23 Superb Issues to do in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is an expansive swath of land within the southeastern a part of the nation, separating the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. From the azure waters of the Caribbean Coast to the stays of historical Mayan ruins strewn all through the inside, there are such a lot of issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula you’ll want to return repeatedly to see all of it.

The Yucatán Peninsula is sometimes called merely “The Yucatan” nevertheless it really consists of three states – The Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Most individuals are aware of Quintana Roo as it’s right here you’ll discover well-known seashores and the all-inclusive resorts of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Tulum. This journey information goes to take you past the vacationer resorts to discover all the pieces the Yucatan Peninsula has to supply.

Issues to do in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula

Few locations within the western world see luxurious seashore resorts constructed beside ruins from a earlier civilization that thrived not so way back. The place spring-breaking faculty college students frequent an space simply as in style to world-renown archaeologists and tutorial specialists from across the globe. The Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico appeals to everybody!

What to do in Yucatan Mexico

This submit was initially written by Justin and Tracy and it has been up to date and expanded for 2022 by Dave and Deb

Plagued by archeological websites, infinite white-sand seashores, and containing the ring of Cenotes, there are such a lot of issues to do in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, it should draw you again repeatedly. Irrespective of the explanation, when you get there, there are numerous alternative ways you possibly can discover, get pleasure from, and enrapture your self within the Yucatan Peninsula. This space, as soon as a main stronghold of the Mayan Empire, is now a haven for vacationers of all walks of life.

Our Favorite Resorts within the Yucatan

Once we go to the Yucatan Peninsula, we frequently keep in all-inclusive motels for no less than per week to calm down earlier than getting down to discover. And typically we merely e book a week-long getaway. These are among the motels we’ve stayed in and have totally loved our keep.

1. Swim with Whale Sharks

things to do in yucatan mexico video
Swim with Whale Sharks

By far among the best issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula is to go swimming with Whale Sharks. Taking a ship journey simply two hours off the coast of Cancun is the prospect to test off this final bucket listing merchandise and get within the water to swim with whale sharks. Learn extra: Swimming with Whale Sharks Cancun

We booked our whale shark tour with GetYourGuide. This was an incredible tour that takes you out to the islands of Contoy and Holbox. Apart from whale sharks, hold a watch out for sea turtles and dolphins as effectively.

Guide your tour right here to swim with the Whale Sharks – It provides free cancelation inside 24 hours of tour and it picked us up at our residence rental in Playa del Carmen.

2. Make a Cease at Chichen Itza

chichen itza in mexico wonder of the world

One of many high issues to do within the Yucatán Peninsula is, with out query, is Chichen Itza. This sprawling UNESCO World Heritage web site of Mayan pyramids, ball courts, sanctuaries, and temples is believed to be the first location for Mayan Governance. Learn extra on the Final Information to the Yucatan.

The Mayan Pyramid of Kukulcan, or El Castillo because it’s colloquially referred to as, is the centerpiece. The steep, excessive stairs appear to taunt you as they draw the attention up in admiration of a very magnificent Mayan construction. It’s right here the place Mayan clergymen carried out their most personal and vital ceremonies, to offer thanks, ask for blessings, and even bury their leaders.

Along with El Castillo, The Nice Ball Courtroom is one other factor you don’t want to overlook. As soon as the location of an historical, ritualistic sport performed by the Maya in honor of the Gods, whose loser misplaced not solely the sport however typically his life this a part of Chichen Itza offers an fascinating look into the Mayan tradition.
Guide this extremely rated tour of the ruins. Apart from seeing Chichen Itza, it additionally takes you to the Sacred Cenote and Valladolid.

3. Swim in The Sacred Cenote

what to do on the Yucatan Peninsula Sacred Cenote
The Sacred Cenote, positioned has vital historical past on the Yucatan

On the grounds of Chichen Itza is the Sacred Cenote, the first cenote from which the traditional Maya civilization thrived for a whole lot of years. Proof means that the Maya used this web site for spiritual ceremonies. See what it’s wish to tour certainly one of Mexico’s underground rivers at Rio Secreto Cenote – Mexico’s Magical Underground Caves

Immediately it’s a main attraction for guests to the Yucatan as a result of deep, refreshing waters and mesmerizing surroundings. This cenote is a key vacation spot for historians, scientists, {and professional} divers, as pottery, instruments, and even stays have been discovered alongside riveted cabinets within the cenote partitions!

Cenotes of the Yucatan

Places to visit in Mexico Cenotes

Probably the greatest issues to do within the Yucatan is to discover its Cenotes. (An underground cave). There are a number of cenotes scattered all through the Yucatan and the state of Quintana Roo. This Cenote Tour takes you to the 4 forms of cenotes in Quintana Roo that exist in nature: semi-open, open, historical, and cavern discover its Cenotes. Guide this extremely rated tour right here.

4. Take within the Stunning Scene from Tulum

things to see on the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico Tulum Ruins
Tulum is a beautiful seashore city with nice Mayan ruins

When strolling as much as the Mayan ruins of Tulum, you possibly can’t assist however suppose that “these Mayans had the suitable concept!” With the crystalline aqua of the Caribbean Sea as a phenomenal backdrop, Tulum stands proudly on the shores far above the white sands beneath. Amid seashore golf equipment, trip resorts, hammocks, and sun-kissed vacationers, Tulum is among the most visually fascinating places in all of North America.

The resort city that Tulum rests inside does nothing however add to the inspiring nature of the situation, as revelers of fun-in-the-sun can take a historical past break to stroll the grounds of the previous Mayan fortress. After exploring the gorgeous ruins, take a stroll down the street to any one of many native eating places for contemporary meals and drinks – proper on the seashore.

Guide this Tulum Tour it features a tour of Tulum the place you’ll be taught of the Mayan civilization and tradition adopted by a cease at probably the most lovely cenotes within the Yucatan Peninsula.

5. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

Positioned farther south down the coast of Quintana Roo, The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is the biggest protected space within the Mexican Caribbean. This UNESCO World Heritage Web site is wealthy with wildlife together with many hen species. With actions like boat excursions and snorkeling, visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a good way to get out and expertise the pure fantastic thing about the Riviera Maya.

6. Stroll The Streets Of Playa Del Carmen

places to visit in yucatan playa del carmen sign

Playa del Carmen is a significant vacationer vacation spot in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and never solely is it an excellent place to go to, nevertheless it’s additionally an incredible place to remain too. Day excursions and motels typically shuttle folks to Playa del Carmen the place you possibly can store on La Quinta Avenida. However staying in a single day is a should as effectively.

The eating places and nightlife will hold you busy, nevertheless it isn’t fairly as wild an evening out as it’s in Cancun. There are numerous locations to select from together with the world-famous Coco Bongo however you’ll additionally discover chilled-out seashore bars, stay music, and scrumptious Mexican delicacies.

7. Isla Mujeres – The Island of Ladies

yucatan things to do

Isla Mujeres is a well-liked day journey from Cancun however you possibly can keep on the island as effectively. It has white sand seashores, clear waters, and nice snorkeling at Garrafon Reef Park. Isla Mujeres is translated to the Island of Ladies in English. It was sacred to the traditional Mayans who worshipped it because the goddess of childbirth. Therefore the identify the Island of Ladies. Learn extra: The Finest Cancun Day Journeys. You possibly can e book day excursions to Isla Mujeres with excursions to Isla Contoy for hen watching.

8. Isla Holbox

holbox mexico at sunset

Isla Holbox is a quiet island off the coast and has develop into fairly in style in recent times. Whale sharks migrate by means of the area making it a sensible choice for whale shark excursions. No vehicles are allowed on the island however there are motels, trip leases, and eating places. You possibly can e book whale shark excursions from right here.

Day excursions take you to Chiquilá the place you catch the ferry to discover its colourful homes, do some hen watching, and swim in its pristine waters. However if you wish to mellow out, keep in a single day for a day or two.

9. Scuba Diving

going out for a dive in the yucatan
heading out for scuba diving from Cozumel

The waters of Cozumel have pristine coral reefs crammed with an abundance of marine life and colourful fish. Its wonderful readability, with visibility reaching over 100 toes, makes it one of many nice locations for scuba diving on this planet.

Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island, positioned a brief ferry experience from Playa del Carmen. In 1961 Jacques Cousteau found the magnificent scuba diving right here and declared the realm as probably the most lovely dive websites on this planet. They had been declared a nationwide marine park in 1996. This has allowed the reef to thrive and the wildlife to flourish, making for probably the most sensational scuba diving experiences you’re more likely to ever have. We significantly loved drift diving on this space.

10. Cozumel Island

Sitting on the beach in Cozumel

Talking of Cozumel, we spent per week on the island not solely making it our base for scuba diving, however additionally it is lots of enjoyable to discover Cozumel Island. We rented a jeep to get across the island and discover the seashores. If you’re staying on Cozumel and might’t make it to the mainland to go to the Mayan Ruins, you possibly can go to Uncover Mexico Park to see fashions of Mexico’s hottest points of interest.

Or you possibly can go to the small Mayan Smash of San Gervasio Ruins to pay tribute to the Goddess of Love. There are markets, eating places, and bars in Cozumel making for an incredible Mexican trip. Cozumel Island is a 40-minute ferry experience from Playa del Carmen making it a well-liked day journey as effectively.

11. Get together it Up in Cancun

Top Places to Visit in Mexico Cancun

No journey to the Yucatan could be full with out no less than stopping within the well-known coastal metropolis of Cancun. Its lengthy sandy seashores, an infinite row of motels, and world-famous nightlife have made it a cease on each spring breakers bucket listing. It’s enjoyable to go into city for the evening to occasion in certainly one of its bars. Go loopy for an evening and have some enjoyable within the city within the Resort Zone.

Cancun isn’t only for partiers although the infinite sand seashore is enticing to anybody, Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Mayan World Museum the biggest assortment of Mayan artifacts. There are many issues to do in Cancun and we’ve got an entire listing of Cancun points of interest right here.

12. Sea Turtles of Akumal Seashore

swimming with sea turtles is magical

Akumal is a well-liked nesting floor for sea turtles and swimming with sea turtles has develop into the highest draw within the space. The protected bay makes for good circumstances for snorkeling. Sea turtles are ample and you may snorkel right here independently with no need to take a tour. So seize your snorkel gear, hire a automobile and make your approach to Akumal to see what it’s wish to swim with sea turtles. Akumal is positioned between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, 104 km (65 miles) from Cancun.

If you wish to go diving in a Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos is positioned between Akumal and Tulum. Dos Ojos Cenotes (which means Spanish for 2 eyes) is among the finest locations to scuba dive in a Cenote within the Yucatan. Cenotes in Pictures – Uncover Mexico’s Extraordinary Underground Caves

13. Mérida

mexico yucatan peninsula merida

Often called the White Metropolis, Mérida is the capital metropolis of Yucatan State and is called the cultural capital of the cities in Yucatan. It’s additionally thought of probably the most lovely cities within the Yucatan. Merida has develop into a well-liked spot for ex-pats settling in Mexico due to its infrastructure and facilities. Colourful buildings line the streets, the place native artisans promote hammocks, conventional clothes, and conventional Yucatan meals. Additionally it is an incredible place to be taught Spanish. It grew to become often called the white metropolis as a result of white mansions that line the tree-lined boulevard, Paseo Montejo. Make sure that to spend a day or two in Merida for a extra genuine Mexican trip away from the touristy cities of Quintana Roo.

14. Izamal

yucatan mexico izamal yellow city

Izamal, aka La Ciudad Amarilla (or The Yellow Metropolis), is designated a Pueblo Mágico (Magical City) by the Mexican authorities. This designation is to protect its particular tradition and it’s particular certainly. Positioned between Mérida and Chichén Itzá, Izamal is a well-liked day journey from Merida. Named after the Mayan God Itzamná, Izamal attracts guests to marvel at its lovely yellow buildings. Some folks consider the town was painted yellow to honor a go to from Pope John Paul II in 1993 whereas others say it’s to honor the Mayan Solar God Kinich Ahau (Kinich Ajaw). Regardless of the cause, it has achieved an incredible job attracting guests.

15. Cliff Dive at Cenote Zaci

things to do in Yucatan Cenote Zaci
Cenote Zaci is an incredible place to go to in Yucatan Mexico

Cenote Zaci is among the hottest cenotes within the Yúcatan. Positioned in Valladolid, Cenote Zaci is only a brief stroll from downtown. Zaci Cenote is reasonable to enter, at solely about 30 pesos per particular person, and provides a merely irreplaceable expertise as soon as inside. You’ll end up stepping down a steep, slim, staircase that reveals a grand expanse of vegetation and cliffs which overlook the gorgeous Cenote Zaci. Right here you possibly can problem your worry of heights with a leap of greater than thirty toes into the waters under!

Watch our video having enjoyable within the Yucatan’s Cenotes

cenotes of yucatan mexico

If cliff leaping isn’t fairly your velocity, the expansive and funky waters are good for a peaceable float within the warmth of the day, and simply reachable by the walkway that’s constructed into the perimeter of the cenote. Learn extra: Cenotes in Pictures – Uncover Mexico’s Extraordinary Underground Caves

Cenotes will be discovered throughout this a part of Mexico, particularly in Quintana Roo. When you don’t make it to Cenote Zaci, be sure to no less than look into different Cenote Excursions Like this one which we did.

16. Discover Enchanting Ek Balam

things to do on the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico Ek Balam
The closest Mayan ruins to Valladolid

Ek Balam is the traditional Mayan metropolis nearest to Valladolid and that wants loads of time to go to. The complicated is sprawling, with greater than 45 buildings of various objective, design, and dimension. Essentially the most notable construction on the grounds is El Trono (‘The Throne’), the place the founding father of Ek Balam society, Ukit Kan Le’ok Tok’, is regarded as buried.

exploring el bekam

This can be a placing construction with a deceivingly steep climb of 106 steps to the highest. From right here, one can gaze upon your complete cover of the Yucatan jungle. Nearer to floor stage, there are historical chapels, steam baths, and the Oval Palace. It was believed to be a spot of worship giving due to the Gods.

17. Climb the Steps of Coba

things to do Yucatan Mexico Coba Ruins

Coba is among the many ruins within the Yucatán Peninsula that gives probably the most fascinating, freshest perspective amongst history-lovers and archaeologists. It’s believed that 90% of the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula are nonetheless buried at Coba.

Solely partially full in its excavation, Coba stays a rugged construction that peaks above the emerald bushes to disclose the true remoteness of its setting. You possibly can see mounds upon mounds of unearthed buildings throughout the forests – the place scientists consider that greater than 90 % of the Mayan ruins within the Yucatan stay hidden! Guide this Tulum Coba and Valladolid Tour to expertise the perfect of the Yucatan in at some point.

Whereas not as totally excavated as Chichen Itza, that’s precisely what makes this particular. Right here you possibly can climb the very best Mayan Pyramid within the Yucatán Peninsula at greater than 130 toes in top. Be sure to put on an excellent pair of sneakers, as Coba presents one of many tougher climbs among the many pyramids in Mexico, with 120 steep and daunting steps to the highest!

18. Las Coloradas (Pink Lakes)

best things to do in the yucatan peninsula mexico las coloradas

Las Coloradas has definitely grown to develop into one of many high issues to do within the Yucatan Peninsula. With Instagram and TikTok gracing our lives, everybody desires to share pictures and movies of pink lakes. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to see pink lakes, and those at Las Coloradas are second to none. The brilliant pink salt lakes are the results of the critters that thrive within the dense saltwater. Algae, shrimp, and brine. You possibly can now not go within the water and even get near it. There are actually platforms for viewing however one of the simplest ways to view the lakes is to e book a tour.

This Day Journey from Cancun takes you to the Pink Lakes in consolation the place you’ll discover the salt lakes of Las Coloradas, the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, and a seafood lunch.

19. Laguna de Bacalar (Lagoon of Seven Colours)

things to do in yucatan mexico

It was in 2003 that we took a bus from Cancun to cross the Belize border whereas exploring Latin America. Taking our time exploring the south of Mexico was a once-in-a-lifetime journey. On our approach to the border city of Chetumal (the capital metropolis of Quintana Roo), we stopped at Balacar Lagoon.

Often called the Maldives of Mexico, The Lagoon of Seven Colours has (you guessed it) seven shades of blue. Positioned two hours south of Tulum, it’s the good getaway to keep away from the mass of vacationers within the Riviera Maya.

This 60km sequence of inland waterways was as soon as a passage for pirates and early merchants. Admittedly we haven’t been again since that journey, however we’ll always remember the gorgeous turquoise waters of Balacar Lagoon.

20. Valladolid

things to do in yucatan peninsula valladolid sign
Valladolid is the right place to remain on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Whereas the temptation might be to remain in both Cancun or Playa del Carmen we expect you’ll get extra out of your time within the Yucatan by staying in Valladolid. Positioned a mere two-hour drive from break places equivalent to Tulum and fewer than an hour from a handful of different fascinating places, Valladolid is each inexpensive and delightful.

Valladolid has the excellence of being named a Pueblo Mexico (Magic city) which means it has been acknowledged by the Mexican authorities as having magical qualities. Valladolid is the biggest metropolis within the heartland of the Yucatán state. You’ll wish to keep as near Plaza e Parque Francisco Canton (Central Plaza) in downtown Valladolid as doable. Valladolid has a myriad of eating places and retailers. Plus it’s simple to entry Mexico’s freeway 180, which works west-to-east throughout the peninsula. If you wish to actually see all of the Yucatan provides, staying in Valladolid is a should.

21. Go For A Drive – With Your Digital camera!

what to do on the Yucatan Peninsula Tulum boat

It took us just one afternoon to be taught a really beneficial lesson – take your digital camera in all places within the Yucatan. Even on seemingly lengthy, empty stretches of street between break places or cenotes, there are alternatives for the informal shutterbug.

Whether or not a railway main into the comb, a phenomenal nation store, or scenic nature, the Yucatan will proceed supplying you with alternatives to seize extra. Merely get misplaced, cease wherever you’re moved, and attempt to seize what solely the attention can see. This might’ve been how the Mayans would’ve needed you to expertise their residence, so do it! Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is filled with photograph alternatives, like this seashore in Tulum.

22. Immerse with The Locals

where to go Yucatan Mexico Valladolid festival
Interacting with the locals will educate you extra in regards to the Yucatan’s tradition

In relation to the folks and tradition, the Yucatan Peninsula will depart you actually moved. Any journey to the Yucatan is really remiss with out the realm’s biggest attribute – the folks.

They’re so sort, so giving, and so partaking that you simply’ll end up misplaced in easy dialog whereas desirous to know extra in regards to the customs that make the Yucatan actually distinctive.

The Yucatan pulls the perfect from you, and from that, you’ll end up actually mixing with a land, and other people, who’re unmatched of their attraction, magnificence, and heat.

If you go to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, you’ll create reminiscences to final a lifetime and can wish to come again repeatedly. The Yucatan attracts all forms of travellers.

23. Take pleasure in Scrumptious Delicacies

what to eat in the yucatan
You’ll discover scrumptious Mexican delicacies on the Yucatan Peninsula

You’ve by no means had authentically Mexican meals fairly like that supplied within the Yucatan. So shocked will you be by the depth of taste, the intricacy of preparation, and the satisfaction of the expertise that you’ll yearn for it lengthy after your journey residence.

Recent. Daring. Wealthy. The profiles of even the only dish within the Yucatan will depart the foodie in all of us begging for extra! We might truthfully say upon leaving that we’ve by no means had guacamole so good and by no means had tacos so good!

However extra importantly, we loved the distinctive spin on on a regular basis Mexican classics the folks of the Yucatan have perfected. There are a couple of native favorites within the Yucatan, most of that are comprised of among the finest steak and chorizo dishes this aspect of Argentina! Usually these locally-created dishes are served with pickled sweet-onions together with contemporary jams, bean dishes, and sauces equivalent to chimichurri.

Finest Method to Get Across the Yucatan Peninsula

places to visit in the Yucatan

For us, the finest approach to get round Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is by renting a automobile. We favor this over excursions as a result of we will get to locations earlier than the tour buses crammed with vacationers from the Riviera Maya converge. Verify automobile rental costs and availability right here.

Native Bus – Mexico has fairly good buses which might be air-conditioned and inexpensive. ADO bus firm connects cities and areas all through Mexico and the Riviera Maya.

Collectivos are one of the simplest ways to get round if going a brief distance. They’re shared taxis and are low cost and inexpensive.

For Transfers from Cancun Airport to your resort, try eTransfers for the perfect costs. They provide shuttles to the Resort Zone, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, and all alongside the Mayan Riviera.

The Yucatán Peninsula has one thing for each the adventurer and the beach-bum. Maybe it’s this variety of enchantment that makes the Yucatan so fulfilling, so placing, and but nonetheless considerably mysterious. Crammed with historical and pure wonders, turquoise waves crashing on infinite seashores and loads of journey, Mexico’s Yucatan is a spot you’ll love. If you go to Mexico, ensure so as to add this spectacular vacation spot to your itinerary.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Mexico With These Sources

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