Things to do in Yucatan are many and so diverse that you really should take the time for this Mexican peninsula. Lots of travelers like to explore the whole country when they decide to visit Mexico, but if you are limited with time and don’t want to rush, you should consider visiting only few places or a region. This way, you can soak up the real vibe, meet people, and get to know the culture better than just running around from morning till dawn. And that is why we were really able to enjoy our travel to Yucatan Peninsula so much.
Two weeks to travel to Yucatan Peninsula might sounds a lot, but everyone who already did travel there, know that there are many things to do in Yucatan. This Mexico’s peninsula offers so much diversity and sights, that even two weeks are not enough.
On our travel to Yucatan Peninsula, we did try to spice up things with all kind of experiences and things to do, but because we were traveling with our son, not yet being 2 years old, we did skip a lot of things to do in Yucatan, which should be put highly on your bucket list.
Nevertheless, we did make a list of best things to do in Yucatan, which will definitely make you want to come for more.
10 Best things to do in Yucatan
1. Hike up the Mayan pyramids
If you are into Mayan history and culture, travel to Yucatan Peninsula should always be on your mind. This relatively small peninsula offers so many Mayan ruins and pyramids, you will never want to leave. The most known is the Chichen Itza, which can be found on the Unesco World Heritage list and also as one of the eight wonders of the world. One of the best things to do in Yucatan Peninsula for many is also a walk among Tulum ruins – the only Mayan ruins at the coast. But don’t even skip the less known sights, as you will be able to have them all to yourself. If you ask me, visiting those little known sights are one of the best things to do in Yucatan.
2. Dive into Cenotes
Without a doubt, visiting cenotes are one of the most unique and with that the best things to do in Yucatan. This underground caves, which Mayan used as water reservoirs, are simply magical. With them, Mayan had access to source of life – water. You can visit many of them on Yucatan Peninsula and even swim in them, what sure makes some unforgettable experiences and things to do in Yucatan.
3. Swing in the Lagoon Bacalar
Apart from cenotes, we put a shine on the amazing lagoon Bacalar. For all three of us, a stop at the lagoon Bacalar was for sure one of the best things to do in Yucatan Peninsula. A swim in its warm and turquoise water is out of this world. You can even get yourself a picture perfect with the hammocks and swings in the water. True paradise.
4. Walk around the colonial towns
There are many colonial towns in Yucatan, but if we must choose, we would put two on the must things to do in Yucatan – Campeche and Valladolid. If you are not much into towns, at least Campeche should get on your bucket list. Not only that its old town center can be found on the Unesco World Heritage protection list, it is also much nicer and colorful than the smaller Valladolid. But if you do have some extra time, do spend a day in Valladolid too – especially as just few miles out of the town, you will find the magical Cenote Seytun.
5. Visit the Islands
If you decided to travel to Yucatan Peninsula and are looking for travel information and tips, you for sure read that visiting the three islands there are one of the best things to do in Yucatan. Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox and Isla Cozumel are amazing. In ideal world a visit to all three of them should find a place on your list with must things to do in Yucatan, but you would need time for that. On our recent travel to Yucatan Peninsula we only managed to visit the Holbox Island – it should be the least visited among all three of them. The amazing photos of unspoiled nature, gorgeous sandy beaches with turquoise sea and relaxed vibe did the trick and we planned to stay 3 days at the Holbox Island. Unfortunately we did not choose the right timing, as we arrived to the Holbox Island after a heavy storm. Instead of Paradise Island, we got restless sea full of seaweed, strong wind and cold temperatures. Due to heavy rain the streets on the island were flooded, so we could not really explore them by golf-cart (the only transportation on the island). But if nothing else, we were not disappointed by the town – a cool relaxed place, which you will enjoy for sure. If we would have better weather, I am sure that spending time at the Holbox Island would be one of the best things to do in Yucatan Peninsula.
6. Snorkeling and diving
People don’t just travel to Yucatan Peninsula because of its sandy beaches, but also because the peninsula offers some great diving and snorkeling sites. Just 10 minutes’ drive by boat from the small town Puerto Morelos, lies the world’s second largest coral reef in the world – seeing it is definitely one of the must things to do in Yucatan. Depends of your time of traveling, you can also swim with dolphins, whale sharks and sea turtles and other colorful fishes. Because Ren was too small to go snorkeling with us, we decided to skip that this time, but I am sure great snorkeling sites will one day convince us to travel to Yucatan Peninsula again.
7. Admiring Flamingos
Before we found ourselves in Yucatan, seeing flamingos in their natural inhabitant has already been put on my list of must things to do in Yucatan. You will find two different destinations to see the flamingos in Yucatan Peninsula – Celestun and Rio Lagartos. Where to go to see them, depends of your travel time to Yucatan Peninsula. You will find flamingos in Rio Lagartos from April to November, but the best time to see them in Celestun is from January to April. Because we were traveling to Yucatan Peninsula in November, we decided to spot them in Celestun, but because it was not the best timing, we only could admire one flock of these elegant pink birds. If you enjoy nature and animals, the trip is definitely one of the must things to do in Yucatan.
8. Pink Lake / Las Colaradas
We did plan to visit the famous pink lake (Las Colaradas), but due to rainy weather and wind, we decided not to drive all the way. The pink lake looks amazingly beautiful in the sunny weather so it is for sure one of the best things to do in Yucatan. But if it is raining and windy, I am afraid you will only get one muddy lake, where pink will not even be seen. Having a better weather, you should definitely plan to visit the pink lake while traveling around Yucatan Peninsula – I know it is still on our travel bucket list.
9. Few days of holidays
I don’t know your travel style, but who would not want to close any travel with few days at the beach? Experiencing holidays is one of the most common things to do in Yucatan for sure. Most people choose the River Maya for their holidays and find the hotel in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen or Tulum. We also did visit all three places, but the Cancun was the one, where we decided to spend our last two nights. Lots of tourists were not so much to our liking, but it was still interesting to see another and best known image of Yucatan Peninsula. If you rather enjoy spending your free days somewhere with more local feel, you should decide for Puerto Morelos or Celestun. We liked both places a lot and they both offer white sandy beach.
10. Make the taste buds happy
Trying the local cuisine while traveling is extremely important to us and for sure also one of the best things to do in Yucatan. We like some destinations for the food better than the others, but in general Yucatan Peninsula offered good food. We might be in minority, but we never use TripAdvisor to choose the restaurants, but rather walk around the streets and see what they are offering by ourselves. Seeing a bunch of locals in a busy restaurant, we know we cannot miss. Apart from the typical tacos, burritos, tortillas, you will also find good seafood in the Yucatan Peninsula. Don’t even forget on the local drinks – and no, that is for sure not just the famous margarita and tequila, even though trying them is one of the must things to do in Yucatan. Read more about Mexican food in Yucatan here.
If you like diversity in nature or architecture, travel to Yucatan Peninsula should definitely be the one for you. You will find so many unique things to do in Yucatan that you will easily realize, why people are keep returning to this Mexico’s peninsula. Travel to Yucatan is also great for everyone enjoying self-drive traveling as the destination offers good roads and also well-organized traffic. And one thing is certain – there are so many things to do in Yucatan, you will never have enough time to enjoy them all.