We love the popular cities and beaches in the Riviera Maya. There are few places in the world like Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue, Akumal’s beautiful Caribbean bays, Tulum’s foodie scene and glorious white sandy beaches.
But for the adventurer who loves unknown places, obscure landmarks, and less traveled destinations, there are still some off the grid, less popular areas in the Riviera Maya worth exploring. Nice part is, you still get the iconic paradise vacation everyone loves.
Playa Secreto literally means The Secret beach. This was one of the first communities created south of Cancun as the eastern coast of Mexico was started to be developed. Located on a glorious stretch of beach you will find luxury large scale villas at a reasonable price. This is a community, not a city, so peace and quiet along the Mexican Caribbean is what keeps this place a secret.
What makes this beautiful area the iconic beach vacation is the lack of a city, which may or may not be your preference. We love it, and happily travel to the nearest city (either Puerto Morelos just 15 minutes away or Playa del Carmen just 20 minutes away) for groceries and a night out.
This location is all about sea breezes, sunrises, walks on the beach, and afternoon siestas. You will see few other people, and experience this area in its original and beautifully natural state. The luxurious villas make you feel pampered, taken care of, and living that dream vacation.
This is not a beach vacation but it is a lakeside vacation that has so much to offer. You will uncover this area’s intriguing history of pirates and the Caste War. You will be sitting lakeside on a body of fresh water that is 42km long and 2 kms wide, making it Mexico’s second largest lake.
Kayaking, snorkeling, canoeing and paddle boarding are favored activities of this area. Local Mayan archeological sites that are less crowded but fill in some critical pieces of Mayan history are close by. Though not the beach paradise you may be dreaming of, it is none the less, a paradise in its own right.
This Gulf of Mexico paradise is a still a very sleepy fishing village just a couple of hours from the Cancun airport. It is known for birding, fishing and of all things, kite boarding. Cool thing is all three niche sport enthusiasts, birders, kite boarders, and fisherman love sharing their evenings together. Who would have thunk?
Bring your binoculars for the 330 + species of birds that call this area home. Flamingos are the main attraction, but serious birders will love the aquatic bird species found through the biosphere. This destination is an extremely important wetland reserve that is easy to navigate and even easier to find species from your life time bird list.
If you love to fish, both Rio Lagaratos, El Cuyo and San Felipe are great destinations for fishing. Like birders, sport fishing enthusiasts love this area. Guides are local fisherman who are from a long line of fishermen in their family. They are truly the experts and can make you an expert while you fish alongside them.
If you are a kite boarder, then get your board to Rio Lagaratos, El Cuyo and the Gulf Coast for some of the best kite boarding found in the area. The winds run parallel to the coast making this a highly sought after destination for this sport.
Paradise can mean so many things to so many people. The popular cities of the Riviera Maya do provide the iconic beach paradise so many of us want and need. Local off the grid locations provide some great classic paradise vacations that are hard to find in other countries. Pick your paradise and I would bet you could find it here in the Riviera Maya.