The Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula, including the Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo states, is one of Mexico’s most exciting tourist destinations. Located in southeastern Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula is bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. From Cancun, where the party never stops to the pyramid dedicated to Quetzalcoatl in Chichèn Itzá, the state Capital Merida, the palm fringed beaches of Playa del Carmen or the Jungle near Coba; the choices are endless. Stay in fabulous all-inclusive resorts, enjoy the finest foods and explore the magnificent underwater world of one of the world’s largest coral reefs. The Yucatan Peninsula has all you need for an unforgettable vacation; the only thing you have to do is getting there! more...
Merida, the Capital of the Yucatan peninsula was founded in 1542. The town has a wonderful colonial center with broad squares and plazas that host a variety of interesting markets like the Mercado Municipal Lucas de Gálvez, an exiting place for an afternoon of souvenir shopping and winding narrow streets with small cafes, hostels and museums.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Mexico is Cancún, conveniently located near the airport. The town has all the amenities you are used to at home, from Star Bucks to the Hard Rock Café but its main assets remain the white and aquamarine Caribbean beaches, the wide variety of water sports and of course the unsurpassed nightlife. No wonder that Cancun is popular with spring breakers!
A great alternative for Cancun is Playa del Carmen that features kilometers of Mexico’s finest palm fringed white sand beaches. Playa del Carmen is also a great place to take scuba dive lessons and to explore the coral reef that stretches along the entire Yucatan coast. Playa del Carmen is a modern city with European influences, a wonderful nightlife and fantastic all-inclusive hotels. Playa del Carmen features an 18-hole golf course that attracts golfers from all over the world. The ferry to Consumel also departs from Playa del Carmen. Consumel is a lovely island with equally stunning beaches and is definitely worth considering.
Further south you find another fine town, Tulum, the only Mayan city built along the Caribbean Sea. This town is perhaps the best explanation why the coast that stretches from the South of Cancun to the South of Tulum is called the Mayan Riviera. The Archeological site that you find here is just breathtaking, not the least part for it’s glorious setting, right on the coast. The Temple of Kukulkan, which the conquering Spanish mistook for a castle and called El Castillo, dominates the ruins. From Tulum you can visit the ruins of Coba, which are situated in the middle of the Jungle.
The archeological Mayan sites are without a doubt a great reason why people visit the Yucatan Peninsula. You won’t find the most impressive Mayan sites near the coast and the most popular / exclusive beach resorts but it is worth to plan a day trip to visit at least one of these awe-inspiring archeological sites.
Chichèn Itzá is one of the most excavated and best preserved of all archeological sites in Mexico. Here you find the pyramid dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake that was an important symbol for both the Toltec as Mayan civilizations. The pyramid has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. The ruins of Palenque were lost in the jungle for hundreds of years. Marvel at the magnificent pyramid known as the Temple of the Inscriptions and take a guided jungle tour to learn about this unique ecosystem and its plant and animal life. Nearby you can enjoy the refreshing Misol Ha waterfall. The ruins of Uxmal display intricately carved temple facades that pay homage to Chac, the Mayan rain god and are relatively close to Campeche, a charming colonial town with narrow streets and baroque architecture. Its most interesting landmark is the great seawall that once surrounded the city and the original fortress that protected the town from pirates.
If this is not enough, there are many national wonders to be explored like those of the national park of Celestin, on the Golf of Mexico, with extensive mangroves, hundreds of Flamingo’s and Pelicans. The Yucatan Peninsula is also famous for its many beautiful cenotes, or sinkholes, that are worth a visit for both their outstanding beauty as to go for a swim. Here you may come across divers who explore the amazing underwater cave systems.