Areal picture of a beach resort

Cancun is a man-made island, while Riviera Maya is part of the mainland. This means that Riviera Maya has a more natural feel to it, with jungle and Mayan ruins dotting the landscape. Cancun, on the other hand, is all about luxury resorts and nightlife.

Riviera Maya Vs. Cancun – Key differences

Difference in location

Riviera Maya is located on the coast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, about 60 miles south of Cancun. The Riviera Maya coastline stretches from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen, and includes the towns of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum. Cancun is located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is about 10 miles southwest of Isla Mujeres, and 25 miles southwest of Cozumel.

Difference in weather

The Riviera Maya is located on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and has a tropical climate. The average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius. Cancun is located on the northeastern coast of Mexico and has a subtropical climate. The average temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius.

Riviera Maya is generally hotter than Cancun, with temperatures usually sitting around 28 degrees Celsius. Cancun experiences more rainfall than Riviera Maya, particularly during hurricane season. Because of its location on the peninsula, Riviera Maya enjoys slightly cooler breezes coming off the water than Cancun does.

Difference in beaches

(Photo by Marv Watson on Unsplash )

Picture of a beach resort

When it comes to beaches, Cancun has some of the best in Mexico. Playa del Carmen and Tulum are both world-famous for their soft sand and turquoise waters. The beaches in Riviera Maya are also stunning, but they tend to be a bit more crowded than those in Cancun.

Difference in activities

In terms of activities, both destinations have plenty to offer. Cancun is known for its lively nightlife scene, while Riviera Maya is a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. There’s really no wrong choice – it all depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation.

Difference in night life

There is a big difference in nightlife between Cancun and Riviera Maya. Cancun is known for its party atmosphere, with a lot of clubs and bars that stay open until the early hours of the morning. Riviera Maya, on the other hand, has a more relaxed vibe, with most places closing around midnight. There are still some bars and clubs in Riviera Maya, but they tend to be more low-key than those in Cancun.

Excursions in Cancun vs Riviera Maya

(Photo by Marv Watson on Unsplash )

Picture of a Mayan ruin

When most people think of Mexican vacations, they immediately think of Cancun. Cancun is a world-renowned party destination, and for good reason – the nightlife is incredible, the beaches are beautiful, and there’s always something to do. However, Cancun isn’t the only option for Mexican vacations. Just south of Cancun is Riviera Maya, which offers a more relaxed atmosphere while still providing plenty of activities and attractions.

So, what’s the difference between Cancun and Riviera Maya? For starters, Riviera Maya is a lot less crowded than Cancun. This means that you’ll be able to find more peace and quiet on the beaches and won’t have to fight for a spot at the pool. It also means that there are fewer people around to take advantage of tourists.

Riviera Maya is also more focused on eco-tourism than Cancun. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the jungle or go snorkeling in the clear waters off the coast. If you’re looking for a more active vacation, Riviera Maya is definitely the place for you.

Finally, Riviera Maya has a lot more cultural attractions than Cancun. There are Mayan ruins to explore, traditional villages to visit, and local markets to browse. You’ll get a much better sense of the real Mexico in Riviera Maya than you ever would in Cancun.

What is the best time to visit Riviera Maya and Cancun?

There are certain months where the weather is almost guaranteed to be perfect in Riviera Maya. From mid-December to April, you can expect temperatures in the mid-80s during the day and low 70s at night. The water will be warm and there is very little rainfall. These are also the busiest times of year, so if you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation, you may want to visit during the summer or fall.

The best time to visit Cancun is during the months of December through April. These months offer the warmest weather and the least amount of rainfall. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, plan your trip for May or June.

What is hurricane season in Riviera Maya and Cancun?

The hurricane season in Riviera Maya and Cancun usually runs from June 1st to November 30th. However, the peak of the season is typically from mid-August through late October. The Atlantic hurricane basin covers an area that extends from the coast of Africa to the west coast of Central America, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

While hurricanes can occur any time during the season, they are most likely to form in September and October when the water in the Atlantic is at its warmest.

Although Riviera Maya and Cancun are located in different parts of Mexico, they are both vulnerable to hurricanes that form in the Atlantic basin. In fact, Hurricane Wilma was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded and it caused significant damage to both Riviera Maya and Cancun back in 2005.

If you’re planning a trip to either destination during hurricane season, it’s important to be aware of the risk and take steps to protect yourself and your belongings. Be sure to check the latest weather forecast before traveling and keep an eye on news reports for any developing storms. If a hurricane is heading in your direction, follow all evacuation orders from local authorities.

Frequently asked questions about Riviera Maya and Cancun

Is it safe to travel to Riviera Maya?


The Mexican government has put forth a great effort to make sure that Riviera Maya is a safe place to visit. They have implemented strict security measures in order to deter crime and keep tourists safe. These measures include an increased police presence, as well as security cameras and checkpoints throughout the area. So far, these efforts appear to be working, as there have been no reports of serious crime in Riviera Maya.

How to stay safe at Riviera Maya?

it’s always important to exercise caution when traveling to any foreign country. Be sure to stay in well-lit areas at night, avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash, and don’t leave your belongings unguarded on the beach or by the pool. If you follow these simple safety precautions, you should have no problem enjoy your vacation in Riviera Maya without any worries.

How far apart is Riviera Maya and Cancun?

Riviera Maya is about 60 miles south of Cancun. It takes about an hour to drive from Cancun to Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya is a much smaller town than Cancun, and it is not as developed. There are not as many hotels and resorts in Riviera Maya, but there are still plenty of places to stay.

Can you swim in the ocean in Riviera Maya?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Riviera Maya. The water is warm and clear, and there are plenty of beaches to choose from. However, there are also a few things to keep in mind when swimming in the ocean in Riviera Maya. First, be aware of the currents. There are strong currents near some of the coral reefs, so it is important to swim with a buddy and stay close to shore. Secondly, be aware of marine life. While most of the fish in Riviera Maya are harmless, there are some that can bite or sting. If you are unsure about something, ask a lifeguard or staff member at your hotel before getting in the water.

Is Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya the same?

Playa del Carmen is a town located on the coast of the Riviera Maya, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Riviera Maya is a region that includes the towns of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, and Akumal. Cancun is a city located in the state of Quintana Roo, on the east coast of Mexico. It is about an hour’s drive from Playa del Carmen.

What currency should I take to Riviera Maya?

The currency you will need is Mexican Pesos. You can get these at any bank or ATM in Mexico. Riviera Maya is a popular tourist destination, so most places will accept US dollars, but you will get a better exchange rate with Pesos.

What is the cheapest time to go to Cancun?

If you’re looking for a cheaper time to visit Cancun, try planning your trip for the summer months from May to August. The prices will be lower during this time and the weather will still be pleasant.

Featured Image by –  Eduardo Cano Photo Co. on Unsplash

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