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Mexico Real Estate on the Riviera Maya

Seaside resorts in Cancun
Credit: Photlook | Fotolia

Recently, I attended the International Real Estate Federation’s Latin American Conference in Tulum to visit Mexico real estate on the Riviera Maya. We visited properties in the three best-known areas of the Riviera Maya: Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Cancún is Mexico’s largest tourist destination and is located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. With miles of beautiful white sand beach edging the Caribbean Sea, Cancún was the first FONATUR (Mexico’s tourist development group) Integrally Planned Center developed specifically for tourism in Mexico. Development of the area began in 1970 and was operational by 1974.

As a planned tourist development, everything is geared toward the tourism industry. Getting to Cancún is easy with a modern international airport and many flights from around the world each day.

You should know that Cancún is not a walking city. The Hotel Zone alone has miles and miles of hotels and It can take 20-minutes by car to reach the downtown area.

Here is an overview of the real estate properties we visited:


In the downtown area, one-to two-bedroom condos are selling for under US$100,000. A listed one-bedroom for US$95,000 is just 300 sq. ft. Puerto Cancún and Cancún City are more expensive. For example, a four-bedroom condo is listed for US$1,000,000, or US$300 per sq. ft.

We toured a beautiful luxury project with an ocean view called SLS Harbor Beach. Each condo is US$1 million or higher, with an average price of US$400 per sq. ft. Harbor is under construction and will have 5-star amenities to pamper owners and guests.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, which is about 45-minutes south of Cancún’s airport, is more European in feeling, smaller in scale and a very walkable city. Most things are in a 20-block area. The town is centrally located to many of the tourist areas, as well as being close to the airport. This town has become an international destination, not only for tourism, but also expat residents. There is a very active restaurant scene and a nice range of shopping for visitors and locals.

The town has been growing over the years at a fast rate, but still has the charm of rustic beach huts, sand streets and older buildings that are now occupied by upscale restaurants and boutique hotels. Tourists and residents seem to prefer the small town feel and charm.

If Playa del Carmen still sounds just a little too big, you may want to check out Puerto Morelos, a smaller town located between Cancún and Playa del Carmen. In Puerto Morelos, a one-bedroom and one-bath condo with 645 sq. ft. in the West Playa area is selling for US$58,523. In Oceana, a beach location, a two-bedroom and two-bath condo with 1,400 sq. ft. Is available for US$850,000.


About an hour and a half south of Cancún’s international airport, Tulum is eco-friendly and attracts a lot of people interested in the environment and nature. The town is divided into the center of town, which has all the businesses, souvenir shops and transportation, and an area that is separated from the town by almost three kilometers. The beach area is known for its eco-chic hotels with a price of US$300 or more a night, small gourmet restaurants and celebrity sightings.

Tulum is mainly about relaxing. There are no malls, movie theaters or mini-golf, but if you love the beach or visiting historical sites, Tulum is perfect. You can easily visit the Maya historical sites of Coba, Muyil and Sian Ka’an.

Listed properties in downtown Tulum include a 356 sq. ft. studio for US$59,000 and a two-bedroom and two-bath condo with 506 sq. ft. for US$70,000. Near the Parquet National Archaeology site, there is a four-bedroom condo listed for US$850,000.

If you think Tulum sounds good, but you want an even smaller town, you may want to look at Akumal, a small beach town between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum