Excursions Riviera Maya

Mayan Ruins | Cenotes | Colonial Cities

The best Riviera Maya Excursions

Unforgettable excursions to the famous attractions of the Riviera Maya with cultural highlightsspectacular Mayan temples and an incredible beautiful nature. Our certified tour guides will show you the main attractions of the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Are you planning to spend your vacation on the Riviera Maya? An excellent choice. Caribbean beaches, mystical Mayan sites, hidden cenotes and pretty colonial towns await you. The sights on the Riviera Maya are close together and can be explored easily. Discover the Riviera Maya and make your dream vacation come true. Immerse yourself in a unique mentality. The Mexican way of life and openness will make you return here again and again.

Private Riviera Maya excursions with Leon Tours are an excellent opportunity to get to know the area away from the crowds. Our tours are designed as private excursions and you will have your private guide for the whole tour.

You are interested in a Yucatan round trip: We will happily to put together an individual program for a multi-day tour on the Yucatan Peninsula and give recommendations on our must sees.

Private Riviera Maya excursions with Leon Tours are an excellent opportunity to get to know the area away from the crowds. Historical sights as well as offers in the water and on land can be perfectly combined.
Riviera Maya Excursions

Riviera Maya private excursions: Here Tulum

Leon Tours is specialized in private excursions on the Riviera Maya around Playa del Carmen. As our excursions are private, we can respond specifically to the wishes of our guests and make arrangments for private groups.

We use tour guides certified by SECTUR for our excursions on the Riviera Maya (diploma from the Mexican Tourism Office), with special knowledge of the Maya culture, the history of Mexico and the region around Playa del Carmen. The excursions on our web page are just examples that can be adapted as desired. We are happy to recommend and create your private excursion around Playa del Carmen. Learn more about the benefits of our private Riviera Maya excursions.

Overview Riviera Maya
Map for Riviera Maya excursions

Map for Riviera Maya excursions, Source

Directly on the beautiful Caribbean coast in the northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the 160 km long stretch of coast between Cancun in the north to Tulum in the south is called Riviera Maya. It is known for its fascinating history and unique nature. The attractions on the Yucatan Peninsula include ancient Mayan ruins, colonial towns, pretty cenotes, pristine jungles and the Caribbean Sea with stunning beaches. The area is still inhabited by the Maya, who like to share their beliefs and traditions with interested visitors.

Most tourists come to Mexico through the Cancun Airport. It is the second largest airport in Mexico, after Mexico City. From Cancun, guests are transportet to the various hotels of the Riviera Maya. Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the smaller Tulum are the cities along the Riviera Maya.

It takes about two hours from Cancun in the north to Tulum in the south. Playa del Carmen is located in the middle and is an excellent starting point for day trips. The beaches around Playa del Carmen are fantastic and important attractions such as Chichen Itza are not much more than two hours away. This allowes an excellent combination of culture and beach vacation.

The Riviera Maya is an exciting vacation destination. Beach holidays and culture can be perfectly combined.
Riviera Maya Excursions: Mayan Ruins
Riviera Maya Excursions to Chichen Itza

Riviera Maya Private Excursions: Chichen Itza

Witness the glorious past of the Yucatan Peninsula by the various archeological sites found here. Most of the Mayan ruins in the Riviera Maya are easily accessible.

The cultural richness of the Riviera Maya can be admired directly in the beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum. A little further, there is the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichen Itza, Yucatan’s best-restored Mayan ruins. On the way, you pass Coba, which can be easily combined with a day trip to Chichen Itza or Tulum. Lesser known is Ek Balam, with beautifully preserved Mayan ruins. An especially popular way to visit the interesting Mayan ruins, are with our private excursions. Thus, the main attractions of the Riviera Maya can be combined with a more secluded tour, far away from the crowds.

Riviera Maya Private Excursions: Chichen Itza

Riviera Maya Private excursions: Chichen Itza

Riviera Maya Private excursions: Chichen Itza

The archaeological site of Chichen Itza is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and most visited legacies of the ancient Maya. UNESCO declared Chichen Itza a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and it has been one of the seven new wonders of the world since 2007. If you come to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, a visit of Chichen Itza is a must. The famous pyramid of the Mayan god Kukulkan is “only” 30 meters high, but unsurpassed by its symbolism and architecture. Chichen Itza had its most important time between 600 and 1200 AD, sometimes more than 100,000 Maya lived in the city.

Only about two hours from Playa el Carmen, we go directly from your hotel to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza. You will be impressed by the magic of the place. We start our Chichen Itza tours very early in the morning, so you can enjoy the tranquility of the place before the crowds arrive.

There is a cenote near the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, the fresh water invites for a swim.Our tours to Chichen Itza are completed by a visit to the Mexican colonial city of Valladolid.

Riviera Maya Excursions around Playa del Carmen: The Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Excursions Riviera Maya: Tulum

Riviera Maya Excursions: Tulum

The Mayan ruins of Tulum are located majestically on a rock above the sea. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, a visit to the archaeological sites of Tulum is one of the highligts of vacations in Mexico. The original name of Tulum was Zama, which means “sunrise” in the Maya language. In fact, the sun rises directly out of the ocean. Tulum itself translates as “surrounded by a wall”. There is a city wall on all three sides of Tulum, the sea offers natural protection on the side facing the ocean. Visitors enter the inner area of Tulum through a low entrance in the wall.

Our private tours to Tulum are accompanied by certified tour guides. We take you on a journey through time to the ancient Maya and explain the connection between religion, the everyday life of the Maya and their trade routes. The descending god Kinich Ahau is of particular importance in the archaeological site of Tulum. Various temples illustrate the masterfulness of the Mayan constructions and give an insight into their knowledge and their view of the world. Our excursion to Tulum also includes the visit to a cenote. Enjoy the refreshing clear water of the fresh water holes, which still provide the main water supply for the Maya.

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins Coba

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins of Coba

Private Excursions Riviera Maya: Coba

Some hieroglyphs in the archaeological area of ​​Coba indicate that this is the original name of the city. Translated, Coba means roughly “moving water”. Between 300 and 600 AD, Coba’s development into an important political and economic center that controlled various surrounding villages, began. Coba is particularly famous for its distinctive road network (Zac Beh in the Maya language means white road), the longest road leads to Yaxuná near Chichen Itza, about 80 miles away.

It is still allowed, to climb the 42 meter high pyramid Nohoch Mul. If you are not afraid of heights, enjoy a wonderful views of the neighboring jungle from above. Our private excursions to Coba can be perfectly combined with the famous Chichen Itza or the archaeological site of Tulum. Alternatively, you may combine your private Coba excursion with a cenote or the nearby lagoon Punta Laguna.

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins Ek Balam

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam

Private Excursions Riviera Maya, Yucatan: Ek Balam

The colonial city of Valladolid turns out to be a real gem, close by there are several tourist attractions. The Mayan ruins of Ek Balam are not as well known as Chichen Itza, but no less impressive. The name can be roughly translated as “black Jaguar”. The heyday of Ek Balam developed between 600 – 900 AD. At the very beginning, important buildings such as the Acropolis were constructed, which is undoubtedly the central building of Ek Balam.

The facade covered with bas-reliefs is incredible beautiful. The snake gate, for example, which is framed by teeth at the top and bottom, is one of the highlights remembered by visitors.

Excursions Riviera Maya: The Mayan ruins Chacchoben

Excursions Riviera Maya: Chacchoben

Excursions, Riviera Maya: Chacchoben

The area of ​​Chacchoben was populated by small houses as early as 300 BC. Unfortunately, the original name of the Maya settlement is no longer known, which is why the name of the neighboring village Chacchoben was chosen. It means “place of colored corn”. Under the influence of the Peten Maya from Guatemala, the place grew between 250 – 700 AD and achieved both civil, administrative and religious importance.

Chacchoben was probably repopulated around 1200 AD. The two stelae (stones with Maya inscriptions) that were found there are unfortunately not legible. It is believed that Chacchoben was an important center of a more important religious capital. From a tourist point of view, Chacchoben is particularly interesting for cruise guests with the port of Costa Maya.

Excursions Riviera Maya: The Mayan Ruins of Kohunlich

Riviera Maya Excursions: Kohunlich

Excursions Riviera Maya: Kohunlich

The archaeological site Kohunlich in southeast Mexico is already close to the countries Belize and Guatemala. Built in the style of the Peten Maya from Guatemala, the architecture differs from the northern Maya ruins in Yucatan. Of particular importance in Kohunlich is the Temple of the Masks, in which five stucco masks are still relatively well preserved. There were originally eight masks, in red and black color.

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins Uxmal

Riviera Maya Excursions, Yucatan: Uxmal

Uxmal was once a large and important Mayan city in Mexico. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Uxmal is part of the famous Puuc route, which runs through the hilly landscape near Merida. Particularly impressive is the “Pyramid of the magician”, which is higher than the surrounding jungle and has been rebuilt or expanded again and again. Uxmal had its main period between 600 – 900 AD and is one of the most beautiful Mayan sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. Uxmal is also less visited than Chichen Itza, so that you can enjoy the very well-preserved buildings in peace.

In the so-called Nuns Quadrangle (Cuadrángulo de las Monjas) you can admire beautiful facades, many of which are dedicated to the important Mayan rain god Chaac. While the wizard’s pyramid may no longer be climbed, visitors go up the main pyramid, from which one has an incredible view.

The archaeological site of Uxmal is about 5 hours from Playa del Carmen. From the Riviera Maya, a 2-day trip or a Yucatan tour is the best way to visit Uxmal. We would be happy to make you an offer for a private excursion from Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya. Please write us for a detailed offer.

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Mayan Ruins Dzibilchaltún

Riviera Maya Excursions, Yucatan: Dzibilchaltún

Riviera Maya Excursions, Yucatan: Dzibilchaltún

Just a short drive from Merida are the remarkable Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltún. Translated, Dzibilchaltún roughly means “place with inscriptions on the low stones“. Dzibilchaltún was very long inhabited and is one of the oldest Mayan sites in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Around 830 AD, around 40,000 people lived there. The final structure is the “Temple of the Seven Dolls”. These can be seen in the local museum.

Dzibilchaltún was populated until colonial times. The Christian chapel was partly made of stones from the old buildings that belong there. Right next to the ruins is a natural cenote, a visit is included in the entrance fee. You should plan two days for a trip to Dzibilchaltún from the Riviera Maya. We would be happy to make you an offer for a private two-day excursion from Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya. For more details, please write to us here.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Cenotes

Riviera Maya Excursions: Cenotes

Riviera Maya Excursions: Cenotes

A fairytale world awaits the adventurous spirit of its visitors. The Riviera Maya in Mexico is home to the world’s largest system of subterranean rivers, caves and waterholes. These water holes are also called cenotes and are sacred to the Maya because they are the entrances to the Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. In addition, they still provide the largest supply of drinking water in the area. There are hundreds of cenotes around the Riviera Maya. As part of our private excursions, we stop at one or more beautiful cenotes, where you can bathe and swim in their cool, refreshing water.

Further information about the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula is available here.

A visit to a cenote should definitely be planned in during your Riviera Maya vacation.

Riviera Maya Excursions: The Islands

Magical places around Playa del Carmen invite to be discovered. Direct contact with nature and the wonderful culture of this region can be found on the tropical islands off the coast of the Riviera Maya. Life is a little more relaxed there and the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots can be quickly forgotten. With Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Holbox and Contoi there are numerous opportunities to discover the islands of the Riviera Maya in Mexico.

Riviera Maya Ausflüge ab Playa del Carmen: Cozumel

Riviera Maya Excursions: Isla Cozumel

Playa del Carmen tours, Riviera Maya: Cozumel

The third largest island of Mexico, Cozumel, is just 12 miles away from Playa del Carmen. The flat island is only 15% inhabited, the rest consists of untouched nature, beaches and jungle. Numerous Cozumel attractions invite you to a day trip. The most important things to do on Cozumel include the pretty town of San Miguel de Cozumel, the famous coral reefs of Cozumel, fantastic beaches and national parks. Recommendations for excursions on Cozumel can be found on our special pages. You can find out more about getting to Cozumel by ferry here.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Isla Mujeres

Excursions Riviera Maya: Isla Mujeres

Excursions Riviera Maya: Isla Mujeres

The picturesque island of the woman (Spanish: Isla Mujeres) is just a stone’s throw from Cancun. It is a small, tourist island with many bars, restaurants, shops and beaches.

Visitors can choose between snorkeling in the turquoise blue, discovering a little Mayan ruin, or go around the island with a golf cart.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Holbox

Excursions Riviera Maya: Holbox

Excursions Riviera Maya: Holbox

Located in the far north of the Yucatan Peninsula, Holbox shines like a jewel in the sea. The island consists only of sand and is just 2 kilometers wide, with a length of 42 kilometers. Holbox Island is particularly popular in summer when whale sharks search for food in the water which is rich in plankton. Then many local providers offer snorkeling with whale sharks – an unforgettable experience.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Contoi

Excursions Riviera Maya: Contoi

Excursions Riviera Maya: Contoi

The small island of Contoi belongs to the administrative district of Isla Mujeres. It is less than 9 kilometers long and about 500 meters wide. The entire island has been protected as a national park since 1998 and is also called the Island of Birds (Spanish: Isla de los pajaros).

The second largest coral reef in the world, to which the Cozumel Reef belongs, begins at the island of Contoi and goes down about 1000 kilometers to the island of Roatan in Honduras.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Colonial Cities of the Yucatan Peninsula
Colonial cities in Mexico are often labeled “pueblos magicos” – magical villages. This award is given by the Mexican Tourism Office to places that are particularly interesting for tourism.

Excursions from the Riviera Maya: Valladolid

Excursions from the Riviera Maya: Valladolid

Excursions Riviera Maya: Valladolid

The small town of Valladolid with pretty, colonial buildings has around 50,000 inhabitants. Located in the east of the state of Yucatan, Valladolid is an excellent starting point for discoveries. Numerous cenotes and Mayan ruins are nearby and the city itself invites you to take a walk in the city center.

We visit Valladoid on our excursions to Chichen Itza or on our individual two-day tours. Please contact us for a detailed offer.

Excursions Riviera Maya: Merida

Excursions Riviera Maya: Merida

Excursions Riviera Maya: Merida

The vibrant city of Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan and has about 800,000 inhabitants. Even before the arrival of the Spaniards, Merida was inhabited by Maya under the name Ti’ho ’. In 1542 the city was renamed to Merida by the Spaniards. Unfortunately, the ancient Mayan buildings were used as quarries for the new Spanish city, so that nothing of the original city is preserved today.

Important buildings in Merida are the Plaza de la Independencia and the adjacent cathedral. However, the whole city center is worth a visit and on Sundays the city center turns into a huge street festival. Merida is an excellent starting point for tours to the surrounding Mayan land. We are happy to organize two or three days excursions and connect Merida with the surrounding attractions. For a detailed offer, please write us here.

Riviera Maya Excursions: Playa del Carmen

Riviera Maya Excursions: Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen excursions Riviera Maya

The tourist city of Playa del Carmen is located in the middle of the Riviera Maya. It is a little quieter than northern Cancun and livelier than southern Tulum. Playa del Carmen is the city with the highest population growth in Mexico and has approximately 220,000 inhabitants. In 1970, Playa del Carmen was still a fishing village with around 200 people. Tourism as the main source of income has led to rapid development, and it is constantly being extended.

Playa del Carmen is an excellent starting point for tours to the Riviera Maya. Important attractions are not far away and can be easily combined. Beautiful hotels and beaches invite you to a relaxing beach holiday and do day trips from Playa del Carmen to the attractions of the Riviera Maya.

The famous 5ta Avenida stretches for miles parallel to the sea and offers all kinds of shops, restaurants and bars. A little bit further from the city center visitors eat cheaper and more authentic.

While the city beach in Playa del Carmen no longer carries much sand, the beaches towards Playa Car are a dream. Many high-class hotels promise a relaxing holiday there. Viva Wyndham AztekaRiu Palace Riviera Maya or Palladium Kantenah are particularly beautiful hotels.

Playa del Carmen is a perfect starting point for excursions into the Yucatan peninsula.

Getting around the Riviera Maya: Transportation

There are various transport options around Playa del Carmen. Some are cheaper and take longer. Others are a little  bit more expensive, but you move faster. Below, we show you how to get around the Riviera Maya.


Collectivos are the easiest and cheapest way to get around the Riviera Maya. Collectivos are shared taxis the size of a minivan, which depart from various collection points to defined destinations. As soon as a collectivo is full, the journey begins. If you want to get out on the way, just let the driver know. The payment depends on the distance. The trip from Playa del Carmen to Tulum costs around 45 pesos for one person.

The central collection point in Playa del Carmen for Collectivos is on Calle 2 (2nd street) between Avenida 20 and 25. Tell the responsible employees where you want to go. You will be taken to the right vehicle. As soon as it is full, the journey starts. It is important to have small change with you (20 pesos and 50 pesos notes). Larger notes can often not be changed.


Taxis are everywhere in Playa del Carmen. If you are looking for a taxi, just wave as soon as one is nearby. When the taxi is free, it stops. Before getting in, it’s recomended to ask about the price. The taxi prices in Playa del Carmen are based on zones. If you take a taxi at a collection point, you pay more. Anyone walking one or two streets from the collection point pays the normal price of the street.

For larger distances such as from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, taxis are significantly more expensive than collectivos. For this route you pay around 130 dollars for 4 people, round trip.

Rental car

There are numerous websites where you can book cheap rental cars. Good portals include RentCars or RentalsCars. Through these portals it is usually cheaper to book from home.

ADO bus

The transport company ADO connects major Mexican cities. You can get eg. to Tulum from Playa del Carmen with the ADO. The prices are slightly above the collectivo and you cannot get out on the way. But you travel a little more comfortably. Beware: The air conditioning system may be set very freezing. Bring your jacket!!


Excursions are the most convenient way to get to know the Riviera Maya. All our excursions are handpicked and perfectly adapted to the needs of our clients. Sit back and let us organize your tours for you.


  • The Riviera Maya around Playa del Carmen is a popular holiday destination.
  • Playa del Carmen is an ideal starting point for tours to the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan peninsula.
  • Visiting a Mayan ruin is a cultural highlight during your Mexican vacation
  • Cenotes are fresh water holes: In some of them you can swim.
  • The Mexican colonial cities are also worth a visit. Here you can experience typical Mexican life.
  • Leon Tours offers private excursions around Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Please contact us here

More about Riviera Maya and Mexico


Riviera Maya has warm temperatures all year round. The best travel time is between November and April, because in summer it can get very hot and humid. Peak season at the Riviera Maya is during Christmas and Easter vacation. Flight and hotel prices are significantly higher in these periods. In the months of December to February is wintertime with beatiful weather most of the time. When the wind turns and blows from the north, it can get fresh at night. Therefore, you should bring a jacket.

During the months of March and April is our dry season. The humidity is not too high and it is pleasantly warm. From May, the temperatures rise to 30 – 35 degrees Celsius (86-95 Farenheit), and it can be very humid. It rains every now and then, but usually not more than an hour. The summer months are perfect for beach vacations.


For Mexico you do not need a visa, but the passport should be valid for 6 months after arrival to the country. On the plane, the Tourist Card FMM is issued with a validity of 180 days. Together with the tourist card, you will receive a form indicating whether you plan to import food or plant or animal products into Mexico. Also, more than $ 10,000 USD in cash must be declared. These forms can be filled out on the plane. Therefore, it is advisable to pack a pen in your hand luggage.

Both forms must be handed in upon entry. The tourist card is required by the  immigration officer. The lower section is stamped. This remains as a copy in the passport. Do not lose it, otherwise you will have to pay a fine of 500 pesos (~25 USD).

After going through immigration, the luggage can be picked up. Before leaving the airport, suitcases are x-rayed. There you will have to hand in the paper indicating what is being imported. Occasional random checks verify that all information is correct.


Mexico has no vaccination requirements. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take a look at the vaccination certificate before traveling. The tetanus and polio protection should be checked, and for stays in more remote areas, the timeliness of the typhoid and hepatitis vaccines. Malaria is not common on the east coast of Mexico, but cases of dengue or Zika can occur, albeit very rarely. Therefore, a mosquito repellent and long, light clothes for the evening are recommendable. Mosquito repellent can also be bought everywhere on Cozumel.

You should not drink tap water in Mexico as it is only suitable for showering and washing. Bottled water in bottles or from a canister (20-liter container) is suitable for drinking. Ice cubes are made from drinking water. Medicines can be bought in pharmacies without a prescription and are cheaper than in Europe or E.U.


The official currency is the Mexican pesos. In the tourist areas of Cancun, around Playa del Carmen and also on Cozumel, there are currency exchanges everywhere that exchange dollars into pesos. The dollar is also widely accepted. In the big supermarkets you get a very good exchange rate when you pay with dollars. In the tourist souvenir shops, bars and in taxis, the exchange rate is very low. There you might want to pay with pesos.

Also, pesos can be easily withdrawn with all major bank cards at the ATM. For security reasons, use ATMs in large supermarkets, or in banks.

If you are on a cruise, you just need dollars. There is no need to get mexican pesos.



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