The Best Festivals in the Riviera Maya

Whether you’re a full-time resident of Mexico or a snowbird that flocks to escape the freezing winters of the north, it’s good to know what’s going on around for you to enjoy. The Riviera Maya and the whole Yucatan Peninsula are increasingly booming when it comes to art and culture. Because of this, many festivals and events have started to take place annually. So, get out your calendar and start marking the dates to attend these amazing festivals year-round.

Spring and Autumn Equinox Festival

Equinox Chichen Itza

Each year, attendees can observe an extraordinary manifestation at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula. This happens during the first few days of spring, as well as fall, when the descending sun casts a shadow of a giant serpent alongside the corner of the renowned Kulkulkan Temple. The shadow gives the impression of a snake gliding down the staircase. It then fuses with a large stone serpent head at the base of the pyramid.

This commemoration rejoices the progressive zodiacal prodigy of the Mayan culture with a variety of concerts, sounds and bright light displays on the consecrated archeological site.

The Riviera Maya Film Festival

The international film industry puts on a festival to celebrate cinema through contemporary films every year. Producers screen Mexican and foreign movies throughoug different spots in the Riviera Maya, from Cancun to Tulum, during six days. It’s a great event for film lovers and a great way to get to see your favorite actors, directors and industry big names in person.

In Playa del Carmen, award-winning films are featured in remarkable outdoor locations such as the beach, as well as inside reinstated theaters. In Cancun they have a drive-in cinema, as well, which is one of the most popular events they host. The festival has attracted over 80,000 visitors over the past five years and has featured close to 1000 free screenings.

Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret

Day of the Dead

The Festival of Life and Death takes place over four days starting on October 31st at the Xcaret eco-park. Inside the festival grounds you can enjoy delicious foods such as tamales, cochinita pibil and other traditional Mexican tasty treats. You will also be blown away by the many decorations and lights within the park.

This is a truly Mexican experience you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting at the time. The festival features musical performances, theater, comedy, equestrian shows and a lot of culture. It is suitable for families with children of all ages. With plenty of flowers, candles, and beautifully-decorated altars, you won’t even know you’re in Mexico’s most touristic destination.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Perhaps the best thing about the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival besides the stellar line-ups, is that it’s completely free. The even takes places on the beaches of Playa del Carmen and it is one of the longest-running festivals to take place here. Thanks to its world-class entertainment and gorgeous setting, it is a favorite amongst locals and foreigners alike.

Even if you’re not a jazz fan, it is great to appreciate the music as they bring plenty of big-name artists. The setting is quite enjoyable, too. Many people bring food and drinks and make their own beach picnic while listening to the music. It runs through the night.

International Festival of Caribbean Culture

The International Festival of Caribbean Culture is a six-day festival in the Riviera Maya with events held mainly in Cancun during the month of November. This festival is popular amongst people who enjoy salsa music and poetry. There is always plenty of dancing, amazing Caribbean artists and a lot of fun to go around.

Make sure you plan your visits to Mexico or your general calendar around these amazing festivals so you can enjoy the most cultural activities around. The Riviera Maya is growing ever-so-rapidly and more and more of these festivals are now taking place here. Mark your calendars and enjoy!

Chichen Itza – The Largest Archaeological Site in the Yucatan Peninsula

Mexico and the Riviera Maya have so many beautiful and exciting things to do. There are literally thousands of sites to see and places to go. However, if there’s one thing you should do when visiting Mexico, it should be a visit to the world-renowned site of Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza is Mexico’s largest archaeological site in the Yucatan Peninsula including the  Riviera Maya. UNESCO classified this site as a World Heritage Site, and is now considered as one of the New Seven Wonders of The World. With status’ like these, Chichen Itza is a must see for anyone travelling to Mexico.

Numerous ruins encompass the Kukulkan Pyramid in the Archaeological site. This pyramid is the main attraction of Chichen Itza with heights staggering up to 79 feet. Also, the pyramid is perfectly symmetrical, and the ancient Mayan people who once ruled the region built it with immaculate precision.

Chichen Itza is the favorite archaeological site in Mexico for tourists

You can easily reach the archaeological site from surrounding cities such as Cancun, which is around 100 miles away. Chichen Itza is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, meaning it can get quite busy with crowds. The best time to see it is at opening time in the morning before the tourist buses arrive. Upon arriving, make sure to apply sunscreen, as there is very little shade. As well, bring enough water and wear proper footwear, as you will be doing a lot of walking. With that said, the site is something truly special, with so much beauty, architecture and history surrounding the Mayan culture. It’s a must see on anyone’s bucket-list.

Tourists who visit the site learn so much about the ancient city and the Mayan Culture through a very informative information center; as well as through friendly and knowledgeable tour guides. Tourists can also explore the ruins on their own without a tour guide. The entrance fee is $242 MXN. If you choose to go with a tour it’s not much more and varies in price.

As well, if you are traveling from the popular destinations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum, there are various tour packages that bring you to the site and surrounding areas. If you’re more adventurous and prefer to site see on your own, you can either rent a car or take the ADO bus from the major cities in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Upon arriving, tourists can purchase various souvenirs from the gift shop or from numerous stands amongst the ancient city.