Yucatan peninsula, located in southeastern part of Mexico, is a coastal area that borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This peninsula includes four states in Mexico, namely, Yucatan, Tabasaco, Quintana Roo and Campeche, along with Belize and Guatemala.
Undoubtedly, this is also a place that can dazzle you like none than other in Mexico. Long coastal beaches, lush tropical rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins and quaint colonial towns are sure to make your vacation unique and spectacular.
Due to these reasons, the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most visited places in Mexico. The popular beach cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located here. Other neighboring cities like Merida and Campeche give you a glimpse into the rich colonial past of Mexico. Millions of people throng to these cities all through the year, so there are abundant cheap flights available from different parts of the world to Cancun, the party town! There is no dearth of resorts and cheap hotels as well.
Here are 15 memorable things you can do while holidaying in this part of the world.
The world-famous Mayan ruins called Chichen Itza is the most popular ruins in Mexico, and gets about 1.4 million visitors every year.
Many of the Mayan cities were located near the natural springs, and the ruins of Chichen Itza are one of the few that have stood the test of time. Besides the UNESCO-heritage site of temple Kukulcan, also called El Castillo, there are other ruins to be explored in and around this area. In fact, the excavated archaeology spans across an area of five kilometers.
Located about three hours from Cancun, the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, is a truly magical place for all nature lovers.
The Las Coloradas lakes are huge salt evaporation ponds from where sea salt is extracted. When the water evaporates, the salinity helps the growth of many microorganisms, including the pink Laguna Rosa. These microorganisms give the lakes a pink color.
It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where you can find pink flamingoes and other birds.
If you love sea turtles or want to swim with them, head to the Akumal Beach, located about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. This is a beautiful stretch of bluish-green water and is also home to three different species of sea turtles.
You can watch these turtles from a paddle-boat or you can snorkel with them using the right snorkeling gear. Snorkeling tours are also arranged by locals.
Meridia, means “the white city”, and is so called because of the extensive use of white limestone in its architecture. This is the capital city of Yucatan state and is well-known for its colonial architecture and pedestrian-friendly roads.
Meridia is also known for many handmade items, including the famous Mexican hammock. In fact, the weavers here follow a 700-year old tradition to give you some of the best hammocks in the world.
Isla Holbox is a small sleepy island on the northern coast of Yucatan Peninsula. One of the main attractions in this city is the whale snorkeling trips. Whale sharks are the largest animals in these waters and they can grow up to 40 feet in length. You get to swim alongside these sharks for a once-in-a lifetime experience.
Izamala is a town that’s like nothing else in the world. Almost every building and every major wall is painted in yellow here! It is believed that the town was painted yellow for a papal visit in 1993, and has remained so since then.
The Mayan language is still spoken here and you can walk around some Mayan pyramids as well.
Cenotes are underground caves filled with water. With more than 200 cenotes spread across the Yucatan state, you can visit these underground caves to cool off on a hot summer day or even try cave-diving.
This Mexican city, built on a Mayan ruin, is a food lover’s paradise. You can sample a variety of traditional Mayan food and Spanish delicacies that are sure to make you come back for more. Cochinita Pibil and Relleno Negro de Pavo are a few dishes that top the list.
Cancun is the most popular destination in Yucatan, and is a great place for partying. The vibrant nightlife and the partying crowd is sure to give you an enjoyable vacation. There are also other things here such as its pristine beaches, Mayan ruins and tropical forests.
La Quinta Avendia is a road in Playa del Carmen that has local shops lined on its sides. These shops are interspersed with beach bars and restaurants as well. You can find all kinds of exotic and local wares here.
Cozumel is an island that is a short ferry drive from Playa. This island is known for its rocky beaches and dense jungles. It is also a top destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Tulum probably has some of the best beaches in the entire Yucatan Peninsula. It’s become popular over the last few years and you can do a variety of activities here such as snorkeling, scuba diving, biking, kite surfing and more.
Bacalar Lagoon is the perfect spot for kayaking. It’s many natural waterways from the sea takes you through caves while the sunlight throws multi-colored hues on the waters.
Innumerable adventure parts are scattered all around the Yucatan Peninsula. Many of these adventures parks like Xcaret and Rio Secreto offer zip-lining tours through trees, swimming in secret caves and snorkeling with different aquatic animals.
Finally, Calakmul Mayan ruins are located amidst lush jungles in the state of Campeche. This is not a touristy spot because of its remote location, thereby making it ideal for adventure tourists who want to tread an off-beaten path.
Overall, the Yucatan peninsula offers a ton of things for you to do. Also, it is safer than other parts of Mexico, as the drug cartels keep away from this tourist destination.