Taking a vacation to Yucatan, Mexico, will be one of the finest choices you will ever make. This region of Mexico is a wonderful destination for anyone interested in history, culture, natural beauty, food, and friendly locals. There are many exciting things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula, and it would take me a lifetime to see them all. Thankfully for you, I have shortened this list of what to do in Yucatan Mexico.
In this blog, I will be sharing the best places to visit in Yucatan Peninsula, suggestions on how to get there and where to stay. This list of things to do in Yucatan is quite diverse – ranging from beaches to heritage ruins and interesting cenotes. I am sure that you will find something that appeals to you. So, let’s begin with a quick introduction to Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
- 1 Where is Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico?
- 2 History of Yucatan
- 3 What to do in Yucatan
- 3.1 Enjoy Cancun’s Beaches & its nightlife – one of the things to do in Yucatan
- 3.2 Visit Merida – “The White City” – one of the key places to visit in Yucatan
- 3.3 Explore the Chichen Itza Ruins – one of the top things to do in Yucatan Mexico
- 3.4 Post on Instagram in Las Coloradas (Pink Lakes)
- 3.5 Explore Izamal, the Yellow Town – one of the key Yucatan cities
- 3.6 Discover Tulum’s Mayan Ruins and Cenotes – one of the best places in Yucatan
- 3.7 Visit Isla Mujeres for the Day
- 3.8 Take a Boat Ride to Bacalar Lagoon
- 3.9 Visit Uxmal, an ancient Mayan city.
- 3.10 Enjoy Mayan Cuisine in Valladolid
- 4 Common FAQs about Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
- 5 Booking Resources
Where is Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico?
Yucatan Peninsula is a region located in southeastern Mexico. It is a landmass that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, and it is bordered by the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche. The peninsula is located in Central America, and it is surrounded by the countries of Belize and Guatemala to the south.
History of Yucatan
The Yucatan Peninsula has a rich and complex history that spans thousands of years. The earliest goes back to the Pre-Columbian Era when this area was home to civilizations, including the Mayas, who settled in the region around 2000 BC. The Maya civilization thrived in the region from around 250 AD to 900 AD, and left behind many impressive ruins and architectural marvels such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Tulum. The Mayans called the region Mayab – which literally means “flat”.
Later around 1517, Spanish explorers arrived in the Yucatan Peninsula, led by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba. The Spanish encountered fierce resistance from the Mayans, who fought back against their attempts to colonize the region. Eventually, the Spanish were able to defeat the Maya and establish a permanent presence in the Yucatan Peninsula.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the Yucatan Peninsula was a Spanish colony, and its people were forced to adopt Christianity and Spanish culture. During this time, the Yucatan Peninsula became an important center for the production of henequen, a plant used to make rope and twine. Finally, in 1910, Mexico underwent a revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the country’s government and the Yucatan Peninsula played an important role in the revolution. Today, it is a popular tourist destination in Mexico.
What to do in Yucatan
The Yucatan Peninsula is a tourist destination full of cenotes, Mayan ruins, and stunning beaches. The Mexican Peninsula has green seas that transform into turquoise waters along flawlessly white coral-sand beaches. It is so beautiful here that it is nicknamed the Mexican famed Riviera Maya.
Here you will find archaeological sites, old colonial towns, and hundreds of subterranean freshwater springs. As well it hosts one of the world’s largest whale shark migrations and the world’s 3rd largest coral reef.
So if you are heading to the Yucatan, be sure not to miss these hot items as well as the other things listed below.
Enjoy Cancun’s Beaches & its nightlife – one of the things to do in Yucatan
Cancun, Mexico’s seaside metropolis, is one of the most well-known beaches in the country. For many, it is the gateway to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is widely renowned for its white sand beaches, azure blue oceans, year-round mild weather, and of course vibrant nightlife. All these factors combine to make Cancun one of the world’s top tourist attractions and one of Mexico’s most visited beaches.
Of course, there’s more to Cancun than simply stunning beaches and nightlife. Such as the adjacent Yucatan ecosystem and biodiversity, and the unusual things to do here – including the Cancun Underwater Museum and the seven lagoons of Laguna Nichupte – great for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet skiing. It is also a good idea to pack plenty of reef-safe sunscreens when traveling to Cancun, as well as these other hot items not to forget for Mexico.
Among the most popular nightclubs in Cancun is the Coco Bongo which is open from 8 pm right up to 3 am. You will always find a huge queue at the place and it is best to reserve your spot here to make the most of your time in Cancun. You can book your pass online here through GetYourGuide or Viator
Cancun is a great base for day trips to explore the Yucatan Peninsula – a lot of which I have recommended in this list of best places to visit. Keep an eye out for those tours.
Best way to get to Cancun
Here are some of the most convenient ways to get to Cancun:
By Air: If you are traveling from outside Mexico, flying is the most convenient way to get to Cancun. Cancun International Airport is the second-busiest airport in Mexico and is served by many airlines from around the world.
By Road: If you are traveling from within Mexico or nearby countries, you can drive or take a bus to Cancun. There are several bus companies that offer service to Cancun from major cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City and Merida.
By Sea: You can also get to Cancun by cruise ship. Many cruise lines offer trips that include stops in Cancun.
Best places to stay in Cancun
If you are keen on some nightlife and beach fun , pick your hotels in the Zona Hotela region. Budget travelers can consider the hotels in the downtown area. A few recommended hotels are
- Luxury hotels – Hyatt Ziva Cancun
- Budget stays – Mayan Monkey Cancun, Cancún Suites Apartments
- Mid Price Hotels – Residence Inn by Marriott Cancun
Visit Merida – “The White City” – one of the key places to visit in Yucatan
This Capital City of the state of Yucatan has earned the moniker “the white city” due to the prevalence of white limestone used in the construction of many of its buildings. Limestone was commonly used during the colonial period when Merida was an important center for the production of henequen, a plant used to make rope and twine. The city’s wealth from henequen production allowed for the construction of grand colonial mansions, many of which were built with white limestone.
One of the key activities here is to take one of those popular walking tours of Merida that will introduce you to the history of this city and take you through the gems of the historic center of Merida like the Cathedral of Merida, the Plaza Grande, and the Palacio de Gobierno.
It’s an excellent starting point for visiting the other Yucatan peninsula attractions like the Maya site Uxmal (163 km) which goes back to 600 AD and Kabah (140 km) . This can be done as a day trip from Merida. I also, recommend Celestun Biosphere which is almost always filled with pink flamingos. You can even catch a few of the Yucatan cenotes outside Merida – you can book one of the tours to these cenotes from Merida here.
Merida is also an excellent location for purchasing local crafts – particularly the Mexican hammock. In fact, this is a heritage art of the Yucatan Peninsula that has been thriving for almost 700 years.
Best way to get to Merida
By Air: If you are traveling from outside Mexico, flying is the most convenient way to get to Merida. Merida International Airport is served by many airlines from around the world.
By Road: If you are traveling from within Mexico or nearby countries, taking a bus is a convenient and affordable option -especially from Mexico City and Cancun. However, ifyou prefer to drive, you can rent a car and drive to Merida. The Yucatan Peninsula has well-maintained highways, and the trip from Cancun to Merida takes about 3.5 hours.
Best places to stay in Merida city
Some of the recommended accommodations in Merida city include –
- Luxury – Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel+Spa, Casa de Balam
- Budget – Catrina & Diego, Majikal B&B – La Selva
- Mid priced – Residence Inn Merida, Hotel La Piazzetta
Explore the Chichen Itza Ruins – one of the top things to do in Yucatan Mexico
Chichen Itza is the biggest and most magnificent Mayan ruin site in Yucatan. The UNESCO World Heritage Site used to be the ancient city of the Mayans. It was a religious and commercial center, and all citizens and businesses prospered in and around it
El Castillo (The Castle), its main pyramid, is one of the most photographed historic places on the planet. This ancient Mayan pyramid dates from 600 AD, about 1,420 years old. This Mayan Temple was dedicated to the Mayan feathered serpent god, Kukulcan, and was the most prominent pyramid at Chichen Itza.
~ Click here to book and download a Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map of Chichen Itza ~
Aside from this pyramid, additional attractions in Chichen Itza include the Sacred Cenote, Great Ball Court, Temple of the Warriors, and Platform of Skulls. I highly recommend keeping aside at least 3-5 hours to explore the same. Also, since the place gets really crowded, I would suggest that you try to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon
Thousands of people visit Chichen Itza annually around the Spring and Fall Equinoxes to see a unique phenomenon. When the light strikes the exact perfect angle on these two days, the shadow cast on El Castillo – Chichen Itza Pyramid seems like a snake writhing down the stairs.
The admission charge at Chichen Itza is 481 pesos ($25), and it is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can buy your skip-the-line tickets for Chichen Itza here or even book a live guide for the place through this link.
Best way to get to Chichen Itza
The closest airport to Chichen Itza is the International Airport of Merida which is around 120 kilometers from the archaeological site. The airport serves many airlines with flights from Mexico City, Cancun, Houston, Miami, and other cities.
You can take a taxi, rental car or shuttle from Merida Airport to Chichen Itza. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive to Chichen Itza from Merida Airport. One suggestion that is hassle-free is to take a guided tour from Cancun or Merida. This saves you the hassle of tickets, guides and transport.
Best places to stay around Chichen Itza
It is best to base yourself in Merida city. Refer to my recommended stay option under Merida for some suggestions for the stay.
Post on Instagram in Las Coloradas (Pink Lakes)
Las Coloradas’ beautiful and uniquely colored pink waters are considered to be one of the best places in Yucatan. It has increasingly become popular due to social media and subsequently gained lovers worldwide. Many tourists claim that a journey to the Yucatan Peninsula is only complete once they visit Mexico’s pink lakes.
The water reflecting off red and pink colored marine life such as plankton, brine shrimp, and algae gives the pink lakes of Las Coloradas their unique color. These creatures flourish in extremely concentrated saltwater created by the neighboring salt mill.
Although you cannot swim in the pink lakes, you can still get up and personal with the beautiful waters by hiring a local tour guide in Rio Lagartos, the town nearest to Las Coloradas. Better still, I suggest taking one of the many guided tours to Las Colaradas which combines it with the other popular Yucatan cities like Merida and Cancun.
Those planning a trip to Las Coloradas should know there is little shelter from the weather. So check the weather forecast and bring a hat and eco-friendly sunscreen if you’re going!
In addition to the pink lakes, Las Coloradas also offers visitors the chance to explore Rio Lagartos, which is home to stunning pink flamingoes. You can also, visit the surrounding mangrove forests, and try spotting the other unique bird species, crocodiles and sea turtles. The village itself is also worth exploring, with its traditional fishing boats, colorful houses, and friendly locals.
Best way to get to Las Coloradas
Las Coloradas is located on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The nearest town is Rio Lagartos, which is about 30 minutes away by car. The most common way to get to Las Coloradas is by renting a car or taking a taxi from Rio Lagartos. There are also guided tours available that include transportation from nearby cities such as Tulum, Cancun, or Merida.
From Cancun: This is also, the closest airport to Las Coloradas ( 220 km). If you are traveling from Cancun, you can take Highway 180 west to Valladolid, and then head north on Highway 295 to Rio Lagartos. From there, follow the signs to Las Coloradas.
From Merida: If you are driving from Merida, you can take Highway 176 east to Tizimin, and then head north on Highway 295 to Rio Lagartos. From there, follow the signs to Las Coloradas. Merida is also, another option for an airport that is close to this Yucatan attraction. It is around 200 km from the place.
Note that the roads leading to Las Coloradas are mostly unpaved and can be rough, so it’s recommended to drive a high-clearance vehicle or take a tour with a reputable company.
Best places to stay near Las Coloradas
It is best to stay in one of the bigger cities like Merida or Cancun. However, if your Yucatan itinerary requires you to spend a night near Las Coloradas, then you can pick one of these well-reviewed hotels in Rio Lagartos
Explore Izamal, the Yellow Town – one of the key Yucatan cities
Welcome to Izamal, a city devoted to a single primary hue! Almost every large span of wall and building façade was painted a brilliant golden yellow for Pope John Paul II’s papal visit in 1993, and they never altered. It is popularly called Ciudad Amarilla – the Yellow City of Mexico and exploring it is definitely one of the best things to do in Yucatan peninsula.
It is known as the “City of Hills” due to the many pre-Hispanic pyramids that dot its landscape. The town has a rich history dating back to the pre-Hispanic era when it was an important religious center for the Mayan civilization. During the Spanish conquest, the town was renamed San Antonio de Padua and became an important center of Catholicism in the region. The Spanish built a large convent on top of one of the Mayan pyramids, which still stands today and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Izamal.
Today, Izamal is best places in Yucatan peninsula, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, colorful streets, and rich cultural heritage. Some of my recommended places to visit in this Yucatan city include Convento de San Antonio de Padua, the Kinich Kakmó Pyramid (one of the largest in Mexico)., and the Centro Cultural y Artesanal Izamal (a museum hosted in a 16th-century building). You can actually climb the Kinich Kakmó Pyramid and enjoy the views of the city from there. Close to this is the Itzamatul – part of the Mayan Plaza and the temple of Kabul.
~ Check out this Walking tour of Izamal ~
Don’t miss the many artisan shops and restaurants serving traditional Yucatecan cuisine that has evolved from the Mayan culture. In addition to its historic Yucatan attractions, Izamal is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including dense forests and wetlands that are home to a variety of wildlife. It is also conveniently located near other popular destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Chichen Itza and Merida.
Izamal is small enough to explore on foot. There are also horse-drawn carriages available for hire, which can be a fun and unique way to see the sights.
Best way to get to Izamal
The nearest airport to Izamal is Merida, which is approximately 72 km. This airport serves both domestic and international flights and is connected to several major cities in Mexico and the United States, as well as some destinations in Central and South America.
From the airport, you can rent a car or take a taxi or a private transfer to Izamal. Alternatively, there are public buses that run regularly between Merida and Izamal, which can be a more affordable option. Another nearby airport is the Cancun International Airport, which is approximately 3 hours away by car and offers more flight options and connections to other destinations.
Best places to stay in Izamal
You can pick one of these Izamal hotels. They have been reviewed highly on Booking.com
Discover Tulum’s Mayan Ruins and Cenotes – one of the best places in Yucatan
A visit to the Tulum Ruins is one of the most affordable and excellent things to do in the Yucatan on a budget, costing just 80 pesos ($4). This 13th-century Mexican archeological monument is on a cliff overlooking Tulum’s incredible beaches, Playita Tortuga, also known as Tulum Ruins Beach. After touring the Tulum Ruins, I would recommend that you go to the beach at its foothills and jump straight in.
The waters off the coast of Tulum are teeming with marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can explore colorful coral reefs, swim with sea turtles, and even spot schools of colorful fish.
Aside from its famed ruins, the stunning Tulum cenotes are among the top things to see in Tulum during your visit. Cenotes are natural waterholes in the forest that may be found above ground or underground in caves; each is distinctive in its own way. Some Tulum’s top cenotes include Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Suytun.
If you are a nature and wildlife lover, I recommend visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This protected area of natural beauty covers over 1.3 million acres and is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. You can take a Tulum boat tour through the mangroves, spot crocodiles, and birdwatch in this incredible natural environment.
Best way to get to Tulum
By Air: Though Tulum has its own airport, it only offers limited domestic flights and is not served by major airlines. The nearest major airport to Tulum is the Cancun International Airport, which is about 119 km away. From there, you can take a shuttle, taxi, or rent a car to reach Tulum.
By Road: Tulum is well-connected by bus to other major cities in Mexico, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Merida. You can take a bus from the main bus station in each city or from the airport. Renting a car is a great way to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and gives you the freedom to visit nearby attractions at your own pace. Car rental agencies are available at the Cancun airport and in Tulum.
Many companies offer private transfer services from Cancun airport to Tulum. This can be a more expensive option, but it allows you to avoid the hassle of public transportation and gives you a more comfortable and convenient travel experience.
Best places to stay in Tulum Mexico
You can choose to stay either by the beach or in the city center of Tulum. There are tons of hotels available in this town – from luxury to mispriced and budget ones. Here are some well reviewed hotels that you can consider for your visit.
- Luxury hotels – Wakax Hacienda – Cenote & Boutique Hotel (by the beach), Hotel Muaré Tulum (city center)
- Budget hotels – Casa Abanico Tulum (city center)
- Mid priced hotels – Una Vida (city center)
Visit Isla Mujeres for the Day
Isla Mujeres is a must-visit when seeking the best places in Yucatan, Mexico. It is one of Mexico’s top vacation cities. While its name translates to “Island of Women,” males are also welcome to visit!
Isla Mujeres is one of Mexico’s top beach communities and a magical place to visit. It is regarded as “magical” due to its distinct legendary links to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon, medicine, and happiness, as well as its vast tropical beauty.
One of the most popular attractions on the island is Playa Norte, a stunning beach with calm waters and soft sand. The island also has a lively downtown area with a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. Don’t miss the other Punta Sur Park that is not just known for its Mayan ruins but for gorgeous views from the cliff.
If you are a keen scuba diver, you definitely do not want to miss diving at the Underwater Sculpture garden which has over 500 sculptures of living and non-living objects. You can also swim with whale sharks on Isla Mujeres from May to September. Isla Mujeres is a small island that can easily be explored on foot, by bike, or by golf cart. You can rent a golf cart from one of the many rental companies on the island, which can be a fun and convenient way to get around and explore the island at your own pace.
Isla Mujeres is one of the most popular and fabulous day excursions from Cancun. There are plenty of guided excursions that you can book online for this island. These are some of the recommended ones with links to book them online.
- Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Adventure with Snorkel experience
- Scuba diving at MUSA – the underwater world
- Best of Isla Mujeres walking tour
- Daytrip from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
Best way to get to Isla Mujeres
Cancun is the closest airport to this gorgeous Yucatan attraction. All you have to do is take a ferry from Cancun. The ferry ride takes approximately 20 minutes, and there are several ferry companies that operate between Cancun and Isla Mujeres. You can purchase your ferry tickets in advance online or at the ferry terminal in Cancun.
Best places to stay in Isla Mujeres
While a day trip to this place is definitely one of the most recommended things to do in Yucatan Peninsula, you might still want to extend it to an overnight stay.
- Luxury Hotels – Casa del Jaguar Beach Hotel, Ixchel Beach Hotel
- Budget Hotels – Nomads hotel and beach club, Casa Iguana hostel
- Mid Priced Hotels – Casa Barco Hotel Boutique, Imperla Hotel
Take a Boat Ride to Bacalar Lagoon
Bacalar Lagoon, situated in a Pueblo Magico town -Bacalar. (Read about Sayulita – one of the other Magical towns of Mexico), has long been one of the best places to visit in Yucatan Peninsula – especially for in-the-know Mexico visitors and those who like traveling off the beaten path to escape the crowded beaches.
Bacalar Lagoon is also known as the Lagoon of Seven Colors, owing to its seven shades of blue and green water, which are created by the varying depths of the lagoon and the sunlight reflecting off the bottom. The lagoon is also, believed to have been formed by the famed Mexican Cenotes that give it its erratic depths.
One of the popular activities in Bacalar Lagoon is the boat tour, where visitors can explore the lagoon’s different shades of blue and its hidden spots. The tour takes visitors to different parts of the lagoon, including the Cenote Negro, which is a deep hole in the lagoon that connects to an underground river system.
~ Click this to book your Bacalar Lagoon and Cenotes tour ~
I would like to recommend a mud facial utilizing the refreshing white sand at the bottom of Bacalar Lagoon, a popular activity in the Canal de Los Piratas. This canal, along with notable Bacalar cenotes like Cenote Esmerelda and Cenote la Bruja, is one of the stops on most Bacalar boat trips.
Another experience that you must consider is taking a sunset boat ride to Isla de Pajaros (Bird Island), where birds migrate at the end of the day. Even if you are not a seasoned bird watcher, this migration is a spectacular sight.
The over-the-water hammocks and swings at Laguna Bacalar hotels and resorts attract tourists to rest and unwind (kind of like the ones that you see in Gili Islands of Indonesia). Non-guests can buy day passes, which are also accessible to people who order food and beverages in lakeside restaurants.
Best way to reach Bacalar Lagoon
By Air: The closest airport to Bacalar Lagoon is the Chetumal International Airport which is located approximately 30 kilometers south of Bacalar. Chetumal Airport offers domestic flights within Mexico, as well as some international flights, primarily to other destinations in Central America.
Alternatively, you can fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is the largest airport in the region, located approximately 300 kilometers,north of Bacalar.
By Road: From Chetumal Airport, you can take a taxi or private transfer to Bacalar Lagoon. The drive takes approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic. From Cancun, you can take a bus or private transfer to Bacalar, which takes approximately 4-5 hours.
Best places to stay in Bacalar
- Luxury hotels – Habitas Bacalar, Hotel Casa Hormiga
- Budget Hotels – The Yak Lake House – Hostal, Cayuco Maya
- Mid Priced Hotels –Gran Jaguar Hotel, Villas Ecotucan
Visit Uxmal, an ancient Mayan city.
Uxmal (pronounced yoush-mall) is a Mayan metropolis and one of Mexico’s most prominent Yucatan ruins This UNESCO World Heritage Site, is often regarded as the most remarkable surviving example of Mayan culture and architecture.
The 115-foot-tall (35-meter) Pyramid of the Magician, the highest Uxmal pyramid, greets you as you enter Uxmal Ruins. Visitors are not permitted to climb this pyramid as this is a holy site to the Mayans. The Pyramid’s name stems from a fable about a mythical dwarf born from an egg, which grew to maturity in a single day and constructed the pyramid in a single night.
Close to this is the Temple de Los Falos, a secret garden, that is claimed to be devoted to the dwarf’s deity mother. The name translates to the Temple of the Phalluses and is named for the many phallic symbols that are carved into the walls and columns of the temple. It is believed to have been dedicated to the mother of the dwarf who created the Pyramid of the Magician.
The other site that you must not miss is the Governor’s Palace. It is one of the most impressive structures in the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal of Yucatan Peninsula. This was the once-Palace of Mayan Chiefs, with its impressive sculptures of stone masks of the Mayan deity Chaac slithering over the façade and its two-headed jaguar throne. The Uxmal complex, which goes back to 10BC, is rich with Mayan symbols and mythology.
Uxmal is open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and the entrance fee is around $15 USD per person (as of 2023). You can consider booking this tour which includes the Cenotes and tour of the Choco museum which tells you how the Mayans lived and produced Cacao.
Best way to get to Uxmal
Uxmal is best done as a day trip from Merida, which is also the closest airport to it. From Merida, you can use any of the following means to explore the site.
By car: Driving is the most convenient way to get to Uxmal. The site is located about an hour and a half south of the city of Merida, and there are well-maintained roads that lead directly to the site. Car rentals are available in Merida, and there is also a toll road that runs between Cancun and Merida.
By bus: There are several bus companies that operate regular services between Merida and Uxmal, including Mayab and ADO. Buses are comfortable and reliable, and the journey takes around an hour and a half.
By tour: There are many tour companies that offer day trips to Uxmal from Merida and other nearby cities. These tours often include transportation, entrance fees, and a guide to show you around the site.
Best places to stay near Uxmal
This place is best visited keeping Merida as a base. You can check the stays in Merida section for my suggestion of hotels.
Enjoy Mayan Cuisine in Valladolid
Valladolid, Mexico is one of the most popular Yucatan cities due to its rich history and cultural heritage. The city was founded in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors and features many colonial-era buildings and landmarks. It is believed that these were constructed on top of a Mayan city. Some of the most notable attractions in Valladolid include the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena, the Church of San Servacio, and the Casa de los Venados, a private residence that doubles as a museum of Mexican folk art. Consider taking this Valladolid walking tour to explore all of these.
What makes Valladolid attractive is that it is a good base to explore the other popular attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula. For one, it is just a 45-minute drive to Chichén Itzá, and has easy access to the freshwater cenotes like Cenote Saamal and Cenote Suytun. (This tour from Valladolid takes you to four of those cenotes) You will also, find affordable places to stay here.
In addition to its cultural and historical offerings, Valladolid, Mexico is known for its traditional cuisine, which features dishes such as cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and papadzules (tortillas stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and topped with pumpkin seed sauce).
While food is definitely one of the key things to do in this Yucatan city, you should also, consider taking a day tour to Ek Balam – a little offbeat but lovely Yucatan ruins.
Best way to get to Valladoid
Valladolid, Mexico is located in the state of Yucatan in southeastern Mexico. Here are some ways to get there:
By Plane: The nearest international airport is Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is located approximately 160 km (100 miles) from Valladolid. From Cancun, you can take a bus or rent a car to drive to Valladolid. This link also, allows you to book a private transfer from Cancun to Valladolid.
By Road: Valladolid is well-connected to other cities in the Yucatan Peninsula by bus. Several bus companies operate daily routes to and from Valladolid, including ADO, Oriente, and Mayab. Buses depart from major cities such as Cancun, Merida, and Playa del Carmen.
If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car at Cancun International Airport and drive to Valladolid. The trip takes approximately 2 hours, and the route is well-marked and easy to navigate.
Best places to stay in Valladoid
Check out these hotels for your Valladoid stays –
- Luxury hotels – Hotel Meson del Marques, Real Hispano
- Budget hotels – HOSTEL VALLADOLID 48
- Mid-priced hotels – Casa Tia Micha, Hotel Boutique Bugambilias
I suppose that pretty much answers what to do in Yucatan, Mexico. Yucatan Peninsula is definitely one of the best ways to start exploring Mexico. The sheer number of things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula will make you so happy with your trip to Mexico that you will want to keep coming back. Plan on spending at least 2 weeks in the Yucatan Peninsula if possible. Trust me, you won’t want to leave here and you will be so happy you took the extra time while you were here.
Common FAQs about Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
When is the Ideal Time to Visit the Yucatan Peninsula?
The best time to visit the Yucatan is between December and April when there is almost no rain. Travel to the Yucatan Peninsula early in the season (November to early December) to take advantage of lower prices.
The wet season begins in May and lasts until October. Also beware that the hurricane season, which lasts from June to November, may considerably impact the Caribbean coast and the weather.
Avoid public holidays whenever possible since surcharges are typical during Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.
What is the best way to reach Yucatan Peninsula?
Cancun International Airport (CUN), the largest airport in the area, serves as the entrance to the Yucatan Peninsula. Aeromexico, Mexico’s national airline, operates daily flights from the United States to Cancun.
Flying into the Yucatan Peninsula from the United States is relatively inexpensive.
Is Yucatan safe for travelers?
The Yucatan Peninsula, which includes the states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche, is generally considered safe for travelers. The region is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and vibrant culture. While there have been isolated incidents of crime, such as theft and pickpocketing, the incidence of violent crime is relatively low compared to other parts of Mexico.
The tourist areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, have a strong police presence and are generally safe for tourists. It is always important to take basic safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, not carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, and avoiding unlit or isolated areas at night.
How many days do you need in the Yucatan peninsula?
Overall, a 7-10 day itinerary would give you enough time to experience the highlights of the Yucatan Peninsula without feeling rushed. However, if you have more time, there is plenty to see and do in the region, such as exploring the lesser-known Mayan ruins, visiting the biosphere reserves, or taking a road trip along the scenic coast. Adding another 5 days or so will really make your trip epic.
Before you go, pin this
- Booking.com has several good Yucatan hotels listed on its site. You could use this link to browse and book the same.
- Viator.com offers several tours in Yucatan Peninsula. You will even find tours in all the key cities of Yucatan that include walking tours, cooking classes, food walks and even transfers from various airports. There are also, skip-the-line tickets for all the main Yucatan ruins.
- GetYourGuide also, has various local tours and car bookings available that you can use to book your trips in Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, you can book them using the link given.
- For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using Amazon through this link.
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This post along with its pictures has been contributed by my guest author – Megan. Megan, the peterpantraveler started traveling at a young age and has been addicted ever since. Spending most of the year time avoiding winter and soaking up the forever sun south of the boarder she has spent a good part of a year living and traveling around Mexico searching for good waves. When she is not surfing, she enjoys diving or spending her time traveling around smaller villages in search for the perfect tacos and margaritas. Besides Mexico she has spent time living in Costa Rica, Bai and France just to name a few.