Chances are you'll be passing through Cancun for a day (maybe two) while you travel around the Yucatan Peninsula. Who wouldn't
Don't dismiss the entire Yucatan Peninsula, there's plenty for adventurous souls to see and do, with thousands of cenotes (natural swimming holes), and the most-dense concentration of Mayan ruins in all of Mexico.
The best way to explore the Yucatan Peninsula is by car. You can rent one in Cancun for only $200 pesos (
The major drawcard to Tulum are the Mayan ruins on the beach. There are also some of the most beautiful and accessible cenotes in the area.
Tulum is the antithesis of Cancun. The accommodation at Tulum Playa is eco-friendly – many
It’s a cheaper alternative base to explore the ruins and cenotes of Yucatan. But, if you want to enjoy the ruins at Tulum (north of the playa), go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to miss the day-trippers.
On the southern end of the coast is a town that was once a sleepy fishing port. In the northern end of Mahahual, a cruise ship jetty dramatically changed the town, now catering to tourists with restaurants, bars, quad bikes
South of Tulum, this well-preserved natural reserve is great for camping, with pristine beaches, cenotes, and diverse wildlife. Here, you can see dolphins, manatees, crocodiles, turtles, or go scuba diving to see diverse coral beneath the water.
Travel 31mi (50km) south from Tulum to see the small fishing village of Punta Allen. Located in the Si'an Ka'an Biosphere, there are a number of walking trails and natural swimming holes to be explored. Visit the ancient ruins of Muyil by boat, hop on board a launcha to tour the mangroves, or go
Bacalar lagoon is a 26mi (42km) long, narrow lake, no more than 1.2mi (2km) at its widest point. You can go diving, kayaking, swimming
Valladolid is a small, colonial city between Cancun and the state capital Merida. It’s the closest town to Chichen Itza, the most popular Mayan archaeological site, and a great place to base yourself to explore other historic sites.
On the famous Calzada de los Frailes (Friars’ Road) you’ll find a Cocoa museum, where they’ll teach you the process of making traditional Mayan chocolate. Try a free sample at the end of the tour. On that same
In Yucatan, there are countless archaeological sites, but Ek-Balam is one of the most beautiful and is far less well known, it's just a few miles away from Valladolid.
Just one mile (1.5km) away from Ek-Balam, check out the X'canché cenote (natural well). Here, you can swim inside the cenote, or zip or rappel down the walls of the well.
Rio Lagartos might just be a small town, but well worth including on your journey through the Yucatan Peninsula. The main attraction here is the Rio Lagartos Biosphere, where keen bird watchers will enjoy the variety of species flying about. Rio Lagartos is also famous for being a primary nesting ground for flamingos in Mexico.
In the early evening, as fishermen begin to bring their boats back to shore, try asking a fisherman if they'll take you around the lake at sunset. Usually, they'll ask how much you're willing to pay, but these guys always know where the best places are to see local wildlife.
If you take a river tour, go as early in the morning as you can, as this is the best time to see crocodiles in the wild (from the safety of a boat, of course).
Don't leave without visiting the Los Colorados Salt Mines, a 25-minute drive from Rio Lagartos. The pink waters and tall mountains of salt are an incredible sight to see.
Friends Tenny and Claire are the first people to hike the US Mexico border – it took them six months to walk 2,000 miles.
Mexico is an large country with so much to see so how do you get around? We take a look at how to stay safe while on the road.