Living in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Have you been thinking of living in the Riviera Maya, Mexico? As one of the world’s most exciting expat communities, there are thousands of residents living here full and part-time from all over the world. Home to a wide variety of lifestyle options and gorgeous beachfront communities, there is something here for virtually every taste and budget, from upscale gated golfing communities to surprisingly affordable (and easy!) condo living and plenty of homes with breathtaking ocean views.

“The location is ideal for folks who want to travel between the East coast of the US and Canada to other points in the Caribbean,” writes Expat Exchange. “It’s also a very safe area.”

Initially dubbed the “Cancun-Tulum corridor,” the region now known as the Riviera Maya stretches more than 80 miles south of Cancun, along Mexico’s only Caribbean coast. The region encompasses a number of idyllic beachfront towns, each with their own set of unique charms, including Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Tulum. As one of the world’s most-visited beach vacation destinations, the Riviera Maya has naturally evolved into one of today’s top expat havens for people who are living in Mexico either full or part-time.

“A combination of government investment and private sector development has contributed to the region’s prosperity and this is reflected in the modern, first-world level of amenities and infrastructure,” writes

Still, the influx of tourists and expats from around the globe has not managed to water down the region’s strong cultural heritage, so part of the Riviera Maya’s charm lies in the traditional food, music, art and entertainment of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. If you’re thinking of living in the Riviera Maya, here’s a brief overview of the region’s picturesque destinations to give you a glimpse of the lifestyle options available in each community:

Puerto Morelos

Situated just 20 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport and 25 minutes north of Playa del Carmen, the idyllic seaside community of Puerto Morelos is highly walkable, with a variety of small shops and a beautiful white-sand beach. Expect to find fresh seafood and delicious local street fare along the malecón, where an old lighthouse offers a perfect photo backdrop. In Puerto Morelos, you will still find dozens of small fishing boats anchored just offshore, completing the peaceful vibe of this onetime sleepy fishing village. 

Playa del Carmen

As the Riviera Maya’s main hub for entertainment, dining and shopping, Playa del Carmen is a vibrant international city perched on the Caribbean Sea, about 45 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport and 45 minutes north of Tulum. Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida in Spanish) in Playa is one of the world’s longest pedestrian-only streets, where you will find many different merchants, including restaurants, shops, nightclubs and even street performers, along with boutique hotels and condos. Playa del Carmen is a popular choice for expats living in the Riviera Maya, in the quieter residential areas located just north of the main tourist district.

Also Read:

Where Are the Best Places to Buy a House in Mexico’s Riviera Maya?

Tulum Green School: Get a World Class Education in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

7 Best Places to Go in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Puerto Aventuras

Just 25 minutes south of Playa along the Riviera Maya’s main highway, the gated beach, golf and marina community of Puerto Aventuras offers a private, upscale option for expats. The community is very walkable, with a picturesque marina that is home to a variety of different cafes, shops and restaurants, along with popular boating excursions such as the Catamaya Sailing Cruises that allows visitors to get out on the Caribbean Sea, enjoy sailing, snorkeling and a wonderful crew. There are many different homes and condos for sale in Puerto Aventuras, which also offers access to a private beach and a professional golf course designed by Thomas Leman.


If you continue south along the main highway, Akumal is situated about halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The name actually means “place of the turtles” in the ancient Mayan language, and today these amazing creatures still return here every year to lay their eggs on the pristine beach. Widely regarded as one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful communities, Akumal is home to a large quiet bay and offers many nice condos, homes and vacation rentals to choose from, although it remains one of the region’s least commercialized districts


Located about an hour and a half south of the Cancun International Airport, the town of Tulum was once a far-flung beach destination for backpackers and nature lovers seeking solitude in the Mexican Caribbean jungle. Although it still has a low-key vibe, today the town of Tulum is a flourishing tourist destination and expat haven, attracting visitors and residents from around the world with its tropical magnetism and breathtaking white-sand beaches. You will find impressive ancient Mayan ruins here perched high atop a cliff overlooking the sea, and Tulum is a thriving center for local culture, health and wellness, delicious food, live music and nature tours. It has become a mecca of sorts for yoga and business retreats, and regularly hosts food, music and art festivals that attract some of the world’s top talent.

If you’re interested in living in the Riviera Maya, we hope you have enjoyed this brief overview of five of the area’s most popular beachfront communities. Although each one is distinct, they all have much to offer with many beautiful houses and condos for sale and a variety of different amenities and attractions to enjoy!

Would you like to know more about living in the Riviera Maya? Post your questions in the comments!

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