What To Do And Where To Stay In Quintana Roo, Mexico

Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is perhaps best known for its popular holiday resort destination Cancun. 

For us poor souls in rainy Ireland (only joking… kinda!), the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters will have you longing for a Mexican holiday before long.

Guide To Riviera Maya Quintana Roo Mexico

We’ve visited the Riviera Maya in Mexico twice now, and will no doubt return again before long. I highly recommend you go all-inclusive to experience a week or two of true bliss! Not having to carry your wallet around and working out your spending at all is a wonderful luxury!

The Quintana Roo area of Mexico is the perfect sun-destination for holiday seekers from around the world. With (often cheap) flights to Cancun from most main centers, it is an easily accessible tropical destination.

And, with a vast array of stunning luxury (but still affordable!) hotels all along the Riviera Maya coast, from Cancun to Puerto Morelos, and down to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this is a beach lover’s paradise!

Riviera Maya Quintana Roo Mexico beach TUI holidays

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How To Get To Quintana Roo, Mexico

Depending on where you are coming from, Cancun is reasonably easy to get to. 

For many, it will be a direct flight! I always use Skyscanner to check for the cheapest flight options.

Once you arrive, it is a short drive from Cancun airport to your hotel on the Riviera Maya. I prefer using Hoppa for my transfers! It’s easy to book and you can select private or shared transfers, depending on your budget!

Quintana Roo Mexico Beach by Now Jade Resort Puerto Morelos


Where To Stay On The Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

While there is lots to see throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, my bet is that you wouldn’t be coming to this part of Mexico if you weren’t looking for an amazing hotel with a beautiful beach. So, I am going to stick to what I know – the Riviera Maya.

There are both family-friendly and adults-only hotels to best suit your needs. Often, the family-friendly ones will have a “Privilege” area for an extra touch of luxury and a quieter space to relax away from the crowds (charges are likely to apply)


Try: Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun 

I can personally recommend Now Resorts & Spas in Puerto Morelos. This is definitely a quieter spot than Cancun if you prefer to be away from the crowds.

Now Sapphire was our first experience of All-Inclusive in Mexico and boy, did it deliver! It’s located right on the beach but also has 4 (!!) swimming pools, and of course plenty of food and drinks choices in the seven restaurants, cafe, five bars and lounges, and 24 hour room service!

Pro Tip: Book a Preferred Club room for even more luxury, including a dedicated lounge as well as a Preferred Club adults-only pool

Beachfront Preferred Club room at Now Sapphire Riviera
Our direct beach access Preferred Club room at Now Sapphire Riviera
Main pool at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun
Main pool at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun


Try: Moon Palace 

If a bit of action is more your scene, the Palace resorts in Cancun might be more to your taste. Only children 17 and older are allowed, so this is definitely more an adults-only resort.

With 15 restaurants, 12 bars and 2 lagoon-style outdoor pools, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Moon Palace. And, as if that wasn’t enough, there is a double whirlpool tub in every room!

Moon Palace Cancun Mexico Swimming Pool

Moon Palace Cancun Hotel Room Quintana Roo Mexico


Best Of the Yucatan Peninsula

While the beaches and the sunshine are a big draw for visiting the Riviera Maya, there is so much more to do throughout the Yucatan Peninsula!

Visit Chichen Itza

There are many beautiful Mayan pyramids around the Yucatan Peninsula, and if you’re staying along the Riviera Maya, you won’t have to go too far to visit these spectacular ancient structures.

Of all the Mayan sites, Chichen Itza is probably the best-known, primarily for the El Castillo pyramid. Not only is it a UNESCO world heritage site, but it is also one of the new seven wonders of the world.

In any case, Chichen Itza should absolutely make it onto your to-visit list if you are headed to the Yucatan Peninsula. The easiest way to visit Chichen Itza is on a tour, which you could either book in advance online, or via your hotel.

These archaeological Maya ruins are simply breathtaking! And although popular, the sheer size of the site means it never really feels too crowded.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to wander around the grounds, as there is a lot more to Chichen Itza than the El Castillo pyramid alone.

Joannda at Chichen Itza El Castillo pyramid


Swimming In Cenotes

These underground fresh-water caves are a spectacular sight to behold! There are plenty of them around the Yucatan Peninsula so take your pick.

These natural swimming holes are filled with the clearest water you’ve ever seen from underground rivers, and are formed when the ceiling of a cave collapses under water.

When you need a bit of a break from the direct heat of lying on the beach, Cenotes are the perfect way to cool off on Mexico’s many hot days. And, if you’re a PADI diver, you can even explore some of these underwater caves in more detail!

Swimming in Cenote near Chichen Itza Yucatan Peninsula


Visit Valladolid

If you’re looking for a bit of culture and a day away from the picture perfect beach at your hotel, why not take a day trip to the colonial city of Valladolid?

It has a real Spanish feel, with a lovely central plaza where you can buy handmade crafts from local street vendors.

Definitely make sure you sample some of the delicious Yucatan food like Cochinita (slow-roast pork) while you’re here!

Valladolid colonial city church with colourful bunting



Now, this one might seem obvious, but do make sure you give yourself plenty of time to just relax and enjoy all the facilities at your hotel!

No matter which hotel you choose in the Quintana Roo area, you’ll have your pick of places to lounge – either by the side of one of the numerous pools or along the beautiful white sand beach.

Turquoise water at Riviera Maya beach in Quintana Roo Mexico - a TUI Holidays destination


And So Much More…

There are endless activities to keep you occupied during your holiday to Riviera Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Enjoy diving or snorkelling in the pristine turquoise waters. Take a boat over to Isla Mujeres and cruise around on a golf cart. Go shopping or partying in Cancun, or try your luck at one of the spectacular casinos there! Visit incredible sites like Las Coloradas pink lakes or go and see the Flamingoes in Celestun.

Your hotel will be able to help you with recommending tours and even book them for you a the concierge desk. Having said that, each hotel offers such a range of fun activities that you might not even want to leave at all! 

So, what are you waiting for? Get booking! Mexico is waiting!


what to do and where to stay in quintana roo mexico


16 thoughts on “What To Do And Where To Stay In Quintana Roo, Mexico”

  1. Oh my gosh, your pictures are GORGEOUS. The New England girl in me craves that blue water and white sand just like the Irish weather gal in you does too. Living in FL, we still don’t see such pretty beaches. I want beaches like THIS.

    I’ve only been to Mexico once, but I don’t really consider it to be a ‘real’ experience. I was dating a guy whose family needed to use their timeshare in Cabo. I am not a timeshare girl, but I had no idea what that was back in my 20’s. It was more resort and secluded….and not Mexican culture. Don’t get me wrong, though….I do love gorgeous accommodations like the ones in your post. We did, eventually, rent a car and drive around, which allowed us to see actual Mexican towns. The water and whales off the coast were the best.

    I love checking out the ruins too. I’ve seen quite a few in Central America, but have heard Mexico’s are pretty neat!! Thanks for these tips. I will be sure to remember this post when I head back to Mexico for some exploring.

    • The beaches can be absolutely incredible!! Although, at times there is quite a lot of seaweed that the resorts use tractors to remove early in the morning! Haha…
      Ah yes, there’s a lot of timeshare in Mexico! I’d warn off anyone who is approached to purchase timeshare as it just really isn’t a financially sound decision for most of us these days. But, most of those resorts also rent out rooms like ‘regular’ hotels so you can still go and stay in the same place 🙂
      The beautiful resorts are a great way to just sit back and relax and really recharge for a while. But, I do agree that it’s great to get out and about and see some of the “real” country as well. The resorts don’t always allow for that. Even taking a tour helps get a sense of what the country is like beyond the tourist areas.

  2. This looks like heaven! I have not yet been to Mexico, but with the long winters we have…it the perfect spot to go to! I love the sounds of not having to worry about how much you’re spending too. All inclusive would be so nice!

  3. I have to say that Mexico has never really been at the top of my list but now I can’t say why! I suppose I was worried that there isn’t much to do but I’m very obviously wrong! It looks amazing! Love that you give information on how to book/who with etc! It’s pretty helpful!

    • Thanks Georgia! I’m so glad you found it helpful 😊 There is so much history, we found it a perfect blend of culture and beach / lazing by the pool with a cocktail 🍸

    • Mexico is definitely a popular honeymoon destination but it is surprisingly affordable as a ‘regular’ get-away too! It’s a great mix of tropical beaches, history and culture! Something for everyone 🙂

  4. This is one of my favorite parts of Mexico and we’ve been there twice as well. All short stops with a cruise but I absolutely love it there. I am always mesmerized by the water. So beautiful!

    • The water definitely is stunning! Going by cruise would be a great perspective too. Hope you got to see a bit of the area despite the short stops!

  5. This brings back so many amazing memories of my honeymoon nearly two years ago. We booked with TUI, and they were fantastic, we stayed at the Ocean Maya Hotel just north of Playa Del Carmen and flew premium which was sooooo worth the extra money (if you can spare the cash I highly recommend doing this) . We will definitely be going back one day!

    • Ahhh!! What an amazing honeymoon destination!! I’m so glad you had a fantastic experience with TUI – thanks for sharing!

  6. Sun palace looks stunning! I haven’t thought about visiting Mexico before but after reading this I will be sure to check it out for my future holidays – thanks for sharing a great post

    • Yes! That in-room jacuzzi really is something! Mexico is fabulous – compared to what we are used to in Europe, the standard of the hotels and service is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Definitely go if you can!!


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