A visit to Mexico doesn’t have to break the bank. We share the best things to do in Riviera Maya that are completely free!
You’re no doubt aware that the Riviera Maya is a wonderful place to be. With its impressive history, stunning beaches and wonderful things to do it’s not surprising that this location is a popular tourist destination.
However, once you’ve booked your riviera maya homes for rent, paid for your flights and decided how long you’re going to spend in the area, your bank balance may not be what it once was.
The good news is there are a lot of great things to do in this part of the world that cost absolutely nothing and you can find details of these free things below!
Free things to do in Riviera Maya
Located in front of Chamico’s restaurant is Soliman Bay, a beautiful area that is home to many boats and of course, glorious weather. Make your way along the beach and bring your own snorkelling gear with you, or gear that you’ve hired from a local vendor or borrowed from a friend. Take someone with you and dive into the waters and explore all that they have to offer.
If you do end up hiring snorkelling equipment you will have to make a small payment, but your entry to the beautiful waters is free and you can pretty much snorkel until you’re ready to call it a day.
Visit Parque Fundadores
One of the very best free activities in the Riviera Maya is a visit to Parque Fundadores. Also known as ‘Foundering Fathers Park’ the area is nothing short of beautiful and is home to some interesting sculptures, beautiful beaches and many other visitors who are also determined to have a good time.
The palm trees will remind you that you’re somewhere tropical and the little chapel will remind you that you’re somewhere special. While many people are happy to head to one of the many bars and restaurants that seem to line the beach, there always seems to be a lot happening outside. From elegantly dressed drummers to parades and dances that are undertaken by people in traditional dress, Parque Fundadores has so much to offer, and you don’t have to spend a penny!
Walk Along a Beach
One of the things that you must do when you’re in the Riviera Maya is walking along a beach at least once. The beaches here are absolutely stunning and they are quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Beaches in the Riviera Maya are all free to walk along which means you can dip your toe in the sea or feel the sand between your toes as often as you’d like.
Of course, if you plan to spend the day at the beach you may have to bring some food and drinks with you, but if you shop locally your picnic should not cost too much.
Find a relatively quiet spot on the beach and spend at least a few hours there enjoying the glorious weather before making your way further along the beach while the sun beats down on you. Wonderful.
Visit the Playacar Mayan Ruins
The Playacar Mayan Ruins will take your breath away, they simply are amazing and show you how sophisticated the Mayans who lived and worked in the area were. The ruins were originally used as a place where local women could honour the Goddess Ixchel as part of an annual pilgrimage. There is no entrance fee to the ruins and three out of the original eight structures remain.
Built between 1200 AD and 1526 AD, the ruins are like something taken out of a science fiction novel. The light grey stones that have been in place for centuries seem to match the greyness of the trees. The structures that are still in place today are awe-inspiring and the fact that they have stood the test of time shows you just how clever the Mayans were. Make your way through the ruins and see where ancient Mayan women used to honour the Goddess Ixchel who they hoped would grant them a good pregnancy and childbirth.
See the Caminarte
The Caminarte takes place every Thursday evening in Playa del Carmen and allows some of the local artists to show off and sell their pieces. Running from 5 pm to approximately 11 pm, the market gives you the opportunity to meet the creators of some wonderful works of art. You do not have to purchase anything to enjoy the Caminarte, simply stroll around the market that is set up on 5thAvenue between Calle 34 and Calle 22. The pop-up market usually has a great atmosphere and is well worth a visit.
The Riviera Maya may be full of wonderful places to go and incredible things to do but if you’re not careful you can spend more money than you originally planned. One of the best ways for you to cut back on your spending is to find out what you can do for free. As you can see from the above list of things to do you’re really spoiled for choice. So why not give your wallet a bit of a break and try a spot of snorkelling? You may also want to visit the Parque Fundadores and enjoy the atmosphere before heading to one of the local beaches and enjoying a stroll.
Don’t forget to visit the Playacar Mayan Ruins if you want to see something truly unforgettable before seeing the Caminarte and enjoy browsing some wonderful works of art. There really is something for everyone in the Riviera Maya and you don’t have to spend a penny if you want to enjoy your time here.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favourite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel to, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.