PHOTOS: How to Do the Riviera Maya on a Budget From Cancún to spectacular Mayan ruins to Playa Del Carmen—and even swimming with (safe and gentle!) whale sharks—we take you to the knockout shores of Mexico’s Caribbean coast to show you how you can have the vacation of a lifetime without breaking the bank. Budget Travel Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014, 8:00 AM Occidental Grand Xcaret All-Inclusive Resort boasts its own private beach, bookended by a beach bar and buffet restaurant and views of the vast Caribbean. (Whitney Tressel) Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

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PHOTOS: How to Do the Riviera Maya on a Budget

From Cancún to spectacular Mayan ruins to Playa Del Carmen—and even swimming with (safe and gentle!) whale sharks—we take you to the knockout shores of Mexico’s Caribbean coast to show you how you can have the vacation of a lifetime without breaking the bank.

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Occidental Grand Xcaret All-Inclusive Resort boasts its own private beach, bookended by a beach bar and buffet restaurant and views of the vast Caribbean.

(Whitney Tressel)

One of Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort’s five freshwater swimming areas, bordering the Caribbean.

(Whitney Tressel)

The view of Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort from Xcaret Park’s rotating scenic tower.

(Whitney Tressel)

Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort’s “Pueblo del Rio” is the commercial area of the resort, including shops, stores, and souvenirs.

(Whitney Tressel)

There are plenty of places to relax between lounge chairs and swing-set bar seats at the Occidental Grand Xcaret.

(Whitney Tressel)

The saltwater baths, an adult-only area of Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort.

(Whitney Tressel)

The balcony of one of the Royal Club rooms at Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort.

(Whitney Tressel)

Occidental Grand Xcaret was the first “theme-park hotel” in the Caribbean and now has the Riviera Maya’s only open-water Dolphinarium on its grounds.

(Whitney Tressel)

One of the very talented and happy dolphins at Xcaret’s new Delphinus Dolphinarium.

(Whitney Tressel)

The view from the foot of the Underground River, where adventurous types float through the underworld of Xcaret park.

(Whitney Tressel)

The Mexican Hacienda-style courtyard of El Yucateco Restaurant, serving up regional cuisine to its diners in Xcaret Park.

(Whitney Tressel)

Two birds, one of hundreds of species, at the Regional Wildlife Breeding Farm inside Xcaret Park.

(Whitney Tressel)

A scene from Xcaret’s Mexico Espectacular night performance—full of dancing, bright colors, and celebration.

(Whitney Tressel)

The Tulum ruins and its beach attract visitors from all around the world.

(Whitney Tressel)

One of Tulum’s calmer beach areas, east of the main ruin sites.

(Whitney Tressel)

The expansive Caribbean, viewed from Tulum’s Mayan ruins.

(Whitney Tressel)

View on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres.

(Alyaksandr Stzhalkouski/Dreamstime)

Colorful tropical boats beached in the sand on Isla Mujeres.

(Lunamarina/Dreamstime)

Traditional houses in vivid tropical colors, Isla Mujeres.

(Lunamarina/Dreamstime)

Swimming with whale sharks. The gentle giants are perfectly safe!

(Courtesy Newlink Communications)

A snorkeler enjoys the clear Caribbean waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres.

(Conchasdiver/Dreamstime)

The all-inclusive resort Krystal Grand Punta Cancún at dusk.

(Ruben D. Hidalgo)

Take your pick—a perfect, inviting swimming pool, or the Caribbean—at the Krystal Grand Punta Cancún.

(Ruben Hidalgo)

One of the truly exceptional rooms at Krystal Grand Punta Cancún.

(Kaeli Conforti)

One of the many distinctive and accomplished murals that can be seen on Isla Mujeres.

(Kaeli Conforti)

A beautiful Mexican sunset brings another relaxing, fun-filled Riviera Maya day to a close.

(Kaeli Conforti)

The San Miguelito ruins, part of the Cancún Maya Museum, are a must-see on the Riviera Maya.

(Courtesy Newlink Communications)

You'll savor your time together on Isla Mujeres.

(Gabriel A. Barranco)
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