Yucatan Peninsula Mexico

The 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.

Yukatan Peninsula Weather – When to Visit

Mexico’s dry season runs from November to April, with the rainy season stretching from May to October. It isn’t a problem if you’re staying close to the beaches, but for those heading to Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, or other sites, temperatures and humidity in the interior can be stifling from May to July. Later in the rainy season, the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes increases.  But they can lower temperatures, making climbing ruins more fun, as you’ll have cool air and a slight wind. November is especially nice for traveling to the Yukatan.

High season in the Yucatán begins the end of December and continues to Easter week. This is the best time for calm, warm weather; snorkeling, diving, and fishing, and for visiting the ruins. Book well in advance if you plan to be in Cancún around the holidays.

Best Places to Visit in the Yukatan Peninsula

Tulum

Tulum has some of the best beaches on the entire continent, as well as beach -side Mayan ruins. Tulum is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. Fortunately, Tulum has managed to keep its status as a backpacker town. There are dozens of incredible hostels in Tulum to choose from, including the all-inclusives.  Vacationing to Tulum?  Visit our Tulum Travel Guide for a comprehensive Tulum guide.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen’s location on the Mayan Riviera means it’s the perfect base for day trips to explore all that the Yucatan has to offer. From here, you can take a dip in several nearby cenotes (underground swimming holes), explore the nearby “ecotourism theme parks” like Xcaret, or venture further afield to see the Mayan ruins at Coba. Vacationing to Playa del Carmen?  Read our comprehensive Playa del Carmen travel guide and start planning!

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is the perfect retreat for those looking to escape it all, and easily one of the best places to visit in Mexico. There is excellent snorkeling just off the island, including snorkeling with whale sharks during the summer.  Otherwise, there just isn’t a whole lot to do here except lounge on the island’s beautiful sand beaches, meander its many shops and stalls, and watch the sun slowly slip down over the ocean.  Visit our Isla Mujeres travel guide and plan your relaxing vacation here.

Isla Holbox

On the isolated island of Isla Holbox, you won’t find any transportation. You may feel like you’ve stepped back in time.  There are only three ways to get around the island: on foot, by bike, or via golf cart.  You’ll love exploring the island’s many wild beaches, most of which sport water so shallow that you can walk a hundred meters or more into the sea.  And if you visit in May or June, you’ll be treated to the spectacular site of swimming with whale sharks.  Plan your vacation to Isla Holbox, read our comprehensive Isla Holbox travel guide.

Akumal

Akumal is best known for one thing… turtles!  Akumal is one of the best places to swim with these sea creatures. You don’t need to pay for a tour to do it: just rent some snorkel gear from a stall by the beach, swim out a few dozens meters, and look around.  Vacationing to Akumal?  Read our comprehensive Akumal Travel Guide and start planning.

Cozumel

Cozumel may be best known as one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the world, but it also offers some of the best diving.  The island is quiet in the evenings after the cruise crowd heads back to their ships. This means the island will be all yours!  Vacation to Cozumel!  Read our Cozumel travel guide and start making plans today!

Puerto Morelos

This quiet village is just twenty minutes south of Cancun, and feels like a different world. Small enough that the locals all seem to know each other, but with enough to keep you busy.   It’s the perfect destination for if you’re looking to get off the beaten path without having to go too far.  There are plenty of activities; from zip lining, to swimming in cenotes, to driving ATVs, there’s a lot just waiting to be explored here.

Yukatan Peninsula Attractions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Chichen-Itza-300x160.jpgChichen Itza

Located in Yucatan, appointed by the UNESCO as World Heritage and considered one of the “”New Seven Wonders of the World””.  The archaeological site covers an area of 6.5 square kilometers. Composed by the south area that dates back to the VII century and shows the maya Puuc construction style and the central area, built after the arrival of the Toltecs around the 10th century, it shows the fusion of the Puuc architectural styles and the central highlands of Mexico.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Los-Colorados.jpgLos Coloradas

Las Coloradas means “the red” in Spanish. It’s the name of a tiny Mexican fishing village with a population of 1000. Nearby, a series of brightly colored pink lakes cover the landscape on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.  The region is home to animals like flamingos, crocodiles, sea turtles, jaguars, and all kinds of sea birds. The reserve covers some 150,000 acres.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Playa-Norte-300x169.jpgPlaya Norte

Playa Norte, located in Isla Mujeres, is known for its crystal clear waters with one of the most unique landscapes that meet the eye, and according to Travelers Choice ( by Trip Advisor), it has been ranked once again as one of the best beaches around the globe. Its powder-like sand and perfectly humid weather are just a few of the many reasons visiting this paradise has to be on your bucket list.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Playa-Delfines-300x200.jpgPlaya Delfines

Playa Delfines is a largely undeveloped ribbon of sand located near El Rey. Likewise, the beach often lacks the heavy crowds found elsewhere throughout the Hotel Zone. Make sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there won’t be opportunities to buy them here. This is also where you’ll find the colorful “Cancun” sign featured on many of the city’s postcards and brochures.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cenote-dos-Ojos-300x169.jpgCenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos (Two Eyes Cenote) is one of the most extravagant diving sites in the Yucatan peninsula. It is also one of the largest underwater cave systems.  Dos Ojos is the location of the deepest known underwater cave passage at a 118 meter depth. The whole cave system is at least 61 km long.

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Top Yucatán Peninsula Tours & Activities
Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club All-Inclusive Day Pass

Enjoy great service and convenience that come with an all-inclusive day pass to Mr Sancho’s Beach Club in Cozumel. Lounge on the beach or swing on a hammock. Make use of a pool bar and beachfront section exclusive to all-inclusive day pass guests. All-you-can-eat delicious meals and bottomless drinks await you, making this the perfect vacation experience.  Read more about Cozumel Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club All-Inclusive Day Pass

Private Jeep Excursion in Cozumel with Lunch and Snorkeling

Discover the jungle and beaches of Cozumel with just your family and friends on this private self-operated Jeep tour. Follow your guide from a separate vehicle and drive into a national park to learn about the local geology and Maya history. Continue to white-sand beaches for snorkeling and enjoy a delicious lunch. These are just some of the activities and sites available. Leave the routine tours behind and design your own itinerary to include horseback riding, shopping, more sightseeing and whatever else suits your interests.  Read more about Cozumel Private Custom Jeep Tour with Lunch and Snorkeling

Official Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park Admission Ticket

Visit Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park for a day of swimming, water sports, and relaxation with convenient, skip-the-line admission. Purchase a zipline experience, go diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, or just take a walk through the Chankanaab Beach nature trails and botanical gardens, spotting archeological replicas along the way. Onsite showers, hammocks, and palapas make this a comfortable, family-friendly way to enjoy the spectacular Cozumel coast and the Great Maya Reef.  Read more about Skip the Line: Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park Ticket

Tulum Ruins Archaeological Tour from Cozumel

Enjoy a relaxing journey to the archaeological ruins of Tulum on this day trip from Cozumel. Perched on a bluff-top with flawless white-sand beaches below, Tulum provides ample opportunity to snap frame-worthy shots. Learn about the ancient Maya city’s heritage and lore from an informative guide as you discover its frescoes and temples including El Castillo and The House of the Columns. Ferry rides and transport to the archaeological site are included.  Read more about Cozumel to Tulum Ruins Archaeological Tour

Exclusive Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

Treat yourself to a fabulous on-the-water experience from Cozumel. This catamaran sailing and snorkeling cruise gives you the chance to explore the marine life of Mexico, admire the scenery, and enjoy on-board service that includes Champagne, fresh fruit, lunch, and unlimited drinks and cocktails. You can snorkel over a protected reef and then relax in the boat’s air-conditioned cabin or on the deck. Plus, stop at a beach to play in the water.  Read more about Exclusive Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

Yucatán Peninsula Beaches

World renown as a spring break hot spot, 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.

Best Yukatan Peninsula Hotels

Presidente Inter-Continental Cozumel Resort & Spa


Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa is the perfect balance of energy and ease. Adventurers love the scuba centre and nearby Chankanaab Park. Bringing the kids? The resort s Chiqui Club will keep them busy all day. When you want a slightly slower pace, you can head for our stretch of white sand, the exotic Mandara Spa or Cozumel s shops.After a 25 million dollar investment, this resort offers upgraded facilities and a unique vacation experience for the discerning traveler. The place to discover three experiences: great Dive, unique Spa treatments and Golf.

Ocean Riviera Paradise

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The Ocean Riviera Paradise is a new five-star resort located on the seafront in the Playa del Carmen area of the Riviera Maya. The resort is noteworthy for its size and the extensive selection of services on offer. It boasts spectacular swimming pools, exclusive Junior Suites and Suites, a wide range of cuisine, a Despacio Spa Centre, Privilege, Exclusive Rooms and Services, a Dive It! diving centre and a great choice of entertainment for the whole family.

Secrets The Vine Cancun


Escape to the heart of Cancun at Secrets The Vine Cancun. This adults-only, ultra-chic, contemporary resort offers all the indulgences of Unlimited-Luxury(R), starting with 497 modern, elegant guest rooms and suites, 24-hour room service and pool and beach wait service. The 497 graciously appointed guest rooms and suites comes complete with Italian porcelain and teak wood furnishings and sleek, private terraces overlooking the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea and Laguna Nichupte. All guest rooms and suites are equipped with luxurious amenities including 24-hour room and concierge services,daily refreshed mini-bar, smart TVs and much more.

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun


Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive is a romantic all-inclusive resort offering a flat screen TV, a minibar, and a refrigerator in the rooms, and it is easy to stay connected during your stay as free internet access is offered to guests. The all-inclusive resort features a concierge and room service. Plus, guests can enjoy a pool and free breakfast, which have made this a popular choice among travelers visiting Cancun. For guests with a vehicle, parking is available.

Emporio Cancun


Emporio Cancun is located 15 minutes from Cancun International Airport at km 17 next to the newly opened Museo Maya, between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte lagoon in the hotel zone which is a strip of white sand being the main tourist attraction city. Inspired by the grandeur of the Mexican-contemporary architecture, Emporio Family Suites Cancun is located in a tropical oasis, combining natural beauty and unique landscapes making it an ideal resort for the whole family. Consisting of 12 towers hotel offers a resort that will make you feel at home. Has a total of 399 rooms and suites with a contemporary style, equipped with fully kitchens and confortable areas indoor to provide warmth, privacy and comfort needed to rest.

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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