Yucatan, being extremely diverse, attracts many travellers with different tastes and wishes. To make your travel as pleasant and easy as possible, we have prepared this Yukatan Penninsula travel guide, with our first hand practical tips.
Yucatan travel guide
How to reach Yucatan
Yucatan is so popular among travellers and holiday-makers that no matter where in the world you are based in, it will not be so difficult to reach it. Most people land at the Cancun International airport and many visitors don’t even leave Cancun because of the holiday resort, wich can be found there.
How to explore Yucatan
There are two options, most people decide to do self-drive travel around Yucatan or using the local transport.
Renting a car
Renting a car is perfect for exploring Yucatan. We always rent a car through www.economycarrentals.com. So far we only had good experiences with them and comparing to others, they offer very competitive prices.
When renting a car, make sure to book it with full insurance. You might be a good driver, but some other drivers are not. Before hitting the road, take a good look at the car and mark all bumps and damages with the employee of the renting company. It is not a bad thing, if you also make photos of the damages for your record.
The price of a rented car depends of the model, but we paid 25 eur/day for a small car with complete insurance. We have also rented the baby car seat, what cost us 150 EUR additionally.
Self-drive around Yucatan is easy as the roads are mostly good and without heavy traffic, except in Cancun. The driving behavior was surprisingly good too. Just pay attenton when paying for the gasoline, as some travel scams are known, to take the costs of previous customer into the account, so you actually pay double.
Employees on the gas station fill the gas for you, so prepare yourself a coin or two for the tip. They will always clean your front windscreen too.
Finding a parking space is not difficult either and are mostly free of charge. If you will be traveling to Holbx Island, you will need to leave the car in the town of Chiquila, where many private parking lots are, charging 100 MXN for 24 hours.
Because we were not using any of the local transport, except the ferry to and from Holbox Island, we cannot really give you any clever advise about it. Most of other travellers recommend the ADO bus company – offering good prices and service.
Best things to do in Yucatan
You will be surprised how diverse Yucatan is, especially if you always think of it just as a beachy destination. If you are not into resorts, you will find wild and unspoiled nature without even looking long for it. There are many things to do in Yucatan, but you will not be able to avoid cenotes and Mayan Pyramids. But there is much more to it – check out the best things to do in Yucatan here.
Mexican food in Yucatan
Mexican food is so much more than just tacos and tortillas. And believe me, drinking a margarita soon looks like nothing special. See here, what kind of mexican food and drinks can be found in Yucatan.
Accommodations in Yucatan
You will find all kind of accommodations in Yucatan – from high end all-inclusive resort right at the beach to other local haciendas. Most of accommodations don’t include breakfast, but there are always some local restaurants opened, offering Mexican food, early in the morning. You can also book your stay with Airbnb, but we always booked the hotels on booking.com. Having no real travel itinerary for Yucatan, we just booked hotels only for one day ahead.
Safety in Yucatan
Mexico is not known as one of the safest countries in the world, especially not all the regions, but traveling to Yucatan should be nothing to worry about. We have driven almost 2000 kilometers around Yucatan, stopping in touristic and non-touristic places, walked around in the evenings and we did not feel in danger.
Health issues in Yucatan
Yucatan Penninsula is an interesting mixture of local Mexican feel to American organization. Places, where you will find many American tourists, look modern abd you should not be worried about health issues there. But nevertheless, don’t forget on the appropriat travel health insurance.
Payment methods in Yucatan
Because of many American tourists their payment methods don’t really diverse from the States. You can even pay in USD or withdraw cash (USD) from ATMs.
But nevertheless, the best rate is when you pay with Mexican Pesos, so find a bank or exchange office to get some local currency. After all, you will need it when buying a street food or from local markets.
Credit cards and debit cards (we have both by Mastercard) are wildly accepted.
Prices in Yucatan
You cannot compare Yucatan to any Asian country. Because Yucatan is so popular among foreign visitors it does get higher prices than other regions in Mexico. But nevertheless, Yucatan, if you are not too picky and are satisfied with basics, still is afordable.
You can already get a taco from street vendors for 20 MXD, but in general we paid from 20-30 Euros for a meal (2-3 different food), including drinks. We stayed in different hotels, some offering breakfast, some did not, and paid from 40 to 70 Euros for the night. Check out our Yucatan travel itinerary to see the hotels we stayed in.
Tipping the staff in hotels, restaurants is something normal. The waiters even point out that the tips are not included in the bill.
Best time to travel to Yucatan
Yucatan has three months of high season – December, January and February. The weather is as its best, the high humidity is gone, but the higher prices are unfortunately there too. We traveled around Yucatan in November, when it was not so crowded yet, but we did had high humidity and some rain too.
Yucatan can get hurricanes from June to November and some heavy rains, so if you ask us, the best time to travel to Yucatan is from November to April.
Yucatan travel with kids
We found Yucatan as a great travel destinations with kids. If Ren would be already a bit older, we would also be able to enjoy snorkling and some theme parks, but nevertheless, we had such a great time without that too.
Geeting non spicy Mexican food is easy and perfect for kids. But if you have a picky traveller with you, you can still find all kind of food in larger grocery stores like Walmart. We even bough a potty there.
Traveling to Yucatan with kids or without them, you should always use bottled water. Some use it also during teeth brushing, but we did not go so far.
We first wanted to vacinate Ren against hepatitis A and B, also because we travel a lot, but at the end we were too late. But he is vacinated according to the health program in Slovenia.
We are not hygien freeks, so it is normal for us that he was playing outside, on the floor, at kids playgrounds without being histerical and cleaned his hands with wipes or disinfectant.
Yucatan travel is a great choice as you can make it as adventerous as you want. You can stay in a hotel on the River Maya or go exploring less visited spots on the penninsula. It is your decission, but Yucatan is definitely not just hordes of tourists and hotels.
Check out a video about our 2 weeks Yucatan travel here.