Mexico is a large and difficult-to-navigate country. This vast expanse of land is home to beautiful beaches, historic ruins, and fiery street food, all while exuding a laid-back Latin vibe. Unfortunately, your two-week leave of absence from work will only allow you to scratch the surface of this fantastic land.
Vacationers to Mexico must, of course, choose a location to visit rather than hoping to explore the entire country. Thankfully, it appears that Mexico was mindful of the potential inconveniences that tourists might face. Therefore, the Yucatan Peninsula crams a little bit of everything that makes Mexico unique into a small, bite-sized chunk of land.
So here’s a list of destinations that will keep your holiday exciting while also allowing you to unwind.
Cancun, Mexico’s seaside metropolis, is one of the country’s most well-known destinations. It is the gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula for many, with white sand beaches, azure blue oceans, year-round warm weather, and a thriving nightlife. All of these factors combine to make Cancun one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Cancun, however, is much more than just beaches and parties.
Cancun is surrounded by underappreciated and under-visited natural and biological richness. There’s no shortage of unusual things to do in Cancun. The city has everything a tourist needs to unwind, from the Cancun Underwater Museum and neighboring cenotes to gorgeous mangroves. The seven incredible lagoons at Laguna Nichupte are excellent for anything from fishing, kayaking, and canoeing to scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet skiing. You can find accommodation easily in Cancun and if you don’t know where to settle and you are looking for a luxury resort, check out marriott.com, as they might provide you some insight.
Once a small fishing village, Tulum is now one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Tulum is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula.
For decades, the allure of ancient Mayan energies, along with the charm of natural wonders and historic places, has drawn spiritually oriented visitors. Tulum has grown from a sleepy beach village with a few roaming yogis and artists to a flourishing tourism hotspot. Modern hotels and amenities are now accessible but don’t worry, the Mayan spirit is still alive and well.
Tulum is a relaxing beach location with a near-transparent sea, pristine white sand beaches, and fantastic bars and restaurants. Cenotes, or underwater sinkholes, surround Tulum all year, luring divers, swimmers, and explorers.
3. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a premier tourist destination and one of Quintana Roo’s most extensive and trendiest cities, located at the entrance to the Riviera Maya. Playa del Carmen, known for its world-famous cenotes, vibrant coral reefs, and ancient holy Mayan ruins, will surprise and thrill anyone fortunate enough to visit the Caribbean Sea’s blue shores.
Did you even go to Playa del Carmen if you didn’t go to La Quinta Avenida? The hectic, colorful, and bustling Fifth Avenue, which runs one channel back from the ocean, is the major artery of this Caribbean treasure.
Did you know Playa del Carmen is located near one of the world’s largest barrier reef systems? From Isla Contoy, at the point of the Yucatan Peninsula, to Honduras, the Mesoamerican Reef System covers over 600 miles. As a result, if you want to go scuba diving, Playa del Carmen is one of the best places to visit.
Bacalar, Mexico, is a place you must see to believe. Seriously, it’s an unearthly location that would fit in well on an alien planet in a science fiction film. The waters are so blue that they blend in with the sky, the coastlines are milky white, and the water is a brilliant azure that glints in the Mexican sun.
Bacalar is known as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors.” That’s because it harbors a gradient of blues, ranging from perfect turquoise along the shallow coasts to a dark, murky blue in the center. The ocean is surrounded by soft hills and forested flatlands, natural cenotes, and the Mexican Caribbean’s mangrove-fringed coastline.
Getting in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard is the most excellent way to see Bacalar. Fortunately, several hostels with lakefront properties and private docks offer free kayaking and other water sports.
Merida is a stunning holiday destination inside and out. While strolling through the grid-like streets of this picturesque colonial city known as the Ciudad Blanca (white city), you will notice several white structures. However, the white designs appear to be swamped by pastel-colored homes, giving Merida’s colonial architecture life.
But it’s the culture of Merida that comes through. That may explain why Merida is the only city in the United States to have been named the American Capital of Culture on two occasions (2000, 2017).
Whether appreciating ancient Mayan artwork in a museum or simply absorbing the local culture that abounds within the swinging doors of Merida’s cantinas, heritage thrives in the city. Merida’s many cultural attractions, including local activities and heritage day trips, are a crucial draw for Yucatan’s central city.
The Yucatan Peninsula’s heart, Akumal, is located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. It is popular with tourists from all over the world because of its white sands, coral reefs, warm water, and plenty of marine life. It’s an excellent spot for your next holiday, located 100 kilometers south of Cancun, between the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
The cenotes are one of Yucatan’s most incredible features. There are hundreds of them on the Riviera Maya. Many of the most stunning and private cenotes are easily accessible from Akumal. Akumal gives the impression of entering a resort, but it is actually a thriving town. The city is serene, safe, and easy to navigate, with improvised coral streets, matching white furnishings, and a private guard.
As you have read above, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has a lot to offer to its visitors. The Yucatan provides so much to see and do on your backpacking trip, from ancient Mayan ruins to jungle swimming holes and stunning lakes. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and make a riveting traveling plan to these beautiful destinations.