Photo Credits Shutterstock
Separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan Peninsula encompasses three Mexican states (Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán) and is adjacent to portions of Belize and Guatemala. The vast coastal region is home to numerous ancient ruins, tropical beaches, spectacular wildlife and an abundance of adventure activities.
From Mayan ruins, colonial-era architecture to Mexico’s famous Riviera Maya, the area is ablaze with color under the picturesque Caribbean blue skies. While the peninsula is famous as a popular place to vacation, thanks to the hotspots of Cancun and Tulum, there is so much to see and do in the area. From historic sites to a bit of adventure to a rich gastronomy culture, here are some of the highlights of the region.
Explore Chichen Itza
A focal point of the Mayan archaeological scene in Mexico, this UNESCO World Heritage site was built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The city was one of the largest Maya cities and is home to the Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo), the most photographed archaeological site in the city.
Enjoy the Culinary Delights of Mérida
Discover the duality of a city where the modernity of a cosmopolitan destination meets the tradition and history of a colonial city. Mérida, also known as “The White City”, is capital of the Yucatan state and gateway to the Mayan culture. Yucatan cuisine is also the result of a mixture of influences. Its peculiar combination of influences, results in an incredible variety of flavors, aromas, and colors that provide an unforgettable culinary experience. Book yourself a 5-Day Mexican culinary adventure with a walking tour of the city, tasting the delicacies on your path and a 4 night stay at the Maria Jose Mérida hotel.
Photo credit: Adventures Mexico
Visit the colonial town of Valladolid
A gateway of colonial Yucatan, this city (not to be confused by its Spanish counterpart) presents a more authentic part of Yucatan versus the tourist-heavy resorts in Cancun and Tulum. Walk through the streets to admire the local architecture and taste traditional local cuisine at their open market in the city’s main square.
Swim with whale sharks
A definite bucket list item, between June and mid-September, whale sharks migrate in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula and give the brave the chance to swim with the largest fish in the ocean.
Visit Las Coloradas
Las Coloradas – Photo Shutterstock
About three hours from Cancun in a corner of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, the sea water turns bright pink to which you have to see to believe. The Las Coloradas pink lakes are part of a greater reserve covering some 150,000 acres and home to animals like flamingos, sea turtles and all kinds of seabirds. And due to the high salt concentration of the area, the red-colored algae thrive in the environment changing the waters to a glimmering pink.
Explore the Sian Kaan Lagoon
For a more relaxing but still rewarding outdoor adventure, take a boat ride through the canals and float in the lazy rivers alongside mangroves. An area of natural beauty and home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, it is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean.
Swim in the Gran Cenote
The peninsula is home to thousands of fresh water sinkholes and caves called cenotes and one of the best near Tulum is Gran Cenote. Visitors can swim in 1,500 square feet of swimming surface of turquoise-colored waters with bats flying overhead and turtles and fish swimming alongside.
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