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Yucatan travel Guide: beyond Playa del Carmen as well as Cancun

You’ve most likely heard of the Yucatan peninsula if only for its a lot of widely known destinations, between Cancun with the older, fancier resort crowd frequented by tons of Canadian as well as American tourists, as well as then Playa del Carmen where you’ll discover the younger as well as a lot more rambunctious celebration scene.

But the Yucatan is a diverse as well as lovely specify which merits a bit a lot more time to get off the well-worn vacationer track. This is absolutely one of the very best locations to see in Mexico.

Here is a mix of lush, expansive jungles with bit to no advancement for kilometers, with sensational white sand beaches that provide method to the Caribbean Sea. bit islands dot the coastlines as well as ancient pyramids increase from the depths of the jungle!

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Pyramids in the Jungle

Development of the Yucatan peninsula is really fairly recent, with building in Cancun as well as Playa del Carmen only truly taking off in the 1950’s.

Before that, Isla Mujeres was a typical holiday destination for North American celebrities; other than that, the landscape was rather barren compared to all of the resorts that have cropped up in the Riviera Maya of today.

However, the Yucatan peninsula has long been an crucial site for the Mayans as well as there are tons of archaeological sites where you can check out different ruins. These are a few of the very best sites in Mexico if you’re seeking to see some ancient architecture:

Chichen Itza

This pyramid is one of the very best preserved, not only in Mexico however the world over as well as as such it’s been named one of the seven wonders of the contemporary world. As a result, it’s one of the best-known archaeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula, getting 1.4 million visitors a year; it’s the 2nd a lot of checked out site in Mexico.

While it’s not precisely off the vacationer track, however it truly is worth a visit. It’s stunning, and is absolutely one of the very best things to perform in Cancun.

How to get there: Chichen Itza is about halfway between Merida as well as Playa del Carmen on highway 180D as well as you have two choices about exactly how to get here. Either you can organize a excursion from Playa del Carmen or Cancun if you’re so inclined as well as it will expense you around 1,000-1,300 pesos.

READ MORE: Merida – The best Base For Day trips around The Yucatan

You can likewise stop at Chichen Itza on your method to Merida or Valladolid, a captivating colonial town which is worth a see in as well as of itself. The closest town you can stay to the site is called Pisté as well as if you do stay right here you’ll be able to get up early as well as get to the site when it opens at 8am, so you can prevent the crazy crowds as well as warm of the later afternoon.

I would suggest this second choice if you have time.


Located about 65 kilometers from the city of Merida are these puuc style ruins. The design right here is special in that the edges of the pyramids are round, rather than square. You’ll likewise encounter lots of carvings of the rain god, Chaac , scattered throughout the site.

Don’t miss the extraordinary Governor’s palace (which covers 1,115 square meters), the Pyramid of the Magician as well as the excellent Pyramid.

Uxmal makes for a excellent day trip from the city of Merida. The entrance charge right here is $12.


Located just 15 kilometers from Merida are the off-the-beaten-path ruins of Dzibilchaltun, which are tucked away from any type of primary roads. during its height, there were over 40,000 people living here, making it one of the largest centers in all of Mesoamerica.

The primary temple right here is called the seven Dolls, as 7 stone dolls were found upon excavating this site. during the summertime as well as autumn equinox, the sun lusters directly with a little doorway in the temple. The Mayan people utilized this passing of the sun as a method to figure out the seasons, as well as the beginning as well as ending of the harvest.

If the sun is as well intense for you, there’s a refreshing cenote that you can swim in! Bring your bathing fit as well as some water as well. The entrance charge right here is $7.50.

Indigenous Cultures

Spanish is spoken throughout the Yucatan Peninsula but you will also likely to hear some Mayan. In a few of the smaller villages (Xochen for example), Mayan is spoken predominantly as well as Spanish is only taught as a second language.

To greet somebody in Mayan: Ba’ax ka wa’alik?

Maybe you’re not going to discover a lot more than that in Mayan, however you must try to speak even just a bit bit of Spanish.

Looking for a lot more Mexico posts? Se også:

Things To perform in San Pancho – A listing of The top 15

Things To perform in Playa del Carmen – A listing of The top 21

Things To perform in Puerto Vallarta – A listing of The top 20

Things To perform in Guanajuato – A listing of The top 10

Places To see in Mexico – top 12 Spots

Backpacking Mexico – top reasons To travel right here Now

Manzanillo Colima – utmost travel Guide


The Yucatan peninsula is a flat lowlands that is mainly composed of limestone, which has led to the special formation of a whole series of underground cave systems. sometimes they are full of remove blue water, called cenotes. 

Historically, ancient Mayan populations would commonly depend upon the cenotes as a kind of water-purification system that guaranteed them clean drinking water. Cenotes are stunningly lovely as well as I haven’t seen them anywhere else in the world. 

Each one is a bit different as well as they are scattered all throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. If you are heading south from Cancun or Playa del Carmen area you will come across many along highway 307.

You must understand that a lot of cenotes have been privatized as well as they variety in cost from 20-200 pesos ($1-$10) for the entrance fee.  the most costly in this stretch is Dos Ojos, where they were charging a 200 peso entry fee.

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If you’re into diving, this is an amazing location to go since you can see the outside light streaming into the caves, in addition to the mixing of salt as well as fresh water as well as the underground/underwater stalactites as well as stalagmites.

Sometimes you will see coral also from when the sea level was higher as well as the area of the Yucatan peninsula was really underwater. 

Dos Ojos is extremely prominent as well as believed to be one of the very best sites, however since it is so well-known it can likewise be extremely crowded. Some options are the Pit, Chac Mool as well as Kukulcan (this is where I went as well as it was beautiful!). 

For two cave dives it will expense around $100 USD minimum. I shopped around a heap as well as this was the absolute finest rate I might discover anywhere in Playa del Carmen. 

You can select a dive shop either in Playa or in Tulum, depending upon where you’re staying. Although there are some dive shops found ideal at the cenotes, they don’t offer any type of more affordable rates; often it’s really a lot more expensive.

READ MORE: Dos Ojos – a Cave Dive in Mexico

For one more sensational cenote, don’t miss the cave system of Rio Secreto!

White Sandy beaches

If you’re truly just seeking to hang out on a lovely beach, there’s lots of that as well, however in my experience it’s worth the bit bit of effort to get farther away from the crowds.

Isla Holbox is a wonderful bit island about an hour as well as a half drive from Cancun. You can get a bus from the Cancun bus station however this will take about four hours. From there, you’ll have to take a ferry (about a half an hour ride) to the island itself.

The island is a mix of middle to upscale resorts as well as the downtown area that feels charmingly preserved. It hasn’t lost or offered out its authentic stimulate as well as in some methods coming right here feels a bit like a trip to Mexico of the past. 

☞ SEE ALSO: things To perform in La Paz, Mexico –  A listing of The top 21

Good Eats:

Los Panchos: finest cost on seafood, regional joint, finest mojitos in town.

Tribu Hostal: yoga by Lulu, 50 pesos if you’re staying at Tribu, 100 pesos if you’re not staying there.  excellent hatha yoga classes used twice a day.

Where to stay:

On a budget: camping at Ida y Vuelta

High end: Casa Tortuga

Another, a lot more off-track beach in the Yucatan is Progreso, which is found just 40 kilometers from the city of Merida.

The next time you are planning your trip to the Yucatan, think about checking out a few of the lesser-known towns, ruins as well as beaches. This region of Mexico has so much to offer travellers who are ready to leave the prominent resort towns as well as experience the genuine Yucatan.

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