Mexico is a very big country and not one that is easily tackled. This enormous chunk of land boasts a plethora of beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and spicy street food all accompanied by a cool Latin vibe. But, unfortunately, that two-week break from work doesn’t give us enough time to even scratch the surface of it.
Naturally, those who venture to Mexico on holiday will need to pick an area to explore, rather than hope to cover its full length and breadth. Fortunately, it seems Mexico was aware that this would be a dilemma for travellers. And the Yucatan Peninsula has a little bit of everything that makes Mexico so amazing condensed into one manageable, bite-sized nugget of land.
So here is the line-up that will fill your holiday with excitement and still leave you enough time for some relaxing along the way.
With beaches that look like they’ve never been touched by human feet and water that is perfectly clear, Isla Holbox is the true embodiment of the word paradise. However, despite its obvious appeal, this island has remained relatively free of the usual tourist staples (Starbucks, high rise hotels, litter etc) that are found anywhere remotely beautiful.
This tropical oasis is also home to the elusive and much-revered whale shark. Divers flock to its shores with hopes of catching a glimpse of one of these majestic creatures.
Playa del Carmen
The southern cousin of the over-populated and over-rated Cancun, Playa del Carmen is also a party hotspot. But it has a little more character than the Spring-Break epicentre just above. Foodies rejoice as Playa del Carmen has hundreds of different food outlets, serving up cuisine from all over the world. Whether you’re after a street-side burrito or a seafood platter, they have it all here.
Fifth Avenue is where the action happens. Along this strip you can find shops, bars, massage parlours, clubs, tour operators, restaurants and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Just off the coast of Playa del Carmen is Cozumel, a hotspot for divers and snorkelers alike. The best way to make the most of this little island is to hire a jeep or motorbike. Then set off on an adventure.
There is a very long road running through the island, taking you from the main hub to the rocky beaches on the other side. A relatively short drive that sees a complete change of scenery. There are plenty of restaurants scattered through the various streets as well as little shops selling trinkets and souvenirs.
If you only visit one place on your trip to Mexico, make it Tulum. With its beach ruins that are both historically fascinating and conveniently located right on the shores of a sandy beach, Tulum has the perfect blend of culture and beauty.
Visitors here should also be sure to check out the cenotes. These large underwater caves are simply perfect for snorkelling. Turtles swim about freely as do dozens of different types of fish. Nothing compares to the feeling of escaping the fierce Mexican heat by jumping into the cool, fresh water here.
The ultimate location for chilling out, Bacalar has virtually nothing to do and yet is one of the best destinations on the peninsula. This small, quaint town sits on the edge of a staggeringly beautiful lagoon.
Explore by swimming around or hire a paddleboard and venture out on the water. The vibe here is sleepy yet alive. And in the main plaza there are street food vendors, as well as pop up market stalls hawking homemade goods.
Discover these highlights and more on our new range of Mexico group tours.