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What is better, Cancun or Riviera Maya?

Which destination to choose?
What is better, Cancun or Riviera Maya?

Learn about their differences and unique characteristics.

If you're considering investing in the real estate sector in the Mexican Caribbean, you've probably wondered which destination is better: Cancun or Riviera Maya. Both places have their charms and opportunities, but they also have their differences and challenges. In this post, I'll explain the main features of each one, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of investing in them.

Cancun: the cosmopolitan city

Cancun is a modern and vibrant city with a great tourist infrastructure and a wide range of hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping centers, and recreational activities. Cancun has an international airport that facilitates the arrival of visitors from all over the world and is also a starting point to explore other areas of interest such as Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Holbox, or Chichen Itza. Cancun boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, with white sand and turquoise water, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or water sports. Cancun is the ideal destination for those seeking fun, parties, and luxury.

Advantages of investing in Cancun:

  • It is the most consolidated and recognized destination in the Mexican Caribbean, with high tourist demand and hotel occupancy rates exceeding 80%1.

  • It offers more luxurious properties with higher appreciation potential, generating a return on investment of up to 20% per year2.

  • It attracts a younger, urban, and party-oriented audience seeking unique and exclusive experiences.

  • It has a greater variety of services and infrastructure, making property management and maintenance easier.

  • It enjoys better air and land connectivity, providing access to other potential markets.

Disadvantages of investing in Cancun:

  • It is a more expensive and competitive destination, with average selling prices of $1 million pesos per square meter3.

  • It experiences greater saturation and pollution, affecting the environment and quality of life.

  • It is more exposed to natural phenomena such as hurricanes or seaweed, which can cause losses or property damage.

  • It faces higher levels of insecurity and violence, potentially affecting the image and tranquility of visitors.

Riviera Maya: the natural and cultural region

Riviera Maya is a region that encompasses several towns and cities along the Caribbean coast, from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen. Riviera Maya has a more natural and ecological environment, with a diverse range of landscapes and ecosystems, such as jungles, cenotes, underground rivers, coral reefs, and biosphere reserves. Riviera Maya boasts a rich Mayan culture and history, with archaeological sites like Tulum, Coba, or Muyil. The region also offers various accommodation options, from boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts, as well as eco-friendly cabins and campsites. Riviera Maya is the ideal destination for those seeking tranquility, nature, and culture.

Advantages of investing in Riviera Maya:

  • It is the most dynamic and diverse destination in the Mexican Caribbean, with an annual growth of 10% in the real estate market4.

  • It offers more affordable properties that are also eco-friendly and have higher growth potential, providing a return on investment of up to 15% per year5.

  • It attracts a more mature, nature-loving, and culturally interested audience seeking authentic and sustainable experiences.

  • It has a greater number of ecological and social projects, contributing to local development and environmental care.

  • It offers a wider range of natural and cultural attractions, allowing for a greater variety of activities and experiences.

Disadvantages of investing in Riviera Maya:

  • It is a newer and less known destination, with lower tourist demand and hotel occupancy rates below 80%.

  • It offers properties that are less luxurious and with lower appreciation potential, generating a return on investment of up to 12% per year.

  • It attracts a more demanding and conscious audience, seeking quality and responsibility in the services and products they consume.

  • It has a lower supply of services and infrastructure, making property management and maintenance more challenging.

  • It has limited air and land connectivity, restricting access to other potential markets.

Then What is better, Cancun or Riviera Maya?

Which destination to choose?

As you can see, Cancun and Riviera Maya are two very different yet complementary destinations. The best part is that you don't have to choose between one or the other; you can combine them and enjoy the best of both worlds. For example, you can invest in a property in Cancun to take advantage of its high profitability and occupancy rates, and then move to Riviera Maya to relax in a cenote or visit an archaeological site. Alternatively, you can invest in a property in Riviera Maya to benefit from its lower cost and growth potential, and then take excursions to Cancun or other nearby attractions.

The important thing is to analyze your objectives, budget, risk profile, and target market before making a decision. For this, I recommend consulting a real estate expert and investment advisor in Riviera Maya, such as White Rock, which has agents with over 7 years of experience in the area and many satisfied clients.

White Rock is a leading company in the real estate sector of the Mexican Caribbean, with more than 1000 satisfied clients.

They offer exclusive, profitable, and secure properties in the best destinations in the region, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. White Rock will accompany you throughout the entire process of buying, selling, or renting your property, from the search to the closing of the contract.

They guarantee the best personalized, professional, and transparent service.

Moreover, White Rock offers you the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of the Mayan train and the new Tulum airport, which will be game-changers for Riviera Maya.

The Mayan train is a new railway transportation service that will connect the main cities and tourist areas of the Yucatan Peninsula6. The Mayan train is a project that will strengthen the territorial planning of the region and boost its tourism industry. It will generate economic benefits and increase connectivity in the Yucatan Peninsula, allowing efficient movement of both cargo and passengers7. The Mayan train will have a station in Tulum, facilitating access to this destination from other points such as Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

The new Tulum airport is another civil-military project promoted by the federal government, which will be built on lands of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto ejido8. The new airport will have the capacity to serve 5.5 million passengers and handle up to 32 thousand annual operations. The new airport will facilitate the arrival of national and international visitors to Tulum, reducing transportation time and costs from Cancun. The new airport will also serve as a military airbase, reinforcing the security of national airspace and assisting the civilian population in case of disasters or forest fires.

These two projects are part of the federal strategy to develop the southeast of the country, with the Mayan train as its central axis. They will increase the value and demand for properties in Riviera Maya, especially in Tulum, which is shaping up as the most promising and profitable destination in the Mexican Caribbean. If you want to invest in a place with great potential and diverse offerings, Riviera Maya is the option you cannot ignore. Seize this unique opportunity and contact White Rock for professional and reliable advice on your investment!


  1. Cancun hotel occupancy - [source]

  2. ROI in luxury properties in Cancun - [source]

  3. Average selling prices in Cancun - [source]

  4. Annual growth in Riviera Maya real estate market - [source]

  5. ROI in properties in Riviera Maya - [source]

  6. Mayan train project - [source]

  7. Benefits of the Mayan train in the Yucatan Peninsula - [source]

  8. New Tulum airport project - [source]"

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