Traveling around Yucatan is perfect for all kind of travelers – enjoying nature, history, adrenalin, solo travelers or traveling families. Yucatan tourist attractions are very diverse and offering varieties of experiences.
Yucatan Peninsula is the perfect self-drive travel destination and also our travel was a self-drive Yucatan adventure. According to our experiences, we set up the best Yucatan travel itinerary for 2 weeks self-drive exploration.
Self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary
Day 1: Arriving to Mexico, Yucatan
Every adventure starts as soon as leaving home and this goes true for this Yucatan travel itinerary too. Most common is that you will start with your 2 weeks self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary with landing in Cancun.
Day 2: Cancun – Puerto Morelos
I would suggest you leave Cancun for the end of your Yucatan travel itinerary and head directly to a small fishing town Puerto Morelos, which is just 25 kilometers from Cancun International airport. We enjoyed Puerto Morelos a lot, as it was not too touristy, but still not too quiet.
Enjoy your time for relaxation, overcoming jet-lag and swimming.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Hacienda Puerto Morelos. The price includes breakfast, private parking, and sea-view rooms. The rooms are spacious, with AC and free WI-FI. You can get more information about the hotel here.
Day 3: Puerto Morelos – Cancun
If you are into diving or snorkeling, Puerto Morelos is the perfect place to be. A 10 minute boat drive will take you to the world second largest coral reef.
In the afternoon đcontinue your self-drive Yucatan travel to the Playa Del Carmen, which is only a half hour drive by car.
Set in the hotel and enjoy an evening walk on the 5th avenue – Pedestrian Street full of bars, restaurants, clubs and shops.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Bosque Caribe, 5th Av. Zone. You will find a private parking, delicious breakfast, A/C and free Wi-Fi in the room price. The rooms are basic and not big, but are clean. If you can choose, take the room looking at the garden, for a good and quiet night sleep. The hotel is literally just few steps from the pedestrian zone on the 5th Avenue. Check the hotel here.
Day 4: Playa Del Carmen – Tulum
Check-out from the hotel after breakfast and drive to another city on Riviera Maya. Your Yucatan travel itinerary includes a stop in Tulum. Visit the Mayan ruins, which are the only one build on the seaside. If you are not keen on walking around the ruins in the middle of the day, just post-pone this on the next morning and be there as soon they open to avoid the heat and big tourist groups.
You can spend the rest of your day at the beach or find a cheaper hotel option in the center of the city and get to know the other side of the city – a more local one.
Hotel recommendation: Corazone De Jade. Hotel is set in the center of the Tulum city. Its unique design will not disappoint and there is even a private parking available. The room price includes breakfast, AC and WI-FI. You will find many local restaurants around the hotel, where you will eat good and cheap Mexican food. Walk to the nearby park in the evening for a true Mexican vibe. Get more information about the hotel here.
Day 5: Tulum – Bacalar
Start your day early and head straight to the gorgeous Bacalar lagoon. You’ll need few hours to reach it, so you will just arrive for lunch.
Enjoy the rest of your day at the Cocalitos bay. This place is so perfect, you will never want to leave. If you have enough time, we would definitely add another day in Bacalar to you Yucatan travel itinerary.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Casa Bacal / Hostel. If you are OK with shared bathroom and basic rooms, the hotel is perfect for you. It is set right on the beach. The price includes breakfast, swimming pool, private parking, shared kitchen and bike rentals. You can find more about the hotel, including reviews and photos here. But if you can spend a bit more, go for the amazing private bungalows. More about the hotel here.
Day 6: Bacalar – Champeche
Your longest self-drive day in this Yucatan travel itinerary is today, so get up early. You will need around 6 hours to reach Unesco colonial town Campeche on the other side of Yucatan Peninsula. During your drive, you will see loads of sign for Mayan pyramids and if you are into these kind of things, stop at one. We have walked up to the Kohunlich Mayan Pyramids, which we had all to ourselves.
You will reach Champeche in the afternoon – just the right time to check-in in the hotel and start exploring the colorful cobbled streets. Walk around the historical town, check out the vivid market and walk up to the defense wall. Close your day at one of the many bars / restaurant in the old town.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel El Navegante. The hotel is simple, but clean and with great location in the old town. As soon as you walk from the hotel on the street you will already be surrounded with the postcard alike view of the colorful old colonial houses. The room price includes private parking, modest breakfast, AC and WI-FI. Check out more about hotel here.
Day 7: Campeche – Celestun
You can enjoy Campeche in the morning and then head further to Celestun, which is 3 hours’ drive apart.
Celestun is a small coastal town, with almost no tourist. You will mostly see the local holiday-makers there or daily visitors, who stop in Celestun because of the flamingos. The best time to see the flamingos is from January to April, but you can already spot some from November on.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel San Julio. Hotel is set directly on the beach, in the middle of Celestun. The room includes private parking, WI-FI, bicycle rentals, lounges and chairs at the beach. You can find more information about hotel here.
Day 8: Celestun
Use your full day in Celestun for flamingos and relaxation. Make a boat trip to flamingos in the morning and later on enjoy the beach, swimming and good seafood.
Hotel recommendation: Spend another night in the Hotel San Julio. The hotel does n0t have breakfast, but not far from it, on the main market, you can find many local restaurants, serving typical Mexican food for breakfast.
Day 9: Celestun – Merida – Piste
Your self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary continues to Merida. You can stop there for a few hours or go straight to Piste – a small town few kilometers from the famous Chichen Itza.
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Chichen Itza. The hotel is amazing and the best one on our Yucatan self-drive travel. The rooms offer free private parking, swimming-pool, AC and spacious roms. You can pay extra for rich breakfast, but you can find some local restaurants in the town center for breakfast. Hotel is really great if you want to visit Chichen Itza before the crowds and as soon as it opens – it is only 1,5 kilometres far from the sight. You can find more information about hotel here.
Day 10: Piste – Valladolid
Valladolid looks a lot like Campeche, but we liked Campeche much better. Nevertheless, Valladolid is a nice place to stop for a day or two. If nothing else, it is a great starting point to visit some cenotes – one of the most amazing ones is Cenote Seytun.
Hotel recommendation: Casa Valladolid Botique hotel. The hotel is located in the old town center, but on a quiet street. The hotel does not have a private parking, but during our visit, we could easily find a parking spot on the street, where the hotel is located. The rooms were big and clean, and also breakfast was included in the price. Hotel has a nice green garden with a small swimming-pool. The WI-FI and AC is included in the price as well. Get more information about the hotel here.
Day 11: Valladolid – Los Colorades (the pink lake) – Holbox Island
Start your self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary after breakfast as you will have few hours of drive to reach the pink lake. But note the roadtrip is worth it only in a nice sunny weather, as otherwise you will not see any pink lake. We had rain and wind that day, so we skip it and headed straight to Holbox Island. You can park your car in Chiquila – many parking lots are there. Buy the ferry tickets and enjoy mini holidays on the paradise island Holbox.
Hotel recommendation: We stayed two nights in the Arena Hotel, which was not really a good choice when traveling with small children because of its rooftop bar, which gets loud in the night. But nevertheless, if you are fine with partying, the hotel has good location, right in the town center and few hundred meters from the beach. There are many bars and restaurants steps away from the hotel. You can read more about the hotel here.
If you are traveling around Yucatan without kids and are looking for some romance, you will be amazed over the adults’ only hotel Para Ti. Check it out here. The Holbox Island also offers several hostels – Tribu Hostels has very good reviews on booking. Check it out here.
Day 12: Holbox Island
Don’t pack your Yucatan travel itinerary to much and plan to spend few easy days to enjoy the Holbox Island. You can swim, hike around the island, and rent a golf-cart to drive around or go on a boat trip to enjoy some snorkeling or diving. If you are visiting Yucatan in July or August, you can also swim with whale sharks here.
Day 13: Holbox Island – Cancun
You will need 3 hours’ drive by car to reach Cancun from the Chiquila town, where the ferry lands. Reaching Cancun, you will soon realize it is full of tourists and resort – especially on the Zona Hoteliera (hotel zone). Most of the holiday-makers end up in the all-inclusive hotels – check them out here.
Hotel recommendation: If all-inclusive hotels are not your thing, but you still want to spend your last night in a comfortable hotel, check out the Smart Cancun by Oasis. We really enjoyed it a lot. It might not look anything special from the outside, but their garden and swimming pool are amazing! The price includes rich buffet breakfast, secure private parking, AC, WI-FI. The rooms are spacious and clean. The hotels in Canucn, especially outside the Hotel Zone offer a lot for the money. Get more reviews and photos about the Smart Cancun by Oasis hotel here.
Day 14: Departing home
Your self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary is unfortunately coming to an end. You will return the rented car at the airport and embark the plane home. But if you do have a day more to spend, you might want to see the Isla Mujeres – we were told it is also beautiful there.
This self-drive Yucatan travel itinerary was written from our own experiences on the Yucatan Peninsula – we wrote it down after testing everything and learned from few mistakes we did and are now not in the itinerary. With this self-drive itinerary, you really get the best of the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and its tourist attractions.