Winter sun is calling and the Riviera Maya in Mexico is the perfect place to escape the cold weather and lap up the laid-back beach vibes on an exotic getaway.
With excellent temperatures for sunbathing (hello 25C!), the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop and some of the world's most intriguing archaeological sites to discover along the way, the Riviera Maya provides a beach holiday like no other.
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The 125-mile stretch of coastline is located on the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and is home to eco parks, diving sites and luxurious resorts, as well as cenotes (sinkholes you can swim in) and terrific day trip destinations.
We picked five of our favourite things to do on a Riviera Maya beach holiday...
Go swimming in a cenote
One of the top cenotes along the Riviera Maya, Dos Ojos ( around 20 miles from Tulum) offers amazing snorkelling thanks to its excellent visibility and natural underwater views. Named 'Two Eyes' for the two 70-metre sinkholes which are connected by a 400-metre long passageway, the marvellous swimming holes are also popular among diving enthusiasts. With its natural light and fantastic water temperature, which provides the perfect respite from the sweltering heat, Doj Ojos is a must-visit and a great place to experience as a family.
Visit an eco theme park
For a fabulously fun day out on the Riviera Maya, look no further than eco-archaeological park Xcaret, which features structures built by the Mayans, underground rivers you can swim in and top-notch entertainment. Located a few miles from Playa del Carmen, Xcaret is a unique theme park, where visitors can walk through a reproduction of a colourful Mexican cemetery, see turtles, butterflies and jaguars, as well as watch a spectacular equestrian show and an outstanding night-time show of Mexico's history brought to life.
Take in the views in picturesque Tulum
A one-of-a-kind archaeological site, Tulum is the only walled city along the coast which was built to defend itself against attacks. Visitors can enjoy outstanding views of the beaches and the Caribbean Sea, while walking among ancient structures, such as the Castillo perched on the edge of a cliff and the Temple of the Frescoes, with its murals and sculptures depicting Mayan gods. Tulum's impeccable beach is one of its biggest draws and makes for a fabulous spot for sunbathing or swimming.
Stay at a luxury all-inclusive resort
Soak up the sunshine and chilled-out beach vibes of the Riviera Maya at one of the finest all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, the five-star Grand Velas Rivera Maya. The contemporary resort was built with couples and families in mind, and succeeds in offering the best of both worlds, from its adults-only spaces to the impressive child-friendly activities and kids' clubs. Author's Spa is one of the largest and most spectacular spas you will ever visit in the world, while the resort's restaurants range from the playful and imaginative AAA Five Diamond Cocina de Autor, to the creative Mexican cuisine of Frida. Zen Grand Suites cost from £241 per night. Read our full review of Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Take a trip to Chichen Itza
One of the best day trips from the Riviera Maya is to Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Located around a two-hour drive from the coast, the magnificent World Heritage Site is a must-see, with the ruins covering 2.5 square miles and featuring two architectural zones: the southern that dates back to the seventh century and the central which dates back to the tenth century. The iconic 25-metre representation of the Mayan calendar El Castillo, the Ball Court and the Temple of the Warriors are the most impressive structures. On your way back to the Riviera Maya, be sure to stop at the nearby city of Valladolid, where you will find the beautiful colonial architecture of the stately mansions, imposing churches and charming squares.