What to visit in Yucatan Mexico? Find out the best hotspots!
Updated: May 20, 2022
Mexico had been on my bucket list for quite some time, last December we finally managed to visit and chose for the Yucatan peninsula.
This region of Mexico is quite safe but also the most visited side. As Mexico is open for tourists a lot of people go there now and especially around the Holidays.
If you are looking for the authentic Mexico: the best places to visit here are: Valladolid, Bacalar & Merida. If you like the beach & the underwater world: Isla Cozumel, Tulum, Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox should be on your list here.
Practical information and travel tips when visiting Mexico
- When you arrive at the airport in Cancun you need to fill an immigration document. At the airport you will see a kiosk mentioning you need to download it digitally but WIFI at the airport doesn’t work properly and you will get the document at the immigration desk. It’s very important to keep the paper you receive back until the end of your trip!
- When you visit both Yucatan and Quintana Roo, please keep in mind that there’s a time difference between both regions. So in Valladolid it’s one hour earlier than Cancun/Tulum, …
- Bring your binoculars: there is much wildlife to spot In Mexico, especially birds!
- It’s common to give tips in Mexico, they are never included, a tip of 10 or 15 % will do, but note that if you don’t think the service is worth it it’s not obligated.
- When you like the underwater world, bring your snorkeling gear. Best places for snorkeling are: Bacalar, Akumal, El Cielo and the cenotes.
- In Mexico they love coriander and they add it to almost every dish. If you don’t like it, ask for a meal ‘sin cilantro’
Traveling around in Yucatan peninsula
Of course, you could hire a car, it’s best to book it in advance with a car rental like sunnycars. The roads are ok, but the driving style is different than in Europe.
We hired a car at a local car rental and the state of the car was terrible.
For traveling between places we always took the Adobusses it’s a very good service and quite punctual as well. You can download the app on your mobile and book tickets in advance. Sometimes it’s necessary to book at least one day in advance but we travelled during high season. Tickets are quite cheap and the busses all have airco (take a sweater, because it can get really cold) and have comfortable seats. No additional fee for your luggage but I would recommend taking your valuable things with you on the bus.
To visit local places, we often used bike rental, don’t do this in your hotel, they will charge more than the local bike rentals. The bikes were in good condition and we paid about 50 $ for 4 bikes for 2 days in Tulum.
Taxis aren’t expensive either, but make sure to discuss the price before getting in. The taxi drivers use different prices from 40 Mexican pesos to 120.
Colectivo’s are a cheap way of traveling around and visiting sights. It’s the transportation the Mexicans often use too. We paid 40 pesos to go from Valladolid to Chichén Itza for example. The colectivo is mostly a mini-van where you can sit with around 15 people, they arrive every 5 minutes and are often equipped with airco.
Recommended tour to visit Yucatan peninsula in about 12 days:
Cancun – Isla Cozumel – Tulum – Bacalar - Valladolid – Cancun
This is the route we took, but you could also go to Isla Mujeres or Isla Holbox instead of Isla Cozumel. We didn’t visit Playa Del Carmen (only for taking the ferry) or Cancun, because these places are very crowded. We only stayed one night in Cancun because of our arrival time, if you arrive in the morning I would recommend going straight to one of the Islands mentioned above.
This island is easily reachable by ferry, it takes you about 30-40 minutes to go from Playa del Carmen to Isla Cozumel. You can choose between two companies: ultramar or Winjet (the last one was a bit cheaper and takes you even faster). If you want to sit outside you need to arrive early as these places are taken quickly.
Staying on Cozumel is best at the West coast, the main city on Cozumel, San Miguel de Cozumel is right across the ferry terminal. There is also a big cruise terminal on that side of the island, I would recommend not to stay close to this last one.
The best things to do here:
- Take a tour around the island (car hire is available everywhere, but please take full insurance). Visit Playa Palancar, this is a very nice public beach with a nice bar/restaurant and there are some raccoons living there as well. It’s also a good start to go on a snorkeling or diving tour to El Cielo and the beautiful reefs of Palancar & Colombia.