Yucatan peninsula

From this article you will learn:

  • What distinguishes the rest at the beach resorts of Yucatán: Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya
  • What is interesting to see in the main cities of the peninsula – Merida and Campeche
  • Brief and understandable about the main archaeological areas: Chichen Itza, Ushmal, Ek Balama and Calacmule


Yucatan separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. The northern part of the peninsula is occupied by the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The south of the peninsula belongs to the states of Guatemala and Belize. The climate is tropical and hot. In the humid south, the main part of the territory is occupied by the rainforest, as it moves north, the climate becomes drier.




The bulk of people come to this region of Mexico for a paradise beach holiday, stretching for many kilometers along the Caribbean coast. The most important beach resort is Cancun , founded in the early 70s of the last century as a visiting card of tourist Mexico. In the hotel’s spa zone, which, if viewed from space, resembles the shape of the “seven”, you are waiting for more than a hundred first-class hotels. More than 80% of them are located directly on the beach of white sand, others – near the rich natural variety of the Nichupte Lagoon . Here you will find first-class five-star and grand tourism hotels, regularly falling into the top ratings of  TripAdvisor , Conde Nast Traveler others.

Mexico has already consolidated its leadership in the Americas by the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites

In addition, in Cancun, a wide selection of more affordable hotels , the vast majority of which work on an all-inclusive basis. In addition to comfortable accommodation, they provide spa services with dozens of procedures that will rejuvenate you and give new strength; for guests are open gourmet restaurants specializing in dishes from all over the world; You can try yourself in golf at one of the resort’s fields.

Excursions from Cancun.


Average air temperature

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Playa del Carmen is a newer resort, the development boom that has taken place recently. Beaches here, unlike Cancun, are in close proximity to the city. The tourist area is located in the southern part of the city, called Playacar . Here are the best beaches and the calm, carefree atmosphere of the Caribbean. But many of the resort hotels are located directly in the city. Especially good is the choice of stylish luxury and exclusive small boutique hotels, decorated in a special thematic style.

Playa (as it is briefly called it local) never sleeps – every day on the central street Fifth Avenue is full of people – someone in search of souvenirs in numerous shops and galleries, someone – in the company of friends in one of the local restaurants, someone – sips a cocktail at the bar and prepares to go to a nightclub. Read more about the resort in a separate article .



Beach in Tulum

This is the name of the 1000-km tourist coastal region, which is located between Cancun and the town of Tulum . Beaches and hotels are surrounded by rich mangrove jungles rich in flora and fauna. In addition, we recommend that you pay attention to rest in such settlements as Akumal , primarily due to the fact that here from June to September, the sea turtles come to lay eggs, the Mahahual because of its close proximity to the second largest Mesoamerican barrier reef in the world – you can swim to underwater beauties directly from the shore. As you can see, the beaches of Yucatan are impressive.


In the event that you have already enjoyed a beach holiday on the Caribbean coast, exploring ancient ruins and charged with adrenaline in parks and reserves, Yucatán has plenty of places for a rich cultural program: festivals, art exhibitions, dance performances, an interesting museum and much more, especially , in Merida , the cultural capital of the peninsula, the whole center of which is built up with colonial-style buildings.

Every year in January, the Festival de la Ciudad de Merida is held here , dedicated to the foundation day of the city, to which artists from the surrounding areas come. They show performances, entertain the audience with music, folk and modern dances, etc. The main place of celebration is the central square of the city (Zocalo) and the adjacent streets.




Visitors will be amazed at the walls of the palace, covered with frescoes by the author of the native of the Peninsula Fernando Castro Pacheco, which depicts stories from the history of the colonization of Yucatan and the myths of the Mayan people. The museum is located in the central square of the city on the corner of 61st and 60th streets.



Museums, exhibits of which are devoted to the history of the city, in which they are found in every city in the world – Merida is no exception. The city museum is located near the central market in one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, which used to be occupied by the Mail of Mexico. The exposition is divided into three parts: pre-Columbian era and exhibits from the Mayan city of T’ho, on the site of which the future capital of Yucatan was built; part dedicated to the development of the colonial city, for which most travelers visit and visit it; and a temporary exposition with contemporary art. Address: corner of 65th and 5th streets.



The new museum, opened in 2012 at 12 km. from the city center. Here you will find all the details about the Mayan civilization. The exposition is divided into six parts: ancient Maya, modern Maya, culture and nature, art and science, society and, last, world view. The museum is equipped with the latest technology – visitors are exposed to huge audiovisual interactive opportunities to study exhibits. Every evening on the facade of the building you can watch a light show. In addition, the museum has a conditioning system, which is important in this part of Mexico. How to get there: by public transport, which departs from the city center (the corner of 57th and 58th) in the direction of Gran Plaza Mall.



The city of Campeche is on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in former years it served as a fortress protecting these lands of New Spain from English and French pirates and buccaneers. The city center is beautifully restored – you will see the facades of pastel tones, cobbled streets, narrow streets, beautifully preserved mansions that once belonged to landowners and much more. Separate attention deserves a fortress with its high walls and earthen ramparts.

We recommend to pay attention to rest in such settlements as Akumal and Mahahual

In one of the forts there is a museum  called Museo de la Arquitectura Maya , full of interesting exhibits from the settlements and archaeological zones of the Mayan civilization – stone columns, stelae, household items from the archaeological zones of Calacmul, Rio Beck, Etzna and others. In the evening, when the facades of buildings are illuminated, which creates a magical atmosphere of provincial chic. Thanks to its good condition and colonial architecture, in 1999 the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




The most famous and most restored archaeological zone of the Mayan civilization, the second most visited after Teotihuacan (Central Mexico). In 1988, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and in 1997 was included in the list of the New Wonders of the World. The main buildings are the Temple of the Warriors, El Castillo and a circular observatory known as El Caracol. We recommend visiting Chichen Itza during a one-day excursion from Cancun.



The Sorcerer’s Pyramid in Uxmal

Uxmal was founded around the end of the 6th century AD, its population was tens of thousands of inhabitants. First opened during the expedition of Keserwood and Stephens, of which we wrote earlier . Important buildings: the Palace of the Ruler, the oval shape of the Sorcerer’s Pyramid, the Dovecote, the Convent “- a complex of 4 buildings surrounding the courtyard, with an arch on the south side and the House of Turtles. Since 1996, Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we visit this city as part of the tour of the City of the Gods .



Ek Balam – the Mayan city whose peak of development fell on the 8th century, after which it was suddenly abandoned. Vegetation still covers most of the archaeological excavations. The dominant of the city is the Acropolis, which stretches for 160 meters. Next to the ruins is the eponymous city, in which the traditional Mayan civilization reigns. An excellent opportunity to buy souvenirs is here – the sale is handled by the artisans themselves. We regularly visit Ek Balam – this is our tour of Mexico Miniyukatan # 4 .



The ruins of Calacmul are infrequently visited by tourists because of their remoteness from the main coastal resorts of the Riviera Maya and the lack of a quality transport infrastructure in this southern part of the Yucatán Peninsula. In most cases, it is most convenient to visit them in a rented car. According to many researchers, Calacmul was the largest city of the Mayan civilization – it is here that the largest area and the highest pyramid in all of Yucatan are estimated to have lived up to 50 thousand people at the peak here. The style of the buildings of the archaeological zone resembles Tikal (Guatemala) Is another important city of the classical period of the Mayan civilization. At the moment, archaeologists have investigated about 70 square kilometers. zones and excavations are continuing at the moment. At first glance, this is an impressive figure, but it is only a small part of the once great city – more than 7,000 buildings are still sunk in the jungle and are under the control of representatives of the local fauna, the most notable of which are spider monkeys and jaguars. In June 2014, the Archaeological Area of Calacmul  and its surrounding rainforests were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Listin the category “mixed objects”. Thanks to the inclusion of the reserve in the honorary list, Mexico has already consolidated its leadership in the Americas by the number of World Heritage sites – now 32, 26 of them cultural, 5 – natural and 1 – mixed.



Our multi-day tours around the Yucatan Peninsula start and end in Cancun. The most popular of them is the five-day “Miniyukatan 4”, in the program of which the archaeological zones of Chichen Itza, Ushmal, Palenque; Misol-Ha waterfall; park Shel-Ha and other attractions.


The most popular one-day excursions on the Yucatán Peninsula are trips to Chichen Itza and Eck Balam, swimming with a whale shark, diving in the Cenotes and the Caribbean, jetserf riding and others.