The Riviera Maya is also known as the Mayan Riviera. It is part of the Mexican Caribbean coast following Highway 307 which parallels the Caribbean coastline of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo. The Riviera Maya begins with the city of Playa del Carmen which is at the heart of the Riviera Maya and includes the villages of Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Chemuyil before it ends at the town of Tulum. The town of Puerto Morelos situated 30 kilometers to the north of Playa del Carmen is currently being promoted as part of the Riviera Maya tourist corridor as well.
The Riviera Maya was originally called the Cancun – Tulum corridor, but in 1999 it was renamed as the Riviera Maya. The municipality of Solidaridad includes the whole of the official Riviera Maya from Playa del Carmen in the north and south to Puerto Aventuras and extending to some 60 km inland with the border with the state of Yucatan. The new municipality of Tulum stretches from Chemuyil down to Tulum and inland to Coba.
The Riviera Maya does include a large number of all inclusive resorts and a historical tourism base of smaller hotels along the highway 307 and on or near the beaches. A major attraction throughout the Riviera Maya are coastal and reef aquatic activities dependent on the coastal water and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (also known as the Belize Barrier Reef) which begins near Cancun and continues along the whole length of the Riviera Maya continuing southward to Guatemala and Honduras. This barrier reef system is the second longest in the world.
Activities at the most visited locations include snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming in Cenotes or the ocean. Hors back riding and zip line activities are popular as well as well as guided jungle tours. The Mayan ruins also a big tourist draw in the area, including the popular archeological sites operated by the Instituto Nacional de Archeological such as Tulum on the coast, and Chichin Itza 200 kilometers inland and Coba located some 45 kilometers inland. The self-named ecoparks of Xcaret, and Xel Ha also include some smaller archeological ruins as part of their attractions.
The average annual temperature is a balmy 24-25°C (77–79°F). The climate is dominated by a rainy season from June through November, and within the dry season there is a period dominated by northerly winds, called El Norte, which usually occurs in the months of December till February. The driest month are January till May, the warmest month are May till September, the wettest month are October and November.
While the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan experiences a large number of tropical storms and hurricanes, the storm tracks and therefore landfalls of these are divergent to both the north (Cancun) and the south (south of Tulum and down to Belize) striking generally outside the Riviera Maya. Groundwater and therefore cenote water temperatures are 25°C (77°F) year round. Coastal waters range from 26°C (79°F) in January to 29°C (84°F) in August. Hurricane season is from mid June to mid November.