Riviera Maya has the world's second largest barrier reef and is one of the world's most popular locations for scuba diving and snorkelling. It's not all about the coral reef though, as you can also cave dive here or swim through cenotes – hidden passageways that lead to underground rivers. A cenote is formed when the limestone roof of a cavern collapses which then creates a sinkhole that fills with pure, translucent water. In freshwater cenotes the water is a little cooler so it's refreshing on a hot day.
The huge Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, off Riviera Maya's shore, contains over 500 species of fish and over 100 types of coral. They include spadefish, eagle rays, lobsters, angelfish, parrotfish, moray eels, trumpet fish and more.
You may even come across rarer species of sea life such as lemon sharks, nurse sharks, and manatees. Aside from the sea creatures, the vibrant colours of the natural reef itself are simply enchanting.
A popular destination for visitors exploring the wonders of Riviera Maya is Cozumel Island. Due to the island's enormity, it is far from overcrowded and makes a great choice of location for travellers seeking last minute deals to Mexico. Book a private 4x4 tour to take you around the island and get beautiful scenic views of the Caribbean coast.
The spectacular coral reefs are only a short distance from shore, making them a fantastic place for snorkelling and diving. The El Cielo Cozumel is a section of shallow translucent blue water which is only accessible by boat and is also known as 'heaven'. Here you can feel the powdery white sand between your toes as you paddle through the warm shallow water.
South of Playa del Carmen lies Tulum, home to the preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. The historic city of Tulum was built during the 13th century and is the only Mayan city that was built on the coast.
You can clamber up the steeps steps of the castle which resides on the cliff top just above a stunning white sand beach. Be sure to visit the Temple of Frescoes which is the most preserved building on the historic site. A fascinating mural painted by the ancient Mayan community confronts you as you take your first step into the extraordinary chamber.
Exploring the remarkable Mayan city can be tiring work, so take advantage of the ruins' ideal location and cool off from the sweltering heat by plunging into the translucent water of the Caribbean Sea. With cheap trips to Mexico available all year round, just don't forget to pack your swimsuit.