Mexico is part of North America and shares borders with 4 States of the United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas), and 2 other countries (Belize and Guatemala). With its rich history, it is sometimes perceived as «mysterious, because of the different civilizations (Maya, Aztec, Olmecs) that forged its culture. Despite this «mysterious nature», Mexico remains a fascinating country worth exploring. With so many beautiful sites to visit, it has something for everyone.
The Yucatan Peninsula is located in the southern tip of the Eastern part of the country and is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Holder of countless attractions, the Yucatan Peninsula receives numerous visitors from around the world yearly. The region is mostly known for its unmatched geology, natural beauty, amazing coastline, and ancient Mayan ruins. It is also where several underground lakes (Cenotes) can be found and should not be missed.
To understand Mexico’s geology a bit, the cenotes are probably the best way to begin. There are too many to mention all of them, but choosing only one wouldn’t be enough. However, some of the most popular ones include Dos Ojos, Ox Bel Ha, Calavera, Suytun… Some of them are ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming. Their crystal turquoise waters are so beautiful that you will want to stay inside forever.
If you’ve never visited Las Coloradas, you’re probably missing one of the best wonders in Mexico. Also located in the Yucatan, close to Merida, a small fishing village, Las Coloradas are pools that have a strikingly pink tint. It is an ideal place not only to take stunning pictures but also to appreciate nature in all its splendor.
Chichen Itza is located between Merida and Valladolid in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is the ideal place to soak up the legacy of the Mayan civilization. Chichen Itza is an impressive archeological site that some people consider as one of the seven wonders of the modern world because it is one of the greatest sites in the country.
Being one of the most preserved sites in the country, despite the 1,2 million visitors it receives every year, it is a UNESCO World Heritage. What makes its popularity is its central pyramid, but there are also ruins that can be explored. The site gets crowded very fast, so it is best to arrive early in the morning.
Tulum (the city)
Tulum is a city located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, about a hour drive south of Playa del Carmen. This city is not only known for housing some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but also for its well-preserved remains of an ancient Mayan port city.
The particularity of these ruins is that they are sitting on a tall cliff, and are the only archeological site that was built overlooking the ocean. Tulum’s beauty goes beyond the ruins and the beaches; visitors can enjoy a nice walk downtown to meet and have great conversations with the locals.
Tourists who visit Tulum can find gorgeous simple cabanas and 5-star luxury resorts to have their stay at. The good news is many are very close to the beaches where they can do several water activities.
Playa del Carmen
You might have already heard of Playa del Carmen., but did you know that the locals call it just «Playa»? Called like that for many reasons, but mostly because it is becoming the trendiest city of the Yucatan. There are all-inclusive resorts, cafes, and lively bars everywhere in the city.
Quintana Avenida, considered as the most popular spot in Playa del Carmen, is a street only for pedestrians. There are numerous night clubs, international restaurants, and some stands where you can buy souvenirs.
Playa del Carmen is at the same time ideal for those who love to relax and those who love nightclubs and bars.
This ancient city is located in the Yucatan. It was first inhabited by the Mayans 100 AD and was abandoned when the Spanish settlers conquered the peninsula, 1550 AD. It is not as popular as the other sites in the country, but it does receive a lot of visitors.
The site houses the ruins of a pyramid standing at 42 meters high, with 120 stone steep steps to reach the top. Once at the top, a spectacular view of the forest is offered. There are also several stelae (stone-carved monuments), and some of them depict women, which let suppose that the city had many female leaders.
Sian Ka’an National Park
Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve stretching on an area of 2,797 km2 and is located in the municipality of Tulum. A very beautiful place where tourists can encounter thousands of species of fauna and flora. It is also one of the best places in Mexico to do activities such as snorkeling, fishing, birdwatching, and many more.
The site was designated a biosphere reserve in 1986 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1987. No wonder why Sian Ka’an means «gate of heaven», because to some people, it is probably the most amazing part of the Yucatan. If you’re a nature lover, you can’t afford to not visit Sian Ka’an.
This Mayan archeological site is located about 30 kilometers north of Valladolid. In Yucatec, Ek’ Balam means «Black Jaguar». The site is composed of a thick green forest and many ruins of Mayan buildings. It is said that the site is surrounded by 2 defense walls, and has many smaller ones in the inside.
Several structures have been mapped on the site, including temples, palaces, and a large pyramid. One of these structures is El Torre, a gigantic tower standing at 151 meters high in the central plaza. According to reports, the tower houses the tomb of Ek’ Balam, Ukil-Kan-Lek-Tok, the highest ruler when the city was at the peak of its glory, in 800 A.D.
Like many other sites, Muyil is a Mayan archeological site found in the Yucatan. It is located 1-hour drive north of Sian Ka’an. Additionally, like the other sites, it is home to a lush verdant forest and many ruins of Mayan buildings. Visitors can climb the observation tower to have a breathtaking view of the forest and the laguna; they can also take a walk on a trail that will bring them to a wooden hut.
This islet is located off the coast of Cancun; the ideal place to have a beach day with family and friends. Despite its tiny size of 4,22 km2, it is home to a couple of affordable hotels. With its outstanding beaches enhanced by crystal turquoise waters and white sand, Isla Mujeres is among the most beautiful places in the country.
Tourists can do activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, bicycle, or scooter ride. During dinner time, they can enjoy delicious seafood at one of the restaurants there.
The islet is very popular, as many tourists arrive by ferry just to have a relaxing day and enjoy the beauty of its scenic beaches.
There are not massive resorts, but it is ideal to have a quite luxurious stay. There are some beaches which are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
As a sun destination, what would be Mexico if there wasn’t at least one beach to allow tourists to have a wonderful time? Well, fortunately, it has a ton of beaches; how about we have a virtual swim in a few ones?
Maroma is found in Riviera Maya. With its white sand and turquoise waters, it has an irresistible charm. The waters are calm and perfect for swimming. There are resorts with affordable prices and are kid-friendly.
You’ve heard of Cancun! This jewel stretches on 14 miles and is very popular with tourists from all over the world. It is mostly characterized by its powder-soft white-sand and captivating turquoise waters.
Playa del Carmen
You’ve heard of that one too! Probably the most famous spots on the Riviera Maya, this eponymous beach knocks everyone off of their feet with its beauty. Crystal turquoise waters and white fine sand make it irresistible.
Tulum (the beach)
Called the «perfect» beach, Tulum impresses every tourists who visit the eponymous city. It borders the Mayan archeological site. It is ideal to have a relaxing moment after exploring the site.
Located in Riviera Maya, Akumal is beyond beautiful. Enhanced by coconut trees, white sand, and turquoise waters, it should probably be the first beach to visit. It is even the favorite spot for large sea turtles to lay their eggs. There are also several hotels, restaurants, and bars.