2 Weeks in Yucatan: What to do in 14-15 days?
Do you want to visit the Yucatan Peninsula in two weeks?
To help you organize your trip, here is my suggested 2-week Yucatan itinerary that will allow you to see the must-see places of interest on the Mexican peninsula.
Departing from Cancun, you will discover the most beautiful Mayan cenotes , white sand beaches and colonial cities of Yucatan.
For each step, you will find my practical advice to see the maximum of things, as well as my best recommendations for accommodation for all budgets.
So, what to do in Yucatan in 14, 15, or 16 days?
Day 1: Cancun and Playa del Carmen
Cancun is the ideal starting point for a 15-day Yucatan itinerary and precisely, it is very easy to find an international flight!
As soon as you arrive, I suggest that you rent a car which will be very useful for you to move around freely during your stay.
Indeed, it is possible to take public transport, but you will be greatly advantaged by car because you will be able to see a lot more things in a short time .
Cancun is quite hectic, so I suggest you go directly to Playa del Carmen (1 hour drive) to enjoy the sun in a city on a human scale and get closer to the attractions on the next day’s program.
Here are some ideas for activities to do in Playa del Carmen in less than a day:
- Stroll down Quinta Avenida, the long main street which is pedestrianized and bustling
- Enjoy the beaches: Paamul Beach, Paradise Beach, Tukan Beach, Mamitas Beach, Playacar or Punta Esmeralda.
- Attend the (free) traditional dance shows at Parque los Fundadores
- Take a tour of the Frida Kahlo Museu.
Spend the night in Playa del Carmen.
- Getting to Playa del Carmen from Cancun: 1 hour by Carretera Federal 307
Accommodation in Playa del Carmen
- Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only : ideal hostel for meeting other travelers and partying, roof terrace with bar and small swimming pool, several activities offered. Clean, good wifi and great welcome. From only €9 for the dormitory or €35 for the private room!
- Hotel Lunata : charming hotel with hacienda-style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with garden, rooms with balcony, very friendly service. From just €66 a night!
- Porto Playa Condo Beach Club : here is a spacious apartment ideal for a family close to Quinta Avenida with fully equipped kitchen, living room and terrace. On site there is a large swimming pool, gym and restaurant. From €160 per night!
- The Reef 28- Adults Only : all-inclusive hotel in the center of Playa del Carmen, spacious rooms, superb roof terrace with sea view, swimming pool and jacuzzi. Gym, spa, excellent buffet breakfast. From €225 with all-inclusive formula
- Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive : this is definitely the best hotel in Playa del Carmen! Ideal for couples and families with children because this luxury hotel offers an exceptional formula that includes meals and access to its parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha and Xenote). From €626 per night all inclusive
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
If you arrive late in Cancun, you can also spend the night near the airport.
Day 2-5: Tulum
Day 1 – Rio Secreto and Xpu-Ha
The 2nd day of your 2-week Yucatan itinerary will introduce you to the Mayan underground world.
Start the day by visiting Rio Secreto, an underground river that is one of the most beautiful natural sites in Mexico!
It is part of a large network of caves of more than 40km, which was considered sacred by the Mayas.
It is a guided activity (1h30) which allows you to discover this unique place between crystal clear water, stalactites and stalagmites, by swimming and walking for about 600m.
- On site, you will be provided with a locker, Aquashoes, a helmet with a headlamp and a neoprene wetsuit because the water is cool. Don’t forget your bathing suit!
You can easily book the entrance to Rio Secreto which includes lunch.
In the afternoon, after resurfacing and having a good lunch, take the road to Xpu-Ha.
It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Yucatan!
It is very uncrowded, especially on weekdays, and offers a dream setting for resting, walking and snorkeling.
You will find beach clubs there (ex: La Playa Xpu-ha Beach Club) for more comfort, but it is quite possible to go there simply with a towel and some snacks.
If you have some time, you can also take a trip to Cenote Azul (less than 5 min from Xpu-Ha), a beautiful outdoor cenote that is a big favorite with families.
In the evening, leave for Tulum where you will spend a few nights.
You will find several nice bars there if you want to have a drink.
- Getting to Rio Secreto from Playa del Carmen : 12 min by Carretera Federal 307 towards Tulum
- Getting to Xpu-Ha from Rio Secreto : 15 min by taking the Carretera Federal 307 towards Tulum.
- Getting to Tulum from Xpu-Ha : 36 min by the 307
Day 2 – Akumal and Xcacel
Morning departure from Tulum to Akumal.
In addition to its calm and transparent water, there is the 2nd largest reef in the world called the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Its seabed is home to a rich biodiversity, and it’s the best place to swim with turtles in Mexico!
It is a responsible activity because the activity is framed by a series of measures and the turtles are protected.
This is why it is now mandatory to take an excursion with a guide who will be able to take you to the best places to see them without stressing them.
You can book here the excursion to swim with the turtles in Akumal Bay which also includes pick-up from your hotel and the visit of two cenotes.
I also recommend that you take advantage of the beautiful beaches of Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay.
You can also go all the way to Laguna Yal-Ku for snorkeling: with its shallow water, it’s a perfect spot for all ages.
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
To learn all about Akumal , turtle protection measures and other activities, here is my article What to do and see in Akumal!
In the afternoon, head to Xcacel, a pristine white-sand beach that has escaped tourist development in the Riviera Maya as it is in a protected nature reserve.
Between May and October, it is an important turtle nesting place and some activities are organized to release them between September and November.
The coral reef is 50m from the beach, so it is also an ideal place for snorkeling.
200m from the coast is the cenote Xcacelito, a fresh water pool surrounded by mangroves. Access costs 80$mxn and it is worth it because it is not crowded!
If you want to continue exploring, you can also go to Chemuyil beach right next to Xcacel, another very quiet beach.
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
There is no service on the beaches of Xcacel and Chemuyil (umbrella, deck chair, restaurant). If you prefer a beach with more comfort, you can go to Playa Paraiso, Playa Las Palmas, Playa Pescadores or Playa Santa Fe for example.
Spend the night in Tulum.
- Getting to Akumal from Tulum : take the 307 towards Cancun (25 min)
- Getting to Xcacel from Akumal : 9 min on road 307
Day 3 – Today, you will discover Tulum and its most beautiful attractions!
Start by visiting the ruins of Tulum.
They are very photogenic because in addition to being located facing the Caribbean Sea, there is a beach just below!
The fortified city of Tulum (6th-15th c.) was a major place of land and sea trade in the Mayan world.
You can see the wall, the Castillo which is the main building, and other structures such as the temple of the Frescoes, the temple of the Descending God, the houses of the Columns, the Halac Uinic, Chultun, the Cenote.
- Entrance to Tulum ruins is $70mxn, parking $80mxn per hour or $150mxn per day
- Getting to the ruins of Tulum from the village : 10 min by car or combi (from 7 Eleven on highway 307, 20$mxn). You will have to walk 700m to the entrance or take the little train ($20mxn).
Then go cool off in a Mayan cenote.
If you are traveling with family, I suggest Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil-Ha or Cenote Dos Ojos.
For a wilder experience, head to the cenotes Nicte-Ha, Taak Bi Ha, Cristal or Escondido.
Another option is to visit Tulum with a day trip that includes pickup from your hotel, guided tour of the ruins with free time, and a cenote.
In the afternoon, discover Tulum’s Beach Strip, the bustling hotel zone with several shops and restaurants.
From there you can easily access a beach. Several hotels offer access to their facilities in exchange for consumption.
I particularly recommend the Zulum Hotel, which is quite intimate and has a perfect beach for having a margarita. The minimum consumption is 250$mxn.
- To know everything about Tulum and its most beautiful attractions, I suggest you read my Guide to the 20 things to do and see in Tulum!
Day 4 – This day will be dedicated to exploring the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve
Both a Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a must for a 2-week stay in the Yucatan for all nature lovers.
There is a rich biodiversity between beach, mangroves and tropical forest.
The two access points to Sian Kaan are Punta Allen and Muyil which offer completely different experiences, but it is impossible to do both in one day.
You will therefore have to choose:
- Punta Allen is a fishing village and the starting point to explore the beach, salt lakes, see dolphins and manatees. I really recommend taking the boat tour to see as many animals as possible!
The path is a little complicated until Punta Allen. Taking an excursion is a great option. It includes pick-up from your hotel, boat trip (3 hours), swimming and lunch. Book directly here.
- Muyil is closer to Tulum so more easily accessible. You can discover the interior of Sian Kaan, between ruins, freshwater lakes and jungle.
I recommend this excursion which includes pick up from your hotel, visit to the ruins of Muyil and the temple of Xlapak, a hike, a boat trip on the ancient Mayan canals and lunch. To book here.
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
Which one to choose when you go there on your own?
- By public transport, choose Muyil (20 min by bus in the direction of Chunyaxché) because Punta Allen is too far and it would take you more than a day.
- By car, I recommend Punta Allen which allows you to do more activities.
Accommodation in Tulum
- Mayan Monkey Tulum : this hostel offers excellent value for money! Beautiful modern decoration and good atmosphere, swimming pool, bar, garden, fast wifi, access to the kitchen, yoga classes, coworking, bike and motorbike rental. Dormitories and private rooms, from only 22€ per night!
- Casa Almendro : for a little more comfort, here is a small budget hotel in the center of Tulum. It’s a green oasis with a nice big roof terrace with chairs and hammocks. Perfectly located, close to shops, restaurants, the ADO bus station. King bed and breakfast included, from just €45 a night!
- Diamante K : it offers top-of-the-range comfort at a very reasonable price, which is exceptional in Tulum. Especially for a hotel with direct access to the beach in the hotel zone! Bohemian chic atmosphere, restaurant, hammocks and beds on the private beach, massage service. Bungalow from 190 € per night!
- Habitas Tulum : this small ecological hotel with a chic design is ideal for a romantic stay in Tulum. It is a true haven of peace hidden between the palm trees, with a magnificent swimming pool and a private beach. With the added bonus of several on-site activities, such as yoga classes on the terrace facing the sunset. From 340€ per night!
- Kanan Tulum – Adults Only : here is finally the best choice for a luxury stay in Tulum. This is an adults-only eco-friendly hotel located on a beautiful private beach with hammocks and beds. Beautiful roof terrace with a bar, a very good restaurant on site, spacious rooms and a very friendly welcome. From €520 per night!
Day 6-7: Valladolid
Day 1 – The site of Coba and the city of Valladolid
Leave the coast inland to the Mayan site of Coba, another must-see site in 2 weeks in Yucatan.
It was an important Mayan city and a great rival of Chichen Itza.
It is estimated that at its peak, it extended over 80km2 and accommodated 50,000 inhabitants!
There is the 2nd highest pyramid of the entire Yucatan Peninsula, the Nohoch Mul (42m).
You can explore the various structures dotted around the jungle on foot or even better, by renting a bicycle on site.
Few visitors know that there are also 3 underground cenotes in Coba : Choo Ha, Tamcach Ha (or Tankach-Ha) and Multun Ha (or Multum Ha).
Choo Ha is the closest to Coba village and the most child friendly with shallow water areas.
- Entrance to Coba 100 pesos, bike rental 60 pesos or bicitaxi 140 pesos, cenotes 100 pesos each
In the afternoon, head towards the pretty colonial town of Valladolid which will be your anchor point for the next few days.
You are now moving from the State of Quintana Roo to the State of Yucatan!
Here’s what to do in Valladolid:
- Visit the main square with the Church of San Servacio, the Francisco Canton Park
- Cool off in the great cenote Zaci located in the historic center
- Walk on the Calzada de los Frailes to the San Bernardino Convent to attend the screening at 9 p.m.
- Explore the Casa de los Venados, a private museum in a colonial house with a large collection of Mexican folk art
- Take a trip to Choco-story, an interactive museum dedicated to chocolate (ideal for families!)
Spend the night in Valladolid.
- Getting to Coba from Tulum : 45 min by Carretera 109 towards Valladolid. $50mxn parking. Or 1 hour by ADO bus (departure at 10:10 a.m., $100mxn)
- Getting to Valladolid from Coba : 1 hour by Carretera 180 by car, or by colectivo from the village of Coba (you will have to take a taxi between the village and the ruins)
Day 2 – The site of Ek Balam and Las Coloradas
Today continue a 2-week road trip in the Yucatan to Ek Balam, the “black jaguar” in Yucatec Maya, which is one of the must-see places in Mexico!
Magnificent Mayan city hidden in the jungle, it is still not very touristy.
A magnificent view is obtained from the top of the Acropolis, which was one of the most important constructions of Mesoamerica.
It is also inside this pyramid that the famous tomb of its leader Ukit Kan Lek Tok (8th century) was found with more than 7000 objects!
In addition to the Acropolis, you can also see in Ek Balam:
- the mayan pelota playground
- l’arche maya
- the oval palace
- the platform of the stelae
- the twin pyramids
After visiting Ek Balam (1h30-2h) , take the same road to the coast, towards Rio Lagartos.
This is where the Las Coloradas lakes are located , known for their pink color which makes them so photogenic!
Take the opportunity to take a boat trip in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve where 395 species of birds are found, including large colonies of flamingos from January to September.
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
There are several cenotes that you can easily fit into your day.
For example, I suggest the pretty X-Canché cenote (170 pesos) very close to Ek Balam or the Kikil cenote (150 pesos) managed by the local community.
Spend the night in Valladolid.
- Getting to Ek Balam from Valladolid : 30 min by car via highway 295 then the Carretera Ek Balam. Colectivos leave at the corner of Calle 44 and 37, 70 pesos
- Getting to Rio Lagartos from Ek Balam : 1h20 by car via highway 295. By public transport, first take a taxi to Tizimin, then a colectivo or a Noreste bus to Rio Lagartos (departures 6:30 , 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. – be careful, last bus back at 4:15 p.m.).
Accommodation in Valladolid
- Hostal Candelaria : the best cheap option in Valladolid. Colorful hostel very well located in the center, with garden, access to kitchen, bike rental. Good breakfast included, from 13 euros for a bed in a dorm or 30 euros for a private room!
- Real Haciendas : small, charming and very quiet hotel with swimming pool, clean rooms with comfortable king size bed, very warm welcome. From €57 per night
- IMIX Hotel : typical colonial house in the center of Valladolid on the pretty Calzada de los Frailes, very nice decoration and spacious rooms. Breakfast included, from 117 euros per night
- The Muuch Hotel Boutique : an intimate hotel 5 minutes from the main park Francisco Cantón Rosado. Excellent service, indoor pool and outdoor pool with hammock, garden view room, air conditioning, bar and restaurant. A la carte breakfast included, from €180 per night
- Hotel Zentik Project : this is the best hotel in Valladolid and one of my favorites in Mexico! Beautiful Mayan-style cabanas, murals by local and international artists, restaurant and bar, outdoor pool with hammocks and saltwater pool in an underground cave! Very good breakfast included, from 346€ per night
Day 8-11: Mérida
Day 1 – Chichen Itza and Izamal
Start the day with a bang, visiting the famous city of Chichen Itza.
It is true that it is a very touristic site, but the visit is definitely worth it and if you arrive early (before 10 am), you will avoid the crowds.
What to see in Chichen Itza:
- The Kukulcan Temple also called El Castillo, which is the most photographed and best known building on the site
- The Great Square where all the main buildings of Chichen Itza are located
- The Astronomical Observatory or El Caracol, from where “priests” studied the stars to make important decisions
- The tzompantli which was an altar where the Mayans impaled the heads of enemies
- The Mayan pelota court (ceremonial game) which is the largest court found in Mesoamerica!
- The many temples, palaces and houses like the Temple of Jaguar Warriors, Temple of Venus, Temple of Eagles and Jaguars, Casa Colorada, Akab Dzib and more.
The site is very large and you can spend between 2 and 3 hours there. If you take a guide on site, the visit lasts about 1h30-2h.
You can buy your skip-the-line ticket to Chichen Itza here.
If you want to cool off after the visit, just 4km from Chichen Itza is the Ik Kil cenote, (150 pesos or children 100 pesos), one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan.
It is a small colonial town with a lot of charm and steeped in tradition.
Things to do and see in Izamal:
- Stroll through the traditional neighborhoods of San Ildefonso, Los Remedios and El Gallito
- Take a walk to Itzamna Park which is the main square, and the pretty 5 de Mayo Park
- Visit the convent of Saint Anthony of Padua is today the symbol of the city (free)
- Climb to the top of the Kinich Kakmó pyramid, one of the highest pyramids in Yucatan (free)
After visiting Izamal, head to Mérida to spend the night there.
- Return to Chichen Itza after Valladolid : en voiture 40 min by borrowing the Gulf/Mexico Coastal Highway 180 E; by bus or collective 50 min
- Getting to Izamal from Chichen Itza : 1 hour drive by taking the 180 towards Kantunil, then the 53 to Izamal. By public transport, take an Oriente bus from Pisté to Hoctun (1h20), then a bus from Hoctun to Izamal (20 min).
- Getting to Mérida from Izamal : 55 min drive on the 180 towards Mérida
Day 2 – On the program of your Yucatan tour today: visit Mérida, the capital of Yucatan, which is considered the safest city in Mexico!
Here are some ideas of activities to do in Mérida, but it will be difficult to do everything in one day:
- Stroll around Plaza Grande, home to Casa de Montejo, the Cathedral and the Macay Museum, all free!
- Climb to the 2nd floor of the Government Palace for the view, and its 27 murals
- Take a trip to the Mérida market. There are several but I recommend Lucas de Galvez, with a great local vibe.
- Walk on the Paseo de Montejo, inspired at the time by the Champs Élysées, and go to the Palacio Canton which houses the superb regional museum of anthropology of Yucatan
- Take a picture of the colorful houses of Calle 64
- Visit the great Maya World Museum with its 1000 archaeological pieces. It is 20 minutes from the center by car, for the bus go to Calle 60
- In the evening, I recommend that you take a trip to the charming little Santa Lucia Park with its restaurants with terraces.
If you’re looking for a truly local experience, I suggest this guided market tour with typical Yucatan cooking class! To book here.
Spend the night in Merida.
Day 3 – In the morning, start with a visit to the archaeological site of Uxmal, a city that was an important ally of Chichen Itza.
Thanks to its rich Puuc-style architecture , it has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
And indeed, it is one of the most beautiful Mayan sites to see in the Yucatan!
What to see in Uxmal:
- The Pyramid of the Diviner, the most imposing structure in Uxmal, 37m in height
- The Great Pyramid which offers a magnificent view of the surroundings
- The Palace of the Governors
- Other structures such as the Quadrilateral of the Nuns, the Quadrilateral of the Birds, the House of the Turtles
Nearby you can also visit:
- The Choco-Story Chocolate Museum, a must-do for families, is located directly across from the site.
- The site of Kabah, another fine example of Puuc architecture, just 20 minutes by car from Uxmal. Book the excursion to Uxmal and Kabah here!
In the afternoon, return to Mérida. This will be the opportunity to see the attractions of Mérida that you did not have time to do the day before!
Spend the night in Merida.
Day 4 – Prepare to be amazed today.
We continue your road trip in Yucatan towards Celestun : the best place to see flamingos in Mexico!
This quiet Yucatan village is the starting point for boat tours in the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve , a biodiversity hotspot that is home to 300 species of birds.
On site, there are two places to take the flamingo tour :
- West of the bridge, just before returning to Celestun (duration 1h30)
- From the beach, next to the main square (duration 2h15-2h30)
Both tours are very similar, but the longer one allows you to see a little more wildlife along the way as it runs along the coast.
After the tour of the pink flamingos, you can enjoy the long sandy beaches with calm water, and very few tourists!
There are also several good seafood restaurants to make the most of the day.
- Getting to Celestun from Mérida : the village is 1h30 away by car via highway 181. By public transport, take the ADO bus from Terminal Noreste (corner Calle 50 and 65), duration 2h30.
If you prefer to go there on an organized excursion from Mérida, I recommend this tour which includes pick-up from your hotel, boat trip to see the flamingos with swimming, visit to the mangroves and lunch on the beach.
Spend the night in Merida.
Accommodation in Merida
- Nomadas : it is the largest hostel in Mérida, but above all the one with the friendliest atmosphere in the city. There is a swimming pool surrounded by hammocks and plants, courses (yoga, cooking, etc.) and all well located, in the center of Mérida. Bed in dormitory, from only 16 euros per night!
- El Gran Hotel : perfectly located in the center of Mérida, right next to the cathedral, this is a hotel with a certain charm, where time seems to have stood still with its colonial look and its pretty woodwork. There is a restaurant on site, the rooms are spacious and the wifi works well. Good value for money at only 54 euros a night!
- Hotel Hacienda Merida VIP : this small luxury hotel is the ideal place to spend a romantic stay in Mérida. Located in the heart of the historic center, it is an address that looks like a chic hacienda, illuminated by candlelight when night falls. Here you will find a nice swimming pool, very comfortable rooms, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar. From 150 euros per night
- Hotel Boutique Mérida Santiago : This is a small, cozy hotel with a colorful hacienda look, both modern and with a traditional Mexican touch. Swimming pool with deckchairs and parasols, a very good homemade breakfast, spacious rooms, this is the ideal hotel if you are looking for good comfort without falling into luxury. From 180 euros per night
Day 12-13: Holbox Island (2-3 days)
After several rather busy days, here is a well-deserved relaxation stop on your two-week itinerary in the Yucatan!
Holbox is a small paradise island located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
It’s the best place to relax in the sun and enjoy the warm water, away from the noise of the Riviera Maya.
You can spend a single day there and back, but to really enjoy it I really recommend spending two or three days in Holbox.
There is a lot to do and see in Holbox:
- Explore its streets to discover its colorful street art
- Take advantage of the long sandy beaches, like Punta Mosquito, far from the tourists
- Take a boat trip (3h) to discover Isla Pajaros, Ojo de Agua Yalahau and Isla de la Pasion.
- Swim with whale sharks in the Yum Balam reserve (between June and September)
- Watch the natural bioluminescence show at Punta Cocos
- Snorkeling in Cabo Catoche where there are many fish and corals
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
To know everything about the island of Holbox here is my guide Visiting Holbox: top 16 things to do and see!
- Getting to Holbox from Mérida : 3h50 by car on the 180D towards Cancun, then QROO5 to Chiquila. You then have to take the ferry to Holbox (30 min journey, departure every 30 min), you can leave the car in the parking lot.
Accommodation in Holbox
- Kin Camping : the best place to sleep cheap in Holbox! Tents (camping) with double bed, access to the kitchen, hammocks, bar, hot water, good atmosphere, several activities offered. From just 23 euros per night!
Casa Chujuk : Here is a hotel that offers excellent value for money, which is increasingly difficult to find in Holbox. Very clean, bright, comfortable mattress, small swimming pool to cool off, good wifi. From just 65 euros per night
Ensueño Holbox & Beach Club : hotel facing the sea which offers suites and apartments with kitchenette that can accommodate up to 5 people. Roof terrace, two swimming pools, beach club with good food and good music. Breakfast included, from 130 euros per night
Beachfront Hotel La Palapa-Adults Only : beautiful hotel very well located near the center, facing the sea, quiet beach with excellent cocktails at the bar. Spacious rooms and very good service. Excellent breakfast included, from 190 euros per night
- Villas Flamingos : Located on a private beach on the island of Holbox, this 4-star hotel offers comfortable and colorful bungalows with private terrace and hammock. From €352 per night, breakfast included. Highlights: the amazing view of the sea, the relaxing atmosphere, the friendly staff, the delicious food. This is my suggestion for a peaceful stay in Holbox!
Day 14 -15: Isla Mujeres with or without Isla Contoy
I suggest you end these two weeks in the Yucatan in style with Isla Mujeres, the most famous island in the Mexican Caribbean .
It is located just 30 minutes by ferry from Cancun, which is convenient since you will already be nearby to catch your flight home when the time comes!
Spaces on the ferry are very limited, I strongly recommend that you reserve them as soon as possible!
To book your return ferry ticket to Isla Mujeres (return valid for 6 months after your outbound date).
You can easily spend 1, 2 or 3 days in Isla Mujeres because there is so much to see, but you can just as well decide to spend your days at the beach.
Things to do in Isla Mujeres in 2 or 3 days:
- Enjoy Playa Norte, which is one of the Top 10 best beaches in the world (a deckchair costs around $200mxn a day)
- The Garrafon Natural Park, a dream place with all the facilities facing the sea, ideal for snorkeling, kayaking, ziplining – I suggest you buy these Garrafón Park tickets (by clicking here) which include the return ferry tickets already.
- Garrafon de Castilla : an inexpensive beach club with beautiful water and an on-site restaurant ($60mxn, includes snorkeling equipment)
- Punta Sur with its sculpture garden and the temple dedicated to Ixchel
- Discover less touristy beaches like Playa Pescador, Playa Tiburon, Playa Paraiso, Playa Na Balam, etc.
- Spend the day at Kin-Ha Park or El Parque de los Sueños, a fairly quiet beach club where you can rent kayaks, paddle board, enjoy the pool with bar ($400 MXN including 300$MXN refundable in consumption)
- Snorkeling at El Farito and Manchones Reef
Tips for your Yucatan itinerary:
To know all the activities to do in Isla Mujeres, I invite you to read my Ultimate Guide to the 21 things to do and see in Isla Mujeres!
Another option that I recommend if you are looking for a destination a little off the beaten track is to incorporate Isla Contoy into your itinerary.
It is a small protected island of less than 9km which is one of the most beautiful destinations of the Yucatan Peninsula!
Its access is limited to 200 people per day who come to enjoy its white sand beaches, palm trees and calm water.
It is mandatory to take an excursion from Cancun to visit Contoy.
The good news is that it already includes Isla Mujeres on the way back. So you can land on the island and stay there for a few days before returning to Cancun.
The excursion includes boat transport from Cancun, snorkeling, free time on Contoy Island with lunch on site, then free time at Isla Mujeres.
- Getting to Cancun from the port of Chiquila (Holbox) : 2h drive via Kantunilkin – Chiquila QROO 5, then Kantunil-Cancun/México 180D
- The car is not ideal for getting around Isla Mujeres because there is little parking. I recommend leaving the car in the large Puerto Juarez parking lot in Cancun and renting a scooter, bike or golf cart at Isla Mujeres.
Accommodation in Isla Mujeres
I do not recommend arriving without a reservation at Isla Mujeres as the hotels fill up quickly.
- Nomads Hotel Hostel & Beachclub : a superb brand new hotel facing the sea, beautifully decorated, with swimming pool, hammocks, bar and terrace. Beautiful rooms from 130€, but dormitories at only 23€ per night!
- Posada Paso del Sol : here is a small hotel with a very good quality-price ratio for Isla Mujeres . Clean, comfortable bed, good location very close to the ferry, Playa Norte and restaurants. From only 65€ per night!
- Privilege Aluxes-Adults Only : For more comfort, here is a magnificent all-inclusive hotel in Isla Mujeres, reserved for adults. Located on a fine sandy beach very close to Playa Norte, it has 2 swimming pools, 2 restaurants, a bar on the beach, a spa, rooms with air conditioning and king size beds. From €252 per night or €325 per night all inclusive!
- Mia Reef Isla Mujeres Resort : The unique location of MIA Reef is what makes its reputation. Located on Islote El Yunque, it is surrounded by water and has a private beach in addition to a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. The hotel is less luxurious than the Privilege Aluxes, but welcomes children (there’s even a daycare service and a game room). From €266 per night all inclusive!
Yucatan Public Transport
The advantage of the Yucatan Peninsula is that it is quite easy to get around by public transport.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to do this 2-week Yucatan itinerary without a car :
- The ADO bus company is the most reliable and offers many connections across the peninsula. It is better to buy directly from the ADO website to get a better price than on site.
- The colectivos (10-passenger white vans) also make several trips, particularly along the Carretera Federal 307 which runs along the Riviera Maya (eg Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum).
- In Playa del Carmen you will find the colectivos Calle 2 between Avenida 15 and 20, in Cancun you can take the “colectivos express” in front of the ADO station.
- Always remember to tell the colectivo driver where you are getting off otherwise they will go straight unless it is the final stop
- Once there, I recommend that you check the bus and colectivo timetables carefully , as they are not always frequent
My final tips for a 15 day trip to the Yucatan
- To avoid the heat and the groups of tourists, prioritize visits to archaeological sites in the morning, and keep the cenotes and beaches in the afternoon.
- Remember to have cash ( preferably Mexican pesos) because cards are not always accepted (eg cenotes) and there will not necessarily be a counter nearby
- Buy a Mexican sim card to have access to the gps and above all to be able to communicate when needed. The best is to buy one in an Oxxo (personally, I always take Telcel ), avoid the airport, it’s more expensive!
- Mexicans are very nice! So don’t be afraid to ask them questions, ask for directions or just chat with them.
- If you do the Yucatan by car, never drive at night and do not leave valuables unattended.
- Very important: get travel insurance for Mexico! Everything is fine, until something goes wrong, whether it’s with health, the car or a plane flight…
Map: 2 weeks in the Yucatan
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