Lazing on a beach or contemplating museum displays is all right, but some travelers crave a little more action. The Yucatán has plenty to offer active travelers, including kiteboarding, fly-fishing, kayaking, and mountain biking.

Day 1

Ease into things by spending a day stand-up paddling (or SUPing). It’s challenging but fairly easy to master, and especially rewarding in the Riviera Maya’s warm clear water. Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel are all great places to start. Farther afield, Xpu Há, Tulum, and Mahahual are fine alternatives.

The beach in Mahahual. Photo © Vojtech Vlk/123rf.

The beach in Mahahual. Photo © Vojtech Vlk/123rf.

Day 2

Kayaking is another low-key, easy-to-learn activity, and perfect for exploring the Riviera Maya’s rich mangrove forests. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Laguna Bacalar, and Isla Holbox all have fascinating kayak tours that include paddling through mangrove canals, spotting birds, and locating hidden beaches and lost Maya ruins.

Day 3

Today’s the day for pushing yourself. Why not try kiteboarding? Isla Blanca and Cozumel are good for both, with perfect wind, forgiving surf for beginners, and some surprisingly challenging spots for the more advanced. Tulum has terrific kiteboarding as well.

Kiteboarding near Playa del Carmen. Photo © czekma13/123rf.

Kiteboarding near Playa del Carmen. Photo © czekma13/123rf.

Day 4

You may want to spend a second day kiteboarding—few people master it in a day! Otherwise, dig out your sneakers and sign up for a mountain bike tour. Both Tulum and Laguna Bacalar have fun and moderately challenging rides, pedaling through the jungle to little-visited Maya ruins and remote beaches.

Day 5

You’ve gotta be getting tired by now. Spend the day fishing, either trolling in the ocean or fly-fishing in the region’s vast coastal flats. Cozumel is ideal for the former, as well as for the latest craze: spearfishing. Sian Ka’an and Xcalak are world-class fly-fishing spots, brimming with tarpon, permit, bonefish, and snook.

Go fishing in Sian Ka’an. Photo © Luca Mason/123rf.

Go fishing in Sian Ka’an. Photo © Luca Mason/123rf.

Day 6

The week’s almost over, so now’s the time to do something you’ve probably tried before. There’s skydiving out of Playa del Carmen, waterskiing and wakeboarding in Cancún, and ziplining at Verde Lucero cenote and Xplor ecopark, to name a few.

Day 7

Bring a week of ecoadventure to a fitting close with a day on the beach. The beaches in Cancún, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Mahahual all have plenty to keep you active—swimming, sailing, SUPing, kayaking, parasailing, volleyball, soccer, and more.

Map of Isla Cozumel, Mexico

Isla Cozumel


Excerpted from the Twelfth Edition of Moon Cancún & Cozumel.