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The Riviera Maya is an incredible, relaxing place. The people of Mexico are very friendly and want to please in every way. The food is a very high standard and only if you know quality food would you appreciate it. For hotels, the Iberostar Bavaro, Iberostar Paraiso Beach and Iberostar Paraiso Lindo are all great hotels. The third one mentioned is higher class. The water is warm and a turquoise color.
There are many places to visit while in Riviera Maya. Cancun is a 45 minute ride by taxi and that is what is so great about Riviera Maya, it is private but if you like to be in the "middle" of everything you should stay in Canun, the Hotel Zone which has been rebuilt tremendously. There is a big shopping plaza called La Isla which has a lot of wonderful stores and also some restaurants.
There is also Playa del Carmen which you can get to by bus which the Hotel provides free of charge if you are staying in Riviera Maya. It is about 30 min away. There are many shops and it is kept very clean. There are also "fun" places to eat like Carlos and Charlies and others.
Lastly, take a ferry trip to Cozumel, especially if you love scuba diving. The people, the place, the food, the weather...it's just a great place to visit.