The stretch of coastline that goes through Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Puerto Morales, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum makes up one of the most popular resort areas in the world. Even in tourist–heaven Mexico, the beaches of Cancun and the Riviera Maya stand out above all others, bringing in a huge percentage of the country's foreign tourists each year. Love it or hate it, this is where you find the most flight options and the biggest concentration of luxury resorts. For a honeymoon, destination wedding, romantic getaway, or multi–generation family vacation, the Caribbean coast of Mexico is hard to beat for the wealth of excellent luxury resort choices.
Cancun's popularity is both a blessing and a curse. There are plenty of terrific values, but it can be hard to separate the quality from the hype. The vast majority of hotels here operate from the same playbook and are better at appealing to the masses for a good price than they are at creating a special experience that will please luxury travelers. Most of the millions here on vacation or holiday come to the Riviera Maya for bountiful sun, fun, food, and booze, not for attentive service. To avoid the routine vacation factories and end up at one of the true standout luxury resorts instead, peruse our first–person, detailed reviews from travel writers who know the Cancun and Riviera Maya hotel scene inside and out.
For a true laid–back beach getaway, head to Holbox Island, two hours away from Cancun (or a short charter plane ride). Transportation is by golf cart and the town feels more like a fishing village than a resort zone. This is also the best place to see whale sharks from June through September.
Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos
The Beloved — Playa Mujeres
Grand Residences Riviera Cancun — Puerto Morelos
Live Aqua Cancun
Le Blanc Spa Resort
Nizuc Resort & Spa
Secrets The Vine
Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres — Isla Mujeres
Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Resort — Puerto Morelos
Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya
Lat 20 Live Aqua (formerly Cacao Hotel)
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Blue Diamond Resort & Spa
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya
Hacienda Tres Rios
Maroma Resort & Spa
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel
Royal Hideaway Playacar
The Viceroy Riviera Maya