One of the best ways to visit a country is by renting a car and exploring its most secluded corners. By car, you can reach places where local buses don’t go and explore them when the tourist crowd has already gone. It gives you the flexibility and the freedom to live your vacation at your own pace. This is why I always encourage my readers to rent a car and get lost whenever possible – and what better part of Mexico to explore than doing an epic Yucatan Road Trip from Cancun to Valladolid and beyond!
Unfortunately, Mexico has quite often been labeled as a dangerous country, especially in the last couple of years with the recent episodes of violence in some tourist spots that are normally quiet and peaceful.
I have lived in Mexico for 8 years and despite the recent news, I still believe that it’s a peaceful country, filled with kind-hearted people, an interesting and vibrant culture and a magnificent landscape. Mexico is an exciting and immense world to explore. And explore I did, as much as I could anyway. You just need to be wise and apply some common-sense rules.
I would like to share with you one of my favorite itineraries, suitable for those travelers who want to see as much as possible in a short time, because who doesn’t want to relax on the beach and enjoy their hotel.
The itinerary covers the highlights of Yucatan and requires a car rental.(no new paragraph here)I suggest you book your car ahead of time and make sure to agree to an early pick up in so that you can make the most of your day.
So, buckle up, and let’s start.
NOTE: All photo credit goes to the author, Isabella Biava of Boundless Roads.
Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary
Yucatan Road Trip Day : Cancun – Valladolid
Have a decent breakfast at your hotel and remember to bring some snacks with you because you won’t find anything to eat on the road until you get to Valladolid in the afternoon.
I would suggest leaving Cancun in the morning around 10.00 am the latest, and set off to Puerto Morelos where you will enter the “Ruta de los cenotes”. (no new paragraph)
If you leave later, I would suggest you skip this stop and go straight to the cenote Choj-ha, as it is more spectacular.
“La Ruta de los cenotes” is a road that is packed with cenotes, hence the name. I would suggest you stop by Lucero Verde, an open cenote with a relaxed atmosphere. You will see a sign by the road so keep an eye out. Take a swim and jump from the platform or soak up the jungle vibes.
Here is a list of all the other cenotes in the area.
When you are ready, (not later than 2pm), get back in the car and keep driving towards Leona Vicario and Valladolid (in the direction of Cemax) on the “libre” which is the regular road, as opposed to the highway. After about 1 hour of driving, you will see signs and directions to the Cenote Choj-ha, with the sign visible on the left side of the main road.
This place is a must-see stop. It’s an unbelievably huge cave cenote. You will be asked to shower before entering, for ecological precautionary measures, and then you can walk down and into the cave. The path is made of stairs, down are very well kept and very easy to walk. You will enter a surreal world, of crystalline water, stalactites and stalagmites. It’s no wonder why in the Mayan Civilization believed the cenotes were considered the getaway to the underworld. It’s a really magical place, especially if you go on a weekday when there are, with fewer tourists. Here you can take Take your time to explore the cenote and swim and relax.
When you are ready you can Once you have had your fill, it’s time to continue your drive. Another 45 minutes and you will arrive at to the beautiful town of Valladolid.
This is It’s the gateway to the colonial Yucatan. You will notice immediately the architectural difference with the modern Cancun, but also the more laid-back relaxed atmosphere and people.
By the time you arrive get there, you will be hungry. I would suggest you should check-in at your hotel and get ready to enjoy the magic atmosphere of Valladolid by night and the Yucatecan food.
Suggested hotels in Valladolid:
High-end option: – Coqui Coqui – stunning luxury boutique hotel in a colonial mansion with a relaxing internal garden and a superb spa.
Average price: – Casa San Roque Valladolid – Cozy little property reflecting the colonial style of the city – great attention to details and service.
On a budget? Check out these great hostels!
Suggested Restaurants in Valladolid
For the veggie lovers: – Hierbabuena on calle 54 nr 217 between 45 and 49
Typical Yucatecan food: for dinner – Restaurante Conato 1910, located at – calle 40 nr 226 between 45 and 47
For a hearty breakfast: – Chan café’ – calle 44 between 35 and 37