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!

Summer Reads: Top Mexico’s Picks!

Reading is simply one of the greatest pleasures in life. There are so many new characters to meet, so many new adventures to go on, and so many places to visit without ever leaving the comfort of your (beach) chair. Going off to the beach offers plenty of time to dive into the wonderful world of words and imagination.

The problem is always the same: summer reads, what should I read this summer? With millions of books being printed year after year, it’s almost impossible to decide what to read next! Spending a week (or more for some!) at the beach gives anyone plenty of time to eat through one or two books. You know, those types of books you can’t let go of.

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Here at Top Mexico we took our top picks for what to read at the beach this year! We know tastes vary, but hey, you can always try something new:

For the Thriller Seeker

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Synopsis: Rachel, a 32-year old alcoholic, witnesses shocking events on a train she takes daily to hide her unemployment from her roommate. With nothing to do, and constantly being drunk, she decides to discover the story behind the disappearance of a pregnant girl named Megan.

For the Romantic One

Title: A Lady of Good Family
Author: Jeanne Mackin
Synopsis: This story takes place in 1930s New England, where one of the first female landscape artists, Beatrix, meets a handsome young man by chance and is forced to face between being an architect or indulging in romance.

For the One Looking for an Adventure

Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Synopsis: Daniel, a young boy in Barcelona, sets out to find the author – Julian Carax – of a book he loves only to find that Carax’s other books are being destroyed by unknown people. Daniel, and his friend Fermin, get caught up in an exciting adventure to find the whereabouts of this author and find out what is going on.

For the Lovers of Strong Reinventing Women

Title: A Window Opens
Author: Elisabeth Egan
Synopsis: When her husband quits his job, Alice is forced to be the breadwinner at home. As a book lover, she is happy to take a job at a company that aims to revolutionize reading. However, this causes strains both in her work and personal life as she looks to reinvent herself.

For the Science Fiction Aficionado

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Synopsis: Mark Watney, a NASA astronaut, gets stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to evacuate due to dust storms. Not allowing himself to give up, and using his engineering skills, he sets off to face all the obstacles.

For the One Looking for a Laugh

Title: Mona in the Promise Land
Author: Gish Jen
Synopsis: In 1968, Mona and her parents move to New York. The story follows her hilarious chronicles into fitting in and figuring out who she is. Although it is comically written, her story, questions and adventures leave you thinking long afterwards.

For the Ones Looking for Hope

Title: A Master Plan for Rescue
Author: Janis Cooke Newman
Synopsis: A man who loses his love and a child who loses his parents meet in WW2 years. Their combined grief pushes them to share the stories of those they have lost and do something memorable that can bring them back, even if it is just in their memories.

Have you decided which one to read? All these books – and many more out there – will have you tanning at the beach, beer in hand, not letting go of them for a second. If you finish one, move onto the next! Enjoy these summer reads. Happy reading!

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