After the small country named Belize, it was time for me to visit the huge country name Mexico! I decided to stay more than 2 months here, thus I will write 2 articles: the first (this one) about the Yucatan Peninsula and the second one about the west of the country and Mexico City.
Step 1: Bacalar
The laguna of Bacalar is the main attraction of the city. The clear blue water, so shallow that you can walk dozens of meters without any problem. Moreover, the laguna is not directly connected to the ocean, thus you avoid the sargasso’s invasion which is everywhere else is in the country. You will see a piece of paradise here.
Even if most of the access to the laguna isn’t free, there are two decks where you can go and chill for free. From there, you can swim, tan, admire the view or meet locals.
Step 2: Coba
Coba is a Maya archaeological site. It is famous for the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, which is 42m high. You can climb at the top of it and admire the view of the jungle. There are also other buildings to see on this site: smaller pyramid or rocks where you can try to guess the Maya calendar.
Coba’s site is very large and some pyramids can be 1km from each other and there is nothing except jungle on the way. If you don’t want to walk that much, you can rent a bike. And this is how you can ride a bicycle and see Mara ruins!
Step 3: Isla Mujeres
The Isla Mujeres (“Women’s Island”) is 15min by boat from Cancun. The access is very easy and you can find white sand beaches and blue crystal water. In other words, if you are looking for a place to chill, tan, enjoy a beach close to Cancun: this is it! You can go there for a day or stay for a few days if you want. The only “problem” to me is that most of the beaches are owned by the hotel or the restaurants. Thus, it is complicated to find a place if you don’t want to pay for anything.
Step 4: Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos is a small village 30min south of Cancun; This village is almost not touristic compared to the rest of the region. However, there is a nice beach and even lighthouse very fun. I really like this village, much calmer and quiet and the other cities or beaches.
Step 5: Tulum
The city of Tulum has nothing extraordinary and honestly, you go to Tulum (and in Yucatan) to see the cenotes. So, here are the cenotes I visited and I recommend:
Cenotes Keken and Samula (125$Mx for both): These cenotes are close to Valladolid but you can go there from Tulum too. They are entirely underground and are the only ones like this I saw. You can swim in a sort of cave and admire the stalactites at the same time. Cool isn’t it?
Cenotes Escondido and Cristal (120$Mx for both): These two cenotes are in the middle of the jungle. Escondido is more natural and hasn’t many infrastructures around like a proper path. The cenote Cristal is the opposite. You have stairs to get in the water more easily, a diving board to jump into the water, a change room, bathrooms, etc. Personally, I prefer the first one, but maybe it’s because I was alone there and there were many people at the second cenote!
Gran cenote (180$Mx): It is the most famous cenote in Tulum; Thus, it is also where there are the most people. This cenote is also transformed to receive everybody. There are tables, grass if you want to take a nap, change room, lockers, etc. But despite all of this, Gran Cenote is still beautiful. There is a reproduction area for the turtles, where you can’t go, a small cave where you can swim in and even another small cenote you can swim to. This cenote might not be the most authentic one, but it worth to go.
Temple of Doom (100$Mx): Temple of Doom is my favorite cenote! Yet, it’s not the most beautiful, the biggest (it’s even pretty small) or the one with the most beautiful underwater view. No. In this cenote, you can jump in small holes! Since I saw photos of this cenote, I wanted to come here! This is how I came here, I jumped and I’m so happy now.
Cenote Dos Ojos (380$Mx): This cenote is the most expensive I’ve done. Thus, to enjoy it and because it is the perfect spot, I decided to scuba dive here. To dive in a cenote, you need a certification (like PADI), it’s mandatory. If you dive into this cenote, you will see stalactites and stalagmites while you are diving. I really recommend it if you can.
Jardin del Eden (200$Mx): Jardin del Eden is a cenote entirely adapted to everyone. It is a cenote very popular but it is still very nice. This cenote is big enough to receive many people and to enjoy it at the same time;
Step 6: Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is the most famous archaeological site in Yucatan and in Mexico. You simply can’t miss this place if you are in Yucatan. Unfortunately, because it is famous, there are so many tourists every day and the fee entrance is incredibly expensive. I advise you to come early in the morning for the opening at 8 am to avoid the tourists at the least at the beginning.
Step 7: Izamal
Also called “the yellow village”, this village is located a few kilometers from Merida and is easily accessible by colectivo. Its name, as you can imagine, comes from the color of all the buildings. They are all yellow in the city center. From the church to houses, but also the shops, everything is yellow. Why yellow and not another color? Because this color is produced from the corn (an important food for the Mayas) and represents the color of the sun (an important god for the Maya too). For me, this village is one of the most beautiful I visited in Mexico.
Step 8: Campeche
The city center of Campeche is classified in the World Heritage of UNESCO. When you see the walls around the city center with the colorful houses, you understand why. The city center is also next to the sea which is perfect to enjoy the view. You can easily spend a day in Campeche to walk in the city center or n the walls around it.
The Mexican food
Aaaah, the Mexican food <3! Once you tried it, you know why the Mexican food is classified in the World Heritage of UNESCO! It deserves an entire article about it and I’m writing it. Meanwhile, I will give you two addresses where you can eat it for a cheap price.
Cancun: la Palapas Plaza: In this square, there are many small restaurants that offer local specialties. You have a large choice and see many locals coming here for lunch and dinner!
Tulum: Antojito la Chiapaneca: This small restaurant is advice from a local and a good surprise! The food is really good and generous.
This is it for my first part of my travel to Mexico, in Yucatan. As you know and noticed, this article is only about the peninsula of Yucatan. So, for the rest of Mexico, which includes the West and Mexico city, there is another article coming soon. =)
I hope now you want to travel to this country by yourself or give you the information you looked for Yucatan.