The Best of 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.
Yucatan 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.
Yucatan Peninsula Destinations
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. Best Tulum Hotel: Zamunda Garden View Apartments
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! Best Playa del Carmen Hotel: Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive
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. Best Isla Mujeres Hotel: Izla Beach Front Hotel
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. Best Isla Holbox Hotel: Villas Caracol
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. Best Akumal Hotel: Villa Morena Boutique Hotel Ecoliving
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! Best Cozumel Hotel: The Landmark Resort of Cozumel
Yucatan 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.