made me SO grateful for what I have. People live in extremely poor conditions. The government really does not help them. Most people live in one room and string 7 hammocks up for everyone to have a place to sleep.
Why visit the Riviera Maya?
It is a great place to visit! It really is paradise, but if you could go anywhere….why there?
1. IT IS SAFE!
The year I lived there the crime rate was .3%. Also, within the year I lived there, there were at least 7 murders committed in my small home town of Idaho within a 6 month span!
A lot of Americans and Canadians there. The local city is an awesome experience! The best food by far is back in that area. Taco Diaz has THE BEST TACOS (in my personal opinion).
Often cruise ships tell their clientele it is dangerous to leave the main street...
This is a lie!
The back of the city not touched by the high tourism is great. My husband, baby, and I would take walks through the streets at night. I felt safer there than I do in the States.
2. The peso to dollar exchange favors Americans.
The higher the number of pesos per dollar the better it is for those of you who earn dollars IF you pay in pesos that is. If you pay in pesos things will be cheaper for you.
The ATM’s that are in the grocery stores on the main strip are safe to use and will usually give you an exchange rate of from 15-20 pesos to 1$.
The people will also usually price things higher in dollars than they do in pesos, but they accept both.
3. The beauty is unmatched.
The Riviera Maya consists of pristine beaches, palm trees galore, snorkeling and even scuba diving that is ranked 2nd in the world. It’s wonderful! I would suggest finding a local group that does snorkel tours.
A good way to find a tour you are looking for is to use Facebook. In fact that is a great way to ask any questions you have about anything. There are groups dedicated just to tourism and activities you can do.
During the late summer you can watch turtles hatch and race to the ocean. The island of Cozumel has a great sea turtle program that gives them a greater chance of survival. You can actually help the turtles get to the ocean if you want to volunteer.
There are national parks all over the Maya Riviera; Punta Sur, Chankanaab, the Mayan ruins, and the reef! All wonderful once in a lifetime experiences. CLICK HERE to find out more about the national parks.
4. There are many local attractions you could do for free.
So many people have visited and lived in these beautiful parts of Mexico from other countries and a lot of them post about it online. Do some research. There are some AMAZING things to do that not a lot of people know about.
There are many beaches that the locals go to for free. We were lucky enough to stumble across a wall that looks out over the ocean. The locals have dug out a hole under the wall so they can jump off and get back on the wall by swimming under the hole. That was one of our favorite things to do.
There are cenotes along the stretch from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum. These are fresh water holes that run through caves. You can scuba dive, snorkel, or just jump in and swim!
6. Mainland and Island Attractions Are Close By.
The ferry ride is only 45 minutes long from Playa Del Carmen to the Island of Cozumel where you can experience a quaint island life filled with many beautiful sites. Also near Playa Del Carmen you have the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba, Chitchen Itza, San Gervasio (on Cozumel) and Ek Balam. Bring your swimming suit because Tulum has a beautiful beach behind it, and there are cenotes along the road to these ruins. To find the best way to get to those ruins and other facts about them CLICK HERE.
Xel-ha, Xcaret, and Xplor are about a 15 minute cab ride away from Playa Del Carmen as well. They are amazing parks with many fun excursions including: Ziplines, river rafting, ATV driving, cultural shows, snorkeling and so much more!
7. Help the People
If you’re this type of person, there are PLENTY of opportunities to help those people. Simply buying from their business (or shop) helps them. However, there are groups that help the kids buy school supplies, donate bikes, food, or other things the people might need. Here is an example.
There are humanitarian projects, an animal shelter, building projects, or donations you can give.
If you are interested in visiting the Riviera Maya and are tight on funds here some suggested ways to go for a little cheaper. For cheap air fare try this. It connects you by finding your destination as the layover and you just hop off the plane when you are at your "layover". You CANNOT check bags though. So if you buy a ticket for Cancun to New York, but the layover is in Los Angeles (and you need to go to Los Angeles) you just get off in L.A. It turns out much cheaper.
If you would be interested in teaching a fitness class in exchange for free room & board and the chance to meet amazing people click here!