15 Greatest Issues To Do in The Yucatan Peninsula

There are limitless adventures to have within the Yucatan. Right here’s a have a look at one of the best issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

Few locations supply as a lot selection as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. An unlimited expanse of jungle, bordered by pristine white seashores, grows out of a novel and complicated ecosystem.

Your entire peninsula is porous limestone with caverns of recent water. Numerous sinkholes (referred to as cenotes) break the floor, offering vacationers with alternatives for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Visiting cenotes is likely one of the must-do’s within the Yucatan

And that’s simply nature. The Yucatan incorporates a mixture of three essential cultures: Mayan, Spanish colonial, and fashionable Mexican.

You may immerse your self in all three in locations like Valladolid, close to Chichen Itza, with a go to to the well-known ruins within the morning, a cease at a Sixteenth-century convent within the afternoon, and a dinner of Yucatan specialties at a classy gastropub within the night.

There are such a lot of issues to do within the Yucatan that many vacationers return time and again. I’m considered one of them. Throughout my 10 years residing in Mexico, I visited the world about every year, generally extra.

With so many locations to go to within the Yucatan, you’re positive to have an ideal expertise it doesn’t matter what you’re searching for!

Listed here are the highest 15 issues to see and do within the Yucatan, plus sensible tips about easy methods to benefit from your journey.

1. Go to Playa del Carmen

Though Cancun is the primary vacation spot that will come to thoughts, I like to recommend Playa del Carmen as a primary cease within the Mayan Riviera.

best places to visit in playa del carmen
A rainbow after some rain. Be certain that to stroll fifth avenue far north previous the touristy spots

Cancun is ok if you wish to confine your journey to an enormous beachside resort (or if you wish to tough it in low cost resorts in Cancun’s considerably rundown downtown space).

However if you wish to stroll barefoot out of your family-run resort to the seashore for an early morning swim, Playa del Carmen is the place.

Though the seashore has suffered erosion and algae invasions in recent times, and there are bigger seashores in Tulum, Puerto Morelos, and Akumal, what provides Playa the sting over these different seashore cities is Quinta Avenida (fifth Avenue).

Conveniently beginning on the important bus station and working parallel to the seashore, Quinta Avenida is pedestrian-only for practically 2 kilometers.

It’s lined with small resorts, memento retailers, and a variety of Mexican and overseas eating places. Exploring this bustling avenue is well one of many prime issues to do within the Yucatan. 

Essentially the most genuine native meals, together with the largest nightclubs, are a block or two away, and also you’re most likely higher off searching for a resort elsewhere (due to noise). However there’s nothing fairly like wandering down Quinta Avenida, day or evening, taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells.

Be certain that to take a look at Calle 38 (simply off of fifth Ave.) and proceed taking fifth avenue north all the best way into Colosio.

2. Hit the Seashore Under the Ruins of Tulum

There are a whole lot of archeological websites within the Yucatan, starting from tiny (however attention-grabbing) iguana-filled San Miguelito in Cancun’s resort zone to large, world-famous Chichen Itza.

ruins near cancun tulum
the seashore beneath Tulum Ruins is a beautiful hue

Tulum might have misplaced most of its appeal over the previous few years, however I like to recommend Tulum for a first-timer’s must-see within the Yucatan. The ruins and seashore listed below are fairly unbelievable. 

About an hour south of Playa del Carmen, it’s straightforward to go to Tulum on a day journey even from Cancun (about two hours away). It has spectacular constructions and a superb mixture of open grassy areas and paths via bushes.

The principle attraction of Tulum, nonetheless, is its location above the turquoise Caribbean.

It’s one of many prime locations to go to within the Yucatan for pictures. Better of all, a wood staircase results in a small seashore beneath, the place you’ll be able to swim out within the water for a distinct view of the Tulum ruins.

A street from the south exit of the park goes to the principle seashore in Tulum, which is lengthy, large, and overflowing with powdery white sand. This mix of ruins and seashore makes a visit to Tulum one other the most effective issues to do within the Yucatan.

Learn the way to go to the Tulum Ruins in our article, right here.

3. Mountain Bike within the Jungle at Punta Venado

Talking of good seashores in Mexico, there’s a stunning and secluded one at Punta Venado (Deer Level) about fifteen minutes south of Playa del Carmen.

The Punta Venado Seashore Membership has good meals and cheap costs, and the quiet seashore is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the Yucatan for some privateness.

As good because the seashore is, the actual draw to Punta Venado is its mountain bike park. A big community of trails has been constructed via the rainforest, and one sandy path runs proper alongside the coast.

You’ll see many wild animals on the paths, together with iguanas, monkeys, and the raccoon-like tree mammal coati.

The paths have three ranges of problem. The intermediate and knowledgeable trails are lengthy, bumpy, and positive to fulfill knowledgeable cyclists used to massive mountains. The newbie trails are a lot much less daunting, however anybody driving them needs to be absolutely comfy on a mountain bike.

You may lease good high quality, well-maintained mountain bikes on the store or carry your individual. And naturally, after your experience, you’ll be able to spend the remainder of the day swimming within the sea or sipping margaritas on the seashore membership’s poolside bar.

4. Discover Isla Mujeres by Bicycle

If you wish to expertise the Yucatan on two wheels however aren’t up for warm and arduous mountain biking within the jungle, you continue to have loads of choices.

things to do in isla mujeres punta sur
Discover Isla Mujeres by bicycle or golf cart

You may lease bicycles at practically each vacationer vacation spot within the Yucatan, comparable to Tulum, Merida, and Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida…and Isla Mujeres.

Among the best Yucatan actions is to cruise throughout Isla Mujeres by bicycle. The lengthy, slender island is situated simply north of Cancun, and you’ll attain it by ferry from Cancun’s resort zone or Puerto Juarez.

The ferries drop you off on the north finish of the island, the place the little village and the biggest seashores are. Most guests by no means depart this space, and certainly won’t even understand how far more to the island there may be.

And really, the best a part of the Yucatan is Punta Sur, a rocky lookout on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres. It’s a stupendous spot, and strolling out to it is likely one of the prime issues to do within the Yucatan, and finest locations to go to in Isla Mujeres.

Renting a cruiser bike within the village is a superb choice for attending to Punta Sur, and you may make stops at different Yucatan points of interest on Isla Mujeres throughout your experience, comparable to Garrafón Pure Reef Park.

Take a look at this enjoyable biking expertise across the island, which takes in most of the sights and could be very reasonably priced.  

5. Swim or Scuba Dive in a Cenote

The Yucatan has many dive websites, particularly the Mayan Riviera, the stretch of the Caribbean shoreline from Cancun to Tulum. In addition to reefs, there’s additionally an underwater museum, which is a sequence of submerged statues within the sea between Isla Mujeres and mainland Cancun.

cenote things to do in cancun
Don’t miss swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in a cenote. This is likely one of the finest issues to do within the Yucatan

This would possibly sound unusual to scuba divers, however for me, one of the best diving is reached by van, not by boat, and never within the deep open sea, however in slender caverns in only some meters of recent water.

I’m speaking about cenotes, the freshwater sinkholes that result in intensive networks of caves. Scuba diving in cenotes is considered one of my favourite adventures within the Yucatan, and every time I’m going, I go to just a few new ones.

Two well-liked cenotes are Dos Ojos and El Pit. They’re proper subsequent to one another, sharing an entrance and customer middle, and so they’re conveniently situated off the freeway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

They make for a wonderful introduction to cenote diving each due to their location and likewise as a result of they’re very completely different.

Dos Ojos is a cavern dive with two routes that take you thru slender passages stuffed with stalagmites, stalactites, and tree roots dangling within the water.

El Pit, because the identify suggests, is a large, deep chamber, the place vivid beams of sunshine slant via the blue-tinted water.

If you wish to go cenote diving, go to a dive store in Playa del Carmen or Tulum. They’ll focus on the choices with you, lease gear, and supply transportation.

In the event you’re not a scuba diver, Dos Ojos continues to be a sensible choice for swimming in a cenote.

If you end up in a distinct a part of the Yucatan, comparable to Merida, don’t fear, as a result of cenotes are in every single place, and every one affords one thing distinctive and attention-grabbing. Swimming of their cool recent water is likely one of the important issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula.

6. Swing in a Hammock over Kaan Luum’s Sapphire Water

About quarter-hour south of Tulum city by automobile or public transportation is an entire different form of cenote. Kaan Luum is a big, roughly round lagoon of recent water surrounded by dense jungle.

Kaan Luum Lagoon cenote mexico
Kaan Luum is to not be missed!

It’s fairly shallow, about chest-high, till the middle of the lagoon, which incorporates a deep cenote. Right here the sky-blue hues of the clear water abruptly go darkish. It’s roped off, so you’ll be able to’t swim into it, however you’ll be able to swim alongside and ponder its murky depths.

Kaan Luum is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the Yucatan to loosen up. Carry chilly drinks and snacks, and hang around on one of many lengthy piers all day.

You can too climb into one of many hammocks strung up over the water and swing the day away. Discover Kaan Luum on the map, right here.

7. Take a Boat Journey in Bacalar

For a multi-colored lake on a a lot grander scale than Kaan Luum, head south to Bacalar, the lake of seven colours, one of the vital lovely locations to go to within the Yucatan.

bacalar one of the most beautiful places in the yucatan
Bacalar is likely one of the most lovely locations to go to within the Yucatan

For the complete Bacalar expertise, take a ship journey across the lake. As quickly as you method the principle dock, individuals will instantly method providing boat journeys. You may carry no matter you need on the boat, comparable to a cooler stuffed with beer, and are available ready to swim.

The boat journey will take you throughout the lake, making stops at submerged cenotes and a shallow sandy space close to a canal as soon as utilized by pirates, the place you’ll be able to bounce in and funky off.

The information can even level out stromatolites, coral-like limestone rocks which are fashioned by an historic algae that’s one of many oldest types of life on Earth.

For a bit more cash, however a way more peaceable journey, head out on a sailboat as an alternative

8. Escape the Crowds at Holbox

The 2 massive islands off of the Yucatan’s Caribbean coast, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, are inside straightforward attain by comparatively brief ferry journeys from Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

visit isla holbox yucatan
Don’t miss the funky island of Isla Holbox

They’re wonderful locations to go to within the Yucatan, with tons to do, particularly biking on Isla Mujeres, scuba diving off Cozumel, and hitting the seashore at each.

Considerably overshadowed by these two luminaries is the Yucatan Peninsula’s third main island, Holbox, situated between the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s considerably farther away, requiring a protracted (however simple) drive or bus journey from Cancun or Merida earlier than you get on the ferry to the island.

It’s well worth the journey, and the most effective locations to go to within the Yucatan to get away from all of it. Holbox has a cool village with pleasant, reasonably priced resorts and a spread of eating places.

The seashores are astounding, and one part typically lights up with bioluminescence at evening. And should you’re there between June and September, you’ll be able to participate in one of many very best Yucatan adventures — swimming with whale sharks.

9. Stroll the Tranquil Streets of Valladolid

Valladolid’s largest declare to fame could also be its proximity to Chichen Itza, one of many New Seven Wonders of the World. However the fairly small city is totally price a go to for its personal sake, and I counsel staying for a number of days if attainable.

visit valladolid mexico
Spend just a few days exploring Valladolid

Colourful, well-restored colonial buildings line cobblestone streets in a neatly deliberate grid, making for nice strolling and pictures.

Scattered amongst them are Yucatan points of interest like leafy parks, museums in colonial mansions, a 500-year-old convent, a cenote, and an genuine market with native specialties on the market.

There are quite a few issues to see and do in Valladolid to maintain you busy. Plus, there are some wonderful eating places right here as effectively. 

Staying in Valladolid is sensible earlier than or after a visit to Chichen Itza because you’ll be capable of go to the ruins proper after they open, earlier than the tour buses arrive.

10. Step Again in Time at Mayan Ruins

With quite a few archeological websites on the Yucatan Peninsula, you might spend a lifetime pursuing an adventurous Indiana Jones expertise, particularly in distant areas overgrown with vegetation like Calakmul, Coba, and Uxmal.

visiting the Coba mayan ruins
The Coba ruins are a must-see within the Yucatan

With its iconic pyramid, Chichen Itza attracts the crowds, and for good purpose. The massive website has an enchanting number of constructions, detailed carvings, and distinctive sections.

It’s massive sufficient to spend the entire day in and be frequently shocked by one thing new — platforms stuffed with columns, paths via the jungle, and two cenotes.

It won’t really feel as distant or mysterious as another Mayan ruins, however visiting Chichen Itza continues to be the most effective issues to do within the Yucatan, despite all of the hype and vacationers. Then, in your subsequent journey, you’ll be able to (and may) go to different historic Mayan cities.

11. Pattern Native Delicacies in Merida’s Public Market

Merida is the biggest metropolis within the Yucatan and the capital of the Yucatan state. The peninsula contains three states, with Yucatan within the north and middle, Quintana Roo on the east facet, and Campeche on the west facet.

cochinita pibil tacos merida
Go to Merida and pattern the tasty cochinita pibil tacos

It doesn’t really feel like a metropolis, nonetheless, however extra like a residing museum of Spanish colonial structure. It’s the most effective locations to go to within the Yucatan to wander round and take in some tradition.

And there’s no higher place to leap proper into the tradition than Merida’s sprawling market. A go to right here is likely one of the prime issues to do in Merida.

Positioned just a few blocks from the zocalo (middle sq.) in the midst of city, the market has a number of sections the place you could find produce, flowers, medication, souvenirs, and all types of family items.

The meals part is my favourite half. You may strive the various dishes of the Yucatan Peninsula’s distinctive delicacies at all kinds of small eating places and meals stalls, and you’ll’t beat the low costs.

Some tried-and-true favorites are cochinita pibil, shredded pork marinated in spicy ashiote sauce, which is usually served in tacos or typical Yucatan finger meals comparable to panuchos and salbutes.

Relleno negro, a black turkey soup, tastes nothing like the way it appears. Additionally, head to a juice stand to strive genuine chaya, a local leaf floor up and served as a refreshing drink.

12. Take the Horse-Drawn Practice to the Cuzuma Cenotes

Spending a day attending to the Cuzuma cenotes is likely one of the adventures within the Yucatan you’ll always remember.

Three cenotes are situated in a former sugarcane plantation, and a small railroad passes via the positioning. It was previously used to move crops, and now it’s used to move guests to the cenotes.

Horses pull the prepare automobiles surprisingly rapidly from cenote to cenote. The cenotes themselves are implausible, with massive chambers and loads of room for swimming.

The doorway to 1 is only a shoulder-width gap within the floor with a wood staircase main down into the darkness.

From the city of Cuzuma, it’s straightforward to get details about discovering the prepare. To get to Cuzuma in public transportation, search for colectivos (passenger vans) leaving from close to Merida’s public market.

13. Marvel on the Pink Water of Las Coloradas

The pink lagoons of Las Coloradas, close to the small city of Rio Largartos, are a photographer’s dream. The realm is used for salt manufacturing, which turns the water shades of crimson and pink each six months. 

los coloradas yucatan places to visit
The color of the water at Los Coloradas is wonderful

You’re not allowed to get within the water anymore, however you’ll be able to nonetheless stroll round their shores, testing the colours and organising nice pictures. Be certain that to return in March or in July and August to see the colours at their brightest.

Rio Lagartos is situated on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the finish of a freeway coming from Valladolid. In addition to Las Coloradas, the world additionally has beautiful seashores and a big protected space stuffed with crocodiles and flamingos.

14. See the Flamingos on the Celestún Biosphere Reserve

In the event you didn’t get sufficient flamingos in Rio Lagartos, then head west from Merida to the Celestún Biosphere Reserve, which has an unlimited flamingo colony.

things to do in the yucatan see flamingos
Seeing the flamingos is likely one of the finest issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula

This enormous nature reserve takes up practically your complete west coast of the peninsula north of Campeche, and the most effective entry factors is the sleepy fishing village of Celestún. You can too take a look at the deserted and overgrown ruins of an previous hacienda close by.

You may see the flamingos proper on the seashore close to a city, or you’ll be able to organize a ship journey via the mangroves, the place you’ll see a number of different tropical birds and crocodiles.

You will get to Celestún by automobile or public transportation from Merida in about an hour and a half, and there’s no query {that a} day journey to this pristine space is likely one of the finest issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula to understand nature.

15. Be taught Some Historical past within the Colonial Gem of Campeche

Based in 1540, Campeche was a vital Spanish outpost in colonial instances, and the town at present is a must-see within the Yucatan for historical past lovers.

streets of campeche things to do in yucatan mexico
Campeche is a superb place to go to within the Yucatan for historical past lovers

The pastel-painted buildings of the historic district are nonetheless enclosed by the previous metropolis wall, making for a enjoyable day of sightseeing. And no journey to Campeche is full and not using a go to to Fort San Miguel, now an archeological museum.

There are many issues to do in Campeche and a few nice eating places, so ensure that to offer your self a while right here. In the event you plan on spending the evening, take a look at these prime Airbnbs in Campeche.

Additionally, due to its location within the west of the peninsula, Campeche can also be a logical cease for individuals on bigger journeys to Mexico. By automobile or bus, you will get to Ciudad del Carmen in three hours and Palenque in 5.

FAQ’s Concerning the Yucatan Peninsula

Listed here are some solutions to generally requested questions on this area of Mexico.

Is the Yucatan Secure?

Sure, the Yucatan is mostly secure. As with wherever you journey, particularly in Mexico, all the time take primary precautions. Don’t drink an excessive amount of, don’t settle for drinks from strangers, don’t depart your purse or backpack unattended on the seashore or on a restaurant chair, and don’t stroll down unfamiliar streets at evening.

In recent times there have been disturbing incidences of drug-related violence in seashore cities within the Mayan Riviera, comparable to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and even usually peaceable Puerto Morelos. They’re nonetheless comparatively uncommon however are occurring extra ceaselessly.

In the event you’re involved, look into staying in quieter locations that don’t have a lot of a celebration environment, comparable to Akumal or Holbox, or focus your journey on inland areas, comparable to Merida, which is likely one of the most secure locations to go to within the Yucatan and all of Mexico.

Be certain that to have journey insurance coverage in your journey to the Yucatan Peninsula. SafetyWing is an effective choice for travellers and digital nomads.

When Is the Greatest Time to Go to the Yucatan?

Coastal areas within the Yucatan are usually heat and breezy all 12 months, whereas inland locations (Merida, Valladolid, and many others.) get a lot hotter in the summertime months.

Rain is feasible at any time, though it often solely comes down onerous for about half an hour. Then the solar shines down onerous once more, drying off your garments.

Hurricane season is from June to October, so throughout these instances, the chance exists for harmful multi-day storms.

There’s not a lot you are able to do concerning the climate, however you may make your time within the Yucatan a lot nicer by avoiding busy journey instances. Extra worldwide vacationers go to in December and January, particularly between Christmas and New 12 months’s Eve.

Home vacationers additionally go to in massive numbers then, together with late July to early August (when many Mexicans have break day work) and Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week earlier than Easter, when everybody has break day work.

Keep away from Semana Santa in any respect prices. Lodges and flights might be booked up, and seashores and vacationer locations might be packed.

The way to Get Across the Yucatan

Automotive leases are low cost within the Yucatan. All the same old firms have places of work on the Cancun and Merida airports, the 2 important airports within the area.

In the event you’ll solely be staying in a single spot, you don’t have to lease a automobile. Peninsula-wide, a number of varieties of public transportation run often all day lengthy. Getting from Cancun to a different place on the coast, comparable to Tulum, is fast and simple.

In the event you plan to go to Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, merely stroll onto the ferry. Each are shut sufficient for day journeys, however you’ll be able to see much more should you keep just a few days.

For longer journeys, comparable to from Cancun to Merida, you’ll take a bus. ADO is a first-class bus firm with stations all around the peninsula. Take a look at their web site for choices, costs, and journey instances.

Second-class buses additionally depart from ADO stations, however they make a number of stops and take oblique routes, and you’ll often solely get details about them and buy tickets on the station, not on-line.

Is the Yucatan Peninsula price visiting?

Sure, the Yucatan is unquestionably price visiting! With all kinds of issues to see and do, you’ll by no means be bored. Whether or not you’re into pure magnificence or colonial cities, there’s one thing for everybody within the Yucatan Peninsula.

What number of days do you want in Yucatan Peninsula?

How a lot time you want relies on what you wish to do. In the event you’re going to stay to 1 or two cities, then you’ll be able to go to for just a few days. If you wish to see ruins, go to seashores, go to reserves and discover colonial cities, then give your self every week.

Now You Know What to Do in The Yucatan

Scripting this put up actually makes me wish to return to take pleasure in all the great locations to go to within the Yucatan.

I’ve had a good time through the years experiencing all of those finest issues to do within the Yucatan, and compiling them right here has me serious about my subsequent journey to this unbelievable area of Mexico.

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15 Amazing Things to do in The Yucatan Peninsula
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