Mexico is a huge and offers a wide variety of things to do and see overall in the country. So before you go, you should decide what you want to do and see in Mexico. For me it was visiting the ruins of the Mayan cities, swimming in a natural sinkhole and snorkeling. Therefore I chose to travel in the Yucatan Region.
But of course I couldn’t skip Mexico City! If you follow my blog you probably already know that I love big cities. So started my itinerary clearly in Mexico City.
As in most city trips you will need at least 3 days in Mexico City.
Things to do in Mexico City
- National Museum of Anthropology to learn about the Mayan and Aztec cultures and a lot more
- Coyoacán to visit Casa Azul (blue house) where Frida Kahlo was lived for almost all her life.
- Palacio Nacional for Diego Rivera’s murals
- Centro Historico for the Catedral Metropolitana and Palacio de Bellas Artes
Day trips from Mexico City
- Teotihuacan for Aztec Ancient City
Xochimilco for a colourful boat ride in the canals
Where to stay in Mexico City
After Mexico City my next stop was Puerto Morelos. I chose this place because it is very near to Cancun airport, but it is NOT Cancun. And it is beautiful. It is a small town directly at the Rivera Maya with a beautiful beach. It is one of the areas in Riviera Maya which is not occupied by “all inclusive” resorts. So here you have the chance to meet the real local life.
Things to do in and around Puerto Morelos
- Visit Ancient Mayan City Tulum & Coba
- Go to Isla Mujeres for visiting a sea turtle farm & snorkelling in the underwater museum (MUSA)
- Swimming in Gran Cenote
- Swimming in Dos Ojos Cenote
- Eating the best guacamole at the Beach Bar
- Drink mojito in El Merkadito directly at the beach
How to go to Puerto Morelos
I took a flight of Volaris from Mexico City to Cancun. In Cancun Airport I picked up the car we had hired in advance and drove to Puerto Morelos in about 30 minutes. Really easy.
Where to stay in Puerto Morelos
I stayed in Buenos Dias Guest House but I wouldn’t recommend it. I choose guest houses to support locals and get in touch with them, but the hosts were not around and we couldn’t find any opportunity to have a chat with them. So check booking.com and agoda.com and decide for yourself.
Now it’s time to experience the real Yucatan. Here you can see how the Spanish conquerors built cities on top of Mayan towns by destroying the Mayan buildings to use the stones and build their own colonial cities.
Things to do in Valladolid
- Wander around the colonial city
- Eat traditional Sopa de Lima in Meson del Marques
- Go swimming in the Cenote Dzitnup (only 7 kilometers away from the city of Valladolid)
How to go to Valladolid
The drive from Riviera Maya, in my case from Puerto Morelos to Valladolid took 2 hours by car. The directions are pretty straight forward and easy to find.
Where to stay in Valladolid
I stayed at Hotel Colonial La Aurora and definitely can recommend it. It is very central and the room is clean and spacious. There is also a pool in case you want to swim a bit and relax in the sun. To compare prices check booking.com and agoda.com.
Now we are in the capital city of Yucatan. Again here the Spanish conquerors built their colonial city after destroying the Maya city of T’hó and used the stones of the remains to build their colonial buildings. Have a deeper look at the walls of the cathedral to spot some of those stones.
Things to do in Merida
- Wander around the colorful streets
- Visit the Cathedral of Merida
- Eat Cochinita pibil, traditional marinated pork dish from Yucatan
Day trips from Merida
- Have a boat tour in Celestún River to see countless pink flamingos. The drive from Merida to Celestun takes 1,5 hours. In Celestun there is also a beach where you can have lunch after the boat tour and observe the local life at beach.
How to go to Merida
From Valladolid to Merida the drive takes about 2 hours with car.
Where to stay in Merida
1 day in Uxmal
Now it is time to experience some real Mayan Culture. If you were impressed by the ruins in Tulum, wait till you’re in Uxmal. The ancient Maya city of Uxmal, located in Puuc region, is one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites.
Things to do in Uxmal
- Visit the Ancient Maya City of Uxmal
How to go to Uxmal
The drive from Merida to Uxmal takes a little more than 1 hour. So actually you could visit Uxmal also as day trip from Merida. But I preferred to stay there for one night in order to visit the archaeological site early in the morning before everyone else arrives.
Where to stay in Uxmal
I stayed at Uxmal Resort Maya which is a bit more expensive than other stays but it is super close to the archaeological site. Also the room is awesome, clean and spacious. For more options check booking.com and agoda.com.
This is absolutely one of the “must see” highlights in Mexico. I mean you have the chance to see one of the seven world wonders. What would you do?
Things to do in Chichen Itza
- Visit the Ancient Maya City of Chichen Itza (for obvious reasons)
How to go to Chichen Itza
The drive from Uxmal to Chichen Itza takes about 2-3 hours. You could also visit the Archaeological site of Chichen Itza as a day trip from Merida, but I preferred to stay here for a night so that I can be the first one entering the site before everyone else does. Read my post for tips for the best experience of visiting Chichen Itza.
Where to stay in Chichen Itza
I stayed at Villas Arqueológicas Chichen Itza. It was also a bit more expensive than usual but it was totally worth it. To compare prices of other hotels near to the Archaeological site of Chichen Itza check booking.com and agoda.com.
If you now have enough of ruins, it’s time to go back to Riviera Maya to enjoy the sun, sea and beach before you go back. I chose Akumal, because I definitely wanted to snorkel with sea turtles and Akumal is one of the best places to do it.
Things to do in Akumal
- Be a beach bummer
- Snorkeling with sea turtles
How to go to Akumal
From Chichen Itza to Akumal it’s only about 2 hours with car. Akumal is only 1 hour away from the Cancun International Airport.
Where to stay in Akumal
What I missed
I’m kind of angry with myself that I didn’t plan it better or differently to include day trips to Isla Cozumel or to Isla Holbox for snorkeling with whale sharks.
If I go to Mexico again
If I would go to Mexico again I would visit the regions Veracruz, Chiapas and Oaxaca.
For essential information about travelling in Mexico read my personal Travel Guide to Mexico. For more insights I recommend Lonely Planet's Travel Guide for Mexico or for Cancun, Cozumel & The Yucatan.
For price worthy accommodation check Booking.com or Agoda.com.
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