The Mayan Riviera is a stretch of coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula running from just outside Cancun in the North to the ancient Mayan site of Tulum in the South. The name Mayan Riviera is a marketing / development label for a stretch of the Yucatan coast allocated for tourist development. This area of coast South of Cancun was selected for tourist development to ease the pressure on the mega-resort of Cancun and provide a different (more peaceful!) Vacation experience.
The Mayan Riviera is part of the Mexican Caribbean. It is on the Eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula which is in turn at the extreme eastern side of Mexico. It faces the warm blue Caribbean sea. The base of the Yucatan Peninsular borders Belize and Guatemala On the Yucatan the Mayan Riviera runs from just South of the mega-resort area of Cancun in the North to the Mayan site of Tulum in the South. The whole coast is a Caribbean paradise of white-sand beaches and warm seas. Resorts along the coast vary from the bustling (Play Del Carmen) to the tranquil (Soliman and Tankah) to the simply unique (Tulum with its ancient Mayan ruins).
Historically this area was a vital commercial and religious center for the ancient Mayans, and there are lots of archaeological sites to explore, such as Tulum, Coba and Muyil. For hundreds of years, the area was hard to visit due to the poor roads. The area was developed as a tourist destination as an alternative to the mega-resort area of Cancun.
Most visitors to the Mayan Riviera will arrive at Cancun international airport. This is well served by daily flights from major cities in North America and Europe. Driving to your resort on the Mayan Riviera will take between 45 minutes to a maximum of 2 hours. If your visiting the island of Cozumel you will need to take the frequent ferry from Playa del Carmen
The official currency in Mexico is the Peso although US dollars are almost universally accepted in tourist areas. For visitors from the UK / Europe there is really no point in using US dollars since the exchange rate that you get from shops / restaurants etc. is often very poor (and you will then have converted your Pounds / Euros twice!). Also, you will end up with Pesos even if you pay in US dollars because any change you get will be in Pesos. Another thing to note is that cash dispensers will give out Pesos.
At the time of writing the exchange rate is £ 1 = 20 Mexican Pesos or if you prefer 1 Peso = £ 0.05. The Euro rate is 1 Euro = 16 Mexican Pesos.