The Yucatan -- More Than Just Cancun
Nothing beats sitting on white sandy beaches that meet perfectly clear blue green waters with gently rolling waves crashing against the shore. That’s one of the many reasons people from all over the globe head to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula every year. Yet most never leave the resort communities of Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The peninsula has so much more to offer. Here are twelve ideas for your next visit to the Yucatan Peninsula.
For thousands of years, Chichen Itza has been known as one of the great Mayan cities of Central America. Here, you can view some of the massive stone buildings that span nearly 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of land and feel like you are stepping back in time.
Head to the far corners of the Ria Biosphere Reserve to see the ever popular Las Coloradas pink salt lakes. These lakes are used for industrial salt production and as the water evaporates, an overwhelming growth of red algae occurs. Plankton and brine shrimp also habitat in these bright pink waters.
If you’re infatuated with sea turtles, make your way to Akumal Beach to swim in the shallow waters where three different varieties of sea turtles live. A lifejacket is required and lifeguards are always on duty since the waters have recently been turned into a preserved area to protect the turtles.
To fully experience the culture and history of the peninsula, go to Merida, the capital of the Yucatan state. The town's rich culture and history will certainly make your trip memorable. Head to the city center to buy a brightly woven hammock. Hammock weaving has been a tradition on the peninsula for more than 700 years.
If sharks don’t scare you, go to Isla Holbox to see the lightly speckled whale sharks. Beware, these whale sharks are named appropriately, weighing up to 20,000 lbs and reaching almost 30ft long!
The Yucatan peninsula is no stranger to loud colors as you may have noticed. So if you love color as much as the natives, head to the Yellow Town in Izamal. You will even get to see pyramids.
For a quick dip to cool off, visit the Dzitnup cenote outside of Valladolid. This cavernous pool of fresh water is majestic and perhaps the purest water you will ever see since the limestone helps filter it through the underground rivers.
While you’re near Valladolid go into the colonial city built atop ancient grounds to view the colorful (of course) architecture including the San Gervasio Church. Then go try some of the great eats at the restaurants situated throughout the area.
Go to Cozumel to snorkel and scuba dive or to simply hike through the luscious green jungle areas.
If you need to relax for a day, go to Tulum for sunbathing and yoga on the beach. The area is full of healthy food options, spas and other great activities. Plus it is home to more stunning Mayan ruins. Tulum was once an important Mayan seaport and the clifftop castillo still stands watch over the coast.
Grab your sunscreen and rent an inflatable kayak and head out on the Bacalar Lagoon to feel like the pirates of the 17th Century.
Last but not least, hike the Calakmul Mayan Ruins that border Guatemala. You certainly won’t miss the two gigantic pyramids reaching 165ft high.
The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most diverse and exciting places to travel in all of Mexico. From the stunning landscape to the vibrant culture, the Yucatan has a little something for everyone.
If you are interested in planning a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, contact me today to get started!