Vacation Smackdown: Cancun vs Riviera Maya

Mexico
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Updated: Sep 11th, 2018

You’ve wisely chosen all inclusive, and the destination is Mexico. Good decision! But which area will suit you best? Will it be Cancun, or Riviera Maya? Let’s take a look at the two, and help you decide.

Final destination

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Two popular resort destinations, both perfect vacation choices for different reasons. What are those reasons? Are there benefits for one over the other? The good news is, there’s loads of choice in all inclusive resorts between the two. It’s simply a case of what makes your vacation tick. Do you like lots of people around, great nightlife and plenty of shopping opportunities, or the quieter, more laid-back vacation lifestyle? The qualities that make a vacation perfect for you will be the tipping point. Let’s start with Riviera Maya, and somewhere to stay, then explore the possibilities and positive reasons to book  your next vacation there.

A place to stay in Riviera Maya

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There’s a huge choice of all inclusive resorts. Looking for somewhere adults only an romantic? We’ve been busy Tweeting about this one, due to open in March. The Unico 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya is certainly set to be a unique all inclusive, adults only vacation spot, determined to bust all the false myths about all inclusive. So, what’s in a name – what’s unique, specifically?

“We’re putting an emphasis on cultural exploration and love of the arts through both on-property and off-property experiences,” says Frank Madura, vice president of marketing for the hotel’s parent group. “And we’re including select spa treatments, golf, and tours in the guest’s stay—departing from the traditional and preconceived notions of an all-inclusive.”

Why Riviera Maya?

Mayan Ruins
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So, why choose this Riviera Maya resort, or any all inclusive resort here, over one in Cancun? Well, it’s generally conceived that Riviera Maya has these days developed into one of the very best resorts in Mexico. It’s convenient too, you’ll have the choice of staying in a well equipped resort with great activities, or you can easily head into Playa del Carmen for a change of scene. Riviera Maya is less compact than Cancun, more spread out. Hire a car if you wish to have a bit more freedom and explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum or Coba. Playa del Carmen is the gateway to Cozumel, and in itself has great beaches, with a family friendly vibe. It’s perfect for family holidays too, and as you’re further south, then the sea is also calmer, ideal for little ones splashing in the ocean, and also for snorkeling. Like to see some more resorts in this superb destination? Then check out our list of 10 best Riviera Maya resorts.

Let’s head north now, and discover Cancun as an alternative.

Unpack and unwind

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You know when you need a vacation? Just a vacation. You want to be somewhere close to the airport – no long transfers please – you want to unpack, and go lie on that white beach. That’s Cancun. Just ten minutes in a taxi from the airport and you can order up that cocktail, lying horizontally beneath a parasol. How does that sound? Hold on, we’ll just get the door for you…Yes, Cancun is compact. Shopping and local restaurants are a few steps away. Nightlife is full on and there’s a busier vibe than further south. You won’t need a hire car because you’ll want to stay and soak up your fabulous all inclusive resort as well as the much needed rays. Forget schlepping around to see the sights – unless you really want to – and just relax and rejuvenate with a well deserved vacay to Cancun.

Cancun resorts

Cancun
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So, where are the best places to stay? There’s a wealth of the very best all-inclusives in Cancun…here are just two to whet your appetite, whether you’re traveling as a family, or looking for an adults-only resort.

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive where you’ll discover a family-friendly resort, with lots of activities, in an elegant traditional Mexican setting.

Live Aqua Beach Resort an adults-only haven of chic, seductive luxury. Check out their current money saving deal.

Want to see some more? Then browse our list of 10 best all inclusive resorts in Cancun.

Which area is your personal choice and why? Tell us– we love to hear your opinion!

About Carol Byrne 29 Articles
Originally from Dublin, Carol has also lived in London and Wales before settling in Spain with her husband and family in 2006, and is published regularly on travel and more from her mountain-top home in the picturesque foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Driven by a passion for travel, history, other cultures, and sustainable living, she enjoys life with her family in a traditional and tiny village. She also blogs about her traditional village life, sparked by a passion for the diverse culture and history of Spain.

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2 Comments

    • So, have we tempted you to book then, Stuart? No apology for thoughts of sunshine and best all inclusive temptation :) Where would YOU choose to go, based on the article?

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