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36 Cool Things To Do in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Moving to Mexico has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. There are just so many things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula, we’ll need a lifetime to see them all!

Cenotes, Mayan ruins, and spectacular beaches: the Yucatan Peninsula is truly a travel destination that has it all. I think it has its geographical location to thank for this. Located on the far eastern tip of Mexico, the peninsula is flanked by the Caribbean Sea to the east and Gulf of Mexico to the west.

The region is packed to the brim with archaeological ruins, historical colonial cities, and thousands of underground freshwater springs. Plus, it’s one of the best wildlife destinations in the world, home to migrating whale sharks, wild iguanas and coaties.

It’s easy to see why the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most visited destinations worldwide. And with the immigration card accessible online, make sure you know how to fill out the Mexico tourist card before arrival. Whether you’re here for adventure or relaxation, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the amount of things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula.

things to do in yucatan - go to tulum beach

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

To make it easy for you to plan your Yucatan road trip, I’ve listed the items in a loop (from east to west and south to north).  You can easily plan your trip by following the order to make sure you don’t miss a thing!


1. Chill Out at the Hippy Coastal Town of Tulum

Once a sleepy coastal town, Tulum has transformed into a charming hippie haven loved by yogis, honeymooners and boutique hotel lovers. While the town is undergoing vast development, Tulum Beach still retains a wild, jungly setting.

There’s more to Tulum than the beach  – here you’ll also find cenotes (sinkholes filled with crystal clear waters), secluded lagoons, turtle reserves, and fascinating Mayan ruins that have been tumbled and shaped by time. Read our list of things to do in Tulum and best beach hotels in Tulum.

tulum ruins and beach - great base in the yucatan peninsula

2. Explore the Archaeological Zone Tulum

One of the essential things to do in Yucatan is the Tulum Archaeological Zone (just a bike ride away from Tulum town). Of all the Yucatan Mayan ruins, this site has the most spectacular setting. It sits high above the turquoise Caribbean Sea, with different shades of blue as its backdrop.

Thanks to its strategic location, Tulum proved to be one of the most powerful city-states during the 13th and 14th centuries. However, shortly after the Spaniards began their occupation of Mexico, the ancient Mayas who once called this majestic site their home abandoned it.

tulum ruins - an important yucatan mayan ruins

3. Swim in the Gran Cenote

When a deadly asteroid slammed into the sea floor off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago, it created over 6,000 fresh water sinkholes and caves called cenotes. For centuries, the crystal-clear groundwater pools were used as sacred wells by the Maya where they performed offerings and spiritual rituals.

Today, these cenotes are open to the public for exploring, swimming, and scuba diving. One of the best near Tulum is the Gran Cenote, a gorgeous sinkhole filled with clear turquoise-colored waters, partly open to the sky and partly under a cave. Another cenote we love is Cenote Suytun near Valladolid: it’s picture perfect with sun beams pouring through a hole on top of the underground cave.

cenote suytun - things to do in yucatana peninsula

4. Take a Cenote Tour

The Gran Cenote will most likely whet your appetite to visit more cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. The region is home to so many that it can be difficult to choose which to go to.

If you hired your own car, it will be very easy to make a mini Mexico road trip and visit several cenotes in one afternoon. All you need is your GPS, swimsuit and snorkeling mask! But if you don’t intend to drive, I recommend booking a day tour so that you can make the most of your time.

These are our favorite ones that are within a 1-hour drive from Tulum:

cenote tour from tulum mexico - must do when traveling yucatan

5. Eat Authentic Mexican Food in Tulum Town

Tulum town itself doesn’t have any particular attractions, but it’s great for strolling around and stopping for tacos and vegan food. The restaurants here are much more affordable than near the beach and offer more authentic options too.

For lunch, there are some authentic and cheap Mexican food joints in town. If you’re a vegetarian, I highly recommend La Hoja Verde, which offers lots of typical Mexican dishes with vegetarian alternatives. The other place I absolutely loved was Burrito Amor , who make their own deliciously spicy sauces.

authentic mexican food in yucatan peninsula

6. Explore the Coba Ruins

Located a short 45-minute drive from Tulum is another Yucatan Mayan ruins: Coba archaeological zone. Being relatively unknown, this site receives far fewer tourists than Chichen Itza. Only partially complete in its excavation, Coba remains a rugged structure that peaks above the emerald trees to reveal the true remoteness of its setting.

Scientists believe that more than 90 percent of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan remain hidden. Make sure you wear a good pair of shoes, as Coba presents one of the more challenging climbs among the pyramids in Mexico, with 120 steep and daunting steps to the top!

coba - one of the best yucatan mayan ruins

7. Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

About an hour’s drive away, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve makes for a great day trip from Tulum. In the language of the Mayan people, Sian Ka’an means ‘Origin of the Sky’. The diverse jungle ecosystem reserve offers one of the most unique experiences in the region by boat.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site has a wide array of ecosystems, ranging from tropical forests to mangroves and marshes, as well as a large marine section intersected by a barrier reef. It provides a habitat for a remarkably rich flora and a fauna comprising more than 300 species of birds.

The easiest way to visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is on a boat trip from Muyil Ruins through its ancient canals dug out by the Mayans centuries ago. Another way to get to Sian Ka’an Reserve is from Punta Allen, a remote and uncommercialised fishing village in the ocean side of the Sian Ka’an. It involves driving a treacherous, unpaved road from Tulum all the way south of the Boca Paila peninsula. For more details, read my guide to Punta Allen. one of our favorite things to do in yucatan - visit sian kaan reserve

8. Swim in the Laguna Bacalar

Continue driving further south the Lake Bacalar for 2.5 hours and you’ll reach Bacalar Lagoon.  Laguna Bacalar’s brilliant shades of blue and turquoise have earned it the nickname “Lagoon of Seven Colors“.

See also  15 Things to Do in Cozumel, Mexico [2024]

The gradual merging of several cenotes created the lagoon overtime. Technically, it is a lake rather than a lagoon. Lake Bacalar is 26 miles (42 km) long, but it’s extremely narrow. It measures only 1.2 miles (2km) at its widest point. The best way to see it is by snorkeling or kayaking.

lake bacalar in yucatan peninsula


9. Snorkel with Turtles in Akumal

Midway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen is the quiet beach town of Akumal. We only spent an afternoon here, but I wished we had stayed here a few days as I loved the pristine waters and the small town feel here!

Akumal is known for the loggerhead and green sea turtles that swim and feed in the bay. The protective reef in the bay at Akumal is so large that waves can’t disrupt the bay and that makes for some great snorkeling.  Just rent snorkel gear or bring your own and head down to the beach.

turtles in akumal in mexico yucatan peninsula

10. Swim in the Unique Yal-Ku Lagoon

Close to the main Akumal beach is a unique inlet from the ocean known as Yal-ku Lagoon. It contains a mixture of fresh and salt water and is home to sea turtles, tropical fish and manta rays.

The lagoon itself has many areas to explore. Most of the lagoon is 5 to 15 feet deep and there are rocks where you climb on and rest. Look for starfish, parrot fish, blue tangs and queen trigger fish, among other Caribbean species. Surrounding the lagoon is a sculpture garden with bronze statues that you can explore.

yal-ku lagoon in akumal

11. Explore Aktun Chen Natural Park

Take a break from another day at the beach, and pay a visit to Aktun Chen Natural Park just minutes away from Akumal town. The 5 million year old cave is the largest dry cave system in the Riviera Maya. The National Geographic Society included Acktun Chen on the list of the “Top 10 Underground Walks”.

You can only visit the natural park through guided tours organized by the reserve. Walk inside the domes and marvel at the natural dome, tall stalactites, and translucent curtains that glow in the soft blue light. Book here!

aktun chen natural park - things to do in yucatanWikimedia Commons by Fraguando

12. Visit the Akumal Ecology Center

To learn more about Akumal’s fragile ecosystem, plan a visit to Centro Ecologico Akumal. It is a non-governmental organization that focuses on sustainability issues and improving the ecosystem in Akumal. They do research, education and protection of the sea turtles.

The center has several exhibits on reef and turtle ecology. They offer a four-week volunteer program focused on protection, conservation, and research of female sea turtles, their nests and hatchlings.

akumal ecology center - things to do in yucatan peninsula mexico

13. Get Wet and Wild in Xel-Ha Park

Just a 12-minute drive from Akumal is Xel-Ha, an outdoor adventure park built to take advantage of the natural landscape. Translated from the Mayan language, Xel-Ha means “the mixture of the waters.” This natural park is excellent for families, but adults would love the adventure activities here too. Book your pass here.

Choose from snorkeling in Aventura Cenote, swimming in underwater grottos, kayaking across the Black Lagoon, or floating on a tube down a lazy river. The bold ones can try the Cliff of Courage where you jump 5 meters (17 feet) from a bridge into the river below.

xel-ha outdoor adventure park in yucatan peninsula

Book Your Tickets here:


14. Enjoy the Beaches of Playa del Carmen

If Tulum is too hippy and chill and Cancun is way too rowdy, then Playa del Carmen will be a perfect base for you. Sitting midway between Cancun and Tulum, Playa del Carmen is a vibrant beach town just a hop away from islands and adventure parks. There’s easy access to the public beach almost anywhere in town, and there’s plenty to do beyond the beaches. And it’s just a 1-hour drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen.

We chose to live in Playa del Carmen, because of the big expat community and great amenities/infrastructure. Moving to Mexico has been wonderful for our family, and we absolutely love living in Playa del Carmen for the beach clubs, cenotes and ruins nearyby. Refer to my full list of things to do in Playa del Carmen.

playa del carmen - a major tourist hub in yucatan peninsula mexico

15. Explore the Cenotes

At just 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, there lies a trio of cenotes that are cheap to visit and easy to get to by car or colectivo (you don’t need to book a tour to visit). The three cenotes are located next to one another: Cenote Eden, Cenote Azul, Cenote Cristalino. You can easily stop here on your drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, and make it a full day excursion by visiting all of them in one day. Tucked right in the middle of the forest, the natural freshwater pools have clear-as-glass water, with plants growing in it and underwater rock formations blanketed in green moss. You can snorkel amidst the rock formations or jump off the cliffs, and even go scuba diving! They are all kept in their original, natural environment – exactly the way I like it. Read my guide to Cenote Eden.

16. Go Caving in Rio Secreto

Located just a few miles away from Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto is definitely the coolest cenote in Riviera Maya in my opinion. Having been discovered only a few years ago, Rio Secreto only opened to the public in 2007 as a protected nature reserve.

There are no artificial lights inside the caves other than some scattered wireless flashes and there is an active effort from the authorities to conserve this largely unexplored cave system. You can only visiting Rio Secreto through organized tours offered by reserve. It’s an incredible experience and I highly recommend it!

rio secreto - exciting adventure in yucatan cenote

17. Zip-line at the Xcaret Adventure Park

The most famous eco-adventure park in the Yucatan Peninsula,  Xcaret is a great option for all the family and is about an hour away from central Playa del Carmen. Zip-line between trees, float through underwater caves, cross rope bridges, marvel at rock formations. Also enjoy the evening events, which include performances exploring the area’s Mayan past.

Park admission (some activities included) is pricey, costing approximately $90. Having said that, there are numerous tours, packages, and discounts offered year-round. This is one of the best Playa del Carmen attractions, for good reason.

xcaret adventure park in mexico

18. Take a Ferry to Cozumel

The beautiful island of Cozumel is just a 40-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. Read my guide on how to get from Cancun to Cozumel island. Unlike the coastal towns, the 34-mile-long by 11-mile-wide island is largely undeveloped, with expanses of jungle and untouched shoreline. Check out my full list of things to do in Cozumel.

Just off Cozumel’s southwestern coast lies the world’s second-longest coral reef system (only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef beats it). The exceptionally clear waters put Cozumel high on many divers’ bucket lists. It’s common for divers to see vast coral heads, vivid sponges, tropical fish, and tunnels and caves housing species found only here, such as the Cozumel splendid toadfish.

scuba diving in cozumel mexico


19. Experience Downtown Cancun

I’d admit I am not a fan of Cancun beach. It is an over-developed beach town overflowing with sun-burned partygoers and raucous college students looking for cheap booze. It’s definitely not my scene.

The only saving grace of Cancun is the downtown area, which is an authentic Mexican city. Downtown Cancun offers a mix of tradition and modernity, and is home to many authentic, local restaurants and outdoor markets. We were here for Mexico’s Independence Day and the celebrations were so much fun! Check out my recommendations on where to stay in Cancun and things to do in Cancun.

cancun town - where to stay in mexico yucatan

20. Dive in an Underwater Museum at Isla Mujeres

Just a 15-minute ferry ride away (on UltraMar) is Isla Mujeres, a brilliant escape away from the raucous scene in Cancun. The quiet island is where you go for calm sandy beaches, gently waving palm trees, migrating whale sharks, and giant iguanas.

An interesting thing to do on Isla Mujeres is to dive or snorkel in MUSA, an underwater art museum off the coast of Isla Mujeres. MUSA features over 500 underwater statues that have transformed into part of the coral reef in an artistic combination of art and nature. Book snorkel/dive tours directly on their website.

See also  Bacalar Mexico: My 2024 Guide to Bacalar Lagoon
musa underwater museum

21. Swim with Whale Shales at Isla Holbox

Located in the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Holbox is a relatively undeveloped island that’s gloriously pristine. No cars are allowed on the unpaved streets of the island, and the islanders have fought hard to keep big-scale resorts away. It is separated from the mainland by 6 miles (10 km) of shallow lagoon that is home to flamingos, pelicans and other rich birdlife.

From June through September, whale sharks swim through the Gulf’s phytoplankton-rich waters. Swimming with whale sharks is an incredibly humbling experience. This is one of the best things to do in Holbox, especially for adventure seekers.

swimming with whale sharks in holbox

Book Your Tour here:

22. Go Birdwatching in Rio Lagartos

Continuing along the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll eventually find the tiny fishing village of Rio Lagartos (River of Alligators). This part of Mexico is home to the largest concentration of flamingos in the country, swelling to populations of 40,000 at the peak.

The area surrounding Rio Lagartos has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means it is of “unusual scientific and natural interest.” This gateway to the biosphere is a bird watcher’s paradise, with dozens of species making their home here.  To get here, we booked this tour to visit as a daytrip from Cancun.

rio lagartos - one of the best places to visit in yucatan

23. Float in the Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas

While the flamingos are a big draw in the northern Yucatan Peninsula, of nearly equal interest are the bright pink waters of nearby Las Coloradas, just a few miles away. This was included in our daytrip from Cancun.

Originally used for the commercial production of sea salt, the ponds have now become a popular destination for travelers because of their shimmering pink color. So why are the ponds pink? Well, that comes from the algae, plankton and brine shrimp that reside in the waters of Las Coloradas and become visible as the water evaporates under the beating Mexican sun.

las coloradas pink lakes in rio lagartos mexico


24. Wander through the Colonial Town of Valladolid

One of our favorite places to visit in Yucatan is definitely the pueblo mágico (magic town) of Valladolid. Located around 100km inland from Tulum, this sleepy town is filled with brightly colored houses and old colonial buildings. Best of all, it’s surprisingly untouristy.

The charming town also has a strong connection to its Mayan past. Many locals still walk around in Mayan dress and lots of the restaurants serve typical Mayan dishes with traditional ingredients such as chaya leaves and crushed pumpkin-seed sauce. Check out my list of things to do in Valladolid.

valladolid - one of the surprises on this road trip in mexico

25. Visit Convent of San Bernardino

While in Valladolid, be sure to visit the elegant San Bernardino Convent for a lightshow. On certain evenings during the week, you can watch video mapping and colored light projections on the walls of the convent. The projections tell the story of Valladolid and its history in a beautiful and magical way. Check with the Tourist Information Office on the main square as to the days and timings.

valladolid convent of san bernardino

26. Swim in Cenote Saamal

Valladolid is unique in the fact that it boasts a cenote right in the center of town: the Cenote Zaci. While beautiful and easy to get to, it’s not the most spectacular of the Cenote’s close to Valladolid. One of the best we visited was Cenote Saamal, a very deep cenote with a gorgeous tumbling waterfall. Just grab a taxi from the central square to get there.

cenote saamal - our favorite cenote on this mexico trip

27. Swim in Dreamy Cenote Suytun

You’ve been to probably a handful of cenotes by now so do you really need to visit another one? Yes! I’ve saved the best for last. Of all of the cenotes we visited in the Yucatan Peninsula, Cenote Suytun was the dreamiest-looking.

The platform is partially submerged under the water and walking out to it to be illuminated by a hole in the ceiling feels like you’re walking onto a floating platform in heaven. It is just a 14-minute drive from Valladolid town. If you want to swim in the cenote, it is mandatory to wear a life jacket.

suytun - the coolest cenote in yucatan

28. Explore Chichen Itza

One of the highlights of our Mexico itinerary was Chichen Itza, one of the country’s most celebrated Mayan archaeological sites. An important Mayan-Toltec city it spans a thousand years of history. Today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the most popular sites in the Yucatan.

I recommend staying in Valladolid and leaving as early as you can to reach the site before all the day-trippers arrive from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. I also suggest hiring a guide, as there aren’t many plaques or information. If you don’t have a car, it might be best to book a day tour from Cancun. Read my guide on how to get to Chichen Itza.

chichen itza - an important stop on this mexico travel itinerary

Book Your Day Tour:

29. Visit the Ek Balam Archaeological Site

If you didn’t get enough with Chichen Itza, there is another archaeological site just 30 minutes away from Valladolid. Ek Balam lies to the north of Valladolid, so you can simply drive here straight from Chichen Itza. Like Chichen Itza, this city was also created by the Mayans, however, here there are far fewer tourists and it’s still possible to climb up the pyramids. Read my guide to Ek Balam ruins.

ek balam - another mexico archaeological site


30. Visit the Yellow Mayan Town of Izamal

On your drive to Merida, make a stop at Izamal, another one of the most beautiful magic towns in Mexico. Nicknamed La Ciudad Amarilla (the Yellow City), Izamal earned its nickname from the traditional golden-yellow buildings that spiral out from the center like a budding daisy. The small provincial town is easily explored on foot, and spiffy horse-drawn carriages add to the city’s charm.

izamal colonial historical city in yucatan

31. Soak up Mexican Culture in Merida

For culture vultures, a visit to Merida is definitely one of the best things to do in Yucatan. The vibrant capital of the Yucatan Peninsula has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. Known as the White City, Merida was also named the American Capital of Culture in 2017.

The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The Casa de Montejo, a 16th-century mansion, is a landmark of colonial plateresque architecture. Read my full list of 30 things to do in Merida!

things to do in yucatan peninsula - merida

32. Experience a Shaman Ritual in Cenote Sacamucuy

Local shamans still perform traditional rituals today at the many cenotes that dot the Yucatan Peninsula. Hacienda Temozon allows guests to join in a traditional Maya purification ritual in the underground Cenote Sacamucuy.

The shaman performs a wellness ceremony to fill one’s soul with powerful positive energy. The ritual involves giving a beautiful offering of colorful flowers, medicinal plants, cocoa beans and candles to the gods via fragrant copal (tree resin) incense.

sacamucuy - cenote mexico yucatan

33. Explore the Mayan Ruins of Uxmal

Just a 1h 15min south of Merida is  Uxmal, another UNESCO-listed Maya ruin celebrated for its impressive construction and ornate stone carvings. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture, along with Chichen Itza, Caracol and Xunantunich in Belize, and Tikal in Guatemala.

The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ in Mayan. It refers to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician which was built on top of existing pyramids. This archaeological complex has much less crowds than Chichen Itza. It is massive and there are very few signs, I highly recommend hiring a guide for this.

uxmal - another one of the mexican ruins in yucatan

34. See Flamingos at Celestun Biosphere Reserve

One of the best things to do near Merida is the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, a wildlife refuge also known as the cradle of ecotourism. It was here where an expert coined the term “ecotourism”.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the estuary (ria) is surrounded by a mangrove forest. The mangrove provides food and shelter for shrimp and blue crab larvae, which in turn support the complex ecosystem. For the true bird-watcher, the best time to visit is in the winter when migrants abound and the number of flamingos is at its peak. Think pink!

See also  How to Get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres 2024
flamingo at celestun biosphere reserve


35. Wander the Colorful Streets of Campeche

A 2-hour’s drive from Merida is the picturesque city of Campeche, one of the best kept secrets of Yucatan Peninsula. The charming colonial city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It’s easy to see why: cobblestone streets, pastel-colored facades of row upon row of Spanish Colonial buildings and intact stone walls of the old city render the entire town postcard-perfect. Stay in a 17th-century colonial house, stroll the streets of the centro historico, people-watch in the Plaza Principal, and visit the Museo de la Architecura Maya.
campeche - colorful town in mexico peninsula

36. Visit the Calakmul Ruins in Campeche

Just 22 miles (35km) from the Guatemala border is the Mayan archaeological site of Calakmul. Located within a protected UNESCO Biosphere, Calakmul has vast jungle, monkeys, and over 230 species of birds.

There are an incredible amount of things to see while visiting Calakmul as it is one of the most structurally rich Mayan sites. The 117 stelae are just one high point of this settlement. The main pyramid stands at an impressive height of 148 feet (45m). The views are amazing over the biosphere!

Calakmul - another mayan ruins in yucatan

Mexico Travel Requirements

Mexico has no travel restrictions, and there’s no need for proof of vaccine or PCR tests on the plane or ferry. Anyone is welcomed to travel to Mexico.

However, I always recommend travelers to buy travel insurance, whether you’re traveling for a year or a week. It is particularly important to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19.

Safety Wing is the most popular travel insurance company for COVID19-coverage. I use their Nomad Insurance plan, which covers COVID-19 as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date. Refer to my travel insurance guide for more details.

best time to visit mexico

How to Get to the Yucatan Peninsula

The gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula is Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is also the biggest airport in the region. You will find daily flights from the US to Cancun on Mexico’s national airline, Aeromexico.

Flying into the Yucatan Peninsula from the US is really affordable. You can fly from New York to Cancun for as little as $300 return (4.5-hour flight). Flights from Los Angeles to Cancun are slightly more expensive around US$350 return (4.5-hour flight).

Flying from Europe to Mexico is also affordable, especially from London and Madrid. We took direct return flights from London to Cancun once for $400.

Search for Flights to Cancun

aeromexico - mexico's national airline

Best Time to Visit the Yucatan Peninsula

The best time to do this Yucatan road trip is during the dry season between December and April, when there is virtually no rain. Head to the Yucatan Peninsula at the start of the season (November to early December) when prices are lower.

The wet season begins in the south in May and lasts until October. The Caribbean coast can be affected by the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Try to avoid public holiday as surcharges are common around Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.

The Yucatan Peninsula celebrates many cultural festivals, including Carnaval in February, Semana Santa (Easter) in April , and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in October. We were there for their Independence Day on 15 September, and it was a spectacular event! mexcian traditional clothes in merida

Is it Safe to Visit the Yucatan Peninsula?

The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the safest places in Mexico for travelers. While petty crime is common here, it has one of the lowest rates of homicide in Mexico (10 times lower than the rest of the country) and safer than major cities such as New York and London.

Many travelers report that taking public transport around the peninsula is safe during the day. However, like the rest of Mexico, it’s advised not to travel around at night. Carjackings have been reported, most occurring at night or on desolate roads.

A common scam targeting visitors is money switching, particularly at gas stations. You may hand over a 500 peso note and the attendant swiftly changes it for a 50 peso note, insisting you need to pay more. Make sure when you hand over the correct amount, keep your eyes on them and don’t leave until you have the correct change.

night time in yucatan mexico

How to Stay Connected

Internet in the Yucatan Peninsula is pretty fast and reliable, and you can get WiFi in most hotels and guesthouses. But I recommend getting an eSIM before traveling or a SIM card at the airport upon arrival. You can also get it at any OXXO shop in Mexico.

A SIM card itself costs between 29 and 149 pesos (around $1-6 USD). You can get 3GB of data valid for 30 days on the sin limite plan (unlimited) for 200 pesos (~8 USD.) That will also give you unlimited calls, texts, and most social media within North America.

Read my guide on how to get a SIM card in Mexico.

How to Get Around the Yucatan Peninsula

By Car

I recommend hiring a compact car in the Yucatan Peninsula as attractions are spaced out. You’ll also get to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of exploring at your own pace.

It’s generally easy to drive in the Yucatan Peninsula, especially outside of the towns. In this post, I included things to do in the Yucatan that can be easily accessed by covered roads that are in relatively good conditions. Drivers with foreign licenses are allowed to drive. 

I always book my car rental from Discover Cars as they offer the best prices and excellent customer service. An economy rental car in Mexico average just $100 for a whole week, which is less than $20 a day. The current price for gas is 16.50 pesos per liter (about $2.50 per gallon), though this varies throughout the country.

Check Car Rental Prices

renting a car is one of the many things to do in yucatan

By Bus

If you don’t want to drive in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is absolutely possible to get around by bus.

Mexico has an extensive bus network and buses are really affordable. The buses are generally good quality and air-conditioned. Some offer luxury or de lujo services with lots of legroom, reclining seats, and TVs.

The main bus companies are:

public bus in mexico - how to get around mexico

My Recommended Yucatan Itinerary

As the Yucatan Peninsula itself is so big and there is SO much to see, I recommend spending at least 10 days in the Yucatan. It still won’t be possible to do every item on this list of things to do in Yucatan.

Here is a summary of my recommended Yucatan itinerary. For more details, check out my Yucatan road trip itinerary.

  • Day 1: Arrive in Cancun
  • Day 2: Valladolid
  • Day 3: Day Trip to Ek Balam
  • Day 4: Day Trip to Chichen Itza
  • Days 5-7: Merida
  • Day 8-10: Tulum

For those who want to see all of Mexico, check out our Mexico road trip itinerary.

yucatan peninsula mexico from the air

Further Reading on Mexico

I hope you’ve found this Yucatan Peninsula guide useful! I have tried to include as many things to do in Yucatan as possible. Let me know in the comments field below if there are any other fun activities in Yucatan worth mentioning in this article. Have a blast in the Yucatan Peninsula!

For those who are planning to travel more of Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. if you book a stay through one of my links, I get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thank you for your support!

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things to do in yucatan - yucatan peninsula   things to do in yucatan - yucatan peninsula mexico

2 thoughts on “36 Cool Things To Do in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico”

  1. wow…this is comprehensive.

    Nice to get the perspective of a local who has the exploring instincts of a world traveler.

    “Don’t always trust a local.” I like to say, because locals don’t often know! Basic stuff, sure, but not necessarily places to go. That applies to folks everywhere these days — unless you meet a local expert per se. Because people often think, I’ll do that later, or they’ve seen it so many times in pictures / local TV, etc…

    1. That’s true, I agree! Locals don’t always know the basic stuff and they’re focused more on living daily life, unlike local experts (which I shamelessly claim to be) who explore a lot more and are curious to know more about the area.

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