The Music Scene on the Riviera Maya

The Mayan Riviera is a privileged strip of magnificent white sand that stretches across several small towns along the Caribbean-facing edge of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Warm crystal waters and nearly perfect year-round weather have drawn savvy travelers here for a few decades, and a strong tourism sector has since sprung up in response. Visitors are now surrounded by cultural options, including all kinds of music from indigenous Mayan folk to modern club tunes.

With so much on offer, beachfront Riviera Maya villa rentals are now soaring in popularity with travel groups. Music lovers who are interested in visiting should certainly do a little research, and perhaps even monitor some of the region’s top venues for can’t miss shows.

Popular Music Festivals

The biggest and best known music event around these parts is undoubtedly the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, held each year in late November at Mamitas Beach in Playa Del Carmen. Launched in 2003, the 3-day event features top international performers and is today considered one of the world’s top jazz festivals.

Some of the region’s more popular towns, like Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, also host massive Carnaval celebrations each year in February. This is a great chance to let loose and party in the streets with a great variety of local sounds.

Show Bars on the Riviera Maya

Those who enjoy popular live music genres like rock and reggae have no shortage of options, either. Bars, clubs, and resorts all up and down the coast regularly host local and international bands on their stages, and the easiest way to check the schedule is to contact one of these resorts and ask. A brand new Hard Rock Hotel is scheduled for completion in late 2013, promising to extend the run of high profile artists in the Riviera Maya.

The Local Music Scene

In addition to famous international performers, the Mayan Riviera is also home to some terrific indigenous music. Most towns feature regular performances from local music and dance collectives such as the Mayab Jarana Group and the Mexican Folkloric Ballet.

It may be tricky trying to plan one of these shows into your agenda, but know that they often take place in town plazas and near major resorts. You can check with any major hotel or resort to try and get a schedule.

The Festival of Life and Death Traditions

If you plan on being there in late October/early November, definitely check out the Festival of Life and Death Traditions in Xcaret. This is an excellent regional showcase of traditional music, from marimba and charanga to Pre-Hispanic and indigenous Yucatan rhythms.

Finally, those who really enjoy the modern nightclub scene will be well served here. All of the Mayan Riviera’s towns feature beach bars and clubs with DJs playing some of the same dancefloor hits you’d hear in Europe’s top clubs. Playa Del Carmen’s Blue Parrot is a great option, as is Neptuno in Cozumel. But don’t worry about the names – basically, for a hot night out, just wander down the street and the music will find you.

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