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7 Picturesque Places in Playa del Carmen And The Riviera Maya That You’ll Be Grateful You Visited

Juanita Rodriguez 11-24-2020

7 Picturesque Places in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

As for the Mexican Caribbean, we can all agree that its number one scenic attraction is its glorious palm-fringed coastline. Yet, this tropical dreamland’s beauty stretches far beyond its shimmering turquoise waters and sun-kissed beaches. 

The area’s diverse ecosystems include flourishing coral reefs, emerald lagoons, and lush low lying jungle. In addition, the longest underground river in the world weaves its way through thousands of limestone caves in the region. Without a doubt, the Riviera Maya region brims with outstanding land and seascapes as far as the eye can see. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re sharing our top 7 striking locations you’ll be grateful you added to your vacation itinerary.

Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Photo provided by @issaployy via Instagram


Due to its diverse catalogue of pristine topography, Xcaret Park is the leader on our list of beautiful places in Playa del Carmen. Among the eco-friendly park’s features are crystal clear bays for snorkeling, water slides dipping into pools engulfed by jungle and cascading waterfalls, as well as a cathedral with an altar built upon a cenote. Not only do these breathtaking scenes paint a picturesque setting, but they also invite visitors to fully immerse themselves in the extraordinary nature of the Riviera Maya. 

Some of the most vivid hideaways within the expansive aquatic paradise include Children’s World and the aquamarine river floats. Equally spectacular are the lush jungle trails leading through to the butterfly pavilion and the Caribbean pools carved along Xcaret’s rocky shoreline. 

Rio Secreto

Rio Secreto, Playa del Carmen

Thanks to its mind-blowing centuries-old underground river system, Rio Secreto is an obvious choice for this list. Traipsing through the nature reserve’s turquoise waters, your eyes don’t have to search far for magnificent scenery. The caves and collections of translucent waters present stunning photo ops.

On the tour, your guide introduces you to remarkable local flora and fauna, while explaining the history of how the limestone mass of the Yucatan Peninsula came to be. What’s more, you’ll discover astounding stalagmites and stalactites around every corner. Formed from the accumulation of thousands of years of mineral deposits, these impressive geological formations are a sight to see. 

Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Cristalino, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

This is one of our favorite cenote swimming holes in the area. That’s no easy feat considering there are an estimated ten thousand cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. A descending, manicured pathway forges ahead through the dense Mayan forest. 

Following the scenic trail, you’ll come upon multiple pools of refreshing water fed by the underground river. Just before the main swimming area, a smaller wading pool sits amidst majestic Elephant Ear trees and fans of tropical palms. 

Further along is a more grandiose, clear water pool with a modest cliff for jumping, if you feel adventurous. While two hours is adequate for exploring this popular Riviera Maya cenote, this splendid Mexican escapade is a blissful one. Soaking within the turquoise waters of a natural, limestone pool, enveloped by jungle brush, and blanketed by a vast blue sky— it’s an encounter with nature that you won’t soon forget. 

A Beachfront Table At La Buena Vida

La Buena Vida, Akumal, Riviera Maya

Perched along the panoramic Half Moon Bay in Akumal, just 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen is La Buena Vida Beach Club. This is a local hangout not many visitors know about. Sure, we’d like to keep this magical place all to ourselves. But it would be selfish to deny travelers the chance to experience its enchanting vibe.

Complete with hammocks, an infinity pool, and a mezzanine with tables overlooking the bay, this prime piece of Caribbean real estate is the perfect spot for piña coladas and picturesque views. 

Alux Restaurant

Alux Restaurant, Playa del Carmen

Despite several visits to this remarkable restaurant and bar, Alux never ceases to amaze. Pockets within the caves set with tables and chandeliers make the ideal setting for romance in the Riviera Maya. Yet even if you’re solo, this dining experience is out of this world, 

Whether you reserve a table in the principal dining room or just stop by for drinks in the lounge, keep your camera handy. It’s not everyday that you can dine or sip tequila in an underground cavern. Strategically-placed spotlights showcase the remarkable cenotes, trickling waterfalls, and natural displays of mineral deposits. We suggest you combine this surreal setting with a select Mexican wine from La Cava wine cellar. That friend, is the making of an unforgettable visit at one of the most unique restaurants on the planet. 

El Cielo

El Cielo, Cozumel

Named after heaven itself, El Cielo’s clear blue waters are an intoxicating sight. As you anchor in the bay, which is only accessible by boat, you will be blown away by the clarity and visibility as far as the eye can see. Poised in your tour vessel, you can observe manta rays and sea turtles gliding along the seafloor. 

The depth of the water ranges from waist deep to five feet at most points and is perfect for people of all ages. To have face to face encounters with these majestic marine species is like being part of a National Geographic documentary. The vibrant coral reefs and unmatched Caribbean vistas are impressive in every sense of the word. But the waters in this cove, comparable to any Maldives photo you’ve ever fantasized over, are epic.  

El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba

El Camaleon at Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen

If you’re a fan of golf, you may have watched some of the greats vie for the purse at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen. Although the PGA’s team does a superb job of highlighting the action, it’s impossible to capture the entire beauty of El Camaleon’s pristine land and seascapes

Boats shuttle Rosewood Mayakoba guests to water suites along the canals. Exotic vegetation borders verdant stretches of exquisitely manicured fairways. Perfectly coiffed Par 3s overlook stunning expanses of turquoise sea. Not to mention, the incredible limestone cenotes that dot the picturesque 7024-yard course. 

Although spectators are not allowed at this year’s popular PGA Tour stop, the outstanding course is open to the public the remainder of the year. 

We could go on and on about the endless postcard-worthy gems in and around Playa del Carmen. But we’ll leave you with this list as a good starting point. For more information on other hidden treasures in the Riviera Maya region, ask your friendly Bric ambassador. Your designated regional expert is a wealth of information and can also help you coordinate transportation and private tours. 

In keeping with the mood of this holiday of gratitude, our team appreciates every opportunity to serve you. It’s a great pleasure to share the best this seaside paradise has to offer with visitors from around the world. From our family to yours, we wish you an abundance of things to be grateful for.