Caribbean Honeymoon – Fun Ways to Kick Off Married Life on the Riviera Maya
When people find out that Tony and I spent our honeymoon in Cancun, they always express surprise. They imagine us trekking or spelunking rather than luxuriating on a perfect Caribbean beach in Mexico. But who’s to say that you can’t do both? Cancun and the coastal area south along the Riviera Maya are incredibly diverse and make the perfect playground for any newlyweds. After all, there’s no inherent contradiction in diving cenotes AND sipping margaritas, as long as it’s done in the right order.
Moreover, Cancun has great flight connections from both Europe and the Americas making it an ideal starting point for that perfect Caribbean honeymoon with a spicy dash of Yucatán culture and adventure. So in the spirit of love and matrimony, here are a few suggestions to make your honeymoon unforgettable.
Find Your Own Private Beach Hideaway
Mexico’s Caribbean coast is the perfect place for a tropical beach fantasy. With over eighty miles of shoreline along the Mayan Riviera, it’s not all that hard to find that perfect stretch of sugar-white beach. Visit Cancun’s lively sands for a dip in its gorgeous powder-blue waters, or head straight for Maroma Beach in Playa or Paraiso Beach in Tulum for more tropical dreams. And to take that honeymoon fantasy to the next level, stay in one of the magnificent luxury homes in Mexico along the Riviera Maya. What better way to watch the sunset than from your own private ocean-view hideaway.
Snorkel the Famous Yucatán Cenotes
The Yucatán Peninsula is famous for its limestone landscape dotted with thousands of natural pits and sinkholes, often referred to as “cenotes”. Snorkeling or scuba diving in the cenotes is a surreal experience as you glide through a forest of stalactites and stalagmites with beams of light dancing through the water. Honeymooners won’t have to venture too far for a cool dip. The most popular and beautiful cenotes between Playa del Carmen and Tulum are Dos Ojos, Kukulkan, Jardin del Eden, Azul and Grand Cenote. Further afield are La Noria near Puerto Morelos, Cenote Dzitnup outside Valladolid, and Choo-Ha near the Coba Mayan ruins.
Knock Yourself Out with Mayan Pyramids
Should you find yourself craving temples after a few days of lazing around, you might want to explore some of the famous Mayan ruins spread across the Yucatán Peninsula. Start with the picturesque Templo Dios del Viento in Tulum, and then move on to Chichén Itzá, the region’s most impressive and popular archaeological site. The El Castillo pyramid, the ball court, the Temple of Warriors, and the observatory are just a few of its impressive monuments. If you want to channel your inner Indiana Jones and prefer to climb up the pyramids, head out for the lesser-known Ek Balam or for Coba, a beautiful Mayan site in a lovely jungle setting between Tulum and Valladolid.
Eat, Drink, and Shop Until You Drop
Once a quaint fishing village, Playa del Carmen has become the Mayan Riviera’s major tourist hub. If you are up for partying, shopping, and eating (aren’t most honeymooners?), Quinta Avenida is the place to be – day or night. The long pedestrian thoroughfare, which runs parallel to the beach, is full of restaurants, souvenir shops, bars, ice cream parlors, coffeehouses and dance clubs. Once you are shopped and partied out, you can relax on the beach or enjoy a Mayan detox massage. Also, for a bit of culture, don’t miss the flying Mayan pole dancers at the southern end of Av. Benito Juárez. (And, no, it’s nothing naughty).
Take Time for Iguana-Watching on Your Caribbean Honeymoon
For honeymooning naturalists, the most likely land animals you will encounter along Yucatán’s coast are the spiny-tailed iguanas. They come in all shapes and sizes, but can reach up to four feet in length. Surprisingly, wildlife enthusiasts won’t have to go far to see them. While they prefer to hang out in trees and on rocks, you can even find them stretched out on tin roofs and fence posts right in the middle of town. They are practically waiting to be photographed, so don’t forget to pose with them for that perfect honeymoon Instagram shot.
Buzz Around Isla Cozumel in Your VW Beetle Convertible
Cozumel should definitely be a bucket list item for honeymooners in the Riviera Maya. The island is a short 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, and makes for an entertaining day trip. Besides snorkeling and scuba diving, the highlight of any Cozumel visit is taking a convertible VW bug for a spin around the island. Make it your goal to explore some of the off-the-beaten-path beaches via the southern loop road. It takes you right to the Faro Celerain Eco Park, which features a bird and crocodile sanctuary and a phenomenal undeveloped beach to stretch out on. Ahh, bliss.
Lose Yourself in Mexico’s Colonial Flair
Make sure to step back in time and experience Mexico’s Spanish colonial past. Giant cathedrals, sun-soaked pastel walls, shaded central parks, and romantic cobblestone streets await curious visitors willing to leave the beach. Those colonial cities are great for people-watching and make the perfect backdrop for more honeymoon memories. One particularly atmospheric town is Valladolid. Often forgotten by visitors, this charming destination is conveniently situated on the road from Cancun to Chichén Itzá. And if you are headed across the peninsula, stop by lovely Merida and the stunning walled city of Campeche for more colonial surprises and ingenious alien-inspired street art.
Explore the Caribbean Sea
With water temperatures between 72 °F and 88 °F (22-31 °C) all year round, the Caribbean is the perfect playground for giddy honeymooners. While some prefer to explore the sea by kayak or jet ski, others are more interested in snorkeling and scuba diving. Cozumel offers fantastic diving along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef with deep walls and plenty of swim-throughs. For something a bit different, try Musa, the underwater museum accessible from Cancun and Isla Mujeres. And – drumroll – if you happen to be in the Riviera Maya off-season from mid-May through mid-September, make sure to head out for Holbox Island to snorkel with the seasonal whale sharks.