Yucatan Peninsula Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesThe Yucatán Peninsula will dazzle you with ancient Maya ruins, azure Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico waters, and colonial cities all in one fell swoop. The Yucatán Peninsula includes three separate Mexican states: Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Quintana Roo is probably the best known thanks to the tourism of Cancún, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, where millions flock annually to get their share of vitamin D on brochure-perfect beaches or resort infinity pools. But head just a couple of hours west and you hit Mérida, capital of Yucatán state, with contemporary restaurants and a satisfying change of pace, not to mention the many cenotes (freshwater springs) nearby. Neighboring Campeche state is home to mind-blowing Maya ruins galore. This entire peninsula holds wonderful, varied and accessible travel surprises.  The Yucatán Peninsula Mexico is a destination for any beach lover, history buff, or just for those who want to enjoy the cuisine and culture.

There are oceans that are many shades of blue, long stretches of pearly white and chlorophyll green jungles. Plus swimming in a limestone sinkhole (cenote), diving in coral reefs, and exploring ruins that are thousands of years old. The people of Yucatan are among the friendliest and warmest people around. They will welcome you and proudly show off their regional cuisine and culture. While you might come for history and a beach, you’ll leave with a lot more. You can also visit our Cozumel Travel Guide, or the Cancun Travel Guide to start making your plans today.  Read more now on the Yucatán Peninsula Mexico.

Life’s a Beach

Without a doubt, this corner of Mexico boasts some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline you’ll ever see. On the east coast you have the famous coral-crushed white sands and turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean, while up north are sleepy little fishing villages with sandy streets and wildlife-rich surroundings. For the ultimate beach-bumming experience, you can go to one of several low-key islands off the Caribbean coast, where life moves at a slow pace.

Maya Ruins

You’ll feel awestruck when standing before the pyramids, temples and ball courts of the most brilliant pre-Hispanic civilizations of all time. The Mayans knew a thing or two about architecture and they used astronomy, science and mathematics when building. Witnessing their achievements firsthand will leave a lasting impression on any traveler. The peninsula is chock-full of these Maya archaeological sites, a few of which were built right on the coast.

Nature’s Playground

The Yucatán will keep nature enthusiasts thoroughly entertained. There is colorful underwater scenery like no other, and offers some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world. There are also many biosphere reserves and national parks that are home to a wide array of animal and plant life. You can swim with whale sharks, observe crocodiles and monkeys, help liberate newborn sea turtles, and see hundreds upon hundreds of bird species in mangroves and jungles.

Culture & Fun

For those who need more than just pretty beaches and ancient ruins, there are plenty of cultural and recreational activities in the Yucatán. On any given day you may come across soulful dance performances, free concerts, interesting museums and art shows – especially in Mérida which is the peninsula’s colonial cultural capital. For some fun in the sun, the Yucatán has thousands of underground natural pools (cenotes), parks with subterranean rivers and all kinds of thrilling boat tours.

Experiences Not to Miss

Cenote Santa Barbara, Yukatan Peninsula sights, Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesCenote Santa Barbara

From the large and smart reception, you can take a bike or horse and cart on a trip following the narrow-gauge railway-cart trail to the three cenotes. Walking is an option too, but be aware that the trail follows a circuit, ending back at the restaurant, which extends the distance.  The hours are from 9:30am to 6pm.  For more information, you can visit the Santa Barbara Facebook page.

 

Isla Holbox, Yucatan Peninsula sites, Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesIsla Holbox

Isla Holbox has sandy streets, colorful Caribbean buildings, lazing, sun-drunk dogs, and sand so fine it’s texture is nearly clay. The greenish waters are a unique color from the mixing of ocean currents. On land there’s a mix of locals and tourists, with the tourists hoping to escape the hubbub of Cancún.  It’s a fantastic spot for wildlife. Isla Holbox is in the Yum Balam reserve, and home to more than 150 bird species, including roseate spoonbills, pelicans, herons, ibis and flamingos. In summer, whale sharks congregate nearby.  To plan your beach vacation to Isla Holbox, read our Isla Holbox Travel Guide.

Tulum Ruins, Yucatan Peninsula sights, Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesTulum Ruins

The ruins of Tulum,over a rugged coastline, is a strip of brilliant beach and green-and-turquoise waters that’ll leave you floored. Tulum  is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Coba.  The ruins are situated on 39′ tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Tulum is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites.  They are open from 8am to 5pm.

Laguna Bacalar, Yucatan Peninsula sights, Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesLaguna Bacalar

Laguna Bacalar, the peninsula’s largest lagoon, which comes as a surprise in this region of scrubby jungle. More than 60km long with a bottom of sparkling white sand, this crystal-clear lake offers opportunities for camping, swimming, kayaking and simply lazing around, amid a color palette of blues, greens and shimmering whites that seems more out of Photoshop than anything real life could hold.

Edzna, Yucatan Peninsula sights, Yucatan Peninsula beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Quintana Roo Beaches, Yucatan beaches, Campeche beaches, Cancun Beaches, Cozumel beachesEdzná

Edzná’s massive complexes, that once covered more than 17 sq km, were built by a highly stratified society that flourished from about 600 BC to 15th century AD. During that period the people of Edzná built more than 20 complexes in a melange of architectural styles, installing an ingenious network of water-collection and irrigation systems.

 

Three Mexican States of the Yucatán Peninsula

Yucatán

Yucatán is a state in the north western part of the Yucatán Peninsula, with its coastline facing the Gulf of Mexico. To the east is the state of Quintana Roo, home of Cancun and Cozumel; Campeche is to the south.

Quintana Roo

Part of Mundo Maya, Quintana Roo is one of the best tourist states across the country. Its Riviera is known worldwide for its idyllic landscapes, activities of all kinds, cuisine of great proportions and its incomparable beauty of Mayan monuments. Quintana Roo has options for all kinds of travelers, from those who expect the ultimate in luxury to those who prefer the simplest places in contact with nature.  Cancun and Cozumel are the most popular destinations in Quintana Roo.  To start planning your vacation, visit our Cancun Travel Guide, Cozumel Travel Guide, Isla Holbox Travel, or Isla Mujeres Vacations Guide.

Campeche

Campeche is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful capitals in the country. UNESCO named it as a model of a colonial baroque city planning. Additionally, it was declared a World Heritage Site. It has 17 archaeological sites including Calakmul, the largest Mayan city that has ever been discovered. If you’re looking to escape from the tourist crowd, its Pacific beaches are for you. Campeche has charming corners that you’ll love including the beautiful colonial port, various Mayan ceremonial centers and majestic nature reserves.   When you visit Campeche, you have to take a stroll along the Fort of San Miguel, San José el Alto, and the Door of the Earth; their buildings will carry you and will tell the story of this beautiful city. To begin planning your vacation to the Mexican state of Campeche, visit Campeche Vacations.

Yucatán Peninsula Beaches

World renown as a spring break hotspot, the Yucatan Peninsula is a prime location for anyone looking for some time at the beach. Ranging from urbanized shores in the center of Cancun to nearly empty stretches in the south, the Yucatan will not disappoint.

Since the Yucatan has such a long coast, you can expect there to be a number of natural beaches that are empty of visitors or lifeguards. While this will offer a great deal of privacy, you do take a risk when swimming in unsupervised water. The more urbanized area of the Yucatan have developed a color system similar to that of beaches in the US.  Visit the best beaches in the Yucatán Peninsula.

36 Comments

  1. Adel

    That is it…this is going on my bucket list. Thanks for an awesome and informative post.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are so welcome Adel! Yes, anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula is a bucket list item. You can’t go wrong with all the gorgeous beaches and great history to see.

      Reply
  2. Steven

    This was a very interesting article to read . Cenote Santa Barbara is on my bucket list

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Great Steven, you will love it 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  3. Penelope

    I’ve been planning my first “real” trip to Mexico and I’m so glad I found this site. I’ve wanted to check out “the pyramids” btu there’s just so much more to the Mayan ruins than the few I’ve seen in my friends’ photos from Cancun! I have a much better idea how to plan this trip after this post, and definitely gonna check out the Tulum ruins. thanks for the info!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are quite welcome Penelope and I know you will have a great time! Cancun and Tulum are not a great distance from each other, making that part easy if you are planning on visiting both. Thanks for reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico!

      Reply
  4. Eric

    I have always wanted to go to the Yucatan peninsula, but usually, it’s a fear that I will somehow get stuck while in Mexico that becomes overwhelming.

    That doesn’t stop me from mentally going there and visualizing all the nice beaches which I make a part of my daily exercises.

    This also saves me on gas or travel expenses lol. Thanks for the wonderful images.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are welcome Eric, and come back any time for your trip to Mexico 😀 Thanks for visiting Yucatan Peninsula Mexico!

      Reply
  5. Kasey

    Wow! These are just beautiful! My husband and I have been looking for somewhere different to go so I’ll need to show him these. I’m glad you explained them so we’re not going in blind folded.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Yes, the Yucutan Peninsula Mexico is a great destination filled with wonderful beaches, great culture, and amazing history. You will love it anywhere you go here. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  6. Hellmut Loetzerich

    Hi,
    I am a seaman, and have seen many beaches all over the world. Unfortunately I have missed Yucatan.
    I was always interested in the culture of the Mayas, and I learned that their calender was more accurate then ours.
    I like the way you capture the beauty of the beaches on this beautiful peninsular.
    Carry on with the good work.
    To your success.
    Hellmut

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Thank you so much Hellmut! You are a lucky man to have seen beautiful beaches all over the world. At least you got to visit the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico by visiting my site 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  7. Andrew

    There is a lot of history and enchantment in the Yukatan peninsula, and mexico itself is a great tourist attraction. Nice hot sunshine and lots of tequila, sounds like paradise. Unfortunately i wish i had the money to go, but when I do….I will be back to plan thru you. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Yes, lots of great variables and reasons to visit the Yucatan Peninsula. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com. When you are ready to start planning please let me know. I know I can save you some money on your vacation!

      Reply
  8. Habib Ali

    You have given me a lot of information through this post. I will now go ahead and book my holiday. Thank you for your help.

    Habib

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are very welcome Habib! Glad I could be of assistance in planning your Yucatan Peninsula Mexico vacation. Please let me know if I can help in any way!

      Reply
  9. Nadja

    Very informative and colorful post. It looks like a perfect place to spend my vocation. The information presented in very clear and concise way, all important details are provided. I appreciate all traveling tips and advice. Great post. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are welcome Nadja! Glad you enjoyed reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  10. Awa

    Lovely beaches! Next stop Mexico :-). I love the way you’ve captured the beaches, culture, fun experiences etc. Nice post

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Thanks Awa for visiting the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. I am glad you enjoyed, and yes the beaches are gorgeous.

      Reply
  11. Dev

    It’s not very often that I can personally relate to a post like this but I have to say, you are spot on! The Yucatan is gorgeous. It’s like a slightly less spring breaky Cancun. My parents actually bought some property in the Yucatan and renovated. Though they are trying to sell it I have to say it is one of the most beautiful places to live, though I’ve only ever stayed for a few days to a week at a time. If you’re looking for a beautiful, fun and safe place to visit in Mexico, Yucatan is an excellent choice! What would you see is your favorite spot to visit in the area? I agree the Mayan ruins were also incredible. I’ll have to see if I still have some photos from my trips.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Hi Dev and thank you for taking the time to comment on the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. I would have to say aside from the gorgeous beaches, that the ruins are top on my list! You are right, it is gorgeous and less traveled than Cancun.

      Reply
  12. Igor

    Hi Leahrae,

    another great post! Beautiful presentation of the beautiful place. I think anybody would like to go there tomorrow already.

    You are doing a great job. Wish you a lot of clients and tourists going to “your promoted places”!

    Mixing tourism and culture is a great way of spending time during vacations, or during any other possible time.

    Regards,
    Igor

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Thank you Igor for taking the time to comment and for visiting the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico! I am glad you enjoyed reading. And yes, what could be better than mixing culture, gorgeous beaches and a great vacation all together!

      Reply
  13. thomas g

    Thanks for this great information. I have been trying to get friends to backpack the Yucatan for a bit with me. This will help!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are welcome Thomas, thanks for visiting the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico!

      Reply
  14. Kathleen

    Thank you for this amazing display of culture and beauty!! I am fond of Mexico and you have captured the essence of the food, music and landscape so wonderfully. This is such a great place to go, I can taste and smell the ocean! Thank you for doing such a great service to this beautiful country.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      You are very welcome Kathleen, I try 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  15. Thomas Wilson

    Beautiful pictures and great write ups on the Yucatan Peninsula. The area has interested me for a while. I would love to visit the ruins in the area. Thanks for the wealth of information. I am ready to start planning!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Glad you enjoyed Thomas! Yes, it is nice to have wonderful beaches for lounging and soaking up the sun. But the ruins is a great way to spend some days off the beach. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  16. William

    Wow this place looks so beautiful. I’ve always see friends post pictures of their trips to Mexico at the beaches. I was always ashamed at my body at the time to go though. However, I’ve been hitting the gym hard and almost ready to go check out those beaches. Maybe within the next year

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      Yes William, make it your reward for all your hard work! You deserve it and you will absolutely love it in Mexico. The Yucatan Peninsula Mexico has so many great places. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  17. David

    I have been to Mexico a few times surfing and checking out the little shops but never been to any of these great places. I found the people in Mexico to be very friendly and welcoming contrary to what some people may say. Tons of culture and awesome places to visit here!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      I would have to agree David. I have been many times and always find the people very friendly and as you say, welcoming. Glad you enjoyed reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico.

      Reply
  18. Furkan

    I was wondering about the culture I will definitely watch soulful dance performances since I just love them. You mentioned about concerts. I wonder when is the best time to go there?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae

      I would have to say April and May would be the best time. It won’t be too hot, and the weather is going to be sunshine with little rain. You would love a visit here. Let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply

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