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Four people, one in a wheelchair, enter the shallow turquoise ocean

Exploring Accessible Riviera Maya: A Traveler’s Paradise

With its beautiful beaches and lush jungles, Riviera Maya is an accessible destination for everyone! Whether you feel like relaxing on the beach and enjoying an all-inclusive resort or exploring ancient ruins and underground rivers, the variety of accessible activities available will help you enjoy this paradise exactly how you want to. 

Riviera Maya is located on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, stretching 100 miles down the Yucatan peninsula, south of Cancun. It’s mostly flat, covered in tropical jungle with large networks of underground caves and rivers. Its beaches offer that picturesque, soft white sand and warm turquoise water. Riviera Maya a destination that thrives off of tourism, and is known for its plethora of resorts and recreational activities. 

There are so many accessible things to do in Riviera Maya, that it may be a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, here is how to explore accessible Riviera Maya without limits!

Sau talks about her trip to Riviera Maya with Wheel the World

Getting Around Accessible Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya is home to many all-inclusive resorts, which we’ll talk about later on in this blog post. While many of the resorts have everything you need for a relaxing vacation, there are many accessible activities not on resort grounds (which we will also dive into below). So, how can you get from one place to another?

Accessible Transportation in Riviera Maya

Most travelers arrive via Cancun international airport, about an hour drive from many hotels in Riviera Maya. The easiest way to get from the airport to where you’ll be staying is via airport transfer. Accessible airport transfers are available, a trained driver can pick you up at the airport and drop you off at your hotel in an accessible minivan that accommodates both power and manual wheelchairs with a manual ramp entrance. You can book an accessible airport transfer by contacting Wheel the World here.

A man pushes a woman in a wheelchair up a ramp to board a van
Accessible transportation in Riviera Maya

When it comes to heading out to explore, you have different options. If you book an accessible activity or tour through Wheel the World, transportation is provided. Accessible vans with trained and certified drivers can pick you up at your hotel and take you to your destination.  Public transportation and local taxis are available, but do not always fit accessibility needs.

Things to Do in Accessible Riviera Maya

There is no lack of things to do in this tropical paradise. Travelers can get up close and personal with wildlife, soak up the sun on a relaxing beach, and visit ancient ruins. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a rundown of some of the best accessible activities in the area.

Explore Underground Caves and Rivers

Riviera Maya has a unique network of underground rivers and caves, due to its geography and climate. The region is known for its Cenotes, unique underground deposits of fresh water, that look like underground swimming holes, and sometimes are. 

You can explore these underground caves by visiting Rio Secreto, where you can tour the dry caves on a wide, smooth pathway. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even put on a wetsuit, get into an all terrain wheelchair, and discover the underground rivers, taking a dip in the Cenote. Wheel the World can provide accessible transportation, guides, and equipment. You can read more about the excursion here.

Observe Riviera Maya’s Wildlife in its Natural Habitat

This region is full of many species of animals – from the jungle to the sea. In accessible Riviera Maya, there are a variety of different ways you can experience its wildlife. 

Whale Sharks might sound intimidating. Are they whales or are they sharks? Technically, they are part of the shark family. However, they are filter feeders, meaning they eat plankton – just like many whales. They are the largest fish in the world, sometimes reaching over 50 ft (17 mt) long! If you visit Riviera Maya at the right time (the season stretches from May – September), you can take a boat ride to snorkel with these majestic creatures.

Three people scuba dive, one supporting the other
Accessible diving in Cozumel

The Caribbean coastline of Riviera Maya is home to sea turtles too! You can snorkel with sea turtles and explore coral reefs. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, Wheel the World offers accessible diving in Cozumel, an island off the coast of Riviera Maya. Trained instructors will accompany and guide you as you explore the underwater world.

On land, the Spider Monkey sanctuary offers the chance to observe the little guys in their environment, and traverse the jungle trails on an all-terrain wheelchair. It’s conveniently located near the Coba archaeological site, with its large Mayan pyramids, and less crowds than its neighbor Chichen Itza. You can visit both places with Wheel the World, read more about the tour here.

Relax on the Beach

There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Riviera Maya. Puerto Morelos is in the north of Riviera Maya, close to Cancun, and is surrounded by a protected coral reef. Playa del Carmen is one of the most well-known beaches in the region. While the beach itself can get crowded, its convenient location next to restaurants and shops, make it a great place to spend the day. Akumal beach is a natural paradise, often ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Tulum is an archaeological site, beach, and popular nightlife destination on the southern end of Riviera Maya. Read more about Riviera Maya’s top 5 beaches here

Three people smile at the camera as they float in the ocean
Travelers enjoy a dip in the ocean on a beach day in Riviera Maya

Whichever beach you choose to visit, Wheel the World can arrange accessible transportation and equipment for you, so that you can focus on the soft sand, warm water, and how you want to relax. Book a beach day here.

Where to Stay in Accessible Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya offers accommodation options across all budgets. The region is known for its all-inclusive resorts, where guests can eat all of their meals at restaurants onsite and enjoy recreational activities on hotel grounds. Here are a few different options that offer accessible options in Riviera Maya.

The accessible bathroom at the Viva Wyndham Maya

When we did our scouting trip to Riviera Maya, our team stayed at  Viva Wyndham Maya for 10 days. It had great accessibility features like access to the beachfront with a beach wheelchair to borrow and fully accessible rooms with roll-in showers, low beds, and closets at a wheelchair accessible height. 

The Iberostar hotel chain offers 8 different hotels in Riviera Maya, with 4 and 5 star stays spanning a range of budgets. Each hotel is all-inclusive and beachfront with an array of restaurants, bars, pools, and activities like exercise classes, crafts, and surfing. Stay at the luxurious, adults-only, 5 star Iberostar Grand Paraiso, or enjoy a more  family and budget friendly stay at the Iberostar Tucan or Iberostar Cozumel.

A paved ramp leads to the palapas on the white sand beach
Beach access at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso

Other accessible all-inclusive options include the Moon Palace in Cancun and the 5 star Barceló Maya Grand. For more information about accessible hotels in Riviera Maya, or to book an accommodation, contact Wheel the World here.


With so many accessible all-inclusive accommodations and activities to match every interest, Riviera Maya is a great option for an accessible adventure. It’ll give you the freedom to spend your vacation exactly how you want, and if you’re traveling in a group – there will be something for everyone! Accessible Riviera Maya is sure to be an experience you will always remember.

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