A perfect blend of Mexican culture, Mayan history, and Caribbean landscapes, the Mayan Riviera is easily one of my favorite vacation destinations. But with an approximate 120 kilometers (74 miles) of coastline stretching from Cancun to Tulum, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing where to rent a beachfront Riviera Maya villa. So, let’s take a deeper dive into the region and talk about some of the different towns and neighborhoods to choose from in your quest for the perfect Mexico villa vacation.
Staying in Playa del Carmen
Once known as the more low-key alternative to Cancun, Playa del Carmen has developed and evolved into its own trendy destination, thanks in part to the popularity of its Fifth Avenue and all the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife it offers. And while Playa del Carmen itself can definitely be bustling, the nearby gated community of Playacar, where many of our villas are located, offers a welcome respite while still being close to all the action.
Pros of Staying in Playa del Carmen
- Great nightlife
- Lots of restaurants
- Easy access to excursions
Cons of Staying in Playa del Carmen
- Less exotic
- More developed
- Less untouched nature
- Can be a bit party-heavy
Couples, friend groups, nightlife lovers
Playa del Carmen Villa Pick
7 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms
Set within Playacar, Villa Kin Ich, named after the Mayan sun god, is a bespoke, beachfront piece of paradise with a unique, modernist construction. Equally as outstanding is its full staff, including its private chef, who will curate the perfect villa vacation for you.
Staying in Tulum
While Tulum’s also increased in popularity as of late, it still offers a unique cultural experience. The vibe is definitely more relaxed and health-focused compared to some of the more party-heavy areas of the Mayan Riviera, and its oceanside ruins remain one of the most stunning sites in the region. Within Tulum, you’ll also find Sian Ka’an, a protected nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to some beautiful, eco-friendly villas.
Pros of Staying in Tulum
- Nearby to unique ruins
- A healthy, Zen-like vibe
- Unspoiled nature
Cons of Staying in Tulum
- Less shopping
- Less nightlife
- Less services
- Further from some popular excursions
Nature lovers, history buffs, yogis.
Tulum Villa Pick
6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
Set on Tulum’s famous Playa Paraiso, Hacienda Paraiso is an elevated take on the classic Mexican beach house with a location that is second to none. Just steps from clear turquoise water and soft white sand, it makes a great choice for families, as well as for a destination wedding.
Staying in Puerto Aventuras
The second-largest community after Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras has earned a reputation for being a safe, laid-back, gated community that’s great for families. It’s also known for its two beautiful marinas and its proximity to the cenote adventures.
Pros of Staying in Puerto Aventura
- Very safe
- Easy access to marinas
- Golfing nearby
- Very family-friendly
Cons of Staying in Puerto Aventura
- Less nightlife
- Less culture
- Less history
- More commercialized
Multi-generational groups, golf lovers
Puerto Aventuras Villa Pick
14 bedrooms, 15.5 bathrooms
With its yellow accents, Corinthian columns, and arcading logia, Hacienda Magica is a beachfront masterpiece that’s perfect for larger groups. Play a round on the tennis court, go out on a sea kayak, or just relax and enjoy lunch brought to you by the staff around the lap pool – this really is villa magic.
Staying in Soliman Bay
Nestled between Akumal and Tulum, Soliman Bay is known for its stunning natural beauty. Think low crowds, no high-rises or all-inclusive resorts, and lots of protected reef – for many, Soliman Bay is the Mayan Riviera’s best-kept secret.
Pros of Staying in Soliman Bay
- Unspoiled natural beauty
- Protected reefs
- Eco-friendly practices
- Secluded and peaceful
Cons of Staying in Soliman Bay
- Limited amenities
- Limited nightlife
- Limited dining options
- Less access to services
Eco-tourists, privacy seekers
Soliman Bay Villa Pick
5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
$2,900-$6,000 per night
Emerging from a sea of palm trees like an oasis of elegance, Casa Priakos perfectly captures what’s best about Soliman Bay. Exquisitely private and featuring Moorish architecture, rich materials, and distinctive accents both inside and out, Casa Priakos lets you enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this hidden bay in absolute comfort, style, and seclusion.
Staying in Akumal
Akumal means “place of the turtle,” and as the name implies it’s a great spot to snorkel. As a result, Akumal has a long-standing tourist infrastructure, which is the source of many of its advantages and disadvantages. It’s also an ex-pat hotspot, so you’ll find plenty of Americans and Europeans (though less Mexican culture).
Pros of Staying in Akumal
- Snorkeling with turtles
- Beautiful lagoon
- Lots of ex-pats
- Lots of tourist-centered services
Cons of Staying in Akumal
- Less authentic Mexican culture
- Can have more crowds in peak season
- Not as eco-friendly as other destinations
Families traveling with children
Akumal Villa Pick
9 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms
Located atop a fossilized coral dune, Esprit del Mar features both dramatic views and its own strip of private rock-bound beach, and it’s just 200 yards from the white sand Oasis Beach. Along with its architectural details, its 3,000-square-foot roof terrace, and its rich, elaborate décor, this Riviera Maya villa evokes the best of this beautiful coastline. It also features an adventurers’ room with two sets of bunk beds and an outdoor sleeping bed that the kids will love.
Which Place to Stay in the Mayan Riviera is Right for You?
As you can see, the Mayan Riviera is rich with diversity when it comes to places to stay, and each location has its own distinct charm. Here’s a rundown of what we covered:
- For Families: Puerto Aventuras
- For Couples: Playa del Carmen
- For Privacy: Soliman Bay
- For Snorkeling: Akumal
- For Culture: Tulum
Choosing the Best Riviera Maya Villa for You
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the Mayan Riviera’s top places to stay, and which one might be better for you. If you’re still not sure where to stay or if you want to see some beautiful, beachfront Riviera Maya villa rental options, contact Rental Escapes and one of our villa specialists will be happy to present you with the best options for your group!