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 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 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.
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 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 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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cenote 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.
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.