Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Cancun, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or Playa Mujeres? I've got you covered.
These are all areas people generally lump together as "Cancun" since that is the main airport.
Here's what you need to know about each:
Cancun - The "Hotel Zone" is a 14 mile strip of high rise hotels with shops, clubs, and restaurants less than 15 minutes from the Cancun airport. The beaches are nice and you have a lot of variety of all-inclusive resorts. The resorts are compact and you can easily walk around to explore the area.
Playa Mujeres is an exclusive area north of Cancun where all-inclusive resorts are beginning to develop. One of the main attractions is that the beaches are sheltered by the currents around Isla Mujeres so they experience less seaweed than other beaches. Playa Mujeres is a 30 - 45 minute ride from the Cancun airport.
Riviera Maya - This is a general term for the 88 mile stretch that begins at Puerto Moreles and stretches south to Punta Allen. The big difference between the resorts in Cancun and the resorts in Riviera Maya is that the Riviera Maya resorts tend to be more spread out with low rise buildings versus the high rise buildings in Cancun.
Within Riviera Maya, different cities have different personalities:
- Puerto Morelos is sometimes referred to as a fishing village because of its great access to water activities. The Marine Natural Park here has great tropical fish and coral. Puerto Morelos is about a 30 minute ride from the Cancun airport.
- Playa Del Carmen is a charming town. Fifth Avenue is a main pedestrian walkway offering nightlife, dining and shopping. This is one of the few areas in the Caribbean where you can stay at an all-inclusive resort on the beach and then walk into a town. Playa del Carmen is about a 45 minute - 1 hour ride from the Cancun airport.
- Tulum is a beautiful area close to some of the major Maya Ruins in Mexico. Tulum is an hour and a half ride from the Cancun airport.
Depending how long you are staying in Mexico, the type of excursions you want to experience and how important the beach is to your stay, we can narrow to the right fit for you.
For short trips, I recommend the Cancun Hotel Zone since you don't want to lose a lot of time for the transfer.
If you love history - I recommend heading all the way down to Tulum so you'll have easy access to the ruins.
Looking for that mix of a resort experience and exploring a town, I recommend staying near Playa del Carmen.
Are you considering a Cancun area vacation? Planning a birthday trip in 2017 and want to see if this area is right for your friends and family? Have questions about the different areas? Click here to set up a free 20 minute chat with me.